Trucked water welcome but costing QLDC $52,500

by Kim Bowden and Lauren Pattemore - Sep 25, 2023

Water tankers are now in place within Queenstown's boil water zone - two in the CBD and two at Frankton - with the bill for two weeks' monitoring and refilling reaching more than $52,500.

Two large tankers are parking up at the Athol Street carpark, while another two are outside the Queenstown Events Centre.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council says the need for them will be reviewed over time.

The tankers are being maintained and refilled by SJ Allen.

In additional to paying this contractor, the council says there are also other smaller charges for security and lighting associated with the tanker provision at the Athol Street site.

Queenstown Businesses Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sharon Fifield told Crux last week businesses in town are impacted by the council's boil water, which means tap water needs to be boiled for at least one minute to ensure it is safe for drinking or using in the preparation of food.

It is especially inconvenient for hospitality businesses, with the school holidays upon them.

"If this is going to go on for weeks or even longer I think it is absolutely vital that council sets up an alternative source of water," Ms Fifield said.

There are no rules for how much water an individual or business can take, but the council asks people to "be mindful of others".

Anyone wanting to fill up from the tankers needs to bring their own vessel.

The council is also offering a water bottle refill station at Earnslaw Park, aimed mainly at anyone visiting or working in the CBD who needs a water bottle refill.

Tomorrow it is also hosting a drop-in session for food operators and members of the wider community to ask questions relating to the boil water notice currently in place. It will run between 9.30am and 11am at Queenstown Memorial Centre’s supper room.

Meanwhile the hunt for the source of the town's cryptosporidium outbreak continues, as the southern health authority reports 31 confirmed cases of the illness today.

There are an additional seven "probable" cases and eight "under investigation".

In a statement provided earlier today, Te Whatu Ora Southern's medical officer of health Dr Susan Jack says a source of infection has yet to be identified.

"We are working closely with Queenstown Lakes District Council, Taumata Arowai and the Ministry of Primary Industries to ensure all possibilities are being considered."

The QLDC continues to test raw water from Lake Whakatipu for the parasite.

The QLDC is continuing to test raw water from Lake Whakatipu as well as treated water from its reservoir for signs of cryptosporidium and latest results remain negative.

In a statement this afternoon the council says, "Whilst this is encouraging, it does not rule out the water system as a source".

"The primary limitation of the test is that it only provides information around the presence of crypto in that sample of water.

"Further, the testing does not tell us anything about the past, or the future.

"As part of a revised sampling plan, we are working to introduce 24-hour sampling of the source water.

"This will increase the sample tested and provide a more comprehensive picture of the presence, or otherwise, of protozoa in the source water."

At a media stand up on Thursday Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Glyn Lewers said he expected a plan to be in place by the end of this week detailing how the council would comply with national water regulator Taumata Arowai's compliance notice.

The council's Two Mile water treatment plant does not meet new rules introduced last year and needs to be brought up to scratch before the boil water notice can be lifted.

The council says it "is working towards" the mayor's deadline.

On Thursday the council also announced the closure of the adult spa at its Frankton swimming pool complex and is advising families to consider keeping under eight year olds out of the water.

Areas where people should boil water

  • Queenstown town centre (north along Gorge Road as far as and including Industrial Place)
  • Queenstown Hill
  • Frankton Road and suburbs on the hill above Frankton Road
  • Fernhill and Sunshine Bay
  • Frankton including Five Mile, Remarkables Park and Glenda Drive
  • Quail Rise and Tucker Beach Road
  • Kelvin Heights
  • Hanley’s Farm

Unaffected areas (no need to boil water)

  • Arrowtown
  • Arthurs Point
  • Lake Hayes Estate
  • Shotover Country
  • Upper Clutha
  • Any properties on a private supply - such as Jack's Point

Main image: Workers from Tank and Fat Badgers fill buckets of safe drinking water from a tanker at the carpark in Athol Street this morning (Monday, September 25).

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