Doc­tor de­nies wa­ter de­lay blame

Hawke's Bay Today - - Local News - An­drew Ash­ton Dr Nick Jones

Con­fu­sion reigns on the rea­son be­hind new de­lays in es­tab­lish­ing drink­ing wa­ter con­nec­tions to prop­er­ties at Blue Bay in Mahia Penin­sula.

Res­i­dents had hoped such a con­nec­tion would be es­tab­lished at the sub­di­vi­sion by Christ­mas but were re­cently told it had been de­layed.

Hawke’s Bay Dis­trict Health Board’s med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health, Dr Nick Jones, said me­dia re­ports, based on a Wairoa Dis­trict Coun­cil (WDC) state­ment, were in­cor­rect in say­ing he had in­ter­vened and caused de­lays in a Blue Bay wa­ter up­grade by be­com­ing an of­fi­cially af­fected party.

Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil (HBRC) is re­spon­si­ble for is­su­ing con­sents, and for de­ci­sions on who may be af­fected par­ties. It has con­firmed Jones was not reg­is­tered as an af­fected party in the con­sent process.

Jones said HBRC, the Drink­ing Wa­ter Asses­sor and him­self, as Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health, had told the Wairoa coun­cil an al­ter­na­tive source was rec­om­mended for the Blue Bay wa­ter up­grade be­cause its pre­ferred bore was in­side an area in­flu­enced by the treated waste­water plume. He said clar­ity was also re­quired re­gard­ing the Drink­ing Wa­ter Asses­sor’s ap­proval of a wa­ter safety plan for the up­grade.

“Ap­proval was granted be­cause the pro­posed sup­ply would have tech­ni­cally com­plied un­der sec­tion 10 of the drink­ing wa­ter stan­dards, but the asses­sor clearly stated us­ing the af­fected bore was not rec­om­mended and an al­ter­na­tive source should be found.”

An al­ter­na­tive would have been to move the lo­ca­tion of the waste­water dis­charge away from the drink­ing wa­ter.

HBRC con­sents man­ager Mal­colm Miller said the re­gional coun­cil re­ceived an ap­pli­ca­tion from the Wairoa coun­cil for the Blue Bay/Opoutama com­mu­nity wa­ter sup­ply take.

“In dis­cus­sion with the Wairoa Dis­trict Coun­cil and know­ing there was an al­ter­na­tive, WDC was en­cour­aged to look at the al­ter­na­tive as the orig­i­nal bore is in­side an area in­flu­enced by the treated waste­water plume. The re­gional coun­cil was mind­ful of the mul­ti­ple bar­rier ap­proach, which em­pha­sis avoid­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal risks, fol­lowed by treat­ment.

“There was a prefer­able al­ter­na­tive and WDC ap­plied for con­sent for the sec­ond bore, which is what the re­gional coun­cil con­sented and the orig­i­nal con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion is on hold.

“The re­gional coun­cil has been in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the WDC’s con­sul­tant and also re­ceived ad­vice from the re­gional coun­cil’s ground­wa­ter ex­perts who ad­vise tak­ing wa­ter from the orig­i­nal bore is not good prac­tice and not to be ad­vised.”

Wairoa Dis­trict Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Steven May said the is­sues around the Blue Bay wa­ter sup­ply were be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, and all ac­tions taken by the coun­cil to date were based on in­for­ma­tion re­ceived.

“Our un­der­stand­ing was that Dr Jones had ad­vised our coun­cil, Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil and oth­ers that they con­sid­ered them­selves an af­fected party in terms of the con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion,” said May.

“Our pri­or­ity is to con­sult with the Blue Bay res­i­dents and con­sider the op­tions avail­able to en­sure a safe wa­ter sup­ply that is fu­ture-proofed.”

PHOTO / FILE

Res­i­dents had hoped a con­nec­tion would be es­tab­lished by Christ­mas.

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