Report confirms Gore water is safe to drink

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Gore and Mataura’s drinking water is safe, a report tabled at the Gore District Council’s Tuesday meeting is reassuring the public.
Chief executive Steve Parry said that, in light of the recent campylobacter outbreak in Havelock North, a question and answer sheet had been compiled to allay any fears Gore might be exposed to similar risks.
Council 3 Waters asset manager Matt Bayliss said one of the key barriers to preventing a bacterial outbreak such as campylobacter was the disinfection of water with chlorine.
‘‘Providing the water is treated with the correct amount of chlorine, any bacteria [in] the water supply will be killed by the chlorine,’’ Mr Bayliss said in the report.
It was understood the Havelock North water supply had not been disinfected with chlorine, he said.
Turbidity and chlorine levels in water are recognised as key indicators of drinking water quality.
While E. coli was detected at the raw water source — particularly at the Pleura Dam, which supplied water to Mataura households — chlorination removed the bacteria along with any health risks.
‘‘At all three of the council’s water treatment facilities, turbidity and chlorine are continuously monitored with online equipment,’’ he said.
If any of the parameters moved outside a set range, it triggered an alarm sent to an on-call phone. The on-call phone was manned 24 hours a day, allowing an immediate response.
‘‘This provides time to respond prior to the water quality dropping below a safe drinking level,’’ he said.
In addition, there was weekly sampling at the water source, treatment plant and one varying location in each network.
Since 2013 there had been no positive detections in Gore or Mataura networks of E. coli. There was one detection of E. coli at the East Gore treatment plant in April, 2013. Further testing found no ongoing presence of the bacteria.
‘‘There have been no detections of E. coli at the Hilbre Avenue and Mataura water treatment plants.’’
At the Gore raw water source there were generally one or two low E. coli detections a year at the Coopers and Jacobstown wells.
The exception to this was when emergency pumping was being carried out during very dry periods.