UPDATE 5: All drinking water must be boiled in Martinborough until further notice

 11.42am, 4 February 2019

South Wairarapa District Council continues to advise that all drinking water in Martinborough must be boiled before being used for drinking, making up formula, juices and ice, washing fruits and vegetables, other cooking needs, or brushing teeth.

Emergency water bladders, with multiple tap stations, will stay in place until the town water supply is confirmed clear.

Following confirmation of a positive, low result for E. coli for the water sample taken near the reservoir, the Council is focusing its efforts on chlorine disinfection of the reservoir and, as a precaution, the area of the system adjacent to it.

Before this disinfection process takes place, Council is making every effort to contact the property owners connected to the supply in the area east of Todds Rd. Council contractors are issuing a notice door to door with instructions about the water being unavailable from 12-5pm while the flushing takes place.

Due to the minerals found in the water in Martinborough, property owners in the disinfection area can expect their water to run black/blue initially once the water is back on. They need to run the water until it is clear before using – this may take up to 10 minutes.

The boiled water notice is likely to remain in place for at least 3-4 days more as Council needs to undertake further work in the system and then get three clear results on three consecutive days.

This is what we know so far:

– Late afternoon on 30 Jan, routine testing carried out at various sites around the water system showed a positive result for low levels of E. coli at Martinborough School, all other samples were clear.

– Within half an hour, Regional Public Health was contacted to discuss the course of action.

– In consultation with Regional Public Health, the school was advised to use an alternative water source as a precaution.

– Further samples were taken from around the system and sent for testing, and follow-up results received on 10am 31 Jan showed all the results were clear. This was communicated to the school and in a Facebook response.

– Continued testing showed a second low, positive result at a different site that required further testing.

– In conjunction with Regional Public Health, we issued a Boiled Water Notice (3pm 1 Feb) while we await confirmation of the result over the weekend.

– The test results are expected on Mon 4 Feb.

– This boil water advisory is in effect until further notice, while we await the results of further tests.

– Health Services have been asked to report any unusual levels of illness to Regional Public Health. Currently reported levels of illness are not above that expected at this time of year.

– Results are in from tests of water samples taken from around the water system on Friday and Saturday morning.

– The samples taken in the town show no alerts for E. coli. Samples taken near the reservoir, again, show a low, positive result for the bacteria.

– In consultation with Regional Public Health, the Council has developed a plan to flush the area of the system East of Todds Rd.

– We will be making every effort to contact residents East of Todds Rd door-to-door about what that means for them.

The risk of getting sick from drinking the water is low but possible, especially for vulnerable people. Babies, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people who have weakened immune systems are more at risk of illness. If you get diarrhoea, vomiting and/or a fever, get advice from your doctor or contact Healthline (0800 611 116).

Next update: 5 pm Monday 4 February, or earlier if required.

How to boil water for drinking:

Boiling will kill all disease-causing organisms.

Bring water to a rolling boil (where bubbles appear in the centre and do not disappear when the water is stirred) for one minute or boil a full electric jug until it switches off
Cool water (do not use ice cubes to do this) and pour into clean container with a lid
Refrigerate until needed.

More FAQs.

Link to Information for Residents east of Todds Rd.


Media contact:

Amy Wharram, Communications Manager 027 252 2863

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