QLDC water fix: 'We have delivered on what we said we would do'

by Kim Bowden - Dec 07, 2023

UV equipment to protect Queenstown's drinking water from microscopic parasites like cryptosporidium is installed and operational at the problematic Two Mile water treatment plant.

But a months-long boil water notice for thousands of households and businesses remains until water regulator Taumata Arowai confirms the fix makes the plant compliant with national standards.

A spokesperson for the Queenstown Lakes District Council confirmed the news in a written statement to Crux last night.

The spokesperson says a comprehensive programme of "flushing and cleaning" pipes has also been undertaken.

"We have delivered on what we said we would do."

In November, council infrastructure boss Tony Avery indicated the council was on track to install the vital UV treatment equipment by Friday, December 8 - tomorrow - with the lifting of the boil water directive expected not long after.

In last night's statement, the spokesperson says staff are now compiling data and evidence to provide to Taumata Arowai.

"Ultimately it is for Taumata Arowai to confirm we have fully completed with the compliance notice - at that stage QLDC can lift the boil water notice."

A more formal statement will be issued publicly once that compliance is confirmed, the spokesperson says.

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

The action was in response to a confirmed 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 long-running alert at the top of the homepage of the QLDC's website regarding the boil water notice is gone this morning.

Crux had been asking for an update since Monday, but the council had until now remained silent on any progress.

The UV equipment installed at Two Mile was sourced from the Waimakariri District Council, with the QLDC saying it will spend $1.4 million to acquire and install it.

The council plans to upgrade the kit as soon as May next year, and reuse it elsewhere in the district.

In the meantime, it is fingers crossed the interim solution satisfies Taumata Arowai.

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