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Temuka Water Update 3 8/12/17

Temuka Water Update 3 8/12/17 – 1845

Timaru District Council is continuing to work to clear Temuka water supplies and initial testing suggests they are focusing in the correct areas.

They are also reiterating that the water in Temuka is safe to drink and use normally.

Preliminary test results, received late in the afternoon, support the current focus on the mains pipeline on the way into Temuka.

Group Manager Infrastructure, Ashley Harper said the council was waiting for confirmation of the results, but that the preliminary data was in line with expectations of what was happening.

“Further results will be available on Monday onwards as we undertake daily sampling, we are hoping this declines in line with what we’re finding in the field.

“Contractors undertaking flushing of the system have been taking samples during each operation. The material collected on each flush indicates that to be decreasing at a reasonable rate.

“Our investigation of the water mains continues, we have pipe materials experts coming in next week to advise us. Our water team are also investigating a variety of other short and long term solutions to this problem.

“The advice we’ve received from health authorities is that the concentration in water doesn’t affect its safety for drinking and all other uses including washing, laundry and outdoor use.

“If you can see fibres in your system, you may need to flush it out a bit. Please run the tap till it is clear. If it doesn’t clear, please don’t hesitate to call us and we’ll send someone round to help.”

Dr Daniel Williams, South Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Community and Public Health reassured the public around the risk of breathing in asbestos fibres left behind once water content had evaporated.

“I understand that people in Temuka are concerned about breathing in asbestos fibres left behind after they’ve used tap water for washing clothes or watering gardens,” he said.

“While we are still waiting for test results measuring just how much asbestos is in the water in Temuka, international studies have not shown any link between asbestos levels in tap water and asbestos-related lung disease.

Both the World Health Organisation and our Ministry of Health advise that the presence of asbestos in water doesn’t make it unsafe to drink or to use for washing and showering.

There’s no reason not to carry on using the water however if people prefer to use an alternative supply, the Council is providing one.”

Dr Williams highlighted that while it is always better to reduce your exposure to asbestos, we are all exposed to asbestos in many ways, including in building materials, brake linings and at home.

“Asbestos in water does increase the amount of asbestos in the environment, but that’s still likely to be at very low levels compared to the workplace exposures that most often cause disease,” he said.

“Almost all asbestos-related disease in New Zealand has been linked to constant heavy exposure to asbestos dust at work or during intensive DIY home renovation.”

A supply of water will continue to be made available to those who wish to use it. It will be at the Library and Service Centre from 10am till 1pm till 4pm tomorrow and from 9am Monday.

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