What’s in our water?

Today Covid (wastewater), soon fluoride (drinking water).

First Covid. As BayBuzz has previously reported, the Government is regularly sampling communities’ wastewater throughout NZ as a means of monitoring the virus’ prevalence. Weekly updates reported on the website of ESR, a Crown Research Institute.

For the week ending 24 July 2022, 34% of sites have increased SARS-CoV-2 levels compared to the previous week, and 30% decreased levels. However, levels at 66% of sites are still higher than that observed a month ago. 

Our Hawke’s Bay wastewater is sampled regularly as part of this programme.

Not surprisingly, the charts below show a steady rise throughout the region, mirroring the most recent surge of the virus.

The dots are actual sampling points. The solid line is a 14-day rolling average showing the prevalence of the virus (genome copies/day/person). The dash line a 7-day rolling average of new cases actually reported in the catchment, with the right vertical axis indicates the corresponding number. As you can see, our wastewater is a pretty accurate indicator of Covid intensity.

Here’s what it means, according to ESR, a Crown Research Institute, who does the analysis:

“Wastewater testing can tell us someone in the network shedding virus, but not specifically where or who is shedding the virus, or the exact number of people who have contributed to a positive detection. Shedding levels can vary significantly between individuals and at different stages in an infection and not every infected person may shed the virus.”

More charts by community below, but before you browse those …

Let’s talk about fluoride and drinking water.

As a parting act, using recently legislated authority, Dr Bloomfield officially instructed a number of NZ communities to add fluoride to their drinking water. Hastings (HDC) was one of those notified, with the deadline given as 30 June 2023.

Of course Hastings has had fluoride previously, and the situation was described to BayBuzz by Council as follows: “The timing is to enable the completion of the treatment plant upgrades (Waiaroha being the last key component). Our commitment, as per the 2013 referendum, has always been to