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Final tests ahead for the chlorination of Reefton’s water supply

06 Jun 2023

Chlorination of Reefton’s water supply is expected to start next week, following the final testing of key equipment.

The equipment necessary for automated chlorination has been installed and will be tested, along with staff training, in the week of 12 June.

This is to make sure the doses are accurate and the system fail-safes are working as required.

Manager infrastructure delivery Eric de Boer says: “This testing is all carried out at the water treatment plant and won't have any impact on consumers. Once we are satisfied that the system is operating effectively and safely, we will start the permanent chlorination of the Reefton water supply.”

“Providing all the testing goes well, we are likely to see chlorination start by the end of that week. We will communicate with the Reefton community exactly when we will go live with chlorination.”

Mr de Boer says: “A key piece of preparation for this has been flushing the existing pipes in the reticulation system via fire hydrants. Flushing is basically pushing water through the pipes to clear them of any build-up of organic matter or metal deposits that may exist.”

“Our goal by clearing as much built-up debris, slime or metal deposits from the pipes as possible, is to minimise the amount of organic matter for the chlorine to react to. It is this reaction that can cause people to notice a change in taste or smell during initial chlorination. That shows that it is working and improves after a week or two.”

Once chlorination is in place, residents are encouraged to let council know if they think there is something wrong with the water (tastes very strong, has an unusual odour or is not colourless).

People can make a service request or email with the subject Reefton chlorination. This might result in more flushing and testing in the network.

“We are aware that for some people in the community this may be an unwelcome development, but we ask you to bear with us. It is important to note our priority is to provide safe drinking water and we are required by law to use residual disinfection (chlorine) in our water supplies.

This applies to all councils in New Zealand. Westport is already chlorinated and we are working on introducing chlorination in other reticulated supplies in Buller.”

Our website contains some useful tips and information on what to expect following chlorination.


further information please contact:
Manager infrastructure delivery
Eric de Boer