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New Raetihi water supply smashes Ministry of Health standards

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Raetihi community spent Sunday celebrating the completion of one of New Zealand’s newest, most sophisticated rural drinking water treatment plants.

Joined by Ruapehu District Council (Council) elected members, staff and contractors Veolia, an open day at the reservoir site provided the opportunity to learn more about the much-needed upgrade to the town’s supply.

Costing $2,538,093, including a $1,517,348 subsidy from Ministry of Health, Mayor Don Cameron said an increase in filtration combined with a number of technology upgrades has resulted in residents now being supplied with, "the best drinking water in the region".

"Raetihi has probably now got one of the most sophisticated water treatment programmes for a small council, in a rural area. We have gone from the old three-step process to a nine-stage one.

"As we all know, in 2013 there was a diesel spill in the Mākōtuku, that caused a lot of heartache and it was decided to immediately start work on an upgrade for the town’s infrastructure and the water treatment plant."

Uenuku iwi chair Aiden Gilbert acknowledged the efforts being made to vastly improve the quality of Raetihi’s drinking water.

"Considerable resource has been applied to this and as tangata whenua we recognise the efforts of Council to address a serious issue in our community - the safety of our drinking water, and the health and well-being of our people.

"There is a bit of a history and the diesel spill motivated Council and the community to get together and upgrade the drinking water.

"Today as a result of minds, some great minds coming together in this area, we have got a Plant that I’m told is second to none in the country."

Contracted by Council to maintain the region’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater, Veolia Contract Manager Wayne Termaat said Raetihi residents are now being served by one of the most technologically advanced plants to come online in rural New Zealand this year.

"I used to live here in Raetihi and it’s especially exciting to see the stages and the advancement that has gone into the Plant.

"We have gone from a system where effectively the water was abstracted out of the Mākōtuku River and went through a series of settling ponds before coming up to be dosed with a bit of chlorine to a high-tech, treatment system.

"There are Ministry of Health drinking water standards we have to meet and this plant smashes all of them, effectively, we are now well under the required limits."

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