So lucky it’s the council here, not some ghastly profit making bastards

The New Zealand town where thousands of people have been affected by gastro due to a contaminated water supply have been told to dump emergency supplies of free water supplied by the council because it has tested positive for E coli.

5 thoughts on “So lucky it’s the council here, not some ghastly profit making bastards”

  1. “The New Zealand government has announced it will hold an independent inquiry into the water contamination in Havelock North. “

    Which will exonerate it completely.

  2. Oh no Julia. Us Kiwis don’t do exoneration. Someone will be found guilty.

    Let’s just hope it is the guilty!

  3. Let’s just hope it is the guilty!

    They’ll find some poor bastard who over-worked and with inadequate equipment made the proximate error of commission or omission.
    The distal cause will be some political decision that the buggers will never be held accountable for, not even by the electorate.

  4. When two Canadian municipal operators made people very very sick (seven fatalities) it was taken as proof that more government was needed, rather than less, since it wasn’t the incompetent municipal operators, but the (recently privatized) testing service that should be blamed.

  5. Local community is rather upset (understatement) with the local powers that be about this, but I do fail to see why it is such a huge cause celebre.

    Said “village” (Havelock North is effectively an adjunct and up-market suburb of the smallish city Hastings in Hawke’s Bay NZ) gets its water supply from a bore which taps an artesian acquifer that is adjudged to be “50 year” water (so the water extracted fell as rain approx 50 years ago) and which has in the past never been seen to have been contaminated by more recent runoff. Just FYI there are a number of different acquifers at different levels in the area.

    However recent (and possibly uncertified) excavation work at a Mushroom farm in the vicinity *may* have disturbed the local capping rock breaking a previously impermeable barrier and allowing recent runoff (and there was a large storm and high runoff the previous week) to infiltrate. Mushroom farms as one can imagine use a lot of animal derived waste and *could* well be the source of the offending campylobacter bacteria. Not proven yet.

    The water is not normally chlorinated as it is typically very pure and hasn’t needed it; in fact a local referendum on that turned down the option to chlorinate.

    Mistrust and the rest comes from the fact that the water is tested daily, and apparently the contamination was detected at least 24 hours before any action was taken including warnings about boiling water etc; and when warnings were given they were not serious, just facebook and radio.

    And that seems to be the nub, because contaminated water supplies are in fact very common, especially for communities that use river water, at times after large downpours of rain. A lot of muck that would get washed in over time comes in at one hit. Difference appears to be that if warnings are given in time people will boil water (or disinfect by filter or whatever) and there is inconvenience but little illness.

    To a degree one can understand the reluctance to rush out as the water supply has been uncontaminated for over 70 years or more through far more extreme flooding, so it was unexpected. That said, public health does require a certain amount of attention.

    Just FWIW, and yes, I do live somewhere near.

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