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Boil water notices in Tokomaru and Shannon to be lifted

Boil water notices in Tokomaru and Shannon to be lifted

The precautionary boil water notices for Shannon and Tokomaru water supplies are to be lifted by Horowhenua District Council.

The move has the support of the Ministry of Health and MidCentral Health's Public Health Services, who have confirmed the notices are no longer necessary.

Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton says Shannon’s new water treatment plant, with its state-of-the-art membrane filtration system, is now fully commissioned, running and producing high quality water.

And, he says Tokomaru's boil water notice is counter-productive as it gives the perception that the water is contaminated and not potable.

"Boil water notices are required only in situations where the water is contaminated, showing the presence of E-coli which is used as an indicator for bacterial risk. These events are referred to as 'transgressions’. In the seven years from 2006 to 2013 there has been only one transgression for contamination in Tokomaru - on 11 February 2011."

Mr Clapperton says the Tokomaru water supply actually produces high quality water, meaning it complies with New Zealand Drinking Water Standards' bacteriological requirements and therefore there is no need to boil the water before use.

He says that those people who ignore the current boil water notice would be vulnerable on the isolated occasion when the water actually was contaminated. In this instance, a temporary precautionary boil water notice would be issued.

Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy says the Council has invested millions of dollars in improving the district's water supplies and continues to do so despite the district's limited rating base.

"There are five drinking water supplies serving Horowhenua. So far, upgrades have been completed for the Shannon and Foxton Beach supplies and are almost complete for the Foxton supply."

The Shannon supply posed the greatest risk and some funding was secured from central government for an upgrade.

Upgrades to the Tokomaru water supply, in order to provide full treatment of the water, are currently scheduled for 2024 to 2025. In the meantime Council is looking at other possible options towards upgrading the supply to provide treatment for protozoa.

"The issue here is the affordability of water upgrades when there is such a limited rating base. Council has to take a risk-management approach for infrastructure investment to keep costs within debt constraints," Mr Clapperton said.

"The upgrading of all five water plants was to be completed within Council's Long Term Plan 2012-22, but Levin and Tokomaru have had to be pushed out beyond 2022 to lower the debt per head ratio."

Council will review the situation for the next Long Term Plan 2015-25 and continues to seek funding to explore and implement solutions.

Mr Clapperton says that Council has always continued general maintenance to Tokomaru's water supply and takes all practical steps to ensure that potable water is supplied to the community and to comply with the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards.

This includes implementing a full chlorination system and a full monitoring programme, as well as a public health risk management plan. The supply also has adequate storage (greater than 24 hours) which is required during an emergency.

Mr Clapperton says that the Council has previously attempted to secure funding from the Government's Capital Assistance Programme (CAP) to upgrade the Tokomaru water supply, but without success due it not meeting the deprivation index criteria set as part of CAP.

ENDS

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