Increase in water testing for farmers and lifestyle block owners
Increased awareness among farmers and lifestyle block owners about the risks of water contamination has resulted in a major boost in business for a Waipawa firm.
Q Labs managing director Raymond Burr said while his firm also carried out soil and herbage testing, there had been a significant increase in demand for testing for E.coli and other bacteria, mostly from farmers and lifestyle block owners who were relying on bores and rain water tanks for their domestic water consumption, as well as for livestock.
Q Labs’ head testing technician Rachel Coburn welcomed the greater awareness after the gastro crisis.
People come in, and even though they might be feeling ill, they don’t think they have a problem because they’ve always been on rain water.
But 90-95 per cent of the time, that first test will come back positive [for E.coli] and they are often surprised.
People don’t appreciate the risks [of water contamination]," she said.
So it happens really fast — it’s exponential growth.
Bores were less of a problem, she said, but if the bore heads were not secure they could be prone to contamination after heavy seasonal rains due to the volume of water moving around in the soil.
But people with water tanks needed to be vigilant all year round, she urged.
Contamination advice for owners of private bores and water tanks can also be found at healthed.govt.nz by searching for ‘water’.