Kerik­eri water sup­ply down to one stream

The Northland Age - - Local News -

The Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil is sup­ply­ing its Kerik­eri water treat­ment plant only from Puketo¯tara Stream while tests for al­gal bloom tox­ins con­tinue on its sec­ond source, Lake Wain­garo.

The lake, owned and op­er­ated as a reser­voir by the Kerik­eri Ir­ri­gation Com­pany, nor­mally sup­plies about 70 per cent of the raw water that goes to the treat­ment plant, the Puketo¯tara Stream pro­vid­ing the rest. The coun­cil stopped draw­ing from the lake last Mon­day, how­ever, when the com­pany re­ported the pres­ence of cyanobac­te­ria (com­monly known as blue-green al­gae).

FNDC gen­eral man­ager — in­fra­struc­ture and as­set man­age­ment Andy Finch said al­gal blooms of­ten de­vel­oped in rivers and lakes dur­ing warm weather, and could pro­duce cyan­otox­ins, which were harm­ful to hu­man and an­i­mal health. Nor­mal water treat­ment pro­cesses were not ef­fec­tive in neu­tral­is­ing the tox­ins.

“We have tested water at the Kerik­eri treat­ment plant for cyan­otox­ins, and have con­firmed it is safe to drink,” he said on Thurs­day.

“We will con­tinue to take water only from Puketo¯tara Stream for an­other week, and con­duct fur­ther tests on the lake water to be ab­so­lutely sure no tox­ins are present. Only then will we re­sume tak­ing from Lake Wain­garo.”

Reg­u­lar tests for cyan­otox­ins would con­tinue over sum­mer to en­sure the water was safe.

The Kerik­eri Ir­ri­gation Com­pany, which is con­tin­u­ing to sup­ply about 500 cus­tomers from the lake for ir­ri­gation pur­poses only, said it had no­ti­fied its cus­tomers of the al­gal bloom, and would keep them up­dated via its web­site. The par­tic­u­lar strain of al­gae de­tected was ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing toxin, but no toxin had been de­tected at that stage.

A coun­cil spokesman said Puketo¯tara Stream pro­vided enough water to meet Kerik­eri’s cur­rent con­sump­tion, but would not be able to do so over peak sum­mer de­mand. Re­stric­tions would be im­ple­mented if the lake re­mained un­us­able.

North­land Re­gional Coun­cil has warned users down­stream of the reser­voir to avoid us­ing the water for drink­ing by peo­ple or stock un­til cyanobac­te­ria lev­els fell to “ac­cept­able” lev­els.

Up­dates would be posted on the NRC web­site as soon as they be­came avail­able.

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