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Tests prove disinfection is needed

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Accredited laboratory Watercare Services Limited conducted independent tests of Rarotonga’s water supply.

To Tatou Vai (TTV) commissioned the tests, which were done in March this year and again in May, using samples taken from randomly chosen sites around the island, including community water stations, intakes and a private home. TTV took the samples and sent them (by air the same day) to Watercare Services using a standard sampling and ‘chain of custody’ procedure to ensure verifiable results.

The results demonstrate why disinfection is needed. Of the 40 samples tested, 33 contained E.coli and 21 of these had high or very high counts.

E.coli as seen under a microscope

E.coli is an indicator that there is faeces in the water. If there are faeces then it is likely that there will be pathogens in the water as well.

The only acceptable level of E.coli in drinking water is zero.

21 of the 24 samples tested in March 2019 had high or very high counts of E.coli. The May results were better - 12 of the 16 samples tested positive for E.coli but at lower levels.

Overall, the E. coli counts are extremely concerning for a drinking water supply. All samples taken from the water intake sites tested positive for E.coli.

TTV only took samples from some of the community water stations. The results for the water station samples were variable, with 17 May samples ranging from containing no E. coli, to the highest at 77 per 100ml.

With To Tatou Vai's permission we have now published the test reports. You can download them here:

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