Public Health Act 2010 No 127
Current version for 21 October 2014 to date (accessed 24 November 2014 at 14:46)
Part 3Division 1

Division 1 Safety measures for drinking water

13   Definitions

(cf 1991 Act, s 10A)

In this Division:

boil water advice for drinking water means advice to the effect that the water should not be used for human consumption (or for purposes connected with human consumption) until after it has been boiled or otherwise treated.

drinking water means water that is intended, or likely, to be used for human consumption, or for purposes connected with human consumption, such as:

(a)  the washing or cooling of food, or
(b)  the making of ice for consumption, or for the preservation of unpackaged food,
whether or not the water is used for other purposes.

treatment of water means any process or technique used to improve the quality of water.

14   Evidentiary provision

(cf 1991 Act, s 10K)

A certificate that is issued by the Minister, the Director-General or the Chief Health Officer and that states that, on a specified day, he or she gave a specified direction under this Division to a specified person is admissible in any legal proceedings as prima facie evidence of the fact or facts so stated.

15   Drinking water must be fit for human consumption (cf 1991 Act, s 10IA)

A person must not, by means of a reticulated water system, supply any other person with drinking water that is not fit for human consumption.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  in the case of an individual—2,500 penalty units, or 12 months imprisonment, or both, or
(b)  in the case of a corporation—10,000 penalty units.

16   Power to take action with respect to unsafe water

(cf 1991 Act, s 10I)

(1)  The Minister may take such action, and by order give such directions, as the Minister considers necessary:
(a)  to restrict or prevent the use of unsafe water, and
(b)  to bring unsafe water to such a condition that it is no longer unsafe water.
(2)  Before giving a direction to a supplier of drinking water constituted under an Act, the Minister is to consult with the Minister responsible for the Act under which the supplier is constituted.
(3)  In this section, unsafe water means:
(a)  drinking water that the Minister suspects to be unfit for human consumption, or
(b)  any other water that the Minister suspects is, or is likely to be, a risk to public health.

17   Offence not to comply with Ministerial direction

(1)  A person who:
(a)  is subject to a direction under section 16, and
(b)  has notice of the direction,
must not, without reasonable excuse, fail to comply with the direction.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  in the case of an individual—2,500 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment, or both, and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further 500 penalty units for each day the offence continues, or
(b)  in the case of a corporation—10,000 penalty units and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further 2,000 penalty units for each day the offence continues.

(2)  If a direction under section 16 is not complied with, the Minister may take the action referred to in the direction and:
(a)  unless the person represents the Crown, may recover an amount equal to the cost of doing so as a debt owed by the person to the Crown, or
(b)  if the person represents the Crown, may require the person to pay to the Director-General an amount equal to the cost of doing so.

18   Power to direct testing of drinking water

(cf 1991 Act, s 10G)

(1)  The Director-General may, by notice in writing, direct a supplier of drinking water to carry out such tests on the drinking water that it has available for supply, or on any substance used in or produced by the treatment of any such water, as the Director-General considers appropriate.
(2)  Any such direction may specify that the test to be carried out on water is to be carried out in any one or more of the following ways:
(a)  on the water in its raw state,
(b)  while the water is undergoing treatment,
(c)  after the water has been treated or partly treated.

19   Power to direct production of information

(cf 1991 Act, s 10H)

(1)  The Director-General may, by notice in writing, direct a supplier of drinking water to produce to the Director-General such information as the Director-General may specify concerning:
(a)  the quality of the drinking water that the supplier has available for supply, and
(b)  the methods by which the water is treated.
(2)  The information to be produced may include (but is not limited to) the following:
(a)  copies of relevant records of the supplier,
(b)  the results of any tests required under this Division.
(3)  The information is to be provided in such form and manner as the Director-General may direct.

20   Offence not to comply with Director-General’s direction

(1)  A supplier of drinking water to which a direction is given under section 18 or 19 must not, without reasonable excuse, fail to comply with the direction.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  in the case of an individual—500 penalty units, or imprisonment for 6 months, or both, and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further 100 penalty units for each day the offence continues, or
(b)  in the case of a corporation—2,000 penalty units and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further 400 penalty units for each day the offence continues.

