Authorities are apologising after contaminated tap water left dozens of Darfield residents stricken with diarrhoea and vomiting.

The Selwyn District Council will review its systems after more than 125 Darfield residents were struck down by gastroenteritis after drinking contaminated water.

The announcement comes after Canterbury District Health Board medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey said the council needed to ''wake up to its responsibility'' and address its recurring water issues.

 Humphrey said more than one barrier had failed, resulting in the ''serious outbreak''.

''Intensified farming now means that a lot of water is contaminated with animal faeces, especially the Waimakariri after heavy rains. Secondly, the chlorination of this heavily contaminated water fell short of levels required to make it safe.''

He said the importance of protecting water from source to tap was ''sometimes lost in political imperatives''.  Stuff, August 29

Graphic: Porcupine Farm


  1. Fonterra's Darfield milk drying plant opened in early August, producing 40 metric tonnes of powder on its first day of operation. Just over a week later over 100 local people were struck down by gastroenteritis caused by dairying effluent contaminating the town water supply.

    Meanwhile Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury provincial president Chris Allen welcomed the news of the extension of ECAN's unelected term with “I would hope that people who will oppose this move will think before commenting. The Commissioners, in a few short years, have achieved more than the old failed council ever did. I recall a shrill tone at the time, but every prediction of doom has not eventuated."

    So a mass outbreak of gastrointestinal disease on ECAN's watch isn't an issue when water consents are being fast tracked. And Local Government Minister David Carter's role as a major farm stakeholder in the Darfield district was sportingly ignored by a compliant media.


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