An upgrade of Pongaroa's water treatment plant will be under way to the relief of its residents who have had to boil their drinking water for two weeks after equipment failed to treat the supply.

A notice was issued to the small Tararua township on March 4 confirming that water from the town and rural supply had to be "boiled vigorously for at least one minute" before it was safe to drink.

Tararua District Council's manager of strategy and district development Peter Wimsett said the problem was caused after the supply's chlorinator failed, meaning the water was not disinfected against bacteria such as E.Coli.

He said the equipment failure emphasised the need for the Pongaroa water treatment plant upgrade which is scheduled to be completed over the next 12 months at an estimated cost of $500,000.


Almost $400,000 of this is subsidised by the Ministry of Health.

"I always think it's unfortunate that these things break just before we replace the entire system," he added.

"It does show the importance of what the Government is trying to do which is supporting small communities and improving the treatment and risk management of water services."

Testing for chlorine and samples are currently being completed daily.

Tararua District Council chief executive Blair King said residents would be told when the boil-water notice is lifted when there had been three consecutive days of clear, uncontaminated test results with the approved levels of residual chlorine.