(2)  If a direction under section 18 or 19 is not complied with, the Director-General may take the action referred to in the direction and:
(a)  unless the supplier of drinking water represents the Crown, may recover an amount equal to the cost of doing so as a debt owed by the supplier to the Crown, or
(b)  if the supplier represents the Crown, may require the supplier to pay to the Director-General an amount equal to the cost of doing so.

21   Chief Health Officer responsible for determining necessity for boil water advices

(cf 1991 Act, s 10E)

The Chief Health Officer may from time to time decide, in relation to any supplier of drinking water:
(a)  whether or not it should issue a boil water advice for the drinking water it supplies or has available for supply, and
(b)  whether or not it should provide additional information to the public in connection with any boil water advice it issues, and
(c)  whether or not a boil water advice is to be retracted or corrected.

22   Advice to public

(cf 1991 Act, s 10B)

(1)  The Chief Health Officer may from time to time prepare advice, for the benefit of the public, concerning the safety of available drinking water (or drinking water available from a particular supplier of drinking water) and any possible risks to health involved in the consumption of that water.
(2)  The advice may include a boil water advice.
(3)  The Chief Health Officer is to provide the advice in writing to the relevant supplier of drinking water.
(4)  The supplier of drinking water to whom the advice is provided must issue the advice to the public in such form and manner as the Chief Health Officer may direct by notice in writing.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  in the case of an individual—100 penalty units, or imprisonment for 6 months, or both, or
(b)  in the case of a corporation—500 penalty units.

(5)  The Chief Health Officer may also issue the advice to the public as the Chief Health Officer sees fit.

23   Correction of misleading information

(cf 1991 Act, s 10C)

(1)  The Chief Health Officer may, by notice in writing, direct a supplier of drinking water to retract or correct any information or advice issued, by or on behalf of the supplier, to the public in relation to the safety of the supplier’s drinking water if the Chief Health Officer is of the opinion that the information or advice is inaccurate, incomplete or otherwise misleading.
(2)  The Chief Health Officer may specify any one or more of the form, content and manner of the retraction or correction and of its publication.
(3)  A supplier of drinking water to which a direction is given under this section must not, without reasonable excuse, fail to comply with the direction.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  in the case of an individual—500 penalty units and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further 100 penalty units for each day the offence continues, or
(b)  in the case of a corporation—2,000 penalty units and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further 400 penalty units for each day the offence continues.

(4)  If a direction given to a supplier of drinking water is not complied with, the Chief Health Officer may take the action referred to in the direction and:
(a)  unless the supplier of drinking water represents the Crown, may recover an amount equal to the cost of doing so as a debt owed by the person to the Crown, or
(b)  if the supplier represents the Crown, may require the person to pay to the Director-General an amount equal to the cost of doing so.

24   Protection from liability

(cf 1991 Act, s 10J)

(1)  The provision of any information or advice concerning drinking water by the Chief Health Officer exercising any function under this Division, or by a supplier of drinking water pursuant to a direction under this Division, in good faith for the purpose of executing this Act does not subject:
(a)  the State, or
(b)  a Minister of the Crown in right of New South Wales, or
(c)  a member of staff of the Department, or
(d)  a member of the NSW Health Service, or
(e)  the supplier or any of its staff,
to any action, liability, claim or demand.
(2)  A reference in this section to the exercise by the Chief Health Officer of a function includes a reference to a decision by the Chief Health Officer not to exercise that function.

25   Quality assurance programs

(cf 1991 Act, s 10M)

(1)  A supplier of drinking water must establish, and adhere to, a quality assurance program that complies with the requirements prescribed by the regulations.
(2)  The regulations may make provision for or with respect to any of the following:
(a)  the tests on water and other substances to be carried out by a supplier of drinking water pursuant to this Division,
(b)  the records to be maintained by a supplier.
(3)  The Chief Health Officer may, by notice in writing, exempt a supplier of drinking water or class of suppliers from subsection (1) if the Chief Health Officer is satisfied that the supplier, or class of suppliers, is subject to other appropriate licensing or other regulatory requirements.
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