Ashburton (north-east) private bore drinking water

​​​​​​North-east Ashburton residents who rely on private bores for their drinking water are urged to boil their water before consuming. This is due to high levels of microbial contamination being detected in the area.

Environment Canterbury, through their routine water sampling of their monitoring bores in the area have detected high levels of E.coli, which potentially poses an immediate health risk. The affected area is classified as properties and lifestyle blocks on the outskirts of Ashburton towards the Ashburton Airport.

Due to this discovery of E.coli, the Ashburton District Council issued a boil water notice for the affected area on Thursday, 24 October 2019 and at this time, .

In addition to the presence of E.coli, Environment Canterbury also detected high nitrate levels in this area. While boiling water is an effective treatment for E.coli, it does not remove nitrates from water, and residents with bottle-fed infants under the age of six months are advised to use an alternate water source or use bottled water to make up their baby formula.

Read the full notice issued on 24 October 2019 here.

​​I am in the affected area, what should I do?

​If your drinking water comes from a private bore, there are several steps you should take for your safety:

  1. Boil your drinking water and water used for hygiene purposes for at least one minute before consuming. This will treat any E.coli that may be in the water. Learn more about boiling water​.
  2. If you have a bottle-fed infant under the age of six months, use an alternate water source or use bottled water to make their baby formula. This will help to ensure your infants' safety if there are high levels of nitrate in your water. Learn more from the Canterbury District Health Board.
  3. Arrange for your bore water to be sampled and tested for E.coli and nitrate. Find information on companies who provide this service. Learn more about the correct sampling procedure.

I have consumed unboiled water, what should I do?

​If you are experiencing any symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting or a fever, consult your general practitioner at any time of the day or night.

How long will this notice remain in place?

You should continue boiling your water until ​we further advise. You should boil water until such time as your water is tested and is determined safe. Please note that ​as your water comes from a privately owned well, you are responsible for testing it regularly. This should happen at least four times a year for E.coli and onc​e a year for nitrate.

​​​​​​Further resources relating to E.coli, nitrates and water safety are available here:

Page reviewed: 04 Nov 2019 9:18am