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01/01/2017 10:45am

7/02/2017

Coming soon

Good taste Paeroa drinking water

Paeroa residents have good taste in general (that’s why they live in Hauraki) but they’ll have good tasting drinking water too before the month is out. We successfully installed a specialised UV peroxide water treatment system at our Waihi Water Treatment Plant last month, now it’s Paeroa’s turn.

The systems are manufactured in Canada specially to remove the unpleasant taste and odour caused by compounds released into the water by dying algae and other bacteria over summer.

Karangahake and Mackaytown water upgrade work almost complete

Karangahake and Mackaytown residents will soon be connected to the Paeroa water supply, which has recently been upgraded to a very high standard. This upgrade is part of a programme to upgrade all our rural networks, and will reduce the water quality/contamination issues experienced in both communities over the last few years.

We understand there have been taste and odour issues in Paeroa and water quality/contamination issues in Karangahake and Mackaytown for some time which has caused some frustration, and would like to thank these communities for their patience while we’ve worked to provide a solution.


19/01/2017

All systems go at Waihi Water Treatment Plant

Waihi’s new UV peroxide water treatment system is now up and running but it may be a few days before residents are merrily clinking drinking glasses.

"The Waihi reservoir contains about three day’s water supply which will have to work its way through the system before people will start to notice a difference," said Council Group Manager Engineering Services Adrian de Laborde.

Removing the taste and odour

The specialised system, designed and custom built in Canada to remove taste and odour from the town’s water supply over the summer months, is one of two commissioned by the Council following feedback from the community last summer. A similar system will be installed at the Paeroa Water Treatment Plant in early February.

Likened to teenage boys’ socks and mud by some, the 'earthy’ taste is caused by compounds released into the water by dying algae and other bacteria in hot, dry weather.

De Laborde says the problem was particularly noticeable to Waihi residents.

"Waihi’s water needs have traditionally been met by the Walmsley Stream. However, this stream doesn’t carry enough water to support demand during the dry season without water restrictions, so in December 2015 we installed infrastructure to take water from the Ohinemuri River for the first time," he said.

Unfortunately, the Waitawheta River, which supplies Paeroa residents year-round and the Ohinemuri River which now supplies Waihi and Waikino residents over summer, are more conducive to algal growth than some of the District’s other streams.

Waihi Ward Chair Max Mclean says while it’s proven the water is safe to drink and won’t cause illness, many people find the taste and smell off-putting.

"Waihi’s drinking water definitely left a bad taste in many people’s mouths when we switched to the new supply last summer so we’ve done something about it," he said.

Removing the taste and odour

Sourcing and installing the new UV peroxide system was not a quick fix.

"Removing taste and odour is a highly specialised process, so the first part of last year was spent investigating the problem and finding the most cost-effective solution," said de Laborde.

This turned out to be a design/build contract with Filtec NZ, which partnered with a Canadian company to design and build a system tailor-made to suit each particular water supply. There are only two other systems in the country with a similar capability.

And while the new system will ensure Ohinemuri-sourced water loses its muddy taste, de Laborde said Waihi residents shouldn’t expect it to taste exactly like water sourced from the Walmsley Stream.

"The two rivers flow through different environments which whatever we do will always have some influence on the flavour of the water," he said.

Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga said it was hoped the new system would be up and running before switching to the Ohinemuri water supply became necessary in Waihi this summer, but an unexpected delay in the arrival of the new system, combined with minimal rainfall prior to Christmas forced the switch on New Year’s day.

"I’d like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by this and thank all residents for their patience and understanding while we’ve worked to solve this issue," he said.

"The good news is, thanks to this new technology, earthy tasting water is now a thing of the past in Waihi and will soon permanently disappear in Paeroa as well."

 

6/01/2017

Onsite and on target to be up and running this month!

Our new UV peroxide water treatment system arrived at the Waihi Water Treatment Plant this morning after a long journey all the way from Canada where it was manufactured.

There are still some bits to be added and testing to be done before it gets down to the important business of removing the earthy taste from Waihi and Waikino drinking water, but it's looking good and no jet-lag so far!

As you can see it's a bit more serious than a filter that sits under your kitchen sink.

UVsystem

 


4/01/2017

Timing to install new system

We've been asked by a number of Waihi residents why it's taken us a year to source and install the new UV peroxide system to remove summertime taste and odour.

The answer is that removing taste and odour is a highly specialised process, so the first part of last year was spent investigating the problem and finding the most cost-effective solution. This turned out to be via a Canadian company as no one in New Zealand has the capability of designing and building the type of system needed, which has to be tailor-made to suit each particular water supply. There are only two other systems in the country that do this and Hauraki will own the third and fourth (one in Waihi and one in Paeroa).

Delivery was expected in November (in time for installation prior to Christmas) but due to circumstances beyond our control, this has taken longer than anticipated. The good news is we are on track to have this new technology up and running in Waihi in mid to late January.


1/01/2017

Switch to Ohinemuri River supply

Unfortunately, despite everyone's efforts to conserve water over the last few weeks we've had to switch from the Walmsley Stream to the Ohinemuri River supply this morning. So if you live in Waihi or Waikino you may notice a change in the taste of your water later today.  

While the earthy taste may be unpleasant, the water is safe to drink and won't cause illness

The unpleasant taste is temporary and will disappear once our new UV peroxide water treatment system is installed in mid to late January. We apologise for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience while we work to solve this issue.


30/12/2016

Change in supply looking probable 

Heads up Waihi and Waikino! You may notice a change in the taste of your water over the next few days.

