After a recent second campylobacter issue in Havelock North, it turns out that the Hastings water supply is not treated with chlorine to kill bacteria.
First, thousands of people were effected by Havelock North's water supply. Then, a tanker of water for Havelock North residents that was filled in Hastings tested positive for campylobacter this week.
This has resulted in calls for all water in NZ to be chlorinated. Water treatment engineer Iain Rabbitts says:
"The potential for contamination of one of our untreated water supplies was telegraphed in 2000 when an E.coli outbreak in Canada killed five people and made 2500 people sick. It was only a matter of time before it happened here and this time Havelock North drew the short straw. It's pure luck it hasn't happened before."
Peter Griffin from SciBlogs is worried that there could be a backlash against this idea, given that there is already a campaign against water fluoridation in this country.
Thankfully it looks like this issue is serious enough that changes are already happening, with an article on Thursday saying:
"Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said the decision had been made to chlorinate the Hastings water supply immediately as a precaution"
Let's hope the same can be done for fluoride by moving the decision to DHBs!