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By STAFF REPORTERS

Hurunui District councillor Jason Fletcher is calling for a decision to chlorinate water supplies in the district to be rescinded.

Cr Fletcher, who is also the Hanmer Springs ward member, wants the council to deliberate a new motion, to give ratepayers and residents surety that other measures, outside of chlorination, will be investigated to treat supplies and that costings will be done on renewing the ageing reticulation systems and infrastructure being blamed for the need to chlorinate.

He is planning a Notice of Motion at next month’s council meeting following the decision by the Infrastructure committee which will see all council water schemes treated with chlorine or MIOX.

From September, the remaining untreated schemes – Hanmer Springs, Hawarden/Waikari, Culverden, the Amberley township, Amberley Beach, Leithfield Village and other residents connected to the Leithfield supply and the Racecourse bore – will be chlorinated progressively.

Cr Fletcher says the decision to chlorinate should not have been a decision for the committee and should have been made by the full council as it fell under the Significance and Engagement policy.

Crowds turned out to meetings in Hanmer Springs and Waikari after the council announcement on chlorination.

Cr Fletcher said Hanmer Springs residents were angry at the lack of consultation, the need for chlorination, the lack of information on the cost of upgrading the whole infrastructure and emphasised investigating other ways of treating the water supply.

Cr Fletcher said Dr Alistair Humphrey, the Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, who was at the meeting, “made it clear it was the Canterbury District Health Board which was making the council chlorinate the water because of the risks to health”.

If the council did not comply it risked “prosecution”.

Dr Richard McCubbin chaired the Waikari meeting attended by Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley, deputy Mayor Marie Black, council CEO Hamish Dobbie and Infrastructure Manager Dan Harris.

Residents at this meeting were also concerned at the lack of consultation, about what it would mean to have chlorine in the water and also called for the cost of physically upgrading the networks to eliminate the need for chlorination.

The council says over the past 12 months there have a been a number of E.Coli transgressions which have had the potential to have a negative impact on residents’ health.

Dr McCubbin says while most people can get over a tummy bug, it can have fatal consequences especially for the elderly or very young, who are more vulnerable.

The water supplying Hawarden and Waikari is very high quality at the source of the Hurunui River.

But there is the potential for contamination due to the ageing reticulation system and possible influx of contagions, the council says.

Laid in the 1960s, the pipes are old clay ones which have broken in various places.

The water is currently treated with ultra violet light but from September 2017, it will be treated by ultra violet light and chlorine.

The chlorine will be added at around 0.3mg per litre – odour and taste generally occur at 0.6 to 1mg per litre. The maximum allowable is 5mg per litre.

Ten of the district water intakes are treated using the MIOX system – a generator which uses salt water passed through an electrolytic cell to produce a chlorine-based disinfectant.

Mr Dobbie said after the meeting various ideas were shared, including having a tap installed at the treatment plants prior to chlorination so those who wanted to, could collect
water.

“We are currently working through the logistics of these proposals,” he says.