Published: 27 Oct 2022
Geraldine’s drinking water will be treated with a small amount of Chlorine from around mid-November following changes to drinking water supply regulations.
Under the Water Services Act 2021 Timaru District Council is required to provide a residual disinfection in the water to ensure the safety of treated drinking water as it travels through our pipe network.
The supply is currently treated with UV light, which ensures the water is safe at the treatment plant, but offers no downstream protection past that point, meaning that the water is at risk of contamination through issues such as pipe breakages, repairs or water flowing back into the system from domestic connections.
Drainage and Water Manager Grant Hall said that while the council had agreed to retain a non-chlorinated supply for Geraldine until such time as chlorination becomes mandatory, it was now the only feasible option to meet the legal requirements.
“Chlorination is the standard treatment method used for persistent residual disinfection treatment on all our drinking water supplies,” he said.
“It has been used safely around the world for about 120 years to keep millions of people safe from waterborne illness arising from undetected contamination.
“There are no alternative methods of treatment that are as effective and proven as Chlorine.
“The amount of Chlorine used to treat water is relatively small and by the time it reaches your tap it’s about half a milligram per litre, this is about 10% of the Maximum Acceptable Value under the drinking water standards.”
As part of the preparation for the change council had investigated applying for a residual disinfection exemption for Geraldine, but our investigations showed we would be unable to meet the burden of proof expected by Taumata Arowai (the drinking water regulator).
“The council resolved in 2018 not to undertake Chlorination in Geraldine until such times as it became mandatory,” said Hall.
“However, we are legally obliged to meet the Taumata Arowai requirements, and there are significant consequences for council if we did not, including fines and imprisonment.”
All households on the Geraldine water network have been written to notifying them of the change. If people have any further questions, the council is also holding two drop in sessions at Geraldine Library where residents can drop in at any time and speak to staff. They are:
* Monday 31 October: 8.30am – 12pm
* Thursday 3 November: 1pm – 6pm
Further information is also available on the Timaru District Council website at Timaru.govt.nz/Geraldine-chlorine
Last updated: 27 Oct 2022