Seddon water plant falls foul of health rules

The new multi-million-dollar treatment plant in Seddon has fallen foul of new water rules.

Marlborough District Council staff are warning residents hooked up to the new network that the boil water notice still stands.

The alert comes after the Ministry of Health (MoH) changed the guidelines.

But council were only made aware of the changes three weeks ago says council’s operations and maintenance engineer Stephen Rooney.

“We are very confident that the plant is compliant.

‘Essentially the issue centers around how we show how much chlorine is going in and how much is going in and how we make that calculation.

“We take that data from one-minute intervals and are working towards that and providing that to Ministry of Health,” he says.

Staff are searching through records going back three months to provide the latest figures.

The changes mean the plant doesn’t yet officially meet the NZ Drinking Water Standard due to a technicality.

Stephen says he expects the boil water notice to be lifted at the start of July.

In the meantime, all water used for drinking, food preparation or cleaning teeth should be boiled before use.

Work on the treatment plant began in January 2018 after more than 10 years of debate on the best way to deliver safe drinking water straight from the tap.

‘We have all the data we need; we just need to supply it in a slightly different format,” Stephen says.

Council will present this information to the Ministry of Health Drinking Water Assessor in early June 2019.

For Awatere Rural areas, the boil water notice will remain in place.

Council is working with Nelson Marlborough District regarding options for supplying rural customers with water compliant with the NZ Drinking Water Standard.

Treated water is available at the public taps on Marama Road, outside Seddon School.

Members of the community can contact council’s customer service centre on 03 520 7400, for further information.

Court battle looms over “negligent” quake payment

A disgruntled homeowner is prepared to take his insurance company to court following claims of negligence that have left him $100,000 in the hole.

The person, who prefers to remain anonymous, from Seddon has been battling officials from IAG insurance company since his home was damaged in the 2016 earthquake.

But after almost three years, the fed-up Seddon resident is getting ready to make a claim for a further payout in court.

He says what he has been put through is a breach of the Consumer Guarantees and fair-trading acts.

“It’s fraud and deception by omission. They have been negligent.

“They have a code of ethics and conduct but yet here we are,” he says.

Issues began after the 7.8-magnitude Kaikōura when his Seddon home suffered damage to the concrete roof and piles.

But he says a structural engineer who came out to assess the destruction did not no go underneath the home, citing health and safety fears.

“All he did was bend down and take a photo. You could clearly see one pile that had been damaged, but it was in no way a proper assessment,” he says.

The home owner says because the house was in a livable condition, he was not especially worried at first.

He accepted a payout from IAG, whom he had insured his home with for 12 years.

The money included $12,000 to jack and pack piles as well as money for roof and external cladding repairs.

But a later assessment by an independent contractor discovered the piles all needed replacing.

“I was told it was pretty knackered and needed re-jacking and all the piles replaced.

“I’m about $100,000 out of pocket.”

He says when he went back to his insurance firm, he was told he would have to foot the additional costs himself.

“I had signed to accept the payout on the understanding they had all the information they needed to make an informed decision.

“These guys have poked their heads under the house and made a decision taken from nothing more than a photograph.

This is how they operate. Basically, I have to take them to court to get them to say yes,” he says.

He’d paid for a full inspection and report to be done by his own Structural Engineer who supplied photos of the broken piles.

“The consumer guarantee act says that work must be done with reasonable care and reasonable skill but that’s just not been the case.

“I’m just being fed lies even though the truth is in black and white. The trick is to not give up! Their tactics are to wear you down until you give up.”

A spokesperson from IAG says they further investigated the claim following feedback from the customer.

“We believe the claim is now resolved, however, we are happy to speak with the customer should they have any questions,” the spokesperson says.

“We would encourage them to get in touch with the Ombudsman for further advice.”