Water Journal : Current Feb 2017
www.awa.asn.au 64 It is intuitive to judge the safety of drinking water principally on an observed absence of contamination. This was the case at the birth of modern drinking water quality management; in 1855, John Snow (the founder of modern epidemiology) hesitated to link a substantial cholera outbreak to the Broad St pump due to a lack of visible contamination in the water. To an extent this is also true in modern times. This is because water utilities typically offer insights into the microbial safety of drinking water based on an observed absence of specific pathogenic and indicator organisms in the supply. The context of water treatment and the 'multiple-barrier' approach is not necessarily (or usually) included in this discourse. Thus, an erroneous inference of operational response being made solely on the basis of lagging indicators may be made. Such a circumstance is not of benefit to the consumer or the utility. A FRESH APPROACH Focusing consumer confidence reporting on critical control processes increases the importance of what is reported. Events known to be related to public health outcomes are highlighted, and conversely, results not as strongly associated with public health outcomes do not need to be included. Both cases are beneficial. Essentially, the connection between public health theory and drinking water supply practise can be reaffirmed. The introduction of a health-based target for the microbial safety of drinking water provides an opportunity to pursue a shift in focus. This was implemented in the case of Sydney Water in four steps. First, source risk and commensurate treatment requirements were identified using the two-tiered method established by Water Services Association of Australia. Second, treatment requirements were formalised under a Hazard Analysis HEALTH-BASED TARGETS OFFER AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE INSIGHTS ON DRINKING WATER SAFETY. Increasing the transparency of water quality management C Owens, M Angles, M Crabtree executive summary water quality Figure 1: Excerpt of the Sydney Water daily drinking water quality report, demonstrating achievement of critical limits set under national guidelines, including those linked to health-based targets.
Water Journal November 2016
Current May 2017