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Minister opens Benneydale treatment plant

Hon Damien O’Connor
Associate Minister of Health

16 July 2008 Media Statement

Minister opens Benneydale treatment plant

A new upgraded water treatment plant in the small Waitomo village of Benneydale was officially opened today by Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor.

The Waitomo District Council is the first to have drinking water supply improvements approved and completed with funding support from the Drinking Water Assistance Programme (DWAP).

"It's great to see the Waitomo District Council being among the first out of the blocks to access the Capital Assistance Programme (CAP)," said Mr O'Connor.

"This is a water supply which was regularly failing to deliver water at all, but now with community, council and central government commitment we have a small community with secured drinking water safety."

Mr O'Connor also noted that the occasion marks the coming into force of the Health (Drinking-Water) Amendment Act 2007 (effective from 1 July 2008).

"The new legislation ensures that for the first time there are legally enforceable measures around the safety of drinking water supplies in New Zealand. Until this legislation came into force, there was no specific law governing the safety of drinking water supplies," said Mr O'Connor.

The amendment requires suppliers to take all practicable steps to meet drinking water standards, and to be registered. Those serving more than 500 people must also prepare and implement public health risk management plans to identify in advance and minimise the risk posed to their consumers.

"We will see a greater level of protection and an improvement in drinking water quality as the protections come into full effect.

"I am particularly pleased to mark these two events in Benneydale as it will be small supplies which see the most improvement.

"Waitomo District Council has a low rating base and a number of small communities that are not well off. It is a real credit to the Council and to the Benneydale community that they are among the first to benefit from the Drinking Water Assistance Programme," said Mr O'Connor.


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