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法政匯思

前線科技人員
對於《2017年水務設施(修訂)規例》
之聯合陳述書和擬議修正案

A.     背景

1. 於二零一七年三月二十八日經行政會議建議,行政長官命令修訂《水務設施規例》(第102A章)(「該規例」),並製定《2017年水務設施(修訂)規例》(「該修訂」)。

2.    根據該修訂,發展局建議更新適用的標準,以便在該規例中用以下方式列出供水系統物料的最新的技術要求和標準 :-

(a)    向水務監督提供根據第20(1)條要求符合附表2所列要求和訂明規格說明的權力,包括有權批准 :-

(i)    任何與第20(2)條所述喉管或裝置的訂明規格說明的偏差; 和

(ii)    任何不符合第25(2)條規定附表2所載的喉管或裝置的規格說明的安裝;

(b)    修改適用於供水系統工程的喉管或裝置的標準的定義;

(c)    更新該規例附表2以詳述適用於供水系統物料的技術要求和標準。

B.     我們的觀察

3.     法政匯思及前線科技人員就該修訂提出以下觀察 :-

(a)     就水務監督批准不符合規定標準的喉管或裝置及其安裝的權力,我們認為給予水務監督的酌情權力過大,沒有充足的限制,容易被濫用。就第20(2)條,水務監督沒有可參考的國際標準,而在第25(2)條中,既沒有行使這種權力的指引也沒有對這種權力本身的限制。 因此,我們擔心如此廣泛的酌情權力可能不能達致確保供水系統物料符合附表2所規定的標準或訂明規格說明的目的;

(b)    該修訂並沒有規定水務監督進行核實有差別的標準和規格說明的程序,以確保其達到合適水平;

(c)    該修訂的附表2並沒有納入一些國際公認的標準。此外,擬採用的標準亦未包括所有可能找到的供水系統物料 :-

(i)     該修訂第3條中未能包括所有通常用於測試供水系統物料安全性所適用的標準和規格說明;

(ii)    附表2中沒有訂明關於微生物學或化學測試的要求或標準。由英國標準協會發出的英國標準(「BS」)、 由英國標準協會發出的歐洲標準(「BS EN」)、構成由英國標準協會發出的國際標準的一部份的規格說明(「BS EN ISO」)或構成由澳州標準局發出的澳州標準的一部份的規格說明(「AS」)等所列的要求,均僅是第20(2)條 中建議關於進行機械試驗的要求,例如 BS EN 200:2008的第5.1和5.2條只簡要提及化學和衛生要求;而BS EN 200:2008的標準中並沒有列出銅合金的複合成分和不銹鋼的複合成分;

(iii)    BS、BS EN、BS EN ISO和 AS 沒有列出所述測試要求的細節。製造商或測試實驗室將無法了解任何有關金屬供水系統物料的複合成分的要求,例如混水器的標準、BS EN 817:2008;

(d)     該修訂附表2沒有包括所有適用作供水系統物料的物料 :-

(i)    根據第1部「喉管及裝置」中的第3段要求:「淡水內部供水系統裏的喉管,須以鑄鐵、延性鐵、低塑性聚氯乙烯、聚丁烯、鋼、不銹鋼、銅、聚乙烯、高密度交聯狀聚乙烯或氯化聚氯乙烯製造…」然而,其他物料亦可用於淡水內部供水系統裏的喉管,例如:潤滑劑、矽膠密封環、人造橡膠密封環等。然而,這些物料尚未受管制,以符合任何該修訂中的標準或規格說明;

(ii)    尤其在塑膠物料中,聚氯乙烯經常被用作為鉛的穩定劑。多環芳烴、鎘和有機錫均是在可用於喉管和裝置的硬身塑膠中經常可以找到的。然而,上述物料的測試標準和要求並不包括在附表2內;

(iii)    附表20第1部《喉管及裝置》第20段要求「不鏽鋼喉管須屬304等級或更佳等級」。然而,氯離子有可能會製造出局部腐蝕範圍,而該腐蝕範圍有可能在底下擴散至具保護性的鉻防護屏障,並危及內部架構。因此我們提出現時法定要求的不鏽鋼等級太低;

