Petone's popular Buick St fountain should soon be flowing freely again

Untreated water should soon be available from the Buick St fountain in Petone.

Untreated water should soon be available from the Buick St fountain in Petone.

Water from the Waiwhetu aquifer will soon be back on tap in Lower Hutt.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council closed two popular Lower Hutt public fountains in April, following an E.coli scare.

Initial reports suggested the taps could potentially be closed for an extended period, as scientists tried to work out where the E.coli came from.

The two bores – one in Buick St, Petone, and the other in central Lower Hutt – provide untreated water from the aquifer.

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Mayor Ray Wallace said a solution had been found to provide safe water at Buick St and it should be flowing again, within seven to 10 days.

"Providing water that's safe to drink is a top priority for the council, and I understand that this treatment option will do that – provide safe, healthy water without adding any chemicals or having any impact on taste."

When E.coli was detected, Wellington Water began chlorinating the previously untreated water delivered to the homes of more than 70,000 people in Lower Hutt.

Water from the public taps could not be treated, and was switched off.

Wellington Water is installing a small UV unit at Buick St that will treat the water before it comes out of the tap, making it safe to drink.

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"I know there are a lot of people, and not just from the Htt Valley, who want an unchlorinated option for their drinking water," Wallace said.

"It's great to be able to turn this back on for them in a way that ensures the water is safe."

Wellington Water group manager of network strategy and planning Mark Kinvig, and Regional Public Health, support the UV system.

"At the flow-rate of water from the public taps, the UV unit provides effective barriers against contaminants such as giardia, cryptosporidium, campylobacter and E.coli, and will comply with the drinking water standards of New Zealand," Kinvig said.

Wellington Water is investigating a similar treatment option for the central Hutt tap. Several investigations are still in progress, including one into the main bores and associated equipment that provide water for Hutt Valley and Wellington, into where the E.coli came from.

One theory is that the aquifer was damaged in the November earthquake.

Once the investigations are complete, a decision will be made on long-term options to ensure the water is safe. In the meantime, the chlorination of drinking water will continue.


* UV light kills bacteria, and makes protozoa (microscopic organisms) unable to reproduce.

* People drawing water from non-chlorinated sources need to ensure their storage containers are clean.

* Chlorinated water is best for storing for emergency purposes. Households should be storing enough for seven days.

* The aquifer provides around 60 million to 70m litres of water a day to people in the Hutt Valley and Wellington.

 - Stuff

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