Lessons to be taken from water saga
Methven residents frustrated by a delay in the Ashburton District Council notifying them of a need to boil water from their potentially contaminated supply hope lessons will be learned from the incident.
The council has come under fire from both Methven residents and health officials after not sending out a boil water notice until the evening of June 30 in relation to a power outage at a Methven water plant the previous night, meaning they were potentially exposed to inadequately treated water for almost 24 hours.
Methven House manager Elisabeth Heybrook said she was notified of the boil water notice by a staff member and was frustrated because rest homes were vulnerable when it came to bugs. She felt notice should have been given earlier.
‘‘It’s not good and I’m in the process of informing the council that I wasn’t very impressed,’’ she said.
Methven Preschool co-manager Trish Powell was alerted via Facebook.
‘‘It would have been nice to have a call to say ‘we are having this issue with our water’. The main thing is that people would have liked to have been notified earlier, even just as a precaution, because we could have then taken steps,’’ Powell said.
Ashburton District Council assets manager Andrew Guthrie said advice from Community and Public Health (CPH) was to issue a precautionary boil water notice if the water could not be proven clean and safe to drink, so testing was undertaken on the water supply to determine its quality.
‘‘All of this was done in consultation with the DWA (drinking water assessor), and, as there was no indication of contamination, there was no need for actions such as tankers or emergency treatment equipment because the plant was fully operational.’’
Residents who developed gastro symptoms were advised by health official to see their GP, but no cases had presented.
‘‘This incident has presented council with the opportunity to address some key issues that have arisen as a result, including investigating why the equipment failure did not generate an alarm to our contractor, as well as improving our notification systems in the future.’’