Treatment of water supplies set to begin

Chlorination of all water supplies under Queenstown Lakes District Council control will begin by the end of next week.

Water supplies at Glenorchy, Arthurs Point, Luggate and Glendhu Bay will become proactively disinfected this summer.

Wanaka and Queenstown’s water supplies are already permanently chlorinated, while Arrowtown and Hawea remain under "temporary chlorination’’ after high coliform counts were detected in the water supplies earlier this year.

Council chief executive Mike Theelen said the chlorination of water supplies would protect residents and visitors while the systems were under increased pressure, ensuring water remained safe to drink across the district.

It comes on the back of stage two of the Havelock North drinking water inquiry, which called for a major overhaul of water supplies and strongly recommended mandatory treatment.

During the Havelock North event, in August last year, about 5500 residents become ill with campylobacteriosis. Forty-five were admitted to hospital and it was possible the outbreak contributed to three deaths.

Mr Theelen said a decision on permanent chlorination for all supplies in the council’s control would be made next year.

"Our staff will provide a report to council on the risks, benefits and implications of how we can best protect the safety of all of our drinking water supplies, along with their recommendations as to how we can best achieve this.

"The stage 2 report on drinking water makes some unequivocal recommendations to the Government, which the minister has already drawn to the attention of councils around the country.

"We expect Government to formally respond early in the new year, and these directions will certainly be reported to and considered by council ..." Mr Theelen said.

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