Nine water stations in Rarotonga unsafe

RAROTONGA, 26 AUGUST 2018 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS) – Nine of the 24 public water stations in Rarotonga are contaminated and people are urged not to get their drinking water from them.

The contaminated water stations carry red stickers while the stations which supply clean drinking water have blue labels on them.

The stations with red label include Tupapa, Sinai Hall, AOG Takuvaine, Ruatonga, Rangiora, Blackrock, Raemaru, Rutaki and Muri.

Community Health Services director Dr Tereapii Uka said after the recent test on Monday last week, health officers found nine water stations were not fit for supplying clean drinking water.

He said the officers had placed red stickers at these water stations to notify the public of their status.

“We urge the public who normally use these water stations found not fit for clean drinking water to get their water from stations which carry the blue sign,” Dr Uka said.

“There are people assigned to look after these water stations. What normally happens when there is a red sticker at a water station is that those who are assigned to look after the station need to clean the filter.”

Once the filter is cleaned, the health officials carry another test and if the water quality improves and is safe for drinking, the red label is replaced with a blue one.

Dr Uka said the water testing at the public water stations was done on weekly and monthly, with the latest test carried out last week.

He said it took a couple of days to get the results after the initial testing.

“There are two different tests. There is one done monthly and another quick one done every week, especially after a heavy rain, to check the quality of water and whether if it’s safe to drink,” Dr Uka said.

“People can boil their drinking water if they get it from the stations which carry red label, otherwise they can get their water from stations with blue label on them.”

Contamination occurs when water stations are not cleaned regularly, and filters sometimes get jammed with material which makes the water unsafe to drink.

According to the World Health Organisation, contaminated water can transmit serious diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio.

Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 502 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.

“With such a rainy season throughout this month, we have focused on advising the public to collect water from those community water stations that are cleared for drinking, and to boil all drinking water,” said secretary of Health Dr Aumea Herman.

More Stories