Waikouaiti River lead test results show no sign of contamination

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Lead test results received by the Otago Regional Council today show no indication of contamination in the Waikouaiti River.

Waikouaiti River, Otago.

The latest water samples were taken from the Waikouaiti River last week. Photo: Google Maps

The river feeds the water supply for the towns of Waikouaiti and Karitane, where it was last week revealed the water supply has shown concerning levels of lead going back to late July last year.

The government has launched a review into the health response after intermittent spikes of lead contamination in the water supply were recorded for months.

The Dunedin City Council (DCC) only revealed the concerning lead levels last Tuesday.

The latest water samples were taken from the Waikouaiti River on the morning of 4 February.

One sample was taken upstream and another downstream of the intake for the Waikouaiti raw water reservoir.

Lead was below detectable levels in both samples.

Otago Regional Council (ORC) chief executive Sarah Gardner said the samples would help guide the investigation into the source of contamination.

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“These two samples are useful, and they tell us about the Waikouaiti River at a point in time, which will help direct our investigation,” she said.

“We will continue to investigate because it is absolutely imperative that we deliver an answer about the river water that can be trusted by the impacted communities.

“ORC and the DCC are collaborating on a wide-ranging catchment study of the Waikouaiti River, including water and sediment sampling. The results of this week’s sediment sampling are likely [to come out] next week, with additional monitoring to be undertaken in the meantime.”

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