Martinborough business owners take water protection into own hands after E. coli contamination

Frustrated business owners in a Wairarapa town have taken water protection into their own hands after E. coli was detected in a town supply for the second time this year.

The latest contamination occurred just days after a damning report into Martinborough's water management.

Easter weekend in the town is usually the 'swan song' of a busy summer tourist period, but not this year.

Business owner Adam Newell puts that down to the E. coli once again detected in the town's water supply.

"There just don't seem to be the numbers coming through," said business owner Adam Newell.

"We're feeling the effects of it, that's for sure."

A damning report has recently discovered regular non-compliance when it comes to safe drinking water standards.

The report found that a malfunction in the town's Ultra Violet treatment plant was the probable cause of the first E. coli incident, but given the bacteria has been found again, the council is still looking for the source of contamination.

"There are obviously bugs getting into the water somehow," said South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier.

The water can't be chlorinated due to the presence of the mineral manganese. The council is working on ways to take the manganese out of the water so chlorination can be considered.

For now, people are drinking from water bladders. There are complaints about the taste but Napier says it is fine.

"The water is absolutely safe to drink."

But that's not good enough for Newell who has installed a UV filter in his restaurant Union Square. He says he'll keep using it even when the boil water notice is lifted.

"We just see it as a double barrier, I guess."

That barrier cost more than $3000 on top of the ice and water he's had to buy - it's another cost in this on-going water saga.

"It would go over $10,000 and that would be the same for a lot of businesses in town," said Newell.

He wants compensation which the mayor says will be discussed when the water supply is restored.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: