23 Dec 2019

Council hopes Christchurch E coli alert can be lifted before Christmas

6:29 pm on 23 December 2019

It is hoped a boil water notice for 14,000 Christchurch households will be lifted by Christmas.


Christchurch City Council have promised an update tomorrow but for now the boil water notice remains in place. Photo: 123RF

The notice was issued by the Christchurch City Council on Saturday morning after a single sample from the Keyes pump station showed the presence of the E coli bacteria.

Properties in New Brighton, parts of Shirley, Bexley, Burwood, Avondale and Aranui have been impacted. Some people received a civil defence alert by text on Saturday.

Medical Officer of Health Alistair Humphrey said luckily there had been no reports of E coli-related diseases so far.

He said the council must get to the bottom of how the contamination occurred.

"The well needs to test negative for any further signs of E-coli for three days in a row," he said.

Tests over the past two days had shown no signs of the bacteria, he said.

The council's head of three waters and waste Helen Beaumont said the testing took time but people could expect more information tomorrow, once results from the third day of tests were through.

"We've got an investigation ongoing looking at the environmental factors and the preceding rainfall ... also looking at the network itself," she said.

Coastal city councillor James Daniels said people were well informed with the text messages and Civil Defence and Red Cross volunteers handing out more than 4000 information flyers.

An Aranui resident who did not wish to be named said unsafe drinking water would not ruin Christmas, but it was an annoyance.

"You've got ot have special water for your teeth, special water for your dishes ... it is what it is ... it's better to be healthy than to be dead."

Christchurch City Council promised an update tomorrow. For now, the boil water notice remains in place until laboratory tests confirm the water is safe to drink.