Christchurch Boil Water Notice Lifted

( The boil water notice has been lifted across Christchurch this afternoon.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker has welcomed the news from Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink, that it is now safe for residents to drink the water from their taps.

“This is great news and it follows our announcement earlier today that water supply has been restored to almost all of the city after a busy weekend for our water and waste team.

“With the exception of some small areas at the top of Scarborough still without water supply, everyone in the city should have running water that is now safe to drink. The earthquakes that shook our city last week were a set-back for us, but there has been great progress in restoring our water services.”

Dr Pink this afternoon informed the Christchurch City Council that it was safe to lift the boil water notice for Christchurch’s reticulated water supply.

The boil water notice was put in place immediately after the 13 June aftershocks because of the risk of contamination resulting from damage to the water system. The Community and Public Health team at the Canterbury District Health Board has been working closely with Council staff since 13 June to extensively test the water supply and ensure it is safe to drink.

“The testing of the water supply across the city has meant that we are confident that Christchurch’s tap water is now safe to drink.”

Dr Pink commended the Council’s infrastructure team on its outstanding work making repairs to the water system, along with its decision to chlorinate large parts of the Christchurch water supply in February.

“The fact that the water was already chlorinated in many areas suffering new damage has expedited the lifting of the boil water notice,” says Dr Pink.

”With the size of last week’s earthquakes and the damage they cause to the system, I am confident we would not be ready to lift the notice if chlorine was not in the water.”

Dr Pink urges residents to note that the lifting of the boil water notice only applies to the reticulated water supply – or tap water.

“We advise people still sourcing water from tankers, emergency tanks or distribution points to continue to boil the water. Once the reticulated water supply is back on in areas currently without supply, it will be safe to drink without boiling.”

As tap water is returned to these areas the Council will remove the temporary water supplies.

Dr Pink also asks people to continue to boil water from private bores and wells.

“The reticulated water supply is maintained, monitored and regularly tested to ensure it is safe to drink. Private bores and wells do not undergo the same level of maintenance and it is impossible to tell without testing how these have been compromised by the earthquakes.”

“If people are determined to continue to use private wells to source their drinking water in order to avoid the taste of chlorine, they should continue to boil this water.”
Owners of private wells or bores are advised to organise on-going private testing to ensure the supply is safe to drink.

“Chlorination is a safe and effective way of managing water supply related health risks. The majority of supplies in New Zealand have chlorine in them on a permanent basis,” said Dr Pink.

“The Council plans to remove the chlorine from the Christchurch water supply as soon as it is safe and practical to do so. If people don’t like the taste of chlorine then they should fill a jug with water and store it in the fridge for 30 minutes before drinking. This will lessen the taste and odour.”

Media Release 20 June 2011 from Christchurch City Council.