Public HealthPH4AIdentify and investigate drinking water safety regulatory compliance failures and provide instructions for remediation measures
Regulators audit service operators’ compliance throughout the drinking water supply chain, and issue reports with instructions on remediation measures to be taken for non-compliance or non-statutory recommendations.
After drinking water safety failure is identified through its monitoring procedures, regulators proceed with further investigation of such misconduct, to assess consequent risk and damage to public health.
Prior to sanctions being applied, regulators have available a range of possible statutory recommendations and clean-up remedies to neutralize the risk or prevent further damage. They must however, perform this action based on investigation protocols that specify clear steps and procedural roles.
- Service operators are prevented from supplying drinking water that is not of adequate quality.
- Consumer health is protected.
In Guatemala, Government Agreement No. 113-2009 stipulates that the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance may request that Service Providers submit detailed reports on sanitary monitoring actions taken and/or their results when deemed necessary, especially if there may be a risk to human health. The results of the sanitary supervision of the distribution of water for human consumption must be reported to the Department of Health and Environmental Program Regulation, which must include them in a specific database. According to the results of the sanitary supervision, the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance may order that certain Service Providers implement the corrective measures that are indispensable for the improvement of water quality and/or the service, especially if there may be a risk to human health.
In Honduras, Agreement No. 084 of July 31, 1995, stipulates Water Quality Monitoring in four stages (basic, normal, advanced and special situations), establishing a minimum testing frequency for each case. When one or several parameters exceed maximum permissible limits established by the regulation, the pertinent authorities must be informed so that a case study can be carried out and corrective measures can be implemented; in the event that a maximum permissible limit is exceeded, sanitary supervision must also be increased and national authorities must be consulted on the risk level and corrective actions to be adopted.
In Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carries out audits of public water suppliers that are an important way of checking how the they are performing, and ensuring that drinking water regulations are being complied with.
The EPA audits examines a number of areas including water sources, water treatment works, management of distribution systems, sampling and analytical methods used, and consumer contacts about water quality.
When selecting suppliers to audit, the EPA adopts a risk-based approach to ensure that those in most need of attention have a greater degree of inspection and enforcement.
Where the EPA finds any deficiencies, recommendations are made in the audit report as to the corrective actions water suppliers need to take. Most recommendations are technical and do not necessarily mean there is any immediate threat to drinking water quality.
Water suppliers are required to reply within the time frame specified in the audit report, setting out what they has done or propose to do in order to satisfy the recommended actions. The EPA then tracks progress in carrying out these actions. All audits and its corrective instructions, remedies and directions are available on the EPA website.
Guatemala: Government Agreement No. 113-2009
Honduras: National Technical Standard for Drinking Water Quality
EPA web page:
Drinking Water Report 2017
Internal capacities needed and the role of partners
Identifying and investigating drinking water safety regulatory compliance failures and providing instructions for associated remediation measures requires technical capacity in risk based assessment, quality assurance and auditing skills, in order to establish protocols and conduct inspections.
Development partners can support regulators in providing targeted technical assistance and inspection capacity building workshops.