No more boiling water as regulator gives Queenstown all clear

by Kim Bowden - Dec 08, 2023

Queenstown Lakes District Council says it is finishing the week with some good news - the months' long boil water notice is no more.

National water regulator Taumata Arowai has declared the council's problematic Two Mile water treatment plant is now compliant with drinking water rules.

The news was delivered in a council statement to media at 5pm, in which Mayor Glyn Lewers acknowledges it has been a "challenging time for all" to get to this point.

“I’m delighted to say that the huge effort by council officers and contractors since the compliance order was put in place on 20 September means everyone is able to return to using water straight from the tap for the weekend,” the mayor says in the statement.

“Our infrastructure team has installed new UV reactors at Two Mile water treatment plant and these are now fully operational. All of the live network reservoirs have been inspected and cleaned, and the local network has been flushed.

“Taumata Arowai has confirmed our records and actions meet its expectations and provide the necessary confidence that the requirements of the compliance order have been met in full.

“I’d like to repeat my thanks to all residents, visitors and businesses in the affected areas for their patience and co-operation during what has been a trying time for all.

"I’d also like to extend my gratitude to the contractors involved in delivering this huge undertaking in an extremely compressed timeframe. The efforts of Apex, Fulton Hogan, Veolia, Pumptech, TEAM Projects, Iain Rabbits, Watershed and JTECH Solutions deserve special mention, but there are many more that helped to get us to this point."

The council says it will soon provide an update on its work to install UV treatment to remaining plants around the district, along with the permanent solution for Two Mile.

It has been designing systems for other plants at the same time as working on its fix for the Two Mile plant in order to achieve full compliance across the district as quickly as possible, it says.

In September, Taumata Arowai served a compliance order on the council for lakeside plant, which then did not have a required barrier to remove or deactivate protozoa like cryptosporidium and giardia.

Later, the regulator confirmed other water supplies throughout the district, and around the country, were also not up to standard.

The action came after a confirmed local outbreak of illness caused by cryptosporidium.

An investigation led by Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora concluded human faecal contamination near the Two Mile intake, in Lake Whakatipu, as the most likely source.

The interim fix at Two Mile to meet compliance comes with a $1.4 million price tag.

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