Yellow water prompts council to bring in water tankers for residents

Timaru residents are being offered the option of filling containers with fresh water at three stations in the town, after the council was prompted to set up filling stations using tankers following discolouration issues.

The Timaru District Council first addressed concerns about the colour of the water being yellow and green on Friday. At the time, the council told residents the water was drinkable, and on Monday despite the issue being unresolved – they still maintain it is safe to drink.

Timaru’s tap water is running dirty and discoloured with reports of it being yellow and green since Friday but the Timaru District Council says it is still drinkable.

“The water doesn’t look good, but it meets the drinking water standards,” the council’s communications manager Stephen Doran said.

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“We’ve been liaising with the Drinking Water Regulator, and they are satisfied with our process.’’

Doran said the council had ruled out a number of potential causes including cross-contamination, backflow, rust in pipes and silt from source water.

“The most likely cause is non-toxic microscopic algae in the raw water which is common in summer, and is killed by our water treatments. This reaction can discolour the water.

“Last week’s storm has exacerbated the problem by us not being able to take any water from either of our usual sources.”

Yellow water prompts council to bring in water tankers for residents

The council posted an update on social media at 11.30am on Monday about the water issue and by 1pm it had received close to 330 responses from the public venting their displeasure.

People said their water was coming out yellow, brown, orange, green and one person said sediment was forming in his toilet cistern.

Early on Monday afternoon the council sent water tankers to three locations, Caroline Bay, Aorangi Stadium and Sir Basil Arthur Park, where people could bring containers to fill up with clean water from a different town supply.

Alana Johns, who lives in Parkside, Timaru, arrived at Caroline Bay with sons Oscar, 14, and Griffin,11, to fill three containers.

“It (the water) has been yellow since Sunday, and it got worse today and is quite brown,” she said.

Ray McLeod, who lives on Victoria St, said the same thing.

“It’s brown today and was yellow last night. I’ve been boiling my water before drinking it.”

Vishal Saini said the water at his home had been discoloured for four days.

Doran said the council apologised for the inconvenience.

“We’re continuing to work on solutions and will be regularly testing the water to ensure that it continues to meet water standards.”

Doran said the water tankers were available until 6pm Monday evening and from 8.30am on Tuesday.