Free produce available for Otago residents affected by lead contamination from tomorrow

Free fruit and vegetables will be available for residents of the East Otago towns of Waikouaiti and Karitane from tomorrow as concerns remain over water quality issues.

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The fruit and vegetables will be made available from tomorrow. Source: 1 NEWS

The Dunedin City Council will supply the produce until any potential effects of eating home-grown vegetables irrigated with local water are clearer.

"The DCC will supply a range of fruit and vegetables to these residents until it is clearer what the potential effects are of eating home-grown vegetables that have been irrigated with local water," the DCC said yesterday in a statement.

DCC Chief Executive Sandy Graham called it a "very worrying time for residents in these communities".

"It’s important we do what we can to help at a practical level while we continue working towards finding the cause of the contamination."

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Dunedin City Council still in the dark over water contamination, do not drink order remains

A "no drink" notice remains in place for both areas after high levels of lead were found in drinking water.

Elevated lead levels in Waikouaiti were reported as early as August last year, one sample on December 8 found 0.39 micrograms of lead per litre, almost 40 times the acceptable level of 0.01 micrograms a litre.

Work is currently underway to determine the cause behind the spike in levels.

"While the source of the contamination is still not known, lead joins in older pipes, environmental contamination in the wider catchment, or even sampling errors, are all potential causes of the spikes in lead which led to the ‘no drink’ water notice being issued," Graham said.

Water tankers remain on-site to ensure residents have access to clean, safe drinking water.