Last week, Clutha District Council (CDC) issued a water advisory for people on the North Bruce, South Richardson and Moa Flat rural water schemes including Waihola, Heriot and Kaka Point, after samples of drinking water in recent weeks found aluminium levels exceeding the new drinking water standard of 1mg/L.
A single high-level sample was found in Kaitangata but subsequent testing had not exceeded water standards.
In Waitahuna there was one instance of exceeded standards recently when the filter was bypassed for a few days.
Once the filter was restored, aluminium levels returned to accepted levels.
However, residents at Kaka Point (Richardson South), including David Parlane, said they understood their water contamination was because of a repair carried out on a mains pipe the previous weekend by council contractor Citycare.
Mr Parlane was angry that poor communication had resulted in damage to residential plumbing.
‘‘You wouldn’t drink water like that even if you did boil it, so we’re all using the tanker water.
‘‘If we’d been aware the repair could result in water like that going through our houses we could have taken steps against it.
‘‘Now a lot of us are having to replace multiple filters at our own expense and worrying about the sludge in our hot-water systems, dishwashers and everything.’’
CDC group manager service delivery Jules Witt said the last repair to water infrastructure in Kaka Point was for a leak and not connected with testing for aluminium.
He said the leak was an issue with valves and was fixed on March 6.
‘‘We’ve only had one service request about dirty water from Kaka Pt since the repair and the location of that caller was from a part of town not linked to the repair,’’ Mr Witt said.
‘‘It seems to have effected only a small area and is not a widespread issue but we are always here for people to contact us about issues with their water.’’
Council said the cause of aluminium contamination affecting the three rural schemes was yet to be determined.
‘‘Work is under way to identify and resolve this issue, and testing is being undertaken daily,’’ it said.
‘‘The first lab samples showing exceedances were received by council on February 1 and water regulator Taumata Arowai was informed at this time.
‘‘Council staff have been engaging with Te Whatu Ora and Taumata Arowai to ensure we have expert advice and take the right actions to address this issue as quickly as possible.’’
The council had engaged the national water regulator Taumata Arowai and Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand to ensure the right technical, public health and toxicology advice was received.
The health advice was the risk of consuming water from the affected supplies was negligible; no health effects would be expected at these levels of aluminium exposure, even if water was consumed over a period of weeks or months.
‘‘I know some people will be feeling anxious about this and that’s understandable — I apologise for any concern this may cause,’’ Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said.
‘‘We’ve been told that with the acute levels of aluminium exposure for the period of time we’re talking about, there is negligible risk to people’s health.
More information can be found at cluthadc.govt.nz/water-advisory.