Reservoir 'in need of a wash'

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:06 24/11/2012

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Dannevirke's dodgy water is due to a "lack of housekeeping" and leaving the town's water reservoir unwashed, a former Tararua District Council water manager says.

After the Withey family, who live in Gordon St, found this week that their drinking water was plagued by "furry fibrey things", which turned out to be algae, they contacted Tararua District Council.

It said the town's water is safe to drink and it was remedying the algae problem through bypassing one of its reservoirs and flushing the water reticulation system.

But Frank Groubes, a retired council water manager, said the problem of watery intruders was heightened by the council not keeping the reservoir's cleaning standards up to scratch.

"If there is algae in the water the reservoir hasn't been cleaned out and that's the evidence of the crime," he said.

"It's basic maintenance and housekeeping."

With more than 25 years' experience, Mr Groubes said the council should be cleaning the reservoir at least every six months to ensure the town's water was clear.

The council's manager of strategy and district development, Peter Wimsett, said the last cleanout was in May and admitted the reservoir should have been cleaned again in the past few months.

"It's about saving money because you can constantly clean these things - that costs us and the ratepayers," he said.

"We're trying not to spend money unnecessarily, but sometimes we're wrong."

The floating algae infiltration was an example of this, he said.

"We were caught out with the unusual climatic conditions . . . we were just caught unawares. People buy spirulina, and this water is not bad for you . . . . it's [the problem] just temporary and it'll be fixed."

The council is looking for a long-term solution to water quality in Dannevirke and is building a new impounded water supply, which should be completed next year. It would resolve these types of problems, Mr Wimsett said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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