Council clears up Foxton's brown drinking water woes

Foxton resident Deyna Halidone put up with brown tap water for years.
DEYNA HALIDONE

Foxton resident Deyna Halidone put up with brown tap water for years.

Foxton residents have put up with brown drinking water for years. Now the council has cleared it up, but not for beach dwellers.

The Horowhenua District Council announced on Monday that Foxton's water clarity problems had been "fixed for good".

Described as brown and smelly, Foxton and Foxton Beach residents used to be hesitant about drinking the water, despite the council saying it was safe to drink.

But the Foxton water supply treatment process is being improved, the council says.

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Council water and waste services manager Paul Gaydon said work was still under way to fix the supply for Foxton Beach residents.

That would likely cost about $500,000, Gaydon said.

There was no set date for when beach residents could expect clean, clear water.

For Foxton town resident Deyna Halidone, no longer footing the bill for bottled water was good news.

In November, Halidone told Stuff she had only drunk the tap water a couple of times "out of desperation" and she would never give it to her children.

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But for the past few weeks she has had clean, odourless water.

"I'm really stoked."

Halidone used to spend about $20 a week on water bottles.

Gaydon said the bore water sourced for the Foxton town supply had a high organic and ammonia content, which made it challenging to treat.

Manganese, a naturally-occurring groundwater mineral, also built up in water pipes and had been dissolving and discolouring the water, he said.

"While the water was always completely safe to drink, it had an unappealing appearance."

Instead of "just adding more chemicals", improvements included enhancing the removal of organics in the water clarifier and removing the manganese.

A lower dose of chlorination was also made to disinfect the water before it entered the reservoir, Gaydon said.

"We've done a lot of investigation work to truly understand the problem, look at all the options available, and then identify and implement the right solution to fix the problem once and for all."

Several alternatives were explored, but none quite met the mark.

Sourcing water from deeper bores was one option, but the council discovered that the water quality was worse, and an ozone treatment option was too expensive, Gaydon said.

The solution the council opted for had a one-off cost of $113,000 and $45,000 would be saved yearly from reducing the flushing of water mains from monthly to every two months.

Since the the council adjusted the treatment process, it had surveyed four of the "biggest complainants" and all reported "a 100 per cent improvement", Gaydon said.

Mayor Michael Feyen said he was delighted a solution for Foxton had finally been found.

Some residents had thought the problem would never be fixed, but they noticed an improvement, Feyen said.

 - Stuff

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