Fuseworks Media

Work to install protozoa barriers across district progressing well – QLDC

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has been working at pace to install UV treatment at its Two Mile water treatment plant (WTP) in tandem with similar plants in the district that currently do not have such systems in place to protect against protozoa such as cryptosporidium.

Work to design, procure, obtain consent for and commission a protozoa barrier at Two Mile has been ongoing since national water regulator Taumata Arowai issued Council with a compliance order on 20 September following a local outbreak of illness caused by cryptosporidium.

QLDC General Manager Property & Infrastructure Tony Avery said installing the barrier itself was only one part of the overall project.

“We’ll also be cleaning and flushing the entire network supplied by Two Mile. This is a significant, one-off undertaking outside of normal business and something we’ve been planning alongside work at the treatment plant itself,” he said.

“It will include draining and cleaning Fernhill #1 Reservoir as well as cleaning and inspecting all other network reservoirs. We’ll also be flushing the piped network to ensure any sediment where cryptosporidium could potentially still reside is displaced.”

“Whilst the possibility of contamination during these activities is low and extreme care will be taken, they do introduce some additional risk. It’s still really important that people in affected areas keep boiling their water. In addition, we ask that everyone including commuters and visitors from other parts of the district maintain good personal hygiene – specifically cleaning and drying their hands thoroughly – to help ensure we stamp out the risk of further cases in our community.”

Mr Avery said a site office was established some weeks ago near Fernhill Reservoir and the container that will hold the UV system is already on-site at the Two Mile plant.

“This will be a temporary system that, along with successful cleaning and flushing, will meet all requirements of the compliance order in the fastest possible time.”

“It will be transferred to another of our treatment plants once a permanent system is completed at Two Mile. We’ve been designing systems for other plants in parallel in order to achieve full compliance across the district as quickly as possible,” he said.

“We remain on track to have UV treatment up and running at Two Mile in line with our original estimated date of 8 December. Whilst the date when the current boil water notice can be lifted ultimately depends on approval by Taumata Arowai, we continue to work positively with the regulator to ensure residents, visitors and businesses in affected parts of Queenstown can return to normal water usage as soon as possible, targeting the week of 11 December,” he said.

“We have also been planning preparation work for the Western Wānaka water intake which will begin this week and include a temporary realignment of the lakeside Millennium Track. We’ll be working with Te Kākano to reinstate and hopefully expand any areas of native planting affected by this work.”

“There is currently no need for people in the Upper Clutha, Frankton or other neighbourhoods outside the current area under the notice to boil water.”

“This continues to be a major project for Council’s infrastructure, legal and planning staff as well as contractors Fulton Hogan and Veolia. They are completing work in weeks that would typically take many months. We also continue to acknowledge the patience and resilience being shown by individuals and businesses in the affected areas.”

A public health investigation led by Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand concluded on 6 October that human faecal contamination of the water supply as the most likely source.

Te Whatu Ora confirmed that from the start of the outbreak until 7 November there have been 72 confirmed cases of cryptosporidiosis (the illness caused by cryptosporidium), 20 probable cases and two that remain under investigation.

A boil water notice remains in the following areas:

  • Queenstown town centre;
  • Gorge Rd out to and including Industrial Place;
  • Fernhill;
  • Sunshine Bay; and
  • Queenstown Hill above Frankton Rd out to and including Goldridge Way and Goldrush Way.


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