A targeted review of documented waterborne disease outbreaks over the past decades reveals some recurring themes that should be understood by drinking-water suppliers. Evidence indicates the outbreaks are often linked to some significant change in conditions that provides a sudden challenge to a water system. Severe weather events, such as heavy rainfall or runoff from snow melt, as well as treatment process and system changes, are common risk factors for drinking-water outbreaks. Failure to recognise warning signs and complacency are important contributors to drinking water becoming unsafe. Drinking-water suppliers must focus on competence and vigilance in maintaining effective multiple barriers appropriate to the challenges facing the drinking-water system. Understanding the risk factors and failure modes of waterborne disease outbreaks is an essential component for effective management of community drinking-water supplies and ensuring the delivery of safe drinking-water to consumers.
Research Article|March 01 2008
Drinking-water safety – challenges for community-managed systems
1Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment, Monash University, Central and Eastern Clinical School, Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Melbourne, Victoria, 3004 Australia
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S. Rizak, Steve E. Hrudey; Drinking-water safety – challenges for community-managed systems. J Water Health 1 March 2008; 6 (S1): 33–41. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wh.2008.033
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