Havelock North Water Supply - FAQs

Understandably there are many questions remaining around the chlorination of the water in Flaxmere, Hastings and Havelock North. We have put together a list of the most commonly asked questions, based on the phone calls, emails and social media requests. Please check here to see if the answer to your question is on the list. If not, please feel free to use the following to get in touch with us. Phone: 871 5000; email customerservice@hdc.govt.nz, or message us on Facebook: Hastings District Council.

25 August 2016

What is the product going in? Is there ammonia in it?

The water system is being dosed with Sodium Hypochlorite. This does not contain ammonia.

What is the amount going in at the injection point?

The initial dose rate is one part per million.  This will be adjusted as the residual levels are monitored.

What is the level Council is aiming for across the system?

We are targeting a residual chlorine level of 0.7 parts per million (ppm). This will vary in the system depending on distance and location in the network.  The Drinking Water Standards allow a range residual chlorine in the reticulation from a minimum 0.2 parts per million up to 1.5 ppm.

How much is in a public swimming pool?

A public swimming pool typically has in the order of 10 times more chlorine than the water supply reticulation.

Is Council testing chlorine levels at different points across the system?

Yes, Council is testing chlorine levels at points right across the water supply reticulation system that is being chlorinated; in Flaxmere, Hastings, Bridge Pa and Havelock North. The same testing regimes will apply as more Council-owned supplies are chlorinated.

What are the levels used in the tankers supplying water in Havelock North?

The residual chlorine levels in the water tankers range from 0.4 to 0.9 ppm.

When did we last have to chlorinate the water, where, and for how long?

The Havelock North supply was chlorinated for two weeks in June after a mains pipe burst. Prior to that, the last chlorination of the system was 18 months ago in response to a positive e-coli indicator test.

When will the fluoride-free taps be back on?

The fluoride free taps will be back on once Council and the health authorities are certain that there is no risk of contamination.

How long will the boil water notice be on in HN (estimated)?

The boiled water notice will remain in place until Council and the health authorities are certain that the risk of contamination has passed. **Please note, the boil water notice was removed for Havelock North Saturday 3 September 2016

Is council testing both supplies daily for any contamination? What about other Council-owned supplies?

Yes, water testing is being carried out on a daily basis in the Havelock North and Hastings water supply systems. Other Council-owned systems across the district are being tested as required by the drinking water standards

How long will daily testing continue?

Daily testing will remain in place until Council and the health authorities are certain that there is no risk of contamination. 



21 August, 2016


Who sets water testing rules?

The rules on the testing of drinking water are set out in the NZ Drinking Water Standards, which are overseen by the Ministry of Health, and its Drinking Water Association.

Does Hastings District Council comply with those rules?

Yes; the timing and results are all fed into a database system created by the Ministry of Health (Water Information NZ) which ensures the timing of tests and selection of sites remain within the drinking water rules.

Does Council do the testing?

No, the collection of samples and testing are done by an independent and accredited laboratory. Samples are collected from approved test points, both at the bores and within the pipe system across the district. 

Why does it take so long to get results back?

The length of time depends on what you are testing for. Very simplistically, the lab has to ‘grow’ whatever bugs might be in the system, to a stage at which they can be identified. The organisms will only grow at their own speed; there is no way to ‘hurry them up’.

What is the difference between e-coli and campylobacter?

E-coli is commonly found in people and the environment and is found in ‘poo’. The test for it is relatively fast (24 hours) and it is a good  ‘flag’ for showing if there are other more serious bugs in the water, such as campylobacter.

Camplyobacter is a bacteria that can cause a nasty illness. It can be spread in a number of ways, among them through food and water, as well as person to person through touch contact if good hand hygiene is not followed. Please make sure hands are thouroughly washed after toileting and before preparing or eating food. In this case, campylobacter was discovered in the Havelock North water supply.

Testing for camplybacter takes a lot longer than for e-coli, which is why the e-coli is used as the main indicator as this test can be completed in 24 hours.



August 17, 2016

Health Board FAQ's


The Hawke’s Bay District Health Board public health team is getting questions from people concerned about what to do during the gastro outbreak.

Below are some of the most frequently asked and the team’s response to them.

Is the ‘Boil Water Notice’ still in force?

Yes.  It is important that you boil water for at least one minute. Any water that you drink, use in food preparation and for brushing your teeth should be boiled before use. Refer to the boil water advice for further information: http://www.ourhealthhb.nz/assets/News-and-Event-files/Boil-Water-Advisory-Fact-Sheet-Aug2016.pdf

Are instant water boiling systems considered hot enough – or do I need to re-boil?

There are different types of instant boiling water systems that are likely to reach different temperatures for different lengths of time. It is recommended that these are not relied on for boiling water.

Water needs to be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute. This should be done by placing the water in a clean metal pan and bring to a rolling boil for at least one minute.

Electric jugs with a cut-off switch can be used as long as they are full – allow the water to come to the boil and switch off. Do not hold the switch down to increase the boiling time.

Boiled water should be covered and allowed to cool in the same container. The taste will improve if allowed to stand for a few hours before use. 

Does hand sanitiser kill campylobacter?

Hand sanitisers can be used in addition to hand washing but should not be used instead of hand washing.

Hands need to be washed thoroughly by using plenty of soap and warm water, cleaning under fingernails, rinsing hands well and drying on a clean towel:

before eating
before and after preparing food
after going to the toilet or changing a baby’s nappy
after caring for people with campylobacter
after playing or working with animals.

The advice given for hand washing methods are either:

Use bottled or boiled water and soap, ensure hands are thoroughly dried.
Use soap and tap water followed by an additional hand disinfection, by either:

Rinsing hands in disinfectant solution (add 1 teaspoon plain household bleach to 10 litres of water and allow to stand for 30 minutes before use. Change solution frequently)
Using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol

Wet wipes used for cleaning babies are not effective for disinfecting hands, so follow hand washing guidance. Here is a guide to effective hand washing technique http://www.ourhealthhb.nz/assets/News-and-Event-files/High-Five-for-Clean-Hands-Aug-2016.pdf