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Key fact: Anolyte = chlorine solution

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

The treatment process

The Te Mato Vai Project Management Unit (PMU) are concerned that the public may not understand that the water sanitation solution being promoted in Rarotonga by Envirolyte New Zealand is a form of chlorination.

An article published by Cook Islands News on 28th March referred to anolyte as “a hypochlorous acid” which is true, but the missing key fact was that anolyte is a form of chlorine solution. Hypochlorous acid is a weak acid formed when chlorine is added to water.

We’ve met with Envirolyte representatives and from the technical information provided, we understand the Envirolyte option involves manufacturing a weak chlorine solution (anolyte/hypochlorous acid) using salt.

While we applaud any initiative to make local community drinking water stations safer, we are concerned that Envirolyte is being marketed as a chlorine alternative, when it is in fact a form of chlorination.

A subsequent article on 6th April included these comments from the PMU, however statements from Envirolyte continued to deny the use of chlorine in their method of disinfection.

The PMU says, “We are disappointed in Envirolyte’s persistent use of technical language to distract from the very clear scientific fact that their water treatment system is a form of chlorine dosing. It is this fact that enables their system to work, as it’s the chlorine that kills harmful bacteria and viruses in the water.

Safe drinking water has significant public health benefits, so we support all efforts to make local community drinking water stations safer while the Te Mato Vai project is still under construction.”

The Te Mato Vai project includes building a safe and reliable four-step water treatment process to deliver a public potable water supply (see picture at the top). Disinfection is just the final step in this process.

Engagement with landowners, community leaders and the wider public on the options for disinfection will begin in the next few months.

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