Kaeo wa­ter un­drink­able for two years

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BAY­LEY MOOR

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.

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