Dunedin metropolis councillor presents apology for lead in water of Otago cities

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A Dunedin Metropolis councillor has provided an apology to the residents of three east Otago settlements who found regarding ranges of lead have been detected of their water provide for the previous six months.

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A tanker offering clear consuming water for east Otago residents.
Picture: RNZ / Dom Thomas

A don’t drink discover was put in place on 2 February for Waikouaiti, Karitane and Hawksbury Village after six assessments prior to now six months confirmed regarding ranges of lead.

The very best stage detected was virtually 40 occasions the appropriate restrict.

The settlements are simply north of Dunedin, however fall inside Dunedin Metropolis Council’s limits.

Lots of of residents have sought blood assessments since Public Well being South provided the service final week.

The lead scare was a subject of dialogue at this afternoon’s Dunedin Metropolis Council infrastructure companies committee assembly.

Councillor Andrew Whiley provided an apology to residents on the assembly.

“It is the folks of Waikouaiti, Karitane and Hawksbury Village who’ve been affected by this,” Whiley stated.

“Personally I am sorry they went by way of this. The gutting emotion of that assembly [in Waikouaiti on 5 February] and what these residents went by way of was actually heartbreaking.

“I feel the phrase sorry hasn’t been used sufficient – I have not heard it used as soon as at this time – and that, to me, is crucial half; to say we’re sorry this group went by way of this.

“We do not have all of the solutions for you but, we do not perceive all the problems but, however we try to resolve this as fast as we are able to and we would like no a part of our metropolis – irrespective of which nook it’s – to undergo this.”

Free fruit at the lead blood testing centre for Karitane and Waikouaiti residents.

Free fruit and greens have been provided for residents in affected areas.
Picture: RNZ / Dom Thomas

The committee’s chairperson, Jim O’Malley, referred to as for calm and stated there was a lot that was nonetheless unknown in regards to the supply and extent of the lead contamination.

The don’t drink discover was introduced in beneath an abundance of warning, and the opportunity of false positives resulting in the spikes in lead detection within the water provide had not been dominated out, he stated.

“This has been a particularly worrying interval for the individuals who have been consuming that water,” O’Malley stated.

“However a balanced view is critical right here. It’s nonetheless not clear what has occurred and that’s the reason the no drink order was put in place – it is a precautionary order as a result of we do not know what has occurred.

“To some extent a reasonably polarised view has been introduced the place the worst numbers have made headlines, the phrase poisoning has made it into the headlines and to counter that it’s important to come again with different data which can steadiness that and it could appear to be whenever you’re making an attempt to create the balanced story you are making an attempt to minimise. There is no manner this council is making an attempt to minimise what’s going on right here. There is no such thing as a manner we’re minimising our responsibility of care to the group.

“We do need to be cautious. We do not have all the knowledge in but and that is why, for instance, I introduced up the thought of false positives. I am not saying they’re, however they haven’t but been eradicated.”

Filmed at the East Otago Events Centre in Waikouaiti

East Otago residents queue for blood assessments throughout the lead contamination scare.
Picture: RNZ / Dom Thomas

It will take one other two or three weeks earlier than there was a clearer image of what had occurred, O’Malley stated.

It was not but clear when forged iron pipes suspected of contributing to the lead contamination of the water provide in Waikouaiti would get replaced.

The council’s three waters supervisor, Tom Dyer, advised councillors work to interchange about 5km of outdated pipe in Waikouaiti would start very quickly however there was no timeframe for finishing it.

Work to interchange related piping in Karitane had already begun final 12 months earlier than lead contamination was recognized as an issue.

The forged iron pipes used lead joins and it was suspected these outdated pipes have been contributing to the issue, although the supply of contamination had not been confirmed, Dyer stated.

In response to questioning from councillors, he stated the investigation of the contamination was nonetheless ongoing.

“We labored fairly onerous to plan out an intensive investigation. Some bodily steps we have been in a position to take actually rapidly and others will take a little bit of time. However I have been actually happy with how that is enjoying out and the thoroughness of outcomes we must always be capable to pull collectively by early subsequent week.”

The council’s chief government, Sandy Graham, stated it was doable some spikes in lead ranges, such because the 20 January end result displaying lead at 5 occasions the appropriate stage on the Waikouaiti water remedy plant, may by no means be accounted for.

“The one-off studying within the reservoir it is doubtless we’d battle to ever know what the reason for that was,” she stated.

The Dunedin Metropolis Council was not particularly testing for lead on the time it found the issue however was measuring the corrosivity of the availability’s water and utilizing metals as a proxy.

Upon receiving the 31 July check ends in mid-August, the council alerted Public Well being South and its unbiased consuming water assessor, and determined upon ongoing testing as the suitable plan of action with out informing the general public or elected representatives.

The council says throughout the subsequent 14 weeks, lead examined effectively under the appropriate limits, apart from one end result on the Waikouaiti Golf Membership on 9 October 2020.

A regarding end result displaying virtually 40 occasions the appropriate stage on eight December was emailed to a council workers member on 18 December, however they weren’t opened till the brand new 12 months because the workers member was on go away on the time and didn’t verify their emails.

Graham was not alerted to the issue till 1 February.

Councillors, together with Mayor Aaron Hawkins, weren’t knowledgeable till 2 February – hours earlier than the council went public.

Graham stated the dealing with of the matter was topic to a overview and he or she awaited its findings.



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