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Alexander is a videoJournalist in the Palmerston North/Whanganui region for NZH Local Focus

Local Focus: Foxton clears its murky past

Foxton town water taps are now running clear after decades of brown water in the area. However Foxton Beach is still on the waiting list.

Horowhenua District Council announced last month the discoloured water problem was 'fixed for good'.

The solution cost $113,000 with a further saving of $45,000 annually made from reducing flushing the water mains from monthly to bi-monthly.

Joy Hansen has lived in the area on and off for over 64 years.

"It smelt putrid you could smell it in your tea," she says. "Some days it would be that smelly you would wonder where it came from, and nowadays you turn the tap on and drink it, it's so much easier".

Horowhenua District Council's Water and Waste Services Manager Paul Gaydon says the water was brown because of manganese, and the plant wasn't tuned to address the tinged water.

"The solution has been achieved by modifying and optimising the treatment process, not just adding more chemicals."

Mr Gaydon was brought into the HDC 15 months ago with his main priority to solve Foxton's water clarity problems.

"It wasn't unsafe and it wasn't dirty it just had a brown tinge to it, and people like crystal clean sparkly water. They don't really like having a brown tinge."

District Mayor Michael Feyen says he is absolutely delighted as it was one of his election promises for the community.

"It's been decades of this - washing ruined, can't drink the water, chlorine burns, these sorts of things. Well it's not like that anymore."

But five minutes down the road, it's not 'all clear' for Foxton Beach residents as they're still experiencing cloudy water. Stephanie Brown has lived in the area for over two years and says it's worse in the mornings.

"We pay water rates, we pay our rates and we're in a 3rd world country where water is a concern. I don't think we should be paying for something, eg water rates, if that money is not being used to give us clean water. We're paying for rubbish."

But Mr Gaydon's confident he'll have the residents of Foxton Beach drinking clean and clear water by the end of the year.

"It's a bit of a different process because the Foxton Beach plant doesn't have a clarifier and I wanted to test it for 3-6 months before I'd say 'yes', because I didn't want to take everyone on a dummy run".

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