Council seeking any uncharted wells

By Victoria White

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Council resource use manager Wayne Wright is urging anyone aware of an usual or uncapped well to inform the council.
Council resource use manager Wayne Wright is urging anyone aware of an usual or uncapped well to inform the council.

Letters are being sent to well-owners and councils around the region in the wake of the Havelock North water contamination, as the Hawke's Bay Regional Council asks people to check the conditions of well-heads, and surrounding areas.

Council resource use manager Wayne Wright said if anyone was aware of an unusual or uncapped well, the council would like it to be raised with it to see if further action is needed.

In the area of the Brookvale bores, the regional council was taking "the proactive step" of capping historic and abandoned wells when it found them. This was at its own cost, at roughly $500 per well.

Chairman Fenton Wilson said this measure was a timely reminder as the subject of water safety was at the forefront of people's minds.

Last week the council announced it would be conducting an investigation into the contamination of the water supply.

When asked if this measure related to the contamination's potential cause, Mr Wilson said not that he was aware of.

Regional council candidate Neil Kirton has called for a review of the council structure, saying the investigation was a "desperate attempt to stave off any finger pointing" at its consenting and compliance processes.

The investigation had "all the hallmarks of butt covering" for the council's failure to adequately monitor resource consents.

Mr Kirton, a former regional councillor, said his concern over a number of years had been the "soft hand" approach of the council with compliance of local authority consents - he cited the Central Hawkes' Bay wastewater, Napier City Council stormwater, and discharges into the Wairoa River.

Despite having all the latest risk-assessment and management-reporting tools, the most obvious risks have been ignored, he said, adding the regional council had failed to invest in critical monitoring to keep the community safe.

Mr Wilson said as the council's investigation, and the government's inquiry, continued he was sure "everyone's processes will be under scrutiny, and we welcome that."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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