1 May 2018

Otama water scheme to be chlorinated

The Otama Rural Water Scheme is to be chlorinated following a catchment assessment last year that revealed there is a high risk of microbiological contamination at the scheme’s water source.

Chlorination will begin on Tuesday 15 May. The decision to chlorinate was made by the Otama Rural Water Scheme Committee and Gore District Council.

3 Waters Asset Manager Matt Bayliss said the Council and committee have a responsibility to supply safe and clean drinking water.

“The water in the Otama scheme has been untreated until now as it was built mainly to supply stock water.

“However, we know it is the main domestic water supply for a lot of consumers.”

The Council has chlorinated the Gore and Mataura water supplies for a number of years. It is considered one of the best ways to disinfect water against contamination

“Chlorine disinfects the water all the way from the intake point to a consumer’s taps. It kills small bugs that can get through filtrations systems, such as bacteria and viruses that are difficult to physically remove from water.”

Mr Bayliss said there would be no more than 1mg of chlorine per litre of water leaving the Pyramid Reservoir. The level of chlorine was expected to drop to about .2mg per litre of water at the extremities of the scheme.

It will cost about $30,000 to install the chlorination equipment, and between $3000 and $5000 each year to operate. The Otama scheme has sufficient funds to cover these costs and there will be no increase in charges to scheme consumers.

Mr Bayliss said consumers might initially notice a change in the water’s taste and smell. This is caused by the chlorine reacting with organic matter in pipelines.

“In essence, if the water smells it means the chlorine is doing its job killing the pathogens.”

Consumers can install a carbon filter at their house if they want to remove the chlorine.

“However, we recommend consumers wait a week or two before deciding whether to install a water filter as any initial smell and taste issues may disappear or at least be less noticeable,” Mr Bayliss said.  

Another way to remove the chlorine taste is to fill a jug of water and leave it on the bench or in the fridge overnight. The chlorine dissipates naturally over a few hours.

Scheme consumers have been notified by letter and email, and the Council has put together a Common Questions sheet.

For more details click here

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: