Kaeo water undrinkable for two years
For two years Kaeo residents on the town’s water supply have been told to boil the water, otherwise it is unsafe to drink.
With a lack of treatment barriers and a detection of E.coli bacteria in the water supply, the Medical Officer of Health for Northland issued a boil-water notice in July 2015.
The notice which recommended boiling water for at least two minutes has remained in place ever since.
A number of residents in the town - with a population of around 500 - have installed tanks to catch rainwater, but Anna Valentine who owns a house on Kaeo’s main street, says she cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars on a tank when the town supply should be safe to drink.
In 2000, the Far North District Council gave the town’s water supply to a private company.
It is now in the care of local trust Wai Care. Spokesman Bryce Smith would not comment for this story.
Since Valentine moved to the area in 2015, water running from the tap has been brown in colour and smelled badly at different times and items have been stained in the washing machine.
‘‘If the people that run the water company can’t afford to keep it running to a clean drinkable standard they shouldn’t be running it at all,’’ Valentine says.
‘‘The powers that be to shut it down have neglected this community and quite frankly this is a disgusting lack of care for the people of Kaeo.’’
Over the winter, Valentine has collected rainwater in buckets, and runs the town supplied water through a number of filters in an effort to make it safer to drink.
FNDC community board representative and Kaeo resident Bruce Mills says he has been fielding complaints about the quality of the water for many years.
Complaints focus on the inconsistent quality, broken pipes and inconsistent supply, he says.
‘‘We can’t have tourists filling their water bottles with brown water. It is not our’s (the council’s supply) although council is very sympathetic.’’
Far North mayor John Carter says he has tried to assist Wai Care by looking at ways to improve the supply.
‘‘It’s a private business, it’s nothing to do with me or council.
‘‘They have to come to us, I’ve said I’m here to help them.’’
Anna Valentine says the water from Kaeo’s town supply should be drinkable.
Community board member Bruce Mills at the site where water is pumped for Kaeo.