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Council plays it safe with E.coli

Hauraki District Council is playing it safe after water samples have revealed problems in two of its rural water supplies. Yesterday afternoon a precautionary boil water notice was hand delivered in Hauraki logoperson to about 100 Mackaytown households after samples showed high sediment levels in the community’s water supply. Another precautionary boil water notice was hand delivered to around 100 Kaimanawa residents this morning following the confirmation of the presence of E.coli in that network.

While the District’s more sophisticated water treatment plants in Paeroa, Waihi, Hauraki Plains and Waitakaruru have multiple `barriers’ to prevent contaminants reaching the consumer, its rural networks rely on a single barrier chlorination treatment system.

At this stage testing for bacteria in Mackaytown has come back clear. However, high levels of sediment, due to increased rainfall, can reduce the effectiveness of chlorine in killing bacteria.

“Although there is no bacteria in the Mackaytown water supply, and this notice has purely been issued as a precaution, there is a greater than usual risk of contamination at the moment and we’re not taking any risks,” says Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga.

Work has been underway for the last few months to connect the Mackaytown community to the recently upgraded Paeroa water supply and is expected to be completed within the next six months.

“This will prevent any future recurrence of this issue in Mackaytown,” Mayor Tregidga says.

Dr Richard Wall, Medical Officer of Health for the Waikato District Health Board explains boiling water is an easy and effective way to make sure it is safe to drink and that residents in the affected areas should boil their drinking water and water used for preparing food, making ice and brushing teeth.
“Electric jugs with a cut-off switch can be used to do this as long as they are full. Allow the water to come to the boil and switch off. If you boil your water in a pot leave it to boil for at least one minute for the same effect,” he said.

The Council has recently undertaken major capital works to upgrade its four main water treatment plants to meet the highest NZ Drinking Water Standards.

Hauraki District Council chief executive Langley Cavers says these works have included connecting three of our smaller communities on rural water supplies to the upgraded Paeroa and Waihi water treatment plants.

“The connection of Mackaytown will add to this tally and preliminary investigations have begun regarding adding Kaimanawa to the Plains or Paeroa water networks too,” he says.

In Kaimanawa a chlorine dosing fault, thought to be the cause of the positive reading for E.coli, has been discovered and repaired, and the network is currently being flushed. This will continue until chlorine levels are sufficient in all parts of the network and the precautionary boil water notice will remain in place until further notice.

For further information please contact Langley Cavers Chief Executive P 021 437245 E langley.cavers@hauraki-dc.govt.nz or

Paula Trubshaw communications officer P 021 1905878 E paulat@hauraki-dc.govt.nz

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