Oxford Rural Water Meeting Postponed Until Thursday Night

Published: 28-May-2018

The public meeting planned to discuss the Oxford Rural No.1  Water Scheme will now take place on Thursday night at 7pm in the Oxford Town Hall.

The meeting has been postponed from tomorrow night due to the expected arrival over the Waimakariri District of the remnants of Cyclone Gita, and the expectation that high winds and heavy rain could make travel hazardous.

To avoid the need for unnecessary travel for all who plan to attend, Council staff will now present information on the Oxford Rural No. 1 water supply on Thursday, and give members of the public an opportunity to ask questions. 

The Rural No. 1 scheme has been subject of a boil Water Notice in recent weeks as a precautionary measure.  It is advised to boil all drinking water drawn from the scheme on a rolling boil for at least 3 minutes before consuming.

The notice was put in place after a positive E.coli result on the 26 January.

In the time since, Council staff have been undertaking extensive testing and seeking expert advice with the aim of being able to lift the notice. 

This has included the inspection of the headworks, reservoirs and several connection points, but no potential source of contamination has been identified.  All subsequent sampling (daily samples taken at 4 sites across the scheme) have tested clear of contamination.

The positive E. coli has however called into question the bacterial compliance of the scheme. We have received technical advice that bacteria can survive in water with residual chlorine when the turbidity levels are high, such as occurs on the Oxford Rural No.1 scheme.  Staff have therefore not been able to gain the required levels of confidence in the supply to lift the Boil Water Notice, and following discussions with the Drinking Water Assessors at Community & Public Health of the Canterbury District Health Board it is now considered likely that the notice may not be able to be lifted until the new source comes online. We will however continue to seek further advice and undertake any additional testing that may allow the notice to be lifted earlier.

The consent application is currently underway to take water from the new bore on McPhedrons Road that is to be the new source for the scheme.  Under the current programme it is expected to be 12 months before the new source is online.  We are looking to fast track the project to bring this source online earlier if possible.

Other than continuing to boil water, an alternative source of drinking water is the Oxford campervan filling point outside 82 High Street in Oxford.  Members of the public are able to bring bottles to fill with water from the Oxford town supply for use at their homes.