Tokomaru's water woes may be coming to an end

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 02/09/2014

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A wait of more than 10 years for good drinking water could be over in a few months for a small town south of Palmerston North.

The Horowhenua District Council is to vote tomorrow night on a proposal to upgrade Tokomaru's water treatment plant.

At present the town's water is graded "E" by the Ministry of Health, which means it carries an unacceptable level of risk. For five years the town had a boil-water notice in place until it was lifted in February, despite no upgrades.

The council did not plan to improve Tokomaru's water supply until 2025, citing affordability issues.

However, a new report on options available, the third since 2009, has suggested an answer that would cost $350,000. That is close to 10 per cent of the cost of previous proposals.

If the council accepts the recommendations from its staff at tomorrow's meeting, the upgrade could be completed by March, with no impact on this year's rates.

Tokomaru resident Christine Toms said the prospect of having clean water in the town was "just wonderful". Toms said council staff, led by chief executive David Clapperton, Tokomaru residents and councillor Ross Campbell had been looking for a solution for some time. Toms said much of Tokomaru was still unaware of the plan and she was holding off until after Wednesday night's vote before she started celebrating. Clapperton was not available yesterday and Campbell declined to comment until after tomorrow night's vote.

Improving the quality of drinking water for Tokomaru was one of Campbell's campaign promises during last year's local body elections.

A permanent boil water notice was put in place in Tokomaru by the council in 2009. This was lifted in February following a review and consultation with the Ministry of Health.

It was decided there had been no need for the permanent boil water notice on Tokomaru's water supply, which comes from the Tokomaru River near Horseshoe Bend.

The $350,000 plan being presented to the council tomorrow involves a range of filters as well as UV treatment of the water.

The option was trialled over four months earlier this year with the results finding the water produced met standards for bacteria, protozoa and dissolved organics.

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- Manawatu Standard

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