Queenstown water scare: QLDC issues boil notice

by Kim Bowden - Sep 18, 2023

Days after denying any connection between widely-reported bouts of gastro and the local water supply the Queenstown Lakes District Council has issued a boil water notice to Queenstown and Frankton residents and businesses.

In a statement to media this evening, QLDC property and infrastructure boss Tony Avery says the directive affects all properties serviced by the council’s Queenstown supply including Frankton, Quail Rise and Tucker Beach Road, Kelvin Heights and Hanley’s Farm.

Jack’s Point is a privately operated water supply and is not affected, nor is Shotover Country or Lake Hayes Estate.

National Public Health Service Southern has confirmed a number of local cases of illness caused by a microscopic parasite, cryptosporidium.

In its statement, the QLDC says there are currently eight confirmed cases originating in neighbourhoods serviced by town water.

"The source of these cases is not yet known and there is no confirmed link to the local water supply. However, on the basis of advice from NPHS Southern regarding the nature of symptoms related to cryptosporidium infection and the potential speed and ease of transmission, we are issuing this notice,” Mr Avery says.

Last week Crux asked the council if its water supply could be contaminated, after claims were made on social media it was the cause of an increase in tummy upsets, particularly in Fernhill.

As a result, the council had its contractor carry out additional testing to provide an all-clear.

However today the council admits the testing would not have identified the presence or absence of cryptosporidium.

"Whilst there has been no result to date that indicates the local water supply has been compromised, as the supply at this location does not currently have a protozoa barrier as part of the treatment process this cannot be conclusively ruled out," Mr Avery says in the statement.

“In general, the potential for cryptosporidium contamination is highly unlikely. But with these cases confirmed, and to minimise others’ potential exposure to cryptosporidiosis, all residents and businesses in these areas should boil their water until further notice.”

In the locations outlined above people are advised to boil all their drinking water for at least one minute, or use bottled water, for the following uses:

  • Drinking water – including cold beverages, ice-making and coffee machines
  • Food preparation – including washing uncooked foods such as salad, vegetables, and fruit
  • Preparing baby formula
  • Washing food utensils
  • Brushing teeth
  • Pets

The statement outlines that boiling water will kill any microorganisms that could be present.

“We will continue to engage with NPHS Southern and Taumata Arowai (the Drinking Water Regulator), and will issue further advice as and when the situation changes,” Mr Avery says.

“Anyone with related symptoms should seek medical advice.”

More information can be found on the Taumata Arowai website, while further details on cryptosporidiosis, including symptoms and treatment, can be found here

Read more: QLDC clears water supply as Fernhill gets slammed by gastro bug

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