(iv)    附表2第1部《喉管及裝置》第1段並沒有包含經常可見於以鋼和鑄鐵喉管和裝置塗層的瀝清之標準測試或要求;

(v)    附表2並沒有包含於Tapes BS 和 BS EN標準列出的銅合金和不鏽鋼複合成分的要求;

(vi)    非金屬物料如潤滑劑、矽膠密封環、人造橡膠密封環,均不在附表第2部《水龍頭及閥門》的規管之下;及

(vii)    附表2第4部《熱水器》並沒有規管為供人使用食水所製造的熱水器;

(e) 該修訂未能提供必定不能使用於供水系統物料之物料清單。鎳鉻電鍍可常見於銅合金部件,例如加在水龍頭和閥門表面,以防止腐蝕及改善阻力和外觀。黃銅組件內部的縫隙附近亦有可能受鎳鉻電鍍影響,鎳鉻有可能被釋出及在使用期間污染水質。不幸地,以上所述均未受附件2的任何標準監管;

(f)     當在食水中發現大量鉛後,水務監督曾發表為期5年的物料許可準則。然而,若附表2的標準屆滿5年,或該標準在5年中途有更改,水務監督並未有提出任何措施補救該修訂的漏洞;及

(g)     該修訂未能處理供水系統物料老化或氧化的問題。

C.     我們的建議

4.   根據我們在本聯合陳述書第3段提及的觀察,法政匯思和前線科技人員對該修訂有下列修改建議 :-

(a)    承接本聯合陳述書的第3(a)段,我們建議水務監督只可在合乎第20(2)條下的兩項要求時,才可行使權力批准訂明規格說明的違規情況。我們亦建議當水務監督要決定喉管或裝置的安全會否受負面影響時,應參考美國的AS 4030、NSF 60 和 61,或德國聯邦環境處發出的《指引和評估標準》,以其標準和要求作為依歸。因此我們建議該修訂第7條下的第20(2)條應被刪除,並以下列修正代替 :-

「(2) 喉管或裝置與訂明規格說明的偏差並不構成規格說明的違規情況,水務監督只可在對以下情況不構成負面影響時批准有關違規情況 —

(a)    消防供水系統及安裝了喉管及裝置以提供可靠、充足水源的內部供水系統的效率;

(b)    供水之質素;和

(c)    參考美國國家標準協會的AS 4030,、NSF 60 和 61,或德國聯邦環境處發出的《指引和評估標準》下有關喉管和裝置的標準和/或要求」;

(b)    承接本聯合陳述書第3(a)段,我們建議水務監督在運用其權力批准安裝不符合訂明規格說明的喉管及裝置時需考慮第20(2)條下所列明的因素,而且該修訂的第5條應完全刪除,並以下列修訂建議取代 :-

「修訂規例第25條(放寬規例的權力)

規例第25條 –

廢除該條第(2)款

代以

「(2) 即使附表 2 規定喉管或裝置須符合某訂明規格說明,水務監督仍可批准安裝不符合該規格說明的喉管或裝置,但批准必須在該等安裝對下列因素並無負面影響的情況下方可作出 :-

(a) 消防供水系統及安裝了喉管及裝置以提供可靠、充足水源的內部供水系統的效率;

(b) 供水之質素;及

(c) 參考美國國家標準協會的AS 4030,、NSF 60 和 61,或德國聯邦環境處發出的《指引和評估標準》下有關喉管和裝置的標準和/或要求」;

