Water Jury Solution


By Alan Tristram
May 26, 2010

A ‘jury’ panel of nine citizens took part in a scientific test of Kapiti water samples and came up with a surprise conclusion — they preferred the bore water sample.

Bore water — sometimes used as an alternative during summer droughts — has brought large numbers of complaints in past years.

But in a special ‘blind’ testing of five water types today, samples of raw bore water from the KCDC treatment plant at Waikanae got the highest rating.

Second rating went to a mixture of raw bore and treated river water. Third and fourth places,on nearly equal ratings, went to two other types of bore water (‘nano’ filtered and ‘lime softened’).

Last place goes to treated river water

Last place, somewhat surprisingly, went to treated river water — the mainstay of the water supply from the Waikanae treatment works at present.

The ‘blind’ tasting was made under scientific conditions with each water sample stored in special jars, with 150ml portions poured into wine glasses for the testers, who were asked to sip, then spit the residue into plastic containers.

Next, they assessed the sample on ratings from one to nine.

Number One,the best rating, states: ‘I would be very happy to accept this water as my everyday drinking water.’

Number Nine, the worst, says:’I can’t stand this water in my mouth and I could never drink it.’

The middle ranking,Number Five, says:’ Maybe I could accept this water as my everyday drinking water.’

‘Save water’ suggests one tester

After the first two or three tastings, and spittoon usages,one of the women testers helpfully suggested the excess water should be recycled as a conservation measure.

An elderly chap made for the door at one stage. When asked if he was leaving the testing, he said “No I just have to go the toilet now.’

Five men and four women made up the testing panel. They were chosen from the community after volunteers were called for at recent KCDC Water Project events.

They included people who complained strongly to the Council about the water supply.

Kettle blew up on bore water

Daphne Harding (on the left of three testers in the top photo) complained because her kettle blew up after bore water was supplied during a drought — and because her supply tasted badly of chlorine (she thinks it’s much better now.)

Various water improvement measures were discussed by the panel. But, again somewhat surprisingly, only one of the women used a water filter — though three men used filters.

Generally, the panel members seemed to feel the water supply has improved in recent times.

This was confirmed by the Treatment Plant Manager, Dave Bassett (left in pic), who said the introduction of ultraviolet treatment this year meant less chlorine was used.

And, he said, the addition of ‘activated carbon’ three years ago to remove an ‘earthy’ taste from the water had proved a great success.

Taste complaints  ‘drop dramatically

The KCDC staff say public consultation has shown that water quality is on the top of the agenda for the public when an additional water supply is discussed.

They say the results of the testing will be analysed fully and then be put into a report about the investigation into six supply options.

The report will go to a Council meeting at the end of next month.

Evening ends in a mellow taste

However, the hard work of tasting and expelling all that water left some of the taste panel thirsty for something stronger.

So when Phil Stroud, the Council project manager, produced wine samples he was greeted with acclaim.

The Merlot, Chardonay and Reisling all got very high marks in the testing work that followed — and at least one tester reckoned some should be put in the district supply.

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