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Raetihi Returns to Makotuku River for Water on Monday

Raetihi Returns to Makotuku River for Water on Monday

Ruapehu District Council (RDC) will be returning the water supply for Raetihi to the Makotuku River on Monday (3 March) following a meeting with the Raetihi community last night.

A spill from a faulty tank supplying the Turoa ski field on Mt Ruapehu in October last year leaked 19,000 litres of diesel into the Makotuku River forcing RDC to switch the water source for Raetihi township to the Makara Stream.

Around 40 residents joined RDC and Patrick O’Conner, the Medical Officer of Health for Waimarino, at the Raetihi Cosmopolitan Club to discuss the plans including the measures that had been taken to protect the town from any diesel that may still be in the river.

Last week Mr O’Conner had written to RDC giving the go ahead for the proposed return to the Makotuku for Raetihi’s drinking water

RDC Chief Executive, Peter Till, said that it was very pleasing to see such a good turnout and that there was such strong community interest in the future of the area’s water supply.

“The meeting provided the opportunity for council to talk to the community about both the proposed return to the Makotuku River as Raetihi’s water source and the alternative water sources and their associated issues,” he said.

“Around 10 people also took advantage of the opportunity to undertake a site visit to the township’s water intake, settling ponds and newly installed hydrocarbon sensor earlier in the day.”

“I think that the residents were pleased to have Mr O’Conner at the meeting and hear from him directly that he supports the return to the Makotuku as Raetihi’s water source.”

Mr Till noted that Mr O’Conner was able to repeat the point he made in his letter to council that human taste and smell is significantly better at being able to detect diesel in water than any laboratory test.

“The point here is that if by some extremely remote chance residual diesel gets past the hydrocarbon sensor people will taste and smell it in their tap water before they drink or use it.”

“Humans can detect diesel in water at levels well below those which would have a long term impact on their health.”

“If anyone thinks they smell or taste anything like diesel in their tap water they should call council directly at any time,” he said.



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