Asbestos discovered in Temuka water supply

Residents of the south Canterbury town of Temuka say they were horrified to learn asbestos has been discovered in the town's water supply.

The Ministry of Health and the local council are assuring people the discovery poses no risk to their health, but many are still worried.

Many residents are opting to get water from a tanker brought in from out of town.

"We've got a cancer gene in our family, so I'm very hesitant to drink the water just in case," said resident Elizabeth Noakes.

The Timaru District Council made the discovery at 4pm on Wednesday following tests on the water after residents found clumps of fibre building up in their taps and water filters.

"I can totally understand when people hear the word asbestos it does send a pretty serious signal something's not right, but I do reiterate there's no health risk to you," said Timaru Mayor Damon Odey.

The council believes it's narrowed the source of the asbestos down to a 7km concrete pipe that runs from the water treatment plant to the town.

Specialist equipment is being brought in to find where the degradation is along the pipe.

While residents have been assured that the water is safe to drink, Robin Brokenshire won't take the risk.

"There's no way I'm drinking that even if they though they say it's safe to drink," he said.

"It is important that people don't breath in those fibres once they have dried out so the council has provided advice about dealing with that," Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Daniel Williams said.

"Essentially, make sure that you keep it damp, double-bag it in plastic and take it to the council transfer station."

It could be several more days of bottled water from a tanker for some concerned Temuka residents.