A LOW-LEVEL chlorine dose will be reintroduced to Kawerau’s water supply for the safety of those who drink it.

Kawerau District Council elected members and staff agreed to the action at yesterday’s regulatory and services committee meeting.

Water and waste water supervisor Wayne Brooking said chlorine was a necessary evil.

“Even though we have taken the chlorine out of the water and our dirty water requests have dropped, public safety is everything.

“Dirty water will get us in the Beacon. Contamination will get us on the 6pm television news.”

Mr Brooking said chlorine had worked well in the past, recalling the three months Kawerau’s water supply was chlorinated in 2016 and the one dirty water request made.

He said a lack of maintenance was the cause of water discolouration.

“Seventy years of accumulation in the pipes, it was time for the build up to come off. I have cut a section of the pipes and inside is black.

“When I wiped my finger [through it] it was like car oil.”

Mr Brooking wanted chlorine back in the water yesterday and Mayor Malcolm Campbell agreed.

“We can’t leave the water unsafe. We have to make sure people are safe. This is about people’s lives.

“I would rather have a bit of chlorine in the water than have residents getting gastroenteritis.”

He too would rather the council feature in media for low-level chlorination that on television for an outbreak.

Councillor Chris Marjoribanks supported minimally reintroducing chlorine to the water as a health measure.

A current upgrade to underground broadband cables has already caused three pipe breakages, with a risk of more, that could put the water reticulation at high risk of contamination

Councillors considered the risk to public health was too great to leave the water without residual treatment, which could only be provided by adding chlorine.

To reduce the risk, chlorine will be added at a lower dose than previously used.

In the meantime, flushing of all pipes will continue and an air scouring trial is under way.

The low-level chlorination will continue until further notice and members of the public are asked to contact the council with any queries.