(c)    承接本聯合陳述書第3(b)及(c)段之意見, 我們建議應給予水務監督發出要求及審閱測試報告的權力,並將第20(3)條修訂如下 :-

「、檢查、檢驗、測試該喉管或裝置或要求及審閱任何測試報告,以確定它是否符合訂明規格說明。」

(d)   為標明我們在本聯合陳述書第3(d)(i)段已提及的某些常用非金屬物料及產品,我們建議將第1部第23段修訂如下 :-

「非金屬物料及產品,包括但不限於潤滑劑、矽膠密封環及人造橡膠密封環等,如在使用時會接觸擬供人使用食水,則須符合 BS 6920-1:2014 … 的相關規定。」

(e) 為處理我們對本聯合陳述書上述第3(d)(ii)段所表達的關注,我們建議在第1部加入以下段落 :-

24. 多環芳烴、鎘和有機錫必須符合2017年 REACH 限制物質清單 (附件十七)的規定

(f)     就上述第3(d)(iii)段所提及的等級,我們建議採納較高的316等級或更佳等級;

(g) 就本聯合陳述書第3(d)(iv)段,我們建議當瀝青混入搪瓷,應當參照BS EN 10300 (特別是 BS EN 10300 中第4.2.4條),於第一部加入以下測試標準。搪瓷中的鉛和鎘的特定移動應根據歐盟指示 84/500/EEC進行測試;

(h)    我們亦建議把第一部第23段整段抄入第二部,並在第二部加入新的第22段。正如我們在第3(d)(iv)段提及,此改動用以管制用於水龍頭和閥門的非金屬物料及產品 :-

「用於接觸到擬供人使用食水的非金屬物料及產品,包括但不限於潤滑劑、矽膠密封環及人造橡膠密封環等,必須符合 BS6920/1:2014的有關規定……」;

(i) 我們亦提議緊隨在第四部第11段後加入新的第12段 —「熱水內部供水系統」,以處理第3(d)(iv)段的問題 :-

為供人使用食水而銷售、安裝或製造的熱水器不得以有損水質的金屬、非金屬或焊料製造。

(j)    正如本聯合陳詞第3(d)段指出,該修訂的附表並沒有提及有很多其他物料。因此,我們提議採用一個全面的金屬清單,列出在供水過程使用的所有物料。歐盟提供了良好的參考,即在4MS普通步驟下應用的接觸食水的產品可接受使用的金屬物料,這已在荷蘭和德國被採用及實行;

(k)    就如何處理如本聯合陳述書第3(e)段所提述不應用於任何供水系統物料的物料,我們建議附件2應包含違禁物料的清單。水務監督應保留權利,不時更新該清單直至證明其滿足若干用於任何喉管及裝置的測試。例如,德國禁止以鎳鉻片作爲供水系統物料的任何部份,除非該等鎳鉻片部份通過DIN EN 15664-1的測試要求。水務監督不應保留任何酌情權,以批准違規情況或允許裝置或使用包含清單所述相關物料的任何供水系統物料;及

(l)    有關處理本聯合陳述書第3(f)段所提述的問題,我們建議水務監督參考德國處理德國安全認證(「GS」)的做法。一般而言,如相關標準(EN 或DIN EN)維持有效,一個GS證書或標記的有效日期為5年。但是,如果在該5年期間内任何標準有所更新或更改,該GS證書或標記的持有人必需根據經認可的認證機構的新標準為物料提交更新的測試結果。

D.     總結

5.     總而言之,法政匯思和前線科技人員認為修改該規例只是保障我們水質的一小步。特別是,我們注意到擬議的測試標準及將訂明規格説明似乎是針對對供水系統物料進行機械和物理測試,然而整個修訂中缺乏水質的微生物及衛生測試。因此,我們認為應制定獨立的食水安全草案,以解決真正的水質問題,為我們社會的長遠利益著想。

日期:2017年6月27日

法政匯思

前線科技人員
共同提交

 

Waterworks (Amendment) Regulations 2017
Joint Submissions and Proposed Amendments
by
Progressive Lawyers Group
&
Frontline Tech Workers Group

 

A.     BACKGROUND

1. On 28th March 2017, the Executive Council advised and the Chief Executive ordered that the Waterworks Regulations (Cap. 102A) (“WWR”) be amended and the Waterworks (Amendment) Regulation 2017 (the “Amendment”) be made.

