The Leaden water of Karitane.

The lead contimination in two towns just north of Dunedin is being taken down from many sites, but it will have legs. Newsroom notes that the Mayor was not informed, but (being a Green Moron) he still has faith in the water treatment system we have down here.

Dunedin City Council has revealed that one of its failed lead sample tests had in fact returned a level almost 40 times the acceptable limit.

Previously, it had said the test sample taken on 8 December last year was only four times the allowable level.

“One of the intermittent spikes in lead levels, a sample taken on 8 December 2020, was also incorrectly stated in one earlier radio interview to be four times the acceptable level of 10 micrograms/L,” the council said in a statement.

“In fact, at 0.39mg/L, the sample is almost 40 times the acceptable level of 0.01mg/L.”

The test relates to a sample taken at Waikouaiti Golf Club in east Otago.

The council said on the same day there was a smaller spike, also above the allowable limit, recorded at the nearby Karitane Bowls Club.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins learned of the mistake when the press release statement was put to him by Lisa Owen on Checkpoint.

“I did not know that,” he said.

“That’s not ideal from an internal communication point of view, but that result when it was received was forwarded, as they all have been, to public health authorities and we took their advice as to what action should be taken.”

However, he said council’s water management staff were still up to the job.

“We have absolutely followed the public health advice since the first elevated spike was reported to the health authorities back in August of last year.

“There have been six elevated results across 90 samples that were taken across that period. And at no point were the public health authorities, the independent drinking water assessors, sufficiently concerned about that to recommend that we notify the public of those results, or that we issue a notice to not drink the water.

“That advice only changed on Tuesday morning. And we acted immediately on that to issue a ‘do not drink’ notice on Tuesday and supply an alternative water supply for the affected residents.”

The communication over the problem could certainly have been handled better, he said, but he praised the public health response.

“I don’t think a better comms plan would have made any meaningful difference or any material difference to the way that we have handled it, or whether or not the advice that we received was appropriate.”

Newsroom, where that is from, is a resource many people read. Hawkins is either being shielded or he is lying. And no, this is not something that you control with a communications strategy. The mayoris blaming the public health doctors, who are snowed under.

I normally just link to the local rag. But they are changing their stories, correction updating them continuously, and the lead issue is a concern.

And yes, I drink water out of a bottle or from a filter.

Baby Gretel Olsen was 1 week old yesterday.
Today, she will get a blood test to check for levels of lead in her system.

Parents Richard and Rachel Olsen, of Waikouaiti, were horrified to hear some of the water Mrs Olsen had been drinking during her pregnancy might have contained high levels of lead.

Mr Olsen said it had not been an easy few days for the first-time parents.

“For a foetus or baby no level of lead is safe … It’s been a very worrying week.

“We never even thought about the water we were drinking.

“I encouraged [Rachel] to stay hydrated throughout December and January.”

Mr Olsen said his wife and baby would get blood tests this morning, and were told their test results would be fast-tracked.

“We’re very worried about the outcome of those tests.

“We’ve been told some of that lead is going to get through … You look up some of the long-term effects and it’s hard not to think the worst.

“I don’t think I’ll drink the water in Waikouaiti ever again, my trust is gone. The Dunedin City Council’s sold us up the river.”

I expect this will have legs. If it is deemed medical, it will bite back as the public health physicians produce the inevitable emails and memos indicating that monitoring was inadequate or that they were not informed until a certain date.

The responsibility ends with the council. They should resign.

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Heresolong
8 months ago

Isn’t this the point of testing instead of just letting the treatment plant run? When you find a problem you let people know, they drink bottled water for a few days, they fix the problem, life goes back to normal. I’m confused why this is such an issue unless the person in charge has so totally bolloxed up the processes at the plant that they either tried to cover up the results or, well I can’t think of another possibility.