Scientific tests are being carried out along the Kakanui
River to find the reasons behind a sustained period of
elevated E. coli levels.
Weekly water-quality tests conducted by the Otago Regional
Council (ORC) at Clifton Falls, near Five Forks, have
breached health guidelines four times since December 12, and
peaked at 2400 parts per 100ml on January 3.
Although ORC resource science manager Matt Hickey said the
high reading recorded in January was in part down to a high
river flow, the E. coli levels had still been higher
than expected in the preceding weeks.
''It looks like we had about 60cu-mecs in that river around
the time of sampling, but to be fair, those levels leading up
to that sample were high as well - higher than we would
expect or want. So we are still taking weekly samples and I
have got a staff member doing sampling further upstream
trying to track that source of possible E. coli
The council aimed to keep E. coli levels at under 300
parts per 100ml, but sampling had indicated that levels had
fluctuated between 500 and 1000 in the three tests before
January, Mr Hickey said.
Although the levels of E. coli were not dangerous,
people could have a ''crook tummy'' if they ingested