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Document 32013L0051

Radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption: protection of public health

Radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption: protection of public health

The directive sets out various requirements to protect the health of the general public from potentially harmful radioactive substances that may be present in drinking water.


Council Directive 2013/51/Euratom of 22 October 2013 laying down requirements for the protection of the health of the general public with regard to radioactive substances in water intended for human consumption


Ordinary drinking water is one way that radioactive substances can enter the human body, causing harm to vital organs. To minimise the risk as much as possible, the legislation lays down parametric values for substances such as radon and tritium. National authorities are required to monitor these and to carry out regular sampling of drinking water at frequent intervals depending on the volumes involved.

The legislation covers all water for human consumption. This includes all water, either in its original state or after treatment, which is intended for drinking, cooking, preparing food or other domestic purposes, regardless of where it comes from and whether it is supplied through a mains supply, tanker, bottles or containers.

It also extends to water used by businesses to manufacture, process, preserve or market food for human consumption, unless national authorities consider that the quality of the water is of a sufficiently high standard that it does not affect the safety of the final food product itself.

The legislation does not apply to natural mineral waters or to water considered to be a medicinal product. These are regulated under separate EU legislation. National authorities may exclude drinking water from an individual supply averaging less than 10 cubic metres a day or serving fewer than 50 people, unless it is provided as part of a commercial or public activity.

When a potential health danger is identified, appropriate advice must be given to the general public of the possible risks and of any extra precautionary measures that may be needed. Action should be quickly taken to bring the water back up to the necessary standard.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2013/51/Euratom



OJ L 296 of 7.11.2013.

Last updated: 22.04.2014