Public health information

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Updated 1100 hours Tuesday 20 March 2012

Boil water notices


The Richmond boil water notice has now been lifted.  There is no longer a need to boil water. 


Boil water notice remains in place indefinitely.

Beaches: swimming and shellfish collection

Regional beaches are now open for swimming and shellfish collection.

Rabbit Island

The beach is open for swimming.

Flood water contamination

All flood water should be treated as at high risk of contamination with raw sewage. This means no swimming, fishing and shell fish collection from coastal margins until further notice. Swimming in and even cycling through contaminated water is discouraged.

Cleaning up floodwater, sewage and silt overflow on your section

All floodwater and silt should be assumed to contain sewage. Sewage contains harmful bacteria and viruses and needs to be cleaned up carefully. Keep children and pets away from the area until this is done. Appropriate clean up procedures include:

  • Use rubber gloves and boots, and eye protection.
  • First priority should be to clear an accessway to your dwelling so you can access the house without bringing contamination in on your footwear.
  • When things have dried out you can tackle the rest of your section.
  • Use a spade or shovel to remove all gross contamination from the surface of your section. Place it at the edge of your section or other accessible area where it can easily be removed later, but ensure it does not block drainage channels.
  • Avoid contact with contaminated soil and do not eat raw vegetables or salads from soil that has been submerged in flood water.
  • Leave garden surfaces exposed to the air and sunshine to dry out naturally. Make drainage holes with a fork to aerate.
  • Sprinkle hydrated lime on ground that has been contaminated  
  • Hard surfaces such as yards can be cleaned and disinfected with bleach solution of 1.5 cups of household chlorine bleach in 10 Litres of cold water (a household bucket).
  • Wash your hands and any wet parts of your body with soap and water afterwards.
  • Do not dig spoil from the base of  a slip as it may collapse and cause injury.

Preventing disease

Gastroenteritis (vomiting and/or diarrhoea)

This is particularly important for people displaced from their homes due to the current flooding and slips because:

You may be staying in crowded housing and sharing facilities so that infections are likely to spread more easily. You may be exposed to water or silt that is contaminated with raw sewage when revisiting your properties.

To prevent the spread of infection, remember to wash your hands (soap, water and dry) or use alcohol hand gel

  • after using the toilet
  • after changing a baby's nappies
  • before preparing food or eating
  • after dealing with floodwater or silt

Read more above about cleaning up floodwater or silt on your property.

Seek medical advice early for unwell people

Read about cleaning up floodwater or silt on your property   

Whooping cough (pertussis)

There is a local outbreak in Nelson Tasman which is now widespread amongst both children and adults - it is of concern that spread may increase with people sharing housing. Spread occurs where people have close contact and is common within households.

Vaccination or having had whooping cough protects most people for many years against becoming ill, but neither gives 100% or life-long protection. Usual symptoms are persistent cough with spasms of coughing that may end in vomiting or difficulty breathing, and may be accompanied by a whooping sound. Serious complications are most common in infants and babies.

How can I protect myself and others?

Remember to cover all coughs and sneezes (clean tissue or elbow). It is very important that adults don't cough around babies and children - adults are often the source of infection that then spreads to children.

Anyone with a persistent or severe cough should see their doctor. If you have any queries please contact the Public Health Service on 03 546 1537 (Nelson) or After Hours the On Call Health Protection Officer on 03 546 1800.

Food safety

Find out more about food safety during an emergency.

Preparing drinking water

Find out more about preparing drinking water before and after an emergency.