2.    Pursuant to the Amendment, the Development Bureau proposed to update the applicable standards such that the latest technical requirements and standards for plumbing materials are set out in the WWR by:-

(a) providing the Water Authority with the power to demand compliance of the requirements and prescribed specifications set down under Schedule 2 in accordance with r20(1), including the power to approve:-

(i) any departure from the prescribed specification for a pipe or fitting under r20(2); and

(ii) any installation of a pipe or fitting that does not comply with the specification under Schedule 2 in accordance with r25(2);

(b)    amending the definition of the standards applicable to pipes and fittings for plumbing works;

(c)    updating Schedule 2 of the WWR to specify the applicable technical requirements and standards for plumbing materials.

B.     OUR OBSERVATIONS

3.    The Progressive Lawyers Group (“PLG”) and the Frontline Tech Workers Group (“FTWG”) make the following observations in relation to the Amendments:-

(a)     In respect of the Water Authority’s power to approve pipes, fitting and installation which are not compliant with the requisite standards, we submit that the Water Authority is given too wide a discretionary power without sufficient restrictions which could easily be abused.  Under r20(2), there are no international standards to which the Water Authority should make reference, whilst  in sub-regulation r25(2) there are neither guidelines nor restrictions to limit the exercise of such power at all.  We are therefore concerned that such a wide discretionary power may not serve the purpose of ensuring compliance of the plumbing materials up to the required standards or prescribed specifications under Schedule 2;

(b)   The Amendment does not stipulate the procedures as to how the Water Authority should conduct checking to ensure compliance of the variable standards and the specifications;

(c)    Under Schedule 2 of the Amendment, some internationally recognised standards are absent. Furthermore, the standards proposed to be adopted do not include all the materials that could be found in the plumbing materials:-

(i) Under Clause 3 of the Amendment, not all applicable standards and specifications commonly used to test the safety of plumbing materials are included;

(ii)    There are no requirements or standards in relation to microbiology or chemical tests under Schedule 2. The requirements listed under the British Standard issued by the British Standard Institution (“BS”), the European Standard issued by the British Standard Institution (“BS EN”), a specification forming part of the International Standard issued by the British Standards Institution (“BS EN ISO”) or a specification forming part of the Australian Standard issued by the Standards Australia (“AS”) are only requirements of performing mechanical test as proposed under r20(2) For example, the chemical and hygiene requirements only briefly referred to clauses 5.1 and 5.2 of BS EN 200:2008. The copper alloy compositions and stainless steel compositions are not listed in the standard of BS EN 200:2008 either; and

(iii)    There are no details of testing requirements under BS, BS EN, BS EN ISO and AS. The manufacturers or testing laboratories would not be able to find out any requirements of the compositions of the metallic plumbing materials, for example, the water mixer standard, BS EN 817:2008;

(d)   Schedule 2 of the Amendment does not include all of the materials used in the plumbing materials:-

(i) Under paragraph 3 of Part 1, Pipes and Fittings, “Pipes for a fresh water inside service must be made of cast iron, ductile iron, unplasticized polyvinyl chloride, polybutylene, steel, stainless steel, copper, polyethylene, crosslinked polyethylene or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride…” are required. However, other materials could be used in pipes for a fresh water inside service, for example, lubricants, silicone sealing rings, elastomers sealing rings etc.  Yet these materials are not regulated to comply with any standards or specifications in the Amendments;

(ii) Lead is commonly used in plastic materials as a stabilizer, especially in PVC. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, cadmium and organotin are commonly found in hard plastics that may be used in a pipe and fitting. However, testing standards and requirements on the above materials are not included under Schedule 2;

(iii)    Under paragraph 20 of Part 1, Pipes and Fittings, in Schedule 2, “Stainless steel pipes must be of grade 304 or better…” are required. However, chlorine ions might create localized areas of corrosion and such corrosion could spread underneath to the protective chromium barriers and compromise the internal structures. We thus submit that the required grade for stainless steel is too low;

