Kiwi readers will be aware of the catastrophe of massive concentrations of lead in the water in two Otago townships.
Almost six months after receiving the first positive test results, the council finally advised Waikouaiti and Karitāne residents this week not to use tap water. Naturally the residents want answers and the Dunedin City Council seems to be dodging bullets.
One early theory was the lead could coming be from Macraes gold mine, but its operator OceanaGold has told RNZ that is not true.
It says there is no lead to be found within the rock at their operation.
The Otago Regional Council also said there is no information to suggest a link to the gold mine.
Phil Southwart – who lives near Karitāne – said residents need to know more about the readings of the lead levels.
“The memo that came out from the DCC [on Wednesday] doesn’t say anything about what recording results were. To me it almost seems like a disclaimer that they’ve done everything right,” Southwart said.Council uses helicopter in search for source of lead poisoning to Otago water supply | RNZ News
You can read OceanaGold’s own data on their taillings management here:
Make no mistake, these taillings contain heavy metals, including lead according to available information on the gold mining process and by-products.
The characteristic features of gold mine tailings are the elevated concentrations of toxic HM such as arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), cobalt (Co) and mercury (Hg) SOURCE
The situation as it stands is that the council seeks the source of the poisoning with helicopters (?) which sounds like either a wild goose chase or a diversion to me, but meanwhile, this author suspects that the mine taillings storage and monitoring situation ought to come under close scrutiny. Perhaps everything there is squeaky clean, but it wouldn’t be the first time a big corporation has covered up or mismanaged environmental pollution either.
Hopefully NZ’s standards are better than Nigeria: