Patea Chlorination Update
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Dear Patea Resident,
First I would like to say thank you for your patience as we near the end of our town chlorination programme. I know that at times the smell and taste has been very strong, but I want to reassure you we are doing it as a precaution to make absolutely sure the water supply is safe.
Below is an update on the programme as well as answers to some questions that some people have been asking.
Why is the Council chlorinating the supply?
The Patea water supply is sourced from underground bores 150-180 years old and the water is considered secure, so we traditionally haven’t needed to chlorinate all year round.
There are however, organisms in the water which, while they are not harmful, can sometimes indicate the potential for more dangerous organisms to develop. While these more dangerous organisms are not present in the Patea water supply, recent sampling found higher than usual numbers of these ‘indicator’ organisms in the water. So, as a precaution, we decided to chlorinate the supply to deal to them before they developed into anything more serious.
Chlorination is commonly used in water supplies all round New Zealand to protect against these types of bacteria and keep water safe to drink. We chlorinate the Patea water supply several times a year to achieve this.
When will you finish the chlorination programme?
We will be finished on 23 December, just over a week longer than we originally anticipated. I apologise for the extra time needed to finish.
So why has it taken longer to chlorinate the supply than usual?
Usually we chlorinate the supply for two to three weeks to keep the pipes clean. However this time we also decided to clean the town’s two bores to be extra thorough.
Will you need to chlorinate again?
Yes we may need to chlorinate again sometime over the next four months. Because the water naturally contains these ‘indicator’ organisms we will need to regularly chlorinate the water each time numbers get too high.
Do you chlorinate other water supplies in the district?
Yes, we actually chlorinate all of our water supplies in the district all year round. Patea and Waverley are the only two supplies that we chlorinate occasionally. This is because Patea and Waverley’s water is sourced from very old underground bores and the water is considered very secure.
Is there anything Council can do to reduce the smell?
While we cannot get rid of the smell completely we can lessen it by flushing (pumping water through) the towns pipes regularly. So if you are experiencing a particularly strong smell, please let us know and we can arrange to have the pipes in your area flushed.
What are you doing in the long term?
The Council has a responsibility to provide safe drinking water. We have started investigating the possibility of permanently chlorinating the Patea and Waverley water supplies just like everywhere else in the District. As part of this investigation we will also look at additional treatment at the Patea water plant to reduce taste and odour issues. We will keep you informed of this work.
Again, thank you for your patience and I hope you and your whanau have a safe and happy Christmas. If you have any questions or concerns, please ring our contact centre, toll free 0800 111 323.
South Taranaki District Council Engineering Group Manager