Water advisory issued for some rural water schemes
An advisory has been issued for people on the North Bruce, South Richardson and Moa Flat water schemes (including Waihola, Heriot and Kaka Point), after samples of drinking water in recent weeks found aluminium levels exceeding the new drinking water standard of 1mg/L.
A single high-level sample was found in Kaitangata, subsequent testing has not exceeded water standards. At Waitahuna there was one exceedance recently when the filter was bypassed for a few days. Once the filter was restored, aluminium levels returned to accepted levels.
Clutha District Council engaged the national water regulator Taumata Arowai, and Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand to ensure the right technical, public health, and toxicology advice was received.
The health advice is that the risk of consuming water from the affected supplies is negligible; no health effects would be expected at these levels of aluminium exposure, even if water was consumed over a period of weeks to months. This includes effects for people with kidney disease, infants, and children.
Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan says, “I know some people will be feeling anxious about this and that’s understandable – I apologise for any concern this may cause. We’ve been told that with the acute levels of aluminium exposure for the period of time we’re talking about, there is negligible risk to people’s health. Residents in these areas can keep drinking their water if they want to. For those who choose not to use their tap water, there will be water tankers at Waihola, Heriot and Kaka Point.”
“Council staff have been engaging with Te Whatu Ora and Taumata Arowai to ensure we have expert advice and take the right actions to address this issue as quickly as possible.”
The first lab samples showing exceedances were received by council on 1 February 2023 and water regulator, Taumata Arowai was informed at this time.
While the cause is yet to be determined, work is underway to identify and resolve this issue, and testing is being undertaken daily.
Initial snapshot sampling at consumers’ properties in the affected areas found aluminium levels were below water standard requirements and surveillance sampling is being increased to help get a better understanding.
Kaitangata supplies water to the Wangaloa rural water scheme and Waitahuna supplies the Tuapeka East, Balmoral 1 & 2 water schemes.
More information, including questions and answers, and water sampling results can be found on the council’s website - www.cluthadc.govt.nz/water-advisory.