Media Release - 08/04/11
The boil water notice that has been in place across Christchurch since the February 22 earthquake has today (April 8) been lifted by the National Controller of Civil Defence John Hamilton.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey has advised Mr Hamilton that the Canterbury District Health Board is satisfied that Christchurch tap water is now safe to drink without boiling.
Dr Humphrey says clear results from extensive sampling of the reticulated water supply throughout wider Christchurch – including Lyttelton, Diamond Harbour, Governors Bay, Templeton, Halswell and Brooklands/Kainga – coupled with satisfactory chlorine levels in the central and eastern parts of the city mean the boil water notice can be lifted.
“We advise people to stop drinking water sourced from tankers and revert to their tap water. Our testing programme has not included private wells and bores, so we advise people accessing drinking water from these sources to organise on-going private testing,” Dr Humphrey says.
The Christchurch City Council is removing water tankers as the network is now delivering safe water throughout the city – with the exception of some areas still within the cordon (CBD Red Zone). Residents should contact the Council if their water supply is not working on 941 8999.
“Despite the lifting of the notice and the fact that people are back on reticulated water supply, people should still conserve water,” Dr Humphrey says.
“The Christchurch water supply and waste water infrastructure is still delicate and we need to avoid putting undue pressure on it.”
Additional steps for people returning to their homes or businesses
Residents returning to their properties for the first time since the boil water notice have been lifted, and new tenants or property owners, should turn on all the taps at their property and let them run for a minimum of five minutes. If after five minutes the water is still discoloured they should continue to run it until it is clear.
Business owners or managers returning to their premises should also run taps for five minutes. Business owners are also advised to organise a registered plumber to check their water systems prior to switching water on at the street. Leaks in the water pipework on their site or in their building could cause further damage to the property.
Chlorination of Christchurch water supply
The Council has installed chlorination treatment units at 27 pump stations throughout the central and eastern parts of the city. Chlorination will help ensure that the water remains safe while the water supply infrastructure remains vulnerable and susceptible to new damage.
It is expected that the water supply will continue to be chlorinated for between three and six months while permanent infrastructure repairs take place.
The Council will continue a programme of increased sampling to ensure that water remains safe to drink.
“Chlorination is a safe and effective way of managing water supply related health risks. The majority of supplies in New Zealand have chlorine in them on a permanent basis,” Dr Humphrey says.
“We plan to remove the chlorine from the Christchurch water supply as soon as it is safe and practical to do so. If people don’t like the taste of chlorine then they should fill a jug with water and store it in the fridge for 30 minutes before drinking. This will lessen the taste/odour.”