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Important Update regarding Temuka Water Supply

Important Update regarding Temuka Water Supply

We have been advised today that the initial testing of samples from Friday has identified the presence of Asbestos in the water supply in Temuka, but we have expert medical advice that it is safe.

Advice from the Ministry of Health and the Medical Officer of Health has advised Timaru District Council that the water is safe for all purposes, including drinking.

Asbestos is common in drinking water, there is no evidence that it is harmful to health if ingested.

Daniel Williams, South Canterbury Medical officer for Health said: "Asbestos cement pipes were often used in water distribution systems in the past, so it?s not uncommon for there to be some asbestos in tap water.

"Asbestos is hazardous when it's dry and inhaled. However, the presence of asbestos fibres in drinking water doesn't pose a hazard for people drinking the water or using it for washing or showering.

"People should dispose of any fibrous material carefully, as advised by Timaru District Council."

Timaru District Council is currently undertaking further testing to confirm the samples, and is continuing work to completely flush out the system and investigations of the water network are ongoing.

Despite the fact the water is considered safe by health authorities, for those who are still concerned we will be providing a tanker of drinking water for filling small containers at the Temuka Library and Service Centre on King Street until 9pm tonight and from 7am tomorrow.

We are advising those who have been unblocking their filters to instead contact the council or their plumber for advice. We are currently advising all the local plumbers for the situation.

Any material previously removed should be wetted and double bagged while wearing gloves. This can be taken to the Temuka transfer station for disposal at no cost from tomorrow at 7.30am

The small amount of white fibre in the water was thought most likely to be plant material, but this was sent off for precautionary testing by ESR. Initial reports back today suggest this asbestos, further in-depth testing is undertaking.

"We are taking this matter extremely seriously and will be working on the problem until it is resolved," said Timaru District Mayor, Damon Odey.

"Community safety is our number one concern so we have proactively sought advice on this from health authorities and we are assured that the water in Temuka is safe for normal consumption and use."
Further updates will be provided at 9am Tomorrow.

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