Our water contractor samples water at Council water supplies regularly to ensure that drinking water meets New Zealand Drinking Water Standards. We immediately contact the Northland District Health Board (NDHB) if samples show the water may not be safe to drink. If the NDHB agrees that water quality is a problem, they will issue a boil water notice. This rarely happens, but when it does we immediately inform our customers. Please follow these guidelines if a boil water notice is issued.
What do I do if my water is cloudy or discoloured?
From time to time, sediment can appear if there are problems. If this happens, try running your water for about a minute to see if the water runs clear. If your water continues to appear cloudy or it contains sediment, please call our 24-hour contact centre on Freephone 0800 920 029 immediately. Please boil your water until we can update you on the cause or any other necessary course of action.
If my water is contaminated, what will the Council do about it?
When you notify us of discoloured water our water team will investigate. There could be number of reasons for discoloured water. If testing reveals any health issues, the NDHB may issue a boil water notice while we investigate the safest solution.
Why do I need to boil my water?
If the issue is bacteriological (e.g. flood water has contaminated the supply or E. coli is detected) drinking the water can make you sick. Boiling the water for at least one minute will kill these bugs.
What do I do if a boil water notice is issued for my area?
Please follow the advice and boil the water for at least one minute. Boiled or bottled water must be used for making baby formula and juices, cooking, making ice, washing fruit and vegetables, and brushing teeth. Hot water from your tap is not safe to consume during a boil water notice.
I’ve been drinking unboiled water that may be contaminated. What should I do?
Monitor any gastroenteritis symptoms and call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or your GP if you have concerns. These symptoms include loss of appetite, bloating, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps or pain, loss of control over bowel motions, diarrhoea, bloody stools (poo), mild fever or chills, loss of appetite, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, body weakness and poor feeding in infants.
How long will it take to fix?
The issue will probably be fixed relatively quickly. However, in some cases, water needs to pass health tests over three days before the NDHB will lift a boil water notice.
What about cooking?
Fruit and vegetables should be washed using cooled, boiled water. Do not use ice, food or drinks made from contaminated tap water. Coffee machines, ice makers and soda dispensers connected to the water supply should not be used. Filtered water should also be boiled for one minute before using it.
What should I do about feeding my baby?
If you are using baby formula, make the formula from bottled or cooled, boiled water. Wash and sterilise bottles and teats by boiling or microwaving. Breastfeeding can continue as normal.
Can I shower in water that may be contaminated?
As long as no water is swallowed (avoid the face) most people can use the shower during a boil water notice. However, consider sponge baths for young children because they are more likely to swallow water. You may want to use boiled water for bathing if you have recent surgical wounds or a chronic illness.
Should I wash my dishes by hand?
Dishes can be washed using boiled water. Allow dishes to air dry completely.
How will I know when the boil water notice is lifted?
Please monitor the Council website for updates. In some cases, there may be a letter drop to let you know the boil water notice has been lifted.
Will the Council provide drinking water if an issue is found?
If the issue is related to bacteria it can be managed by boiling your water.
I have bought drinking water. Will the Council reimburse me for this cost?
You do not need to buy water. Boiling the water for one minute will ensure the water is safe for drinking. The Council is not able to compensate customers who buy bottled drinking water.