(iv)    Under paragraph 1 of Part 1, Pipes and Fittings, in Schedule 2, the standard test or requirement for bitumen is not available which is commonly found in the coating of the pipes and fittings made of steel and cast iron;

(v)    No copper alloy and stainless steel composition requirements listed in Tapes BS and BS EN standards under Part 2;

(vi)   Non-metallic material, for example lubricants, silicone sealing rings, elastomers sealing rings, are not regulated under Part 2, Tapes and Valves, of the Schedule; and

(vii)   The water heater made for the purpose of human consumption of drinking water is not regulated under Part 4, Water Heaters, of the Schedule 2;

(e)   The Amendment fails to provide a list of materials that must not be used in any plumbing materials. Nickel-chromium plating is commonly found in copper alloy components, such as mixer taps and valves, to prevent corrosion and improve resistance and appearance by plating it on the surface of tapes and valves. The inside of these brass components might also be affected by the nickel-chromium plating near the apertures and the nickel-chromium might be released and could contaminate the water during the service life of these components. Unfortunately, such is not regulated to comply with any standards under Schedule 2;

(f)   After excessive lead was found in drinking water, the Water Authority issued the materials approval standard which is supposed to be valid for 5 years from the issue date. However, if the validity of the standards under Schedule 2 expire or are being updated during any time in this 5-year period, the Water Authority failed to mention any measures to remedy such loophole in the Amendment; and

(g) The Amendment fails to address the problems of aging or oxygenised plumbing materials.

C.     OUR RECOMMENDATIONS 

4.    In light of our observations in paragraph 3 of these Joint Submissions, the PLG and the FTWG recommend the following revisions to the Amendments:-

(a)    In furtherance of paragraph 3(a) of these Joint Submissions, we propose that the Water Authority may only exercise such power to approve non-compliance of the prescribed specification only when both requirements under r20(2) are satisfied. We also recommend that the standards and requirements of AS 4030, NSF 60 & 61 of United States or the Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria issued by Umweltbundesamt of Germany should be referred to when the Water Authority is to determine whether the safety of the pipe or fitting might be adversely affected. Therefore, we recommend that r20(2) under Clause 7 of the Amendment be deleted in its entirety and be replaced by the following proposed revision:-

“(2)    A departure from a prescribed specification for a pipe or fitting does not amount to non-compliance with the specification for the pipe or fitting, which may be permitted by the Water Authority only if the departure does not adversely affect–

(a)    the efficiency of the fire service or inside service in which the pipe or fitting is installed in providing reliable and adequate supply of water;

(b)    the quality of the water; and

(c)    the standards and/or requirements of the pipe or fitting with reference to the standards and requirements of AS 4030, NSF 60 & 61 of United States or the Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria issued by Umweltbundesamt  of Germany.”;

(b)    In furtherance of paragraph 3(a) of these Joint Submissions, we propose to require the Water Authority to consider the same factors under r20(2) in exercising its power to approve installation of pipes and fittings that does not comply with the prescribed specifications and Clause 5 of the Amendment to be deleted in its entirety and replaced by the following proposed revision:-

“Regulation 25 amended (power to relax regulations)

Regulation 25 —

Repeal subregulation (2)

Substitute

“(2)  Despite the requirement in Schedule 2 for a pipe or fitting to comply with a prescribed specification the Water Authority may approve the installation of a pipe or fitting that does not comply with the specification only if such installation does not adversely affect —

(a)     the efficiency of the fire service or inside service in which the pipe or fitting is installed in providing reliable and adequate supply of water;

(b)     the quality of the water; and

(c)     the standards and/or requirements of the pipe or fitting with reference to the standards and requirements of AS 4030, NSF 60 & 61 issued by American National Standards Institute of the United States or the Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria issued by Umweltbundesamt  of Germany.”;

(c) In furtherance of our observation under paragraphs 3(b) and (c) of these Joint Submission, we propose that the Water Authority be equipped with the power to demand and inspect test reports, such that r20(3) be amended as follows:-

“, inspect, examine, test, or request and inspect any test reports of a pipe or fitting to ascertain whether it complies with a prescribed specification.”;

