Boil water notice 'not due to dairying'

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 16:33 29/12/2013

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Residents in Darfield, outside Christchurch, are still being advised to boil their water after tests found unsafe levels of bacteria in the water supply.

The Selwyn District Council's water quality monitoring programme found levels of bacteria (E.coli) above recommended levels in the Darfield water supply.

Andy Olivier, the council's water services team leader, said the single reading that led to the boil water notice was probably due to ''environmental factors'' such as rainfall.

''At this stage it's too early to draw any conclusions, but it looks like what I would class as environmental factors. At the time of the sample it was raining heavily. There is a possibility that the sample could be contaminated,'' he said.

''The main message we want to get across is the well itself, the source of the water, is clear. It's unlikely that dairy [farming] has caused contamination.''

Olivier said further tests carried out at the same site yesterday came back clear. The site, a reticulation system on a private property, was tested again today.

''We need three clear samples. If all goes well and we get another clear today and tomorrow, we'll lift [the boil water notice]. If we have another E.coli reading we have to start again.''

The council would chlorinate the water supply until the precautionary boil water notice was lifted.

When a boil water notice is in place, the Ministry of Health advises people to boil all water from taps before drinking, brushing teeth or using it in food preparation.

In addition, water used to make ice should also be boiled before freezing.

Water will need to continue to be boiled until the precautionary boil water notice is lifted, even if the taste or smell of chlorine is present.

The Selwyn District Council website www.selwyn.govt.nz will provide updates.

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