Key public health messages following recent earthquakes


Key public health messages following the recent earthquakes in Nelson and Marlborough

Water Supplies

Boil drinking water if the supply has been damaged and/or boil water notices issued. There has been damage to the Seddon and Ward supplies. Both Seddon and Ward supplies are on permanent boil-water-notices, however earthquake damage may have increased the risk of biological contamination at this time.

Private reticulated water supplies and individual household supplies may also have been compromised by earthquake damage and so it may be appropriate to boil water as a precautionary measure until normal treatment and/or supply has been resumed.

  • Bringing water to the boil is sufficient to kill bugs.
  • Boil or treat all water from taps and tankers before drinking, brushing teeth or using in food preparation.
  • Water needs to be boiled even if the smell or taste of chlorine is present.
  • If you cannot boil water, treat it by adding 1 teaspoon of plain (non scented) household bleach per 10 litres of water and leave for 30 minutes.
  • Employers should also ensure their staff are only consuming boiled/bottled water at work.
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Wash your hands, or use sanitizer, after toileting, and before and after preparing food.

Sewage - Avoid contact with sewage

  • If there has been damage to sewerage systems, take care to avoid contamination. Protective clothing, gloves and good hand washing are important if you are dealing with sewage leaks.
  • Damage has been reported to septic tanks in the Seddon Ward area
  • No damage has been reported to council operated sewage systems in Nelson Tasman and Marlborough.

Take care with food

  • If there have been extended power cuts, use chilled food first, then frozen, then canned, and lastly packaged food.
  • If unsure about the safety of food due to lack of chilled or frozen storage do not eat it.

Where to get medical help

  • If you need medical assistance contact your GP or after hours service in the first instance.
  • If it’s an emergency dial 111.