Boil water notice reissued in Carterton after low-levels of E. coli found in supply

Boil water notice reissued in Carterton after low-levels of E. coli found in supply
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A boil water notice has been reissued in a small town in Wairarapa after a low-level E. coli sample reading was found.

Carterton first issued a boil water notice last week after a positive result for E. coli was discovered. This notice was lifted on Monday afternoon after three consecutive days of clear tests were returned.

But the Carterton District Council reissued a boil water notice on Wednesday afternoon after E. coli samples were found. This will remain in place until further notice.

It means Carterton urban residents must boil all water before being used for drinking, making baby formula, juice, ice, washing fruit and vegetables, other food preparation/cooking needs, or brushing teeth.

The council says the drinking water standard for New Zealand requires E. coli levels to be less than 1 MPN/100ml (Most Probable Number). The sample reading on Wednesday showed levels at 1 MPN/100ml. The risk to the community is "extremely low", it says, but the council says it's taking a "precautionary approach".

The council adds it has consulted with Regional Public Health and external senior water engineers to do everything it can to identify the source and take action.

Dave Gittings, Carterton District Council's infrastructure, services, and regulatory manager, says remedial action has been taken since the first elevated E. coli reading last Friday.

"We're not getting elevated E. coli readings out of the bores or the Kaipatangata supply and we have had clear samples every day since last Friday," he says.

"We're doing everything we can to identify the source, and we will hold the boil water notice in place until we're confident we've done this and eliminated the low-level E. coli bacteria."

The council says it hasn't received any official reports of illness so far.

"Boiling water before use is the best way to make water safe. The risk of getting sick from drinking the water is low but possible, especially for vulnerable people," the council says.

"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)."

How to boil water for drinking:

  • 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.