Why test drinking water using parameters for sewage effluents?

I was totally taken aback by the front-page report on NST March 27 2006, "Never mind the smell; It's save to drink".

In the first place, Malaysia's drinking water is governed by the "National Standards for Drinking Water" (NSFDW) issued by the Ministry of Health (revised 2000). This publication also contains a section on "Recommended Raw Water Quality Criteria".

So if tests were to be carried out to determine the quality of raw and treated water, they have to be carried out using the parameters set out in NSFDW.

Why then were the water samples tested using the Environmental Quality (Sewage and Industrial Effluents) Regulations 1979? Do the people involved in the tests know the difference between sewage effluents and potable water?

Worse still, why use the parameters set out in Standard B of the Third Schedule instead of Standard A?

It is to be noted that Standard B is used for sewage effluents discharged downstream of water supply sources while the more stringent Standard A is for discharge upstream of water supply sources.

Even if the samples were to be tested using the appropriate standards, they are too few to draw any plausible conclusion.

By publishing such an ill-informed article, on the front page at that, one cannot help wondering if the daily is dumb.

An edited version of the above was published in NST on 29/03/06.

nakedeyeview.com.my 2007