Re­view trig­gered fol­low­ing e-coli wa­ter tests

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Wa­ter test­ing pro­ce­dures at Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Coun­cil have been re­viewed fol­low­ing reg­u­lar test­ing at the coun­cil’s treat­ment plants showed the pres­ence of E.coli (Escherichia Coli) bac­te­ria in a small num­ber of sam­ples.

There was no pat­tern to these oc­cur­rences and at the time they were im­me­di­ately fol­lowed up with three days of fur­ther sam­pling, as re­quired un­der New Zea- land Drink­ing Wa­ter standards, to ver­ify whether the re­sults were ac­cu­rate.

On each oc­ca­sion the fol­low up tests came back clear.

How­ever, con­cerns at the sources of the E.coli led to the coun­cil com­mis­sion­ing an in­de­pen­dent au­dit of the test­ing pro­ce­dure.

The auditor’s re­port con­cluded that the cause of the E.coli re­sults in the sam­ples was likely to be ac­ci­den­tal con­tam­i­na­tion due to a range of po­ten­tial er­rors in the sam­pling process and trans­porta­tion of the sam­ples to the Welling­ton lab­o­ra­tory.

‘‘At no point was the wa­ter sup­ply com­pro­mised,’’ said Eion Scott, coun­cil spokesper­son.

‘‘Chlo­ri­nat­ing the wa­ter sup­plies greatly re­duces the risk from E.coli con­tam­i­na­tion. Get­ting this au­dit pro­vides con­fi­dence that at no stage was pub­lic health at risk.

‘‘Var­i­ous rec­om­men­da­tions have been made as to how the in­de­pen­dent lab­o­ra­tory sam­pling can be im­proved.

‘‘We will ad­vise the lab­o­ra­tory of these find­ings and we will fol­low through on all the rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing up­dat­ing our sam­pling taps,’’ Scott said.

The other rec­om­men­da­tions in­cluded how coun­cil could im­prove a writ­ten au­dit trail and re­duce any risk when retic­u­la­tions re­pairs were be­ing un­der­taken.

The pre­lim­i­nary find­ings were re­ported to coun­cil’s au­dit and risk com­mit­tee in Fe­bru­ary.

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