Gastro outbreak: Hastings water tests negative

By Martin Johnston

Test results from the Hastings, Flaxmere and Bridge Pa water supplies have come back clear this afternoon.

The tests were taken from across the network including from the same areas of the water supply that returned suspect results yesterday.

Hastings District Council chief executive Ross McLeod said receiving the clear results was "expected, but also a huge relief".

It is believed yesterday's suspect results were an anomaly due to sampling irregularities in a small number of samples.

Today's results are consistent with results for the 327 tests taken over the 12 months ending mid July, which have all been clear.

"What today's results mean is that the Hastings supply, which also provides water to Flaxmere and Bridge Pa, can continue to be considered safe to drink." He said Council will continue to chlorinate the supply in the short term as required by the drinking water standards.

In Havelock North, the water continues to be chlorinated and a boil water notice remains in place until the health authorities are confident the issue is limited to campylobacter, which is killed by chlorine.

Test results yesterday for the Hastings town supply produced positive results for E. coli bacteria. E. coli can be an indicator of faecal contamination and can cause gastric illness.

Hastings' water, supplied from an underground aquifer, is quite separate from the Havelock North town supply which was found to have been contaminated with campylobacter and led to more than 4000 people falling ill with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, headaches and muscle pain.

But the Hastings' supply has been chlorinated since Thursday after a tanker that had been carting Hastings water over to Havelock North 4km away tested positive - at first - for E. coli. A follow-up test was negative, indicating the first test result was false, the council says.

- NZ Herald

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