Plumbers heroes in Raetihi

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Sweet water "at last" the catch cry in Raetihi homes. these past two weeks.

Project Waireka organiser Missy Biddle said a company from Auckland Spring were in town with a group of plumbers installing water filters in homes these past two weeks.

"So far 100 homes have filters and there's about 150 to go," she said.

Local residents have been so excited about the new filters they've been leaving cakes and drinks out for the plumbers, Missy said.

"I've been getting so many texts and phone calls from people saying they can't believe that after three years they have beautiful water to drink.

"We're all so sick of boiling water and buying water. People are even chucking out their water containers now."

Raetihi's water supply was contaminated by diesel in 2013. The source was a spill on Mount Ruapehu.

Missy said Raetihi's water problem may seem small compared to the problems Havelock North has had but Raetihi's lasted longer.

"And there were people sick here at the beginning."

Having the filter company and the plumbers in town was a real celebration, she said.

"We're cooking for them everyday, Everyone is giving a koha for the food because that is what we do here."

Last week Ruapehu District Council (RDC) environmental manager Anne-Marie Westcott said that anyone using water from one of its Water Treatment Plants should have every confidence that the water is perfectly safe to drink and cook with.

Water from Ruapehu's Water Treatment Plants is completely different to the situation in Hastings where the water is untreated and comes directly from multiple bores. And all RDC's water is treated with chlorine to ensure the risks are minimised, she said.

"At RDC's Water Treatment Plants with only fundamental treatment, chlorine is added before and checked both before and after the reservoir to ensure the chlorine levels meet drinking water standards."

"All of the Water Treatment Plants have chlorine analysers that check to see if there is enough chlorine in the system, these analysers run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and have the ability to shut down the water treatment plant in the event the chlorine levels are too high or too low."

And the water in the reticulated system (pipes) supplying peoples' home's is manually tested again daily to ensure Drinking Water Standards are met, she said.

Though the council said the water is safe, the taste has still meant many Raetihi people have continued to buy water.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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