Recent changes to legislation are seeing changes to how we need to treat water from our bores in the future.
We need to treat all water to make sure it’s safe for everyone to drink. We clean the water through a variety of treatment processes, and one step we use is chlorination which disinfects the water and kills any bacteria remaining. This is a common treatment method used all around the world and the amount of chlorine needed is tiny - just 0.2 parts per million.
In November 2021, the new water regulator Taumata Arowai required there to be a longer period of time for the chlorination of water to occur before it is pumped into the network. This is called ‘contact time’.
Our Turitea dams and our bores at Ashhurst, Longburn and Bunnythorpe supply more than 60% of the city’s water and water from these sources already met the new standards due to our treatment process or recent upgrades at these sites. One of our bores at Papaioea Park also has UV reactor which does the same thing as chlorine, so the water from this bore also meets new standards.
Only three bores in the city don’t meet the new standards for how long the chlorine is in the water before it goes into the pipe network. They are at Roberts Line, and two separate bores at Papaioea Park (we have three underground bores at this site). We have switched these bores off from use while we work on options to ensure this water meets the new requirements. During our Long Term Plan process we will prepare programmes to ensure that work is done to ensure they meet the new requirements.
By switching these bores off, it means that all drinking water currently being provided in our city meets the new drinking water requirements.
It’s important to note that these changes to legislation are not only affecting Palmerston North, but most of New Zealand cities who are also now working on solutions to also make sure they’re also compliant with the new rules. Our city has invested in our water assets over time to ensure we have a resilient network. That work has meant that we can continue supplying our city with the same amount of safe drinking water they’ve always had.
Read more about our report to council about water compliance.
You can also watch the committee meeting discussion.