Water Quality in France: Dealing with Contamination


SEATTLE — As one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, France is well-known for its high living standards. However, while most French people are able to drink tap water, a total of 2.8 million people have come into contact with the tap water pollution. This anomaly in water quality in France is primarily a result of pesticides, nitrates or lead pollution.

Recently, UFC-Que Choisir, the Association of French Consumers, estimated that about 95.6 percent of French people are problem-free. Tap water is subject to 50 regulatory standards to reach households and is much less expensive than its bottled counterpart.

Conversely, UFC-Que Choisir also pointed that the contaminated water is impacted by agricultural operators. Specific problems with water quality in France stemming from nitrate pollution are widely distributed in the provinces of Loire, Seine, Marne, Yonne, Aobu, Calais Strait and Somme River. This negative influence affects 370 towns or 0.8 percent of the water supply network.

Another issue for water quality in France is polluted water sources from bacterial contamination. In other words, clean drinking water can no longer be guaranteed in either small towns or mountains in France. Due to outdated infrastructure or a lack of monitoring, many pipelines contain lead, copper, nickel or vinyl chloride. This is common among the houses in La Rochelle, Nice, Toulon, Dijon, Avignon and Cretaiai and other old city centers.

UFC-Que Choisir also stated that in spite of those restricted water pollutions, the cost was borne by the users bearing pollutants instead of the source of contamination. Facing up to the severe realities, there are a few plans on solving the problems with water quality in France. The government has adopted a number of administrative means to strengthen the protection of water resources and control of water pollution. Sewage treatment factories have been set up in all towns with a population of more than 2,000; at present, urban sewage treatment coverage has reached 98 percent.

As required by the corresponding law and regulations, European Union-compliant wastewater treatment systems had been established in all the French towns by 2015. Meanwhile, a water pollution tax and other economic management tools have also been adopted during the past few years. It is predicted that the famous rivers in France will recover by 2020.

Clean, safe and drinkable water is dependent on public concern and improved treatments. In the long term, these kinds of management strategies will result in significant improvements in water quality in France.

– Xin Gao



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