Queenstown residents have been warned to boil their water or risk serious illness.
Residents and businesses in Queenstown and Frankton have been given a boil water notice on a public supply by the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) this afternoon.
It comes after NPHS Southern confirmed a number of local illnesses caused by the protozoa, cryptosporidium. There are currently eight confirmed cases originating in neighbourhoods serviced by this supply.
All properties served by the council’s Queenstown supply, including Frankton, Quail Rise and Tucker Beach Rd, Kelvin Heights, and Hanley’s Farm, according to QLDC Property and Infrastructure General Manager Tony Avery, are subject to this notification.
A privately run water source, Jack’s Point, is unaffected.
“The source of these cases is not yet known and there is no confirmed link to the local water supply,” Avery said.
“However, on the basis of advice from NPHS Southern regarding the nature of symptoms related to cryptosporidium infection and the potential speed and ease of transmission, we are issuing this notice.
“We are aware of recent reports on social media of people living in Fernhill feeling unwell. As a result, council via its contractor began more frequent monitoring in the Fernhill area on Friday, 8 September. All results to date have been, and continue to be, normal.”
This monitoring measures residual chlorine levels as well as contamination indications such as the presence of E. coli or total coliforms. However, this examination does not clearly show whether cryptosporidium is present or not.
Although no evidence has been found yet that the local water supply has been contaminated, this cannot be completely ruled out because the supply in this area does not currently have a protozoa barrier as part of the treatment process.
“In general, the potential for cryptosporidium contamination is highly unlikely,” Avery said.
“But with these cases confirmed, and to minimise others’ potential exposure to cryptosporidiosis, all residents and businesses in these areas should boil their water until further notice.”
Boiling water kills any micro-organisms that could be present. In the locations outlined above people are advised to boil all their drinking water for at least one minute (or use bottled water) for the following uses:
- Drinking water – including cold beverages, ice-making and coffee machines.
- Food preparation – including washing uncooked foods such as salad, vegetables, and fruit.
- Preparing baby formula.
- Washing food utensils.
- Brushing teeth.
“We will continue to engage with NPHS Southern and Taumata Arowai (the Drinking Water Regulator), and will issue further advice as and when the situation changes,” added Avery. “Anyone with related symptoms should seek medical advice.”
Rachel Maher is a reporter who covers breaking news. She has worked for the Herald since 2022.