Draft revisions to the Drinking Water Quality Management
Standard (DWQMS) being proposed by the Ministry of Environment and
Climate Change (MOECC) would require Operating Authorities to take
a closer look at the long-term consequence of a wide range of
environmental, human and technical threats to the municipal
residential drinking water systems they manage. The expanded
assessment and planning requirements, if adopted, could also
significantly increase the paper burden and compliance costs of
owners and operators.
While many of the proposed administrative and housekeeping
changes are intended to simply clarify existing requirements in the
standard, the revisions would also require Operating Authorities to
undertake risk assessments to gauge the potential effects of
climate change, extreme weather, algal blooms, terrorist threats,
technical breakdowns and other hazardous events identified by the
Ministry (see attached table).
The assessment requirements set out in the existing standard
would be maintained. Namely, any additional hazards must also be
identified, the risks posed by all hazards ranked, and control
measures and critical control points identified. The currency of
the information and the validity of the assumptions used in the
assessments must be verified annually, and the risks re-assessed at
least every 36 months.
In addition, the adequacy of the infrastructure necessary to
operate and maintain the system would have to be reviewed in light
of these risk assessments. Operating Authorities would also be
required to: prepare a long-term forecast of major infrastructure
maintenance, rehabilitation and renewal activities; consider best
management practices in the context of continual improvement;
document a process for the identification and management of
corrective actions; and document a process for the identification
and implementation of preventive actions.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, the Operating
Authority of a municipal residential drinking water system must
establish and maintain a Quality Management System that meets the
minimum requirements specified in the DWQMS. In turn, Operating
Authorities must be accredited by a third party accreditation body
against the requirements of the standard.
Notice of the proposed changes was posted to the Environment
Registry (EBR Registry # 012-5530) on November 9, 2015, with a
deadline for public comment of December 24, 2015.
The following potential hazardous events
must be considered in a DWQMS Risk Assessment for a municipal
residential drinking water system
including distribution-only systems
Long-term impacts of
Source water supply
Extreme weather events,
such as tornados and ice storms
temperature events, such as heat waves and deep freezes
impacting source water
systems that provide primary and/or secondary disinfection of
Sudden changes to raw
water characteristics, such as turbidity or pH
Failure of equipment or
processes associated with primary disinfection (e.g., the coagulant
dosing system, filters, UV system, chlorination system)
Failure of equipment or
processes associated with secondary disinfection (e.g.,
chlorination equipment, chloramination equipment)
Treatment systems using
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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