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Tuesday 6 September 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Health, National


Water stations pass E.coli tests
To Tatou Vai Lab Contractor - Steve Underhill looks over the UV Water filter system. 22090509

Rarotonga water authority To Tatou Vai (TTV) has taken over the role of testing community water stations from Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health.

Servicing and testing of the community water stations are carried out every week to provide safe drinking water to the community of Rarotonga.

Steve Underhill, TTV’s lab contractor, said the results from all the water stations over the past four to five weeks had been “very good” except for one station. The unfavourable result was due to the water station’s power supply being switched off, said Underhill, adding “people don’t realise the effect of doing that”.

“All the water stations we monitor have been good (except for the one). Last week all the tests for E. coli (Escherichia coli) read less than one micron,” he said, adding the water is safe for public consumption.

Underhill explained the filter system which is made up of a series of three filters (20micron, 5 micron and 1micron). The 1micron removes the bacteria and the UV lamp carries out the disinfectant role.

And in order to keep the UV lamp working, the power supply needs to be kept on, said Underhill. The UV system has a monitor which clearly displays the number of working days it has got left – and usually these last up to a year.

During maintenance the filters are also checked to see that they are not clogged and if they need to be changed.

To Tatou Vai water treatment technician Patty Taea and lab technician Stella Marsters made the rounds yesterday collecting water samples from the water stations to be tested at the laboratory.

A flame is held under the nozzle of the tap before allowing the water to run for 30 seconds. The process is repeated before a water sample is collected for bacteria testing for E.coli and total coli forms. The laboratory looks for a E.coli reading that is below 1micron.

The best way to drink safe water is from a To Tatou Vai monitored water station.


Tony Heays on 06/09/2022

So fix the switches so they cannot be tuned off