Water contamination remains rife

Photo: Lake Hawea - Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun

Contamination in Lake Hawea remains of high concern to the public as Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) continues to investigate the recurring problem.  

Acting general manager for property and infrastructure Myles Lind said that the council’s monitoring had picked up issues at multiple sites around the town and that the risks were not just at one or two isolated pipelines.

“We are continuing to investigate the network to find the sources of contamination and are continuing to regularly flush the reservoir storage,” Myles said.

He added that anecdotal evidence from the council’s contractor based on water supplies across the country had revealed that Hawea’s reservoir storage is currently likely to be the most flushed storage of any public water supply in New Zealand.

The council were now planning to carry out a physical cut into the network to gain further insight of the organic matter attached to the surface of the inside of the pipe, Myles said.

“These investigations and new monitoring results will feed into further decisions around how we best manage the risks of contamination.”

As investigations continue, Hawea’s water supply remains chlorinated; a move endorsed by the Southern District Health Board (DHB) but strongly opposed by residents and vocalised in this year’s Annual Plan process.

QLDC said that although $500,000 had been included in the Annual Plan as a placeholder if permanent chlorination is required, the decision to permanently chlorinate had not yet been made and should not be viewed as prejudicial or predetermined.

The council told Hawea Community Association that the level of passion and commitment to understanding the issues was clear in the Annual Plan submissions received, providing a strong message that further work was required before making a decision about permanent chlorination.

QLDC was looking to better understand specific risks associated with non-chlorination of supplies in each location, practicable alternatives to permanent chlorination, future-proofing supplies and the council and district’s legal and financial liability if permanent chlorination did not take place.

Myles said that so far changes had been made to the power supplies to the new bores, which had experienced technical issues over last year’s peak summer season.

He added that the council were commencing a review of the Hawea Water Safety Plan which was expected to be reviewed by the Southern DHB by November.

At the time of going to print, the Hawea Community Association could not be contacted for comment.

Cover photo:  Lake Hawea - Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun

 RELATED: Opposition to permanent chlorination of our water  2 Apr, 2017 | Wanaka Sun

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