The Napier City Council has taken one of the first big public steps in navigating the murky depths of its drinking water supply by awarding a contract for a Chlorine-Free Drinking Water Review.

The contract, awarded to engineering and environmental consultants Pattle Delamore Partners was agreed at a public-excluded meeting on Wednesday and announced soon afterwards on the council's Facebook page Napier mayor Kirsten Wise.

The meeting had agreed to the decision being made public and the published minutes reveal a contract with total costs of $239,955.

She told social media viewers the review will "kick off" next month and added: "We are looking forward to having that completed by the end of September."

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The review will then be open to public consultation, the Mayor saying: "We will bring that information out to the community for you to have your input, and guide us in our decision-making about the next steps."

Chlorine has been injected into the Napier water supply since five positive E-coli results in 2017 showed faecal contamination of the supply.

But sediment in the ageing pipes was dislodged by the chlorine, reacting with manganese in the water and resulting in silty, brown and sometimes near-black water from taps in homes across several parts of the city.

Wise and other mayoral and council candidates campaigned at last year's local body elections on a promise to investigate removing the chlorine from the network, and also to do whatever they could to upgrade the supply.