Havelock North residents will soon be drinking Hastings water - which will be chlorinated for the foreseeable future.

The supply to Havelock North and the supply that feeds Hastings, Flaxmere and Bridge Pa are already being chlorinated. From today the council-owned supply to Haumoana-Te Awanga and Parkhill will also be chlorinated.

The decision comes after a positive indicator test in the private bore servicing the Haumoana School. The school was closed for the day. This is not connected to the municipal supply but the bores are within the same catchment area.

The chlorination is despite tests coming back clear in Hastings, Flaxmere and Bridge Pa water. Tests taken from the treated Havelock North supply show the water remains safe to drink as long as it is boiled.


At a press conference yesterday chief executive Ross McLeod said Hastings had "some of the best, cleanest, most pristine, natural aquifer water - probably in the world".

But its lack of chlorination exposed it to a high risk of contamination once it was out of the aquifer.

The Hastings supply was contaminated about 10 years ago due to backflow from a Parkvale fire hydrant, he said. While a faulty seal led to contamination in Havelock North in the 90s.

He said the council was taking a "precautionary approach" so people can be confident the water is safe to drink.

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said he understood that people did not like chlorine in the water, however, 70 per cent of New Zealand's population had chlorinated water.

The council was working with the Hawke's Bay District Health Board and the Ministry of Health to determine when to remove the Havelock North boil-water notice.

Water services manager Brett Chapman said a mobile ultra-violet light filter-plant from Auckland utility Watercare should be in place at the end of the week at the Hikanui Drive reservoir.

If the UV plant was not needed for Hastings water going into Havelock North then it could be placed at the Havelock North bore field.

The opening of a connection between the Hastings and Havelock supplies will be managed over the next few days to ensure any contaminated water cannot get into the Hastings pipe system.

Read more:
Hawke's Bay school closes after E. coli scare
Linda Hall: Chlorine is an acquired taste

An extensive programme of flushing will be required across the Havelock North pipe system with the details of the plan being submitted to the Ministry of Health for approval.

Putting Hastings water into the Havelock North system will allow the Brookvale bores to be turned off.

Media were told Regional Council staff would be speaking and available for questions at the conference but they were not present.

HBRC communications manager Drew Broadley said staff were not able to be at the meeting but were giving "full attention to investigating the water issue".

Council Interim Chief Executive Liz Lambert is holding twice daily briefings with key staff as HBRC works to identify the source of the township's water contamination issue.

"Our science field staff and technicians have been sampling water for E. coli in both groundwater and surface water in the vicinity of the Brookvale bores.

The results to date indicated no evidence of widespread contamination of the aquifer.

Financial assistance:

• The Government is providing immediate financial assistance to help Havelock North residents affected by the campylobacter outbreak.
• Cabinet has directed Work and Income to activate Emergency Assistance Payments to affected people in the Havelock North area.
• The payments can support people who are unable to earn due to workplace closure, illness or care of family members.
• For example, if someone has recently started a new job and does not have any sick leave owing, Work and Income would provide a one-off payment.
• For more information, including eligibility criteria, call 0800 559 009.