Despite recent efforts to conserve water in Waihi, it looks as though we’ll have to switch from the Walmsley Stream to the Ohinemuri River supply in the new year (unless we get lots of rain, or the community makes a huge effort to conserve more water!)

Last summer water sourced from this supply left a bad taste in many people's mouths. This was caused by compounds released into the water by dying algae and other bacteria over summer.
When we changeover, the water may taste `earthy’ and unpleasant but it's safe to drink and won’t make you sick.

The unpleasant taste is temporary and will disappear once our new water treatment system is up and running in mid to late January!

Go to our SmartWaterUse page to find out ways you can conserve water now.

smartwateruse_sm.jpg


 

20/12/2016

Help us head off taste and odour issues until new UV system is installed

Last summer drinking water in Paeroa and Waihi left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. The ‘earthy’ taste and odour is caused by compounds released into the water by dying algae and other bacteria over summer. In Hauraki it’s most noticeable in water sourced from the Ohinemuri River which is more conducive to algal growth than our other streams.

So we don’t have a repeat of the taste and odour issues experienced last year in Waihi, we’re trying to avoid switching to the Ohinemuri supply until the new UV system is installed. To help maintain water levels in the Walmsley Stream, we’ve reduced water pressure, where possible, in Waihi town. Depending on rainfall between now and the end of January, this may allow us to keep drawing from that source until the new system is installed.

You can also help us by conserving water use over this time. 

SWUicon.jpgFind out tips for Smart Water Use


Regrettably, there is no alternative water source for the Paeroa community but all going to plan the new systems, which are manufactured in Canada, will be up and running mid to late January.

We appreciate your understanding and patience while we work to solve this issue.


25/11/2016 

It's all about the taste

Drinking water

Two of only four specialist UV peroxide water treatment systems in the country will be installed at the Waihi and Paeroa Water Treatment plants over the next few months. It is hoped the systems, designed to remove unpleasant taste and odour, will be operating in time to head-off issues experienced with drinking water in both towns last summer.

Likened to teenage boys’ socks and mud by some, the `earthy’ water taste is caused by compounds released into the water by dying algae over summer. Waihi Ward Chair Max Mclean says while it’s proven the compounds are harmless and won’t cause illness, many people find the taste and smell off-putting.

“Waihi’s drinking water definitely left a bad taste in many people’s mouths last summer, so we’re doing something about it,” he said.

Group Manager Engineering Services Adrian de Laborde says the problem was particularly noticeable to Waihi residents.

Water sources

“Waihi’s water needs have been traditionally met by the Walmsley and Waitete Streams. However, these streams don’t carry enough water to support the town’s demands during the dry season without water restrictions, so last year we installed infrastructure to take water from the Ohinemuri River for the first time.” he said.

Unfortunately, the Ohinemuri River is more conducive to algal growth than the other streams. This can be a cause of the taste and odour that was unpalatable to many.

“The Walmsley Stream river bed is predominantly stony while the Ohinemuri River is a bigger environment with a clay bed, so by default even without the presence of algae the water will taste different,” de Laborde said.

In Waihi the Council will try to avoid switching to the Ohinemuri River supply until the UV system is installed, but trade-offs for residents could include lower than usual water pressure, and/or water restrictions, depending on rainfall and the Walmsley and Waitete Stream levels over the coming months.

Regrettably, there is no alternative water source for the Paeroa community but all going to plan the new systems, which are manufactured in Canada, will be up and running mid to late January.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the problem?

Last summer some of our drinking water left a bad taste in people’s mouths. The taste and odour, likened to teenage boys’ socks by some, is caused by compounds released into the water by certain bacteria found in freshwater and soil (often algae and in particular blue-green algae).

These compounds are called Geosmin and 2 methylisoborneol (2-Mib). They can be smelt at very low levels, in the parts per trillion (ppt) range (a few drops in an olympic swimming pool).

Is the water safe to drink?

Yes. While the taste and smell is off-putting to many, the compounds are harmless and won’t cause illness.

The water is tested continuously within our Water Treatment Plants and external laboratories to ensure it is safe to drink. Last year the water was also tested by Watercare and Niwa, both of which found there were no toxins present. The water did test positive for the presence of blue-green algae, but the levels are very low and not considered significant.

Who’s affected?

Residents using our Waihi and Paeroa drinking water supplies. This currently includes the Waikino community and from mid-December the Mackaytown community will be included too. These supplies are sourced from the Ohinemuri River which is more conducive to algal growth than our other streams. This can be a cause of the taste and odour that was unpalatable to many.

Last year the problem was particularly noticeable to Waihi residents. This is because Waihi’s water needs have traditionally been met by the Walmsley and Waitete Streams. These streams don’t carry enough water to support the town’s demands during the dry season without water restrictions, so last year we installed infrastructure to take water from the Ohinemuri for the first time.

What are we doing about it?

Over the next few months we are installing two of only four specialist UV peroxide water treatment systems in the country at our Waihi and Paeroa Water Treatment Plants. It’s hoped the systems, designed to remove unpleasant taste and odour, will be operating in time to head-off taste and odour issues.

In Waihi we’ll try to avoid switching to the Ohinemuri River supply until the new systems are installed, but trade-offs for residents could include lower than usual water pressure and/or water restrictions depending on rainfall and water levels in the Walmsley and Waitete Streams over the coming months. A decision will be made on this closer to the time. If monitoring shows no Geosmin of 2-Mib is present in the Ohinemuri, then we will be able to supplement the Walmsley with water from the Ohinemuri.

Regrettably, there is no alternative water source for the Paeroa community but all going to plan, the new systems, which are manufactured in Canada, will be up and running in mid-late January.