Regulations governing water-dispensing machines drips toward enactment

Friday, 06 January 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 1 By  Phasakorn Channgam

Seven months after national public-health officials began regulating drinking-water vending machines, Pattaya officials continue to take only small steps toward enforcing the rules locally.

The city Public Health and Environment Department Dec. 29 formally requested that the Pattaya City Council amend its list of businesses subject to health-code regulation to include coin-operated water-machine vendors.

The city Public Health and Environment Department formally requested that the Pattaya City Council amend its list of businesses subject to health-code regulation to include vendors of coin-operated water-machines like this one. The city Public Health and Environment Department formally requested that the Pattaya City Council amend its list of businesses subject to health-code regulation to include vendors of coin-operated water-machines like this one.

The national Public Health Ministry had already made water machines subject to regulation in June and Pattaya’s own Sanitation Office had recommended in August the city follow suit. The council last month accepted the draft legislation and but put off formally approving it.

Bubpa Songsakulchai, a Pattaya Sanitation Office researcher, told legislators Aug. 26 that random tests on water-vending machines in South Pattaya had turned up five dispensers on Soi Day Night with Enterobacteriaceae bacteria, which includes Salmonella and E.Coli. These coliform bacteria are almost exclusively of fecal origin.

Bubpa said to ensure quality, the machine’s filters must be changed every three months and their internal storage containers cleaned regularly. The machines have gained popularity in Pattaya due to both their convenience and lower price compared with bottle water.

They became especially popular when the nationwide floods caused a shortage in potable water in the area.

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