MEDIA RELEASE: New Council approves additional funding to provide safe drinking water

20 November 2019

The new South Wairarapa District Council today unanimously agreed to additional investment for urgent work to provide multi-barrier protection for all town water supplies.

This decision was taken following a full review of the District’s water supply operations and infrastructure, undertaken by Wellington Water, and last year’s compliance assessment against the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand (DWSNZ).

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen says the District needed to take lessons from the water issues in Martinborough, and take positive steps forward with a new Council and the expertise of Wellington Water.

“A multi-barrier approach is essential for ensuring safe drinking water for our communities, and this work is critical to ensuring we are doing our best to protect people’s health. Our communities, and Council, need this level of reassurance.

“Martinborough has the added protection from chlorination now. This review has highlighted the need for improvements in our other water treatment plants,” says Mr Beijen.

Wellington Water concluded that urgent works are needed at Greytown’s Memorial Park treatment plant to reduce the risk of contamination in the event that chlorination fails. Recommended upgrades include improvements to the treatment equipment and adding a UV system to provide an extra barrier against contamination. At the smaller Pirinoa plant, an off-the-shelf UV system and a more accurate mechanism for chlorine dosing is required.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen says it’s important to address the risks that have been identified as quickly as possible.

“I am grateful to Wellington Water for the speed at which they have delivered their recommendations since they took over operations on 1 October.

“I’m pleased that the Council was united in its decision today in approving the funding so that the urgent work can be completed as soon as possible,” says Mr Beijen.

The initial $500,000 approved today will come from Council Infrastructure Reserves and pay for interim improvements at the Memorial Park treatment plant and all the upgrades at Pirinoa. In addition, the funding allows for detailed design work for a permanent solution at Memorial Park.

Further funding potentially in the order of $2.3 to $5.1 million may be needed to implement permanent improvements to ensure fully compliant drinking water to South Wairarapa’s towns. The extent of this will be known once the detailed design work is completed and the full scope of the work required is confirmed.

ENDS

Media contact

Amy Wharram
027 252 2863

South Wairarapa District Council