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Safe, sufficient and good potable water offshore. A guideline to design and operation of offshore potable water systems

  • Year: January 2013
  • Authors
Water Report 120 Offshore.jpg

Offshore units such as platforms, drilling ships and pipeline-laying vessels operating under Norwegian jurisdiction are required to have a potable water system and potable water supply in accordance with Norwegian regulations. The same applies to offshore units requesting Norwegian certificates.

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The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) evaluates the potable water supply on behalf of the authorities, the Norwegian Board of Health and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate.

3rd edition of the guideline:

This guideline was issued on January 10th 2013.  It includes all the advice from the NIPH on how to design and operate offshore potable water systems on offshore units, based on the applicable requirements in the Norwegian Regulations.

The main changes from the previous edition (Water Report 113 of 2009) are mentioned in the preface, with new information on water distribution, tank coating and regulations.

The changes were made due to feedback from the offshore community.

The NIPH's role is to:

  • Evaluate potable water systems on newbuilds
  • Conduct system auditing and verification on operating offshore units (approximately every 5 years)
  • Approve UV-units, chemicals, materials and coatings for use in potable water systems
  • Give information to the offshore industry and check submitted documentation

Norwegian regulations

The regulations for offshore potable water supply must be met to ensure good water quality and a system that is functioning properly regardless of how the water is supplied to the unit. The Norwegian regulations for potable water now include offshore units for issues not covered in special offshore regulations. One of 2 regulations are applied, depending on whether the unit is defined as a mobile offshore unit or not. These regulations have the same basic requirement: "Potable water shall be available in sufficient quantities, be hygienically satisfactory and moreover be clear, without smell, flavour and colour", ref.:

The owner/operator company is responsible for compliance with the regulations and thus there is no formal public approval of the potable water supply. System auditing and verification on mobile offshore units is performed by the NIPH on behalf of the Norwegian Maritime Directorate (NMD), and on other offshore units by NIPH on behalf of the Norwegian Board of Health.

Evaluation of potable water systems on newbuilds

The NIPH provides advice and instruction during the construction process, and inspects the potable water system on the unit before it leaves the yard. In this evaluation process, the NIPH checks the system for possible sources of potable water pollution and to see that a good internal control system is established.

During the evaluation process, the NIPH emphasises that it is better to remove the risk of pollution before damage is done, than to act when damage occurs. The consequences of potable water pollution for both health and economy are assessed. A main principle in this work is to ensure double hygienic barriers to safeguard any point in the potable water system that is exposed to pollution.

System auditing and verification on operating offshore units

The NIPH conducts audits and verification of water systems on offshore units approximately every 5 years. The different units in potable water systems are examined to ensure that they operate properly and are in satisfactory condition. In addition to the 5-year intervals, we normally schedule a check of new units after the first year of operation. At present there are about 100 offshore units covered by our control system. The NIPH also provides general advice to the offshore industry.

In addition to the checks conducted by NIPH, we also evaluate reports from annual surveys conducted by NMD according to our checklist.

Approval of products

In the potable water systems it is not permitted to use chemicals, coatings and UV-units that have not been approved by the NIPH.

Links to our lists of approved products (pdf-format)