(d) To specify some commonly used non-metallic materials and products we have addressed under paragraph 3(d)(i) of these Joint Submissions, we recommend to amend paragraph 23 of Part 1 as follows:-

” Non-metallic materials and products, including but not limited to lubricants, silicone sealing rings, elastomers sealing rings etc., for use in contact with water intended for human consumption must comply with the relevant requirements in BS6920/1:2014…”

(e)   To address the concern under paragraph 3(d)(ii) above, a new paragraph is proposed be added under Part I:-

: 24. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, cadmium and organotin must comply with the REACH Restricted Substance List of 2017 (annex XVII)”

(f)     For the grade under paragraph 3(d)(iii) above, we propose that a higher grade of 316 or better should be adopted;

(g)   In response to paragraph 3(d)(iv) of these Joint Submissions, we suggest to add the following testing standard to Part 1 with reference to BS EN 10300 (in particularly clause 4.2.4 of BS EN 10300) when bitumen is mixed with enamel. Specific migration of lead and cadmium for enamel should be tested according to the EU Directive 84/500/EEC;

(h)    We also recommend to copy the whole paragraph 23 of Part 1 to Part 2 and to add a new paragraph 22 in Part 2 to regulate non-metallic materials and products used in Taps and Valves as we have mentioned in paragraph 3(d)(vi):-

“Non-metallic materials and products, including but not limited to lubricants, silicone sealing rings, elastomers sealing rings etc, for use in contact with water intended for human consumption must comply with the relevant requirements in BS6920/1:2014… …”;

(i)     We also propose that a new paragraph 12 be added immediately after paragraph 11 of Part 4, Hot Water Inside Services to address the issue under paragraph 3(d)(vii),

“A water heater sold, installed or manufactured for the purpose of human consumption of the drinking water must not be made of metallic, non-metallic or solder materials that may adversely affect the water quality.”

(j)   As pointed out in paragraph 3(d) of these Joint Submission, there are many other materials not mentioned under the Schedule of the Amendment. Therefore, we propose that a comprehensive metallic list for all materials in the process of water supplies should be adopted. The European Union provided a good reference, which is the Acceptance of Metallic Materials Used for products in contact with drinking water by 4MS Common Approach .This has been adopted and implemented in the Netherlands and Germany;

(k)     In order to handle the materials which should never be used in any plumbing materials as commented on under paragraph 3(e) of these Joint Submissions, we recommend that a list of banned materials should be included under Schedule 2.  The Water Authority should retain the power to update the list from time to time unless proof of satisfaction of certain tests to be used in any pipes and fittings. For example, in Germany, nickel-chromium plate for any parts of plumbing materials is banned unless such nickel-chromium plate component passes the testing requirements of DIN EN 15664-1.  The Water Authority should not be allowed to retain any discretion to approve non-compliance or permit the installation or use of any plumbing materials that contains such materials under the list; and

(l)    In addressing the problem raised in paragraph 3(f) of these Joint Submissions, the Water Authority is advised to make reference to the practice in Germany on how Germany handles its Geprüfte Sicherheit (“GS”) standard. In general, the validity of a GS certificate or mark is valid for 5 years if the standards (EN or DIN EN) remained valid. However, in case any standard is updated or changed during the 5-year period, the GS certificate or mark holder must submit updated test results on the materials based on the new standard with the accredited certification bodies.

D.     CONCLUSION

5.     To conclude, the PLG and the FTWG believe that amending the WWR is only a small step to ensure our water quality.  In particular, we note that the proposed testing standards and prescribed specifications appear to be aimed at conducting mechanical and physical tests of the plumbing materials, and yet microbiological and hygiene tests for water quality are absent throughout the whole Amendment.  Therefore, we submit that an independent water safety bill should be enacted to tackle the real issue of water quality for the long-term benefit of our society.

Dated: 27th of June 2017

Jointly Submitted by
Progressive Lawyers Group
&
Frontline Tech Workers Group

Submission originally appeared in Stand News on 10 July 2017