Inquiry into Havelock North Water

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has confirmed a Government-initiated independent inquiry into the Havelock North water contamination.

"To ensure we have a clear understanding of what has happened in Havelock North as well as any learnings from the situation, the Government will launch an independent Inquiry," Coleman said.

"This approach has been agreed between the Government and Hastings District Council as the best way forward."

Terms of reference for the inquiry are not confirmed but it would look at events surrounding the outbreak and also the response. It would also consider any wider systemic issues, Coleman said.

"This will be a wide-ranging Inquiry to ensure that all New Zealanders can feel confident about the quality of drinking water supplies."

Hastings people were today  reassured there is no physical connection between Havelock North and Hastings water.

 

astings mayor Lawrence Yule told a press conference this morning that Hastings water was sourced from more than 60m deep with five confining barriers.

Earlier the council said an e-coli indicator had been found in one of nine water tankers used to supply drinking water to Havelock North residents.

Hastings District Council water services manager Brett Chapman said the council made the decision to chlorinate the water supply and emailed the DHB to tell them about it. The DHB confirmed chlorination today was appropriate.

Mr Yule said the suspect water tanker had a sign placed on it as soon as the positive indicator test was received and the tanker was later removed.

It had been at Havelock North High School car park since Monday.

Residents were directed to the tankers by the Hawke's Bay District Health Board after thousands became ill from campylobacter in the water last week.

Those who took water from the site and still have it in containers were asked to dump it.

Mr Yule said all tankers were made vandal-proof.

The tanker had been filled up in Hastings. Mr Yule said a decision had been made to chlorinate the Hastings water supply immediately.

The water from the other tankers had been tested and was clear, however the water in all the tankers was now being chlorinated.

It is believed that the cause was likely to be the tanker, however as a "super precautionary approach" the water supplies for Hastings and Flaxmere were now being chlorinated.

The daily tests for those supplies have been clear.

While no boil water notice has been issued, Mr Yule said, as a precautionary approach, people may want to boil any drinking water or use bottled water while the chlorine works its way through the system.

He said the test was an indicator, but the council had decided to make the information public.

"We will know the full results tomorrow. Seventy percent of these test come back negative, but we have decided as a precaution to chlorinate the Hastings water supply."

 

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