5 Oct 2018

Christchurch suburb's water may be affected by diesel leak

8:05 am on 5 October 2018

Christchurch residents from Addington are angry about not being told about a diesel leak that might have contaminated the suburb's water supply.

Water tap running.

Water tap running. Photo: 123RF

A leak was found in a line to a diesel tank at the council-owned Horncastle Arena in July, and test results show it may have been leaking for years.

Vbase is conducting wider ground testing to determine whether diesel had spread to neighbouring properties.

Peeto, the multi-cultural learning centre was not far from Vbase on Twigger Street.

Operations manager Mia Lim had 150 students and staff to think about when she turned up to work each day.

"I don't want to drink. I'm making coffee now. Is that contaminated or not?"

Ms Lim said the council came and tested their water on Tuesday.

"[The council] just wanted to check that [our water wasn't infected] ... we have around 150 staff and students all together drinking that water. It's not really good news."

Moule Street resident John Potter became aware of the leak after a letter was left in his mailbox.

He said he knew something was up when he saw big trucks roll down the street.

"I thought it was sewage actually, but it wasn't.

"I'm still drinking the water. I put it in an open bowl for a couple of days to get rid of the chlorine, but that won't get rid of the diesel."

Vbase general manager of operations Chris Mintern said testing was being carried out for diesel in the local drinking supply.

He said their major concern was the welfare of the immediate neighbours.

Mr Mintern said some people were not alerted because they were not in the affected areas.

"As soon as we found out the leak could have extended into that space, we did some door-knocking of the area."

Mr Mintern said they had carried out ground tests, which had given them an early indication of how far the diesel may have travelled.

They were waiting to hear back about when work would resume.

"It looks as though we're going to be doing some more extraction from the wells that we've created - probably mid to late next week."

Mr Mintern said the council carried out water testing in Lindores, Twigger and Moule streets where they knocked on doors and dropped off letters.

He said they had spoken with the Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alastair Humphrey, who believed it was unlikely the testing would show any diesel in drinking water.

Mr Mintern said if any was detected, it was likely to be at low levels that it would not cause any health problems.