Chloride in drinking water 'certainly not the answer in Christchurch' - mayor

The Christchurch City Council is ready to fight back against the possibility of permanent chlorination the city's drinking water. 

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Permanent chlorination could be Christchurch’s future, but the Christchurch Council ready to push back. Source: Q+A

Christchurch was forced to chlorinate its water in January last year after an inspection found the 103 underground well heads could be at risk of contamination.

Residents had expected water to be free of chlorine by now as the council had upgraded the well heads, however Three Waters, which manage drinking water, storm water and waste water, are to impose tougher standards. 

Mayor Lianne Dalziel welcomed the new regulations, and the clause that allows councils to apply for exemptions. 

She said they were attempting to obtain an exemption to chlorinate when the new regulations are implemented. 

"Chlorination is not the answer and it's certainly not the answer in Christchurch."

The Government announced last month plans for more control over drinking, waste and stormwater in the wake of the Havelock North contamination crisis.

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New regulations will also be introduced to help clean up wastewater and stormwater systems. Source: 1 NEWS

The nationwide cost of upgrading wastewater systems is estimated to be $3-$4 billion, and the cost of upgrading drinking water networks between $300 million to $570 million. 

Christchurch lawyer Peter Richardson, the spokesperson for Aotearoa Water Action, called the chlorination "the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff". 

Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.