Chlorination wild card

SHARE

By DAVID HILL

The chlorination of all water supplies within the Waimakariri district may have to be considered when it takes a fresh look at its Long Term Plan (LTP) this year.

Mayor David Ayers said drinking water quality may be in the mix during the review, with much depending on what the central Government decides as a result of its formal inquiry into contamination of the Havelock North water supply in August 2016.

The presence of E. Coli resulted in more than 5000 people falling ill with gastroenteritis.

Mr Ayers says it is possible the Government may require councils to chlorinate all drinking water.

While the council chlorinates some of its rural schemes, the main urban schemes in Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Oxford and Woodend, which are supplied by deep groundwater aquifers, are not.

“I think that the risk of contamination is very small, but I also know that most of the major water supplies in New Zealand and worldwide are chlorinated,” he says.

A recent report from Local Government New Zealand and the Ministry of Health revealed there are just a handful of large urban water supplies in New Zealand that are not chlorinated – all are in the Greater Christchurch area.

Just two Waimakariri rural schemes, at Garrymere, north of the Ashley River, and Poyntz Rd, near Cust, need to be upgraded to comply with national drinking water standards.

Otherwise, few surprises are expected.

The council is due to begin deliberations on January 30.

Mr Ayers says most items have already been signalled well in advance.

While the waste management review and the proposed indoor stadium attracted headlines last year, Kaiapoi regeneration projects, flood remediation works and urban sewer upgrades were signalled in the last LTP in 2015.

“While we made provision for regeneration projects in the last Long Term Plan, the Red Zone Recovery Plan was still being developed so there were limits to what we could do in terms of detailed planning,” he says. “But now that the plan has been signed off and we have the licence to occupy we have been able to get on with the detailed planning work and, of course, the Food Forest was a good start.”

Flood remediation works began in earnest after widespread flooding across the district in 2014 and it continues, Mr Ayers says.

The council set aside $23 million for infrastructure work, mostly for sewer upgrades in Rangiora and a treatment upgrade in Woodend, alongside the quake recovery work in Kaiapoi, in the 2015 LTP.