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Media Releases
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City Council tracking source of water contamination in Ilam

9 March 2003

Some property owners in the Ilam area of Christchurch have noticed a kerosene-like smell and taste in their water supply.
It was first noticed on Friday evening (7 March) and by mid-morning Sunday the Council had heard from people at 14 properties about the contamination. As soon as the first complaints were received Council staff flushed the reticulation in the area and advised the effected property owners to flush their piping by running a garden tap.
The properties effected are in a strip north from Blenheim Road to Creyke Road, in the blocks bounded by Middleton Road and Hansons Lane and Ilam and Waimairi roads.
Mike Bourke, the Council’s City Water and Waste operations and maintenance manager, says the contamination cause is not yet known, but staff are thoroughly investigating all possible sources. Samples have been taken for analysis but the results are not expected until later this week.
“ If anyone notices an unusual or unpleasant taste in the water they should contact the Council immediately on 941 8302,” he says.
The City Council occasionally receives complaints about a taste or odour in the water supply system. These are usually to do with new water-main construction or maintenance or from the taste and smell of chlorine used to disinfect the water after maintenance.
“ We’re fortunate in Christchurch to have a very high quality source of water that does not need chlorine disinfection like other cities,” Mr Bourke says, “although when maintenance of the system is undertaken chlorine is added at that point in the system to eliminate any public health risk. ”

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