Fluoride cut from Wellington water supply much earlier than suggested

Source: 1News

Wellington Water has admitted fluoride was cut to two of its water treatment plants earlier than had been advised.

It was revealed on Wednesday that the organisation had switched off fluoride to the water supply for Wellington city, Upper Hutt and Porirua on February 8.

However, Wellington Water chairperson Lynda Carroll said in a meeting on Thursday that the Board had been made aware that "the timing in the information provided was actually incorrect".

She said the Te Marua treatment plant had ceased treatment in May 2021, followed by the Gear Island plant in November 2021.

“Drinking water has remained completely safe and there has been no risk to public health. However, fluoridation has not been undertaken since that time," she said.

“Obviously, this has brought about serious questions for the Board and I have to say we found out this information, we were very disappointed."

Carroll said the Board "immediately demanded information, action and a plan forward for how this was going to be rectified, and also commissioned a technical review to understand the operation of the fluoride process".

Doug Martin of MartinJenkins has been appointed to lead an independent inquiry into the incident.

File picture.

The investigation will look into the organisation's: "Management of the plant, how this situation occurred, what the Board should have known and what management should have known and what, if any, management or systemic management issues may have caused this to occur and may have prevented the Board from having knowledge about this earlier".

READ MORE: Concerns raised after fluoride cut from Wellington water supply

She said information will be provided to the public when it is made available.

"Work is underway to progressively lift the levels of fluoride across all the treatment plants to ensure that the health benefits that are expected are achieved."

A plan will be presented to the Water Committee on Friday on how to bring the treatment plants “back online as soon as possible”.