Chemicals still found at closed water treatment plant1 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Watercare is carefully monitoring raw water at the closed Onehunga Water Treatment Plant, as low levels of a toxic chemical are still being detected.
The local plant in Spring Street was temporarily shut down in October last year after the plant did not meet the new drinking water standards set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Watercare has stated that during a four-week monitoring programme at the aquifer, low levels of the chemical PFAS (perand poly-fluoroalkyl substances) have been detected over the past two months.
The PFAS compound is also known as ‘forever chemicals’ as they present a threat to human health, and have an impact on the natural environment. The compounds are reported to remain in the body, and it takes centuries for them to break down in nature.
Although Watercare is keeping an eye on the global trends and learnings around PFAS monitoring and testing, they are currently in the early stages of the planning for the plant’s reopening. “We will be using the data we have gathered to inform the options for any future upgrades.”
Residents in Onehunga, parts of Penrose, Hillsborough and Royal Oak have been receiving water from the wider Auckland network, which contains fluoride. In the past, our water never had fluoride added, but this will change once the plant reopens.
It is still not known when the plant will reopen.