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Drinking- water risk management plans

5 July 2001

Media Release

Drinking- water risk management plans will mean safer New Zealand water.

New Zealanders can raise a glass to safe drinking water this week as the Ministry of Health encourages suppliers to adopt risk management plans to reduce possible water contamination.

This week the Ministry has published a set of Public Health Risk Management Plan Guides (PHRMPG), a supplier's toolkit for producing risk management plans to control water contamination leading to diseases from pathogens like giardia, cryptosporidium and campylobacteria.

Principal Public Health Engineer Paul Prendergast said the Ministry of Health is committed to the availability of safe drinking water for everyone.

"Over the last eight years the Ministry of Health has introduced a number of tools to achieve safe drinking water".

"To assist suppliers we have now published the Public Health Risk Management Plans which can be used in cases where the supplier does not have the technical resources to prepare plans without assistance".

"The guides cover the supply, treatment and distribution of water and will help to ensure that it meets New Zealand standards".

The Ministry's Risk Management Plan Guide was recently praised by members of a World Health Organisation working party on microbiological risk assessment and members asked for copies.

Some of the requirements in a Risk Management Plan Guide include: identification of anything that could go wrong in the catchment of a water supply, its treatment or its distribution, and ranking those risks in order of seriousness identification of preventive actions that should be taken if any of the risks exist a timetable and budget for managing any identified risks a publicly available copy of the Risk Management Plan so consumers can be well informed about their local water supply

In time the Ministry hopes changes to the Health Act 1956 will make it compulsory for water suppliers to adopt the Risk Management Plans. If this happens, suppliers will have two to five years to prepare risk management plans and comply with the legislation.

An overview of the Public Health Risk Management Plan Guides is available from libraries, local authorities, and health protection officers. The guides themselves are available on the Ministry of Health website www.moh.govt.nz and from health protection officers.

ENDS

For more information contact Hayley Brock, Media Advisor (04) 496 2115, 025 495 989 www.moh.govt.nz


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