Inglewood's brown water is back, but not for long

Tracey Nagle from Inglewood wanted a relaxing bath, but changed her mind when the bath filled with brown water.
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Tracey Nagle from Inglewood wanted a relaxing bath, but changed her mind when the bath filled with brown water.

Taranaki woman Tracey Nagle wasn't impressed when her bath filled up with dirty water.

The Inglewood resident ran a bath on Wednesday night but was put off bathing when the water became a dark brown colour, she said.

"I get up in the middle of the night and have a drink of water and sometimes it tastes funny. I'm not going to do that again."

Nagle refuses to buy bottled water, because there was already enough at the landfill, she said. 

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"But you have to have water and it should be safe. It's not in a third world country."

Nagle said by Thursday the water was running clear again.

The New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) said while the water was safe to drink it had finally found the cause of the discolouration, which has plagued the town for years.

But when the water woes will be fixed is still up in the air, the NPDC said.

NPDC infrastructure manager David Langford said the problem was caused by build-ups of natural minerals, like aluminium, manganese and iron, in the water supply pipes.

"Now that we know what is actually causing the water discolouration problem we are starting to put together plans to fix it."

The council employed a specialist engineering company to investigate the cause of the dirty water issues in Inglewood and its report was received this month. 

"The report also confirms that the Inglewood water treatment plant operates well and removes a large proportion of these mineral from the water so that it consistently complies with the drinking water standards."

There are two trunk mains that connect the Inglewood water treatment plant to the town, but two working together means the water moves too slowly allowing time for the minerals to settle at the bottom of the pipes and form deposits, he said.

"Occasionally the water flows faster due to a peaks in demand or water main breaks. This increase in speed stirs up the mineral deposits causing the discoloured water."

The report recommends one of these trunk mains is shut off so that only one pipe is used to supply water to the town, which would speed the water up in the pipes so the minerals didn’t have time to settle out, Langford said.

"We need a bit of time to plan how this can be done while keeping the towns drinking water clean and safe, so I can’t confirm exactly when this work will be done yet.

"The council was also planning to replace about 6.8 kilometre of old water pipes in Inglewood over the next couple of years, including the trunk main from the treatment plant as part of it's routine renewals programme." 

Funding of $2.1m has been included in the draft long term plan budgets for this work, he said.

"We will also be adding in an extra $1.8m to the draft budget so that we can also replace the 5.1km of pipes identified in the report. Obviously these budgets are still draft and need to be approved by the council when it adopts the next long term plan at the end of this financial year [June 2018]."

 - Stuff

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