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Stage 4: Wrapping up the water treatment plant experience

June 15, 2010

Main pipe at the water treatment station used to send treated water to Invercargill and Bluff

The last stage at the Invercargill water treatment plant is to disinfect the water using chloride and add fluoride for public health prevention of tooth decay. We’ve exited the main water treatment building and Martin, the plant manager, points out a small concrete box, the size of a small shed.

A dose of one part chloride gas per million is added to get rid of any pathogens, such as e-coli, and 0.8 parts per million of fluoride is also added. I don’t discuss with Martin the pros and cons of fluoride treatment that surface in the media from time to time, as it seems to me the scientific benefits outweigh any unproven adverse effects (and I got thoroughly sick of arguing about it with a friend years ago).

The final result is A grade water, recently labelled by the Ministry of Health. I’ve taken up enough of Martin’s time, though I think he quite enjoys explaining the process which he is obviously passionate about.

He takes me back into the first entrance where there are a large tangle of blue pipes taking the water off to the city, pretty much in a straight line with the pipes ending up under the main North Road and Dee St. The din from the pipes makes it hard to hear anyone talking. I leave the treatment plant satisfied I know a hell of lot more about how the not-so-pristine water from the Oreti River gets to a state where I can drink it safely from my sink tap, a luxury that is not taken for granted in developing countries.

By the way, I have audio of this trip but the quality is not great because of background plant noise and still working out the editing, podcast process. I’ll hopefully be able to post it soon.

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