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Mosgiel changing to city water supply

Mosgiel changing to city water supply

Dunedin (Tuesday, 5 December 2017) – All Mosgiel residents will soon receive their drinking water from the city supply instead of from bores, to minimise potential health risks.

Dunedin City Council Chief Executive Officer Sue Bidrose says, “We understand this will be a change for Mosgiel residents, but we have to put the health of our people before anything else.

“Mosgiel’s bore water meets the national drinking standards, but we want to give the community the safest water possible and that means moving to treated water.”

The DCC is responsible for delivering clean, safe drinking water to our communities and visitors. While most of the city’s water is chlorinated, a large area of Mosgiel receives untreated water drawn from underground bores.

International drinking water expert Dr Colin Fricker has assessed Dunedin’s drinking water supply to help the DCC understand any risks in the system. His advice is that the chance of contamination is higher than was previously understood and will increase.

Dr Fricker briefed the Council late last month and recommended all Dunedin’s water supplies be treated and chlorinated to prevent bacterial contamination.

Dr Bidrose says, “We have a robust monitoring and maintenance programme for Mosgiel’s bore water system. However, based on the latest information, we can’t rule out the risks associated with untreated water. We are fast-tracking the changeover to treated water because we want to be as sure as we can that we are supplying safe water.”

Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull says, “This is an operational decision, because it is the CEO’s responsibility to manage the safety of our water supply. However, I am confident the decision is the right one. Councillors have been well briefed on the situation and we agree making this change is the right thing to do.”

The changeover will happen on Monday, 11 December. Operationally, this is straightforward and centres on turning off the bores and opening valves so city water can enter the Mosgiel reservoir and network.

A flyer drop to Mosgiel residents and businesses will be carried out today and tomorrow.

DCC Group Manager Tom Dyer says the change will affect most of Mosgiel – about 10,000 residents – who currently use water drawn from a deep aquifer, via the bores. The changeover means those residents will receive treated water from the Mount Grand treatment plant. This water, which is chlorinated and contains fluoride, is used throughout the city.

Mr Dyer says some people may notice a chlorine taste or smell initially, but this should reduce as chlorine levels settle through the network.

Following the Havelock North water supply contamination in August 2016, a second national report on drinking water standards is due to be released shortly. Dr Fricker was involved in the inquiry as an independent expert.

Dr Bidrose says the report will highlight the risks associated with untreated water. The DCC anticipates the report will change national thinking and standards for drinking water and is likely to recommend chlorination of urban drinking water.

Visit www.dunedin.govt.nz/mosgielwater for more details.

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