Environment Southland compliance staff are investigating an incident in the Benmore area where a significant volume of effluent has been discharged to a tributary feeding the Winton Stream.
Acting compliance manager Graeme McKenzie said action has been taken to minimise the impact, however the effluent will have entered the stream.
Members of the public are advised to avoid contact with water in the stream. Southland District Council environmental health manager Michael Sarfaiti said there is a low risk from the effluent discharge because it’s unlikely people will be in the water at this time of the year.
“Winton residents can be assured that their water supply is not affected by this and their water is safe to drink,” Mr Sarfaiti said.
He advised dog owners should ensure their dog does not enter or drink the water until the all clear is given by Environment Southland, which is expected early next week.
Any farmers who draw water from the Winton Stream or its tributaries for stock need to be aware of the risk and make alternative arrangements.
In the unlikely event people are taking water from the stream for household use they should stop or boil the water before use of any kind, for example, drinking, showering, brushing teeth etc. Once the contamination has passed, users should flush their water supply and then chlorinate if possible.
If anyone wants further details around the safety of the water and what to do, they can contact Mr Sarfaiti through Council’s after hours service 0800 732 732 or a water treatment specialist.