Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Objections Mount To Chlorination Of Reefton Water

Reefton people have come out strongly against proposals to chlorinate the town water supply.

The Inangahua Community Board meeting last night heard that nearly a third of the submissions on the Buller District Council annual plan this year had come from Reefton, and the bulk of those 80 or so submitters objected to chlorination.

"There's been a cacophony of complaints -- no one wants it," board chairman John Bougen reported.

Reefton has been on a 'boil water' notice since summer, after recurring episodes of bacterial contamination in the town reservoir.

The council is proposing to spend $1.2 million on the ageing system in the hope of solving the problem, and Canterbury DHB is insisting it install a chlorination plant as part of that spend.

"It's a thorny issue -- councillors are being besieged by the public," Mr Bougen said.

All sorts of concerns were being raised about the effect of chlorine on old hot water cylinders; on people with psoriasis; even on horses which apparently couldn't drink chlorinated water.

"Could we put in a tap at the treatment plant before the chlorine goes in, for drinking-water? What comfort can the council offer people with these concerns?" Mr Bougen asked.

That would be a case of wait and see, according to council infrastructure manager Mike Duff, who joined the meeting by phone.

"The short answer is, we don't know. This is not unique to Reefton -- communities have had all sorts of experiences ... but it is hard to predict."

The same applied to the council's proposal to install two pressure reduction sites into the reticulation system, and deliver a full pressure supply to the Reefton industrial precinct (in the area of the old railway station), Mr Duff said.

"If that goes ahead, the commissioning would be very carefully done."

To justify the $565,000 spend on pressure reduction the council needed to know where the system was leaking,and that investigation was now under way.

Reefton was losing 90,000 litres of water a day from the system and it was still a mystery as to where it was going, Mr Duff said.

Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine has previously said chlorination for Reefton was inevitable: the council was legally obliged to provide safe water; the DHB was the regulator and it wanted the water chlorinated.

Even with new rising and falling mains and a refurbished reservoir, there was no absolute guarantee there would not be a backwash incident and the chance of contamination, Mr Duff said.

Any upgrade had to include the $65,000 chlorination plant, at the insistence of the health board.

But there was no actual legislation that could force the council to use it, he said.

The mayor agreed.

"We don't actually have to flick the switch -- as long as you stay on a 'boil water' notice."

Work is set to start on upgrading the Reefton water supply this winter, if the council adopts the funding package set out in the draft annual plan.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Media Collusion With National’s Attack Lines

For most of the past week, any consumer of this country’s management of Covid-19 would think New Zealand was actually Brazil, or Texas. The media language has been full of claims of “botches” at the border, and laxness and inexcusable errors ... More>>

Gregor Thompson: Don’t Be Too Pessimistic About New Zealand’s Future.

With the first hurdle hopped our Government will be turning its attention to trying to soften the economic damage this pandemic has on our little archipelago. More>>

Eric Zuesse: U.S. Empire: Biden And Kerry Gave Orders To Ukraine’s President

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture On May 19th, an implicit international political warning was issued, but it wasn’t issued between countries; it was issued between allied versus opposed factions within each of two countries: U.S. and Ukraine. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>