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Need for repairs identified in connections of water supply facilities for real estates

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 30.5.2008 8.30
Press release -

According to reports submitted by municipal authorities there is need to make repairs to water connections in water supply facilities for real estates. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health started an inspection regarding the connections in water supply systems after the water crisis in the City of Nokia in December last year. In the Nokia water crisis approximately 10,000 people were exposed to water that contained pathogens and 5,000 people fell ill. The reason for the epidemic was that purified wastewater used as so called technical water at the local wastewater treatment plant leaked into the clean water supply network through a valve that had been left open.

The municipal health protection authorities have inspected together with the staff of water supply and sewerage systems, municipal building supervision authorities and regional rescue services and consultants altogether 4,750 objects. There was nothing to remark in regard to 2,950 real estates that had been chosen as high-risk objects. The inspections were targeted in particular at the real estates where the risk of the water meant for human consumption being contaminated was the highest. Such are sewage pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants, boiler plants, power plants and various industrial plants using much water.

The safety of drinking water has been increased by repairing high-risk objects

There were defects at about 38 per cent of the objects inspected, of which only a minor part can however in exceptional situations deteriorate the quality of drinking water and cause harm to human health. Municipal health authorities have already issued orders for repairs in regard to the most significant defects with a view to preventing health harms. As regards minor defects requests for repairs have been issued or the defects were repaired in the context of the inspections. The municipal health protection authorities supervise that the most serious defects will be repaired. These measures have increased the safety of drinking water. Real estate owners are in charge of ensuring that the facilities are in an appropriate condition.

The representatives of the administrative sectors that are responsible for the quality of water meant for human consumption, water supply and building are going to analyse the results of the inspections and assess thereafter if there is any need for developing the relevant instructions or legislation. As a result of the water crisis in Nokia the revision of the instructions for crisis communication has already been started. Furthermore, an obligatory emergency plan is being considered for water supply and sewerage systems, which would include risk assessment.

For further information please contact: Jari Keinänen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 9 160 73126

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