District escapes blanket use of chlorine – for now

Most of Selwyn has escaped having chlorine put into its drinking water.

The district council has back-tracked on its original plan to chlorinate the district’s water supplies.

The Canterbury District Health Board had endorsed that proposal.

However, parts of Malvern have not escaped the permanent chlorination.

Pipe breaks, backflow, illegal connections and reservoir failures in the supplies had led to the permanent chlorination of the Sheffield­-Waddington and Malvern Hills Hartleys Rd water supplies.

The district council confirmed it will proceed in its plans to chlorinate the supplies in July and August.

It has prompted backlash
from affected residents in the Long Term Plan 2018-2018 submissions.

Whitecliffs Township Committee chairwoman Jodie Thompson said the water supplies do not need to be chlorinated, it is the infrastructure which needs to be upgraded.

The CDHB supported the permanent chlorination of the two Malvern water supplies.

It said both supplies have extensive reticulation networks and on site storage and the district council must ensure the water is safe to drink.

But residents elsewhere in Selwyn are pleased the district council decided against its proposal for universal chlorination of all its water supplies.

The proposal was originally opposed by residents and organisations including the Leeston and Lincoln community committees.

Lincoln Community Committee secretary Pauline Hayes, Leeston Community Committee chairman Lloyd Clausen and Darfield Community Committee chairman Pat McKay said it was a good decision not to universally chlorinate.

But the CDHB backed the district council’s proposal for a universal chlorination saying it could be introduced in a phased approach with a risk assessment tool.

Last year Selwyn Times reported the New Zealand Water Industry Operators Group conference chose Darfield as having the best tasting water in the country.

“It’s the old story, if it is working right, don’t touch it,” Mr McKay said.

Prebbleton Community Association Committee chairman Peter Hunter said the district council has made the right decision for now.

“I am keen for it not to happen for as long as
practically possible . . . while there is no risk I don’t think it should be arbitrarily added,” he said.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think about the district council’s plans to permanently chlorinate Malvern water supplies? Email your views to georgia.oconnor@starmedia.kiwi