We’ve often talked about how farming pollution and creaking, poorly resourced infrastructure is degrading the quality of life for people in New Zealand, especially with regards to drinking and bathing water quality.
Despite marketing itself as 100% pure and telling visitors it has ‘world class’ drinking water quality, 20% of people in New Zealand have water that is either ungraded or contaminated and unfit to drink.
The Bay of Plenty town of Kawerau has just been issued with an alert after E. coli was discovered in its reticulated water supply. As yet the announcement has yet to be made on digital and print media, and was only broadcast via local radio.
Treatment plant has an Ee grading: Unsatisfactory level of risk
Kawerau District Council’s 2015 Asset Management Plan, released last year, stated
“Under DWSNZ 2005 guidelines, a Community of Kawerau’s size should have a minimum (water quality) grade of Bb. The Kawerau treatment plant received an Ee, which indicates an unsatisfactory level of risk. However, the plant did achieve E. coli compliance.
The Kawerau and Upper Valley Pressure Zones received demerits for non-compliance with DWSNZ 2005 microbiological requirements, lack of ongoing treatment for E. coli (i.e. chlorination), lack of protozoa treatment (UV, ozone, filtration, chlorination) and not having a P2 programme in place…
…Two springs (Holland and Pumphouse) occasionally have detectable faecal coliform present, are low in solids, have a low pH and are considered to be very pleasant to drink“
Quality and adequacy of supply of drinking water available within the District
The principal issue affecting the supply of potable water is the biological cleanliness of the water.
The supply is not considered a “secure” supply as defined by the Drinking-Water Standards for New Zealand 2005, due to historical detection of faecal coliforms in the source water and the inability to prove that the water has been underground for more than 12 months or is not directly affected by surface or climate influences in the environment. Contaminations, when detected, are treated with chlorine”
The sources and treatment plant could be improved by
- Chlorinating the supply prior to the first storage reservoir
- Chlorinating the water supply to the Kawerau and Upper Valley Zones
- Ensuring that water supply operation staff have appropriate training and qualifications
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Still think that New Zealand is 100% pure and its water supply is world class?