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Martinborough to chlorinate its water, as contamination continues

News from South Wairarapa District Council
The South Wairarapa District Council have approved a recommendation to temporarily chlorinate Martinborough’s town water supply in order to provide the security of ongoing safe drinking water to residents.

The temporary chlorination was approved at today’s emergency meeting and will be implemented on 13th May 2019, pending further investigation and collaboration with Martinborough’s vineyard and brewery owners, to ensure their products won’t be impacted by the change.

The Martinborough town water supply currently has UV treatment and is the only water supply in Wairarapa which is not chlorinated. The two recent positive E.coli indicator tests, have led to Boil Water Notices being required to protect the health of residents and visitors to Martinborough, as this indicates contamination of the water supply. As the source of contamination has yet to be identified, it was determined temporary chlorination was the best solution to provide an ongoing safe water supply.

South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier said community wellbeing was the council’s number one priority, which meant temporary chlorination was needed to protect the health of residents and visitors to Martinborough.

“We have listened to the concerns of the wine and beer makers of the district and have given them the opportunity to install carbon filters prior to the temporary chlorination so they will not be adversely impacted by the decision.”

South Wairarapa District Council is also working with Regional Public Health [RPH] to ensure the safety of the water supply. RPH officials have advised they will be satisfied with the multiple-barrier approach of UV treatment and temporary chlorination so the Boil Water Notice (BWN) can be lifted.

The council will be flushing the Martinborough water infrastructure system in the week leading up to the chlorination. This will be done to clear out the underground pipes in preparation for chlorination. Flushing out the pipes will discolour the water. Water will be temporarily shut down while flushing is being done but residents will be advised in writing prior to this taking place in their area. Once temporary chlorination is in place, the council will need to produce water samples clear of E.coli for three days in a row before removing the boil water notice.

Acting SWDC Chief Executive, Jennie Mitchell said the council is still committed to identifying the cause of the E.coli result and increased bacterial activity.

“Our focus has been on potential sources of contamination within the water supply network, including the risk of backflow from private connections to the Martinborough water supply. In the meantime, the temporary chlorination will provide security to our Martinborough residents.”

For more information about the Martinborough town water supply and to view frequently asked questions, please visit our website http://www.swdc.govt.nz/Martinborough-town-water-situation