Residents get a free water health check-up

Almost 100 people were given an indicator of the nitrate levels in their drinking water at Darfield Library earlier this month, and Leeston residents are about to be offered the same service.

The Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee is hosting the nitrate testing sessions in an effort to raise awareness of people’s need to test their private water sources.

Residents brought in bottles of tap water drawn from their private well, which were tested by an Environment Canterbury scientist using an optical sensor, returning a nitrate concentration number.

Keeping your water source safe

The Ministry of Health has set the Maximum Acceptable Value for nitrate in drinking water at 11.3 mg/L.

Scientists were on hand to explain the results and discuss testing regimens and ways to keep wellheads safe.

Nitrate is just one risk factor in people’s water supplies – pathogens such as e. coli. can also enter water sources, and regular testing at a laboratory is important to protecting a private water source.

Zone committee co-chair Fiona McDonald says she was pleased to see people keen to learn more about how to protect their drinking water.

“We had some really positive conversations with Selwyn residents on how they can ensure their water source is good to drink, and we hope they can in turn pass the message on to rural neighbours and friends.”

More testing coming for Leeston

The zone committee will host a second nitrate testing workshop in Leeston Library on May 18, from 1-4 pm.

People with private wells who wish to have their drinking water tested are advised to bring at least 500 ml of their tap water in a clean bottle, which has been rinsed in water, not cleaned with detergent.