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Monday, March 7, 2011

No illness reported as warnings heeded

No illness reported as warnings heeded

Last updated 10:17 07/03/2011
Christchurch has had no gastroenteritis outbreaks despite worries drinking water may be contaminated.

Chlorination of the city's water began last week. However, it will be at least another week before the water supply is safe to drink.

Canterbury medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey said there had been no gastroenteritis outbreaks.

There had been some isolated cases, but no more than would normally be expected.

"Christchurch people have actually been doing really, really well," he said.

"It's been nearly two weeks and we haven't had any outbreaks.

"People need to keep heeding the message until the water gets properly chlorinated."

Humphrey said broken drains and water pools caused by heavy rain created more contamination risk and people should continue to wash their hands and boil water for drinking or brushing teeth.

It was likely to be at least another week before chlorination reached the entire city, he said.

Nearly 80 per cent of the city is now connected to mains water and 90 per cent should be reconnected soon. More than 1000 water tests have been carried out around the city, and 30 failed.

Meanwhile, heavy rain and broken stormwater systems caused significant flooding over the weekend, but no homes were affected.

Civil Defence operations manager Alan Beuzenberg said rain caused heavy flooding in the lower Avon River area around Bexley and Avonside.

People should avoid driving in those areas.

Beuzenberg said the rain helped identify where stormwater drains were broken and crews worked over the weekend to fix them and clear silt.

He said hardfill had been put on roads as a temporary repair, creating muddy conditions.

Civil Defence was concerned about landslides, but none was reported.

A lot of work had been done to sandbag those areas and divert flowing water to other areas, he said.

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