All registered drinking water suppliers must use an accredited laboratory to test source water, raw water and drinking water.
Laboratories previously recognised by the Director-General of Health for the purposes of Part 2A of the Health Act 1956 are now accredited laboratories under the Water Services Act 2021. They will continue to provide water analysis services for the sector.
Accreditation is managed through International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ). Under the Water Services Act Taumata Arowai appointed IANZ as the accreditation body for laboratories by notice in the Gazette. Taumata Arowai and IANZ have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to set out roles and responsibilities in relation to the accreditation and assessment of accredited laboratories.
Level 2 laboratories with a current certificate confirming recognition can continue to provide water analysis services, but must be accredited under the Water Services Act by 15 November 2024 at the latest. If a Level 2 recognised laboratory opts not to obtain accreditation by the deadline, they will not be able to offer water analysis services for the purposes of the Water Services Act. IANZ can provide information on how to become accredited.
Requirements relating to laboratories
Under section 75 of the Water Services Act 2021, Taumata Arowai has prescribed by Notice the requirements relating to laboratories. The Notice is effective from 22 December 2021.
The Notice sets out the requirements for laboratories that are accredited under the IANZ Drinking Water Testing Laboratory Programme. This includes Level 2 laboratories during the 3 year transitional period to become accredited.
The requirements cover:
- Criteria and standards for accreditation
- Classes of accreditation
- Accreditation timeframe, assessment frequency, forms and procedures for accreditation
- Procedures for investigation of complaints about laboratories raised by customers of laboratories or Taumata Arowai
- Requirements for laboratories to notify the water supplier and Taumata Arowai of the results of analysis on source water, raw water or drinking water
- Reporting and information sharing obligations.
The Notice prescribed by Taumata Arowai is secondary legislation and a summary of that Notice is published in the Gazette.