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Published: 2007-07-25 00:00:00

No traces of 1080 were found in Te Awamutu’s water supply following a recent Environment Waikato possum control operation on Mt. Pirongia.

The water supply intake for Te Awamutu lies on the flanks of the mountain, near where 1080 poison was dropped by helicopter in late June.

Environment Waikato biosecurity operations manager Peter Russell said the council had gone to great lengths to ensure no 1080 entered drinking water, including creating an exclusion zone around the supply intake.

“There is a permissible level of 1080 in drinking water in New Zealand of three parts per billion, but we didn’t want to risk any contamination in the water supply at all,” he said.

“Public safety was our number one priority and we worked with Waikato District Health Board, Waipa District Council and the Department of Conservation to ensure everything ran without a hitch.

“Just in case there was an accident, we shut the Te Awamutu water supply down for four days as an extra precautionary measure, but the samples returned a zero value, so it was pleasing to see the safeguards we put in place had operated effectively.”

Two sets of water samples were tested following the helicopter drop and neither showed any traces of 1080.