New Drinking Water Standards and Rules
In our May issue of Hill News, we provided an update on drinking water reporting requirements and noted that a number of proposed rules and standards relevant to drinking water management in New Zealand were in draft. Since then, three significant documents relating to drinking water management have been published by Taumata Arowai, New Zealand's drinking water regulator.
The documents, listed below, will all come into effect on November 14th 2022, and will collectively replace the current Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand.
- Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules
- Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand, 2022
- Aesthetic Values for Drinking Water
We have provided a small summary of the scope and purpose of each document below.
The Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules set out what drinking water suppliers must do in order to comply with their regulatory requirements. Quality Assurance rules are provided for all categories of drinking water supplies, from “Very Small Communities” (< 25 people for most of the year) through to large (> 500 people) networked supplies.
Taumata Arowai is currently working on guidance documents that will further explain the quality assurance rules and how water suppliers can account for the rules when preparing their drinking water safety plans. Additionally, Taumata Arowai has proposed a range of ‘Acceptable Solutions' which will provide compliance pathways for small water suppliers. The ‘Acceptable Solutions' are still in draft, with the final Acceptable Solutions due out shortly.
The Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand lists a range of substances, termed ‘determinands’, that can affect the safety and quality of drinking water. The determinands listed in the Drinking Water Standards all have a Maximum Allowable Value ‘MAV’ associated with them, with the MAV representing the maximum concentration that is allowable in drinking water. The range and frequency of testing required for substances listed in the Drinking Water Standards will vary depending on rules for each water supply, as detailed in the Quality Assurance Rules.
Laboratories are required to notify Taumata Arowai when a drinking water test result has exceeded a Maximum Acceptable Value (MAV) as defined in the drinking water standards. Our Hill News article from May 2022 provides more information on this requirement. Article found here.
The Aesthetic Values for Drinking Water provide minimum or maximum values for substances and other characteristics that relate to the acceptability of drinking water (such as appearance, taste, or odour). While the substances listed in the Aesthetic Values for Drinking Water do not have MAV’s associated with them, a drinking water supplier must take all ‘reasonably practicable’ steps to supply drinking water that complies with the aesthetic values. As with the Drinking Water Standards, the range and frequency of testing required for substances or characteristics listed in the Aesthetic Values for Drinking Water will vary depending on rules for each water supply, as detailed in the Quality Assurance Rules.
There is more information on all documents listed above on Taumata Arowai’s website.
For further information relating to drinking water supplies and reporting requirements for laboratories, please refer to this Hill News article from May 2022.