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Frequently asked water testing questions

 

Who sets water testing rules?

The rules on the testing of drinking water are set out in the NZ Drinking Water Standards, which are overseen by the Ministry of Health, and its Drinking Water Association.

Does Hastings District Council comply with those rules?

Yes; the timing and results are all fed into a database system created by the Ministry of Health (Water Information NZ) which ensures the timing of tests and selection of sites remain within the drinking water rules.

Does Council do the testing?

No, the collection of samples and testing are done by an independent and accredited laboratory. Samples are collected from approved test points, both at the bores and within the pipe system across the district. 

Why does it take so long to get results back?

The length of time depends on what you are testing for. Very simplistically, the lab has to ‘grow’ whatever bugs might be in the system, to a stage at which they can be identified. The organisms will only grow at their own speed; there is no way to ‘hurry them up’.

What is the difference between e-coli and campylobacter?

E-coli is commonly found in people and the environment and is found in ‘poo’. The test for it is relatively fast (24 hours) and it is a good  ‘flag’ for showing if there are other more serious bugs in the water, such as campylobacter.

Camplyobacter is a bacteria that can cause a nasty illness. It can be spread in a number of ways, among them through food and water, as well as person to person through touch contact if good hand hygiene is not followed. Please make sure hands are thouroughly wahsed after toileting and before preparing or eating food. In this case, campylobacter was discovered in the Havelock North water supply.

Testing for camplybacter takes a lot longer than for e-coli, which is why the e-coli is used as the main indicator as this test can be completed in 24 hours.

4 October 2017

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