IBWA Letter to Texas Department of Health

IBWA Letter to Texas Department of Health

September 26, 2002
Ms. Julie W. Loera

Chief, Training and Evaluations

Manufactured Foods Division
Texas Department of Health

1100 West 49th St.

Austin, Texas  78756

Subject:   Comments on Current Rules Governing Bottled and Vended Water, Title 25, Texas Administrative Code 229.81-91

Dear Ms. Loera:

As you are completing your review of the bottled and vended water regulations, I thought the attached letter from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), formerly the Texas Natural Resources and Conservation Commission, regarding the requirement for residual chlorine in bulk hauled water, would be of interest. 

IBWA requested a formal opinion (see attached letter) from TCEQ to treat bulk hauled water as pretreatment water and thus not subject to the residual chlorine requirements. In turning down our request, TCEQ stated that they do not have jurisdiction over bottled water and therefore would not issue an opinion. 

Texas Department of Health (TDH) regulations on bottled water under §229.84 define the production of bottled water to include the transportation, processing, packaging, and storage of bottled water (emphasis added).  The regulations further require bottled water be subjected to germicidal treatment by ozonation, chlorination, exposure to ultraviolet light, or other equivalent disinfection approved by the department.  While providing the bottler with flexibility in the type of disinfection used, this regulation directly conflicts with the previous section, § 229.83 Water Hauling.   

The Texas Water Hauling regulations for bottled water mandate a residual chlorine for bulk hauled water.  Not only does this provision conflict with § 229.84, but also places bottlers in direct conflict with new federal rules governing disinfectants and disinfection byproducts (D/DBPs) in bottled water.  In this new rule, FDA amended the bottled water standard of quality in 21 CFR §165.110(b) by adopting allowable levels for three residual disinfectants [chloramines (4.0 mg/l), chlorine (0.5 mg/l), and chlorine dioxide (0.8 mg/l)] and four types of disinfection byproducts (DBP’s) [bromate (0.010 mg/l), TTHM’s (0.08 mg/l, chlorite (1.0 mg/l), and haloacetic acids (0.060 mg/l)].  The FDA ruling also permits bottled water manufacturers whose natural source water has not been treated with chlorine to forego testing their source for disinfectants or disinfectant byproducts. (emphasis added)

In the case of sources of water intended for use in bottled water operations, the water is not hauled directly to consumers’ homes and is disinfected at the bottled water facility prior to bottling.  This is analogous to the pretreatment water of public water systems from reservoirs, pipes or tankers which are not required to be disinfected prior to the treatment plant.  Bottled water is not considered for human consumption until it has completed a bottling process that includes a multi-barrier approach to ensure the quality of the bottled water.  Such a distinction is the regulatory difference between bottled water as a food product and public drinking water.

Given the determination by TCEQ on the applicability of the public drinking water requirements for residual chlorine in bulk hauled water and as a means of removing regulatory compliance confusion and conflicts, IBWA recommends the elimination of §229.83 of the bottled and vended water regulations.  Any potential public health concerns with the deletion of §229.83 are addressed under §229.84 which, as indicated earlier, encompasses the transportation of water.

I hope this information is helpful to you.  I would gladly coordinate a meeting between TBWA, a regional bottled water association based in Texas, and members of the Department of Health to discuss this matter further.  If you have any questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact IBWA.


Patrick Donoho

Vice President of Government Relations
cc: John Cooke, TBWA


*IBWA is the trade association representing the bottled water industry. Founded in 1958, IBWA member companies account for more than 80 percent of all bottled water sales in the U.S. The association’s membership includes domestic and international bottlers, distributors, and suppliers.

©2002 International Bottled Water Association