Plan to get fluoride back in the drinking water

Published on 18 March 2022

Wellington Water Logo.jpg


Today Wellington Water’s Director Regulatory Services, Charles Barker, has outlined plans to get fluoride facilities back up and running at our Te Marua and Gear Island Water Treatment Plants, as well as improvements to increase the consistency of fluoride levels in our Waterloo and Wainuiomata Water Treatment Plants.

“We’d like to assure our communities and our councils that we are working to restore fluoride back in the water for Upper Hutt, Porirua, Wellington City, Stokes Valley and Manor Park as soon as possible.”

The fluoride facilities at the Te Marua Water Treatment Plant were decommissioned in May 2021 due to a damaged baffle curtain. A baffle curtain works by slowing down the flow of water, allowing the fluoride powder time to settle and filter – this prevents the fluoride powder clumping and gives operators control of the mixing ratio.

“We have crews booked in to assess what’s involved in either repairing the current one or replacing it,” says Barker.

“The fluoride faculties at the Gear Island Water Treatment Plant were decommissioned in November 2021 due to structural concerns with the building. The fluoride dosing equipment at Gear Island is also over 20 years old and no longer meets acceptable performance standards.

“A detailed survey of the building is underway, and we are investigating the condition of equipment to understand if we can recommission the facilities. We will have a better understanding of what is required in the next week.

“The fluoride facilities at Waterloo and Wainuiomata remain operating. We are working to optimise these facilities, including ongoing maintenance work and a long-term project to design, procure and build new fluoridation facilities.”

A range of short term to long term solutions and their high-level scope were presented to the Wellington Water Committee, a regional governance and direction setting committee consisting of representatives from each of Wellington Water’s council owners, today. 

“Greater Wellington Regional Council has funded us to carry out this work as a priority and we provide them with cost requirements as soon as possible.

“We will also provide the Water Committee and the public with further details on this work as we progress, including detailed project plans and timeframes.”

Plan for Te Marua Fluoride Facility

  1. Current: Divers booked to assess Baffle Curtain. Reinstate fluoride plant - historically equipment unreliable.
  2. Short term, 1 month: If possible complete repair of curtain. Restart fluoridation plant.
  3. Medium term, 6 months: Ongoing maintenance, sourcing critical spares. New baffle curtain installed.
  4. Long term, 12 months: Options assessment, design procure and build new fluoridation plant.