14 Oct 2013

Raetihi toilets flushing, but water not safe to drink

9:17 pm on 14 October 2013

Raetihi residents can now flush their toilets after the completion of initial work to restore the central North Island town's water supply.

The supply was contaminated a fortnight ago by thousands of litres of diesel leaking from a tank at the base of the Turoa ski field in the Tongariro National Park.

Over the weekend, the council and its contractor, Veolia Water, cleaned and refilled the Raetihi reservoir, ahead of work on Monday to repressurise the water mains and begin a flushing programme to clear the water.

The council's chief executive and Civil Defence controller, Peter Till, says homes in Raetihi now have water and can flush their toilets.

However, he says the water can't be used for anything else until the council completes the next phase of flushing to clear residential plumbing, and the Medical Officer of Health considers the water is safe.

Mr Till says people should not use wetbacks, as these involve their hot water cylinders which may have diesel in them.