Foxton residents cannot believe the council is making big plans for Foxton's Main St while residents can't drink water from their taps supplied by nearly 100-year-old pipes.

Foxton residents Bruce and Ray Mulhare have lived in Foxton for three years and installed a water filtration system to their mains promptly after realising the extent of Foxton's water problem.

"The filtration system cost us over $2000 and the filters we have to change every three months cost $53. They go in pure white and come out almost pitch black. Filtering it was the only way we could use the water, but we still don't drink it."

Orange flakes from the pipes beneath Foxton speckle the brown water making it look like ginger beer.


The discoloured water from the old pipes had been an on going issue in the area for over two decades but the council says Foxton's supply has always been 100 per cent safe to drink.

"Meanwhile, the Main Street is to get a $1.2 million makeover that would include widening the footpath, tree-planting, new line markings, street furniture, extra car parks, and pedestrian crossings. That money should be spent on our pipes," said Ray Mulhare.

Kere Kere Ward councillor Michael Feyen said people who have renewed their pipes from the road to their house still have the same problems.

"Our water pipe system is bad but so is the water we are getting out of the ground. There needs to be some real action taken," he said.

"People are paying rates for water they can't drink, water that has ruined washing, dried out skin and smells so strongly of chlorine that I wouldn't give it to my dog."

Feyen said that a bigger version of Tokomaru's water filtration system could be an option.

"The system is landed in the country at just $33,000, this at least needs to be looked at.

"We have a big problem with our water in Horowhenua but in Foxton and Foxton Beach it is particularly bad and while it is being rectified, remedial action should be taken to supply clean drinking water."

Horowhenua District Council water and waste services manager Paul Gaydon said he understood steps taken to improve water quality was not a long-term solution but regularly flushing the water mains was helping improve the issue.

Gaydon said they won't be providing any remedial support to residents without clear drinking water.

"Despite water clarity issues experienced by some residents at some times, the water from Foxton's supply has always been 100 per cent safe to drink, and is compliant with its A-grade status under the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards."

Feyen said he has doubts about the safety of the water.

"With our infrastructure it's just a matter of time before what happened in Havelock North happens in Foxton. It's only the heavy chemical handling of the water that has temporarily cleared it up. You get used to the chlorine after some time but I've had feedback from residents complaining about the effect of the chlorine on their skin, and those with closed-in showers often have to open the shower door for fresh air because they are overcome with the fumes," said Feyen.

"We know our infrastructure is in poor condition - or large segments of it are - they can do as many brushing the pipes out as they like but we are still going to have this problem and we need to tackle it, there is no way around it. The cost involved in fixing the system is huge. Central Government may have to help us out with this one," said Feyen.

The discolouration is caused by lime-scale build-up on the pipes dissolving.

Gaydon said discoloured water in Foxton has been an problem for decades, like many other New Zealand towns with waters containing manganese. Manganese is extremely difficult to remove in a cost effective manner.

"The chlorine odour will decrease. However, we will still have to add sufficient dose of chlorine to cater for the water at the extremities of the reticulation network," Gaydon said.

Gaydon said the council is trying to solve the problems but Feyen said action needed to be taken now.

"Foxton residents have been dealing with this issue long enough."