Fluoride Action Network

Mosgiel to switch to city water supply

Source: Otago Daily Times | December 5th, 2017 | By Tim Miller
Location: New Zealand

The changeover means Mosgiel residents will receive treated water from the Mount Grand treatment plant. This water, which is chlorinated and contains fluoride, is used throughout the city.

Fears over the potential contamination of Mosgiel’s drinking water means the Dunedin City Council will switch the township to the city’s supply, to minimise potential health risks.

Dunedin City Council chief executive Sue Bidrose said the council understood it would be a change for Mosgiel residents, but the council had to prioritise the health of residents before anything else.

“Mosgiel’s bore water meets the national drinking standards, but we want to give the community the safest water possible and that means moving to treated water.”

The council is responsible for delivering clean, safe drinking water to our communities and visitors.

While most of the city’s water is chlorinated, a large area of Mosgiel still receives untreated water drawn from underground bores.

International drinking water expert Dr Colin Fricker has assessed the city’s drinking water supply to help the council understand any risks in the system.

His advice is that the chance of contamination is higher than was previously understood and will increase.

Dr Fricker briefed the council late last month and recommended all Dunedin’s water supplies be treated and chlorinated to prevent bacterial contamination.

Dr Bidrose said there is a robust monitoring and maintenance programme for Mosgiel’s bore water system but based on the latest information, the risks associated with untreated water could not be ruled out.

“We are fast-tracking the changeover to treated water because we want to be as sure as we can that we are supplying safe water,” she said.

Mayor Dave Cull said the decision to switch the water supply is an operational decision, because it is the chief executive’s responsibility to manage the safety of the water supply.

“However, I am confident the decision is the right one. councillors have been well briefed on the situation and we agree making this change is the right thing to do.”

The changeover will happen on Monday, December 11.

Operationally, it is straightforward and centres on turning off the bores and opening valves so city water can enter the Mosgiel reservoir and network.

A flyer drop to Mosgiel residents and businesses will be carried out today and tomorrow.

Council group manager Tom Dyer said the change will affect most of Mosgiel – about 10,000 residents – who currently use water drawn from a deep aquifer, via the bores.

The changeover means those residents will receive treated water from the Mount Grand treatment plant. This water, which is chlorinated and contains fluoride, is used throughout the city.

Mr Dyer said some people may notice a chlorine taste or smell initially, but it should reduce as chlorine levels settle through the network.

Following the Havelock North water supply contamination in August 2016, a second national report on drinking water standards is due to be released shortly.

Dr Fricker was involved in the enquiry as an independent expert.

Dr Bidrose said the report will highlight the risks associated with untreated water.

The council anticipates the report will change national thinking and standards for drinking water and is likely to recommend chlorination of urban drinking water.

*Original article online at https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/dcc/mosgiel-switch-city-water-supply