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Sanitary works subsidy scheme

Applications invited for sanitary works subsidy scheme

Communities can now prepare applications for subsidies to upgrade or build new sewage treatment plants, the Ministry of Health announces today.

"Effective sanitary works are usually the best protection against public health risks, such as contaminated sources of drinking water," says Principal Public Health Engineer, Paul Prendergast.

"These subsidies should be a real motivation for eligible communities wanting better quality systems but can otherwise not afford to," he says.

Today, the Ministry releases detailed criteria and information on how to apply for the Government's Sanitary Works Subsidy Scheme, which is available to eligible communities with populations between 100 and 10,000 people who want to build or upgrade existing sewerage systems or sewage treatment plants.

"As well as improved sewage treatment, the scheme also covers new works for adding fluoride to drinking-water supplies " says Mr Prendergast.

"A subsidy for 50% of the cost for installation of fluoridation equipment to drinking water supplies is available to all communities who choose to do so."

Applications for wastewater works and drinking water fluoridation subsidies will be received from January 1, 2003. Communities and local authorities can lodge these with their Medical Officers of Health, and funding will begin on July 1, 2003.

The scheme was approved by Government in May and detailed criteria has been developed by the Sanitary Works Technical Advisory Committee (SAWTAC), established by the Ministry of Health.

Mr Prendergast says the scheme's expected to cost $15 million a year, and funding will be prioritised for communities whose existing wastewater system results in significant health inequalities, adverse effects on the environment and a limited ability to fund their own scheme. Subsidies of 50% will be available for eligible communities with up to 2000 people, reducing to a subsidy of 10% for communities of 10,000.

"Inadequate sewage treatment or poorly-maintained sewerage systems can expose communities to disease-causing pathogens (bugs), increase the risk of water-borne diseases travelling through a community and be detrimental to the environment. That's why it's important help is available for at-risk communities wanting to achieve a healthier environment."

Copies of the Sanitary Works Subsidy Scheme, which includes details on criteria and how to apply, are available on the Ministry of Health website www.moh.govt.nz

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