Lead contamination report shows need for regulatory improvements

Lead contamination report shows need for regulatory improvements

16 April 2021

Water New Zealand says it supports the key recommendations in the report into the public health response to lead contamination in Waikouaiti’s drinking water supply.

Chief executive Gillian Blythe says the report’s findings show the need for regulatory improvement in drinking water supply which is already underway with the establishment of the new regulator, Taumata Arowai.

The new agency will come into effect once the Water Services Bill has passed into law after 1 July.

She says there is also a need for better access to timely expert advice, particularly when a contamination incident occurs.

“Managing water supply is an extremely complex and involved process, and at times this means there can be a need for quick access to more specialised advice.

“In many cases, events occur when we least expect them, and this can mean suppliers will not have the right specialist skills on hand to make well informed decisions quickly.

"There is also a long overdue need for better regulation for tapware.

“It is very important that imported plumbing fittings are monitored by a regulatory authority to safeguard consumers from lead contamination caused by taps.

“Along with the Master Plumbers association, we have been concerned for some time that compliance over standards for tap fittings has been overlooked by regulatory authorities.

“We hope that this report, as well as the establishment of Taumata Arowai, will result in better monitoring and regulation.”

Contamination Taumata Arowai