Omakau, Ophir water improves

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A temporary solution to purify Omakau and Ophir’s water supply is “performing very well”, Central Otago District Council staff say.

Water supplied to both townships, which comes from the flood-prone Manuherikia River, has been filtering through a treatment system housed in shipping containers for the past three months.

CODC water services manager Quentin Adams said since the system was commissioned, water quality in the two centres had been more consistent and no boil-water notices had been issued.

“This temporary solution has been operating since May and is performing very well,” he said.

Omakau had five boil-water notices last year, all the result of heavy rain.

For just one of those events, Omakau and Ophir residents had to boil their water for 40 days.

Ranfurly, Patearoa and Roxburgh each had one boil-water notice, also caused by heavy rain.

Ranfurly has had one notice this year, again due to rain.

A recent Ministry of Health report on drinking water supplies showed 19% of the population surveyed were exposed to water that did not meet safety standards.

completed by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), including a pilot study at Invercargill’s Branxholme water treatment facility, would likely benefit the majority of New Zealand’s drinking water supplies.

ESR is using innovative new technology to test the efficiency of filtration systems commonly used in community water supplies and domestic point-of-use filters.

Mr Adams said it was not possible to comment on how the trials could benefit Central Otago until they were completed and data was analysed.

“The New Zealand drinking water standards, along with recommendations and outputs for the Havelock North inquiry, highlight the need for residual disinfection and multiple barriers against contamination of drinking water supply.”

Mr Adams said water supplies managed by the CODC all used chlorine as a residual disinfection and planned upgrades would ensure multiple barriers were in place to prevent contamination.

The council regularly monitors and tests the district’s water supplies to ensure they are safe to drink.

Water treatment upgrades are planned for all towns in the district, except for Roxburgh because it has already been improved.

“Alexandra/Clyde, Omakau and Naseby are currently working through detailed designs, Patearoa and Ranfurly are planned for upgrade work in 2020-21 and romwell upgrade investigations are starting this year, with construction expected to start in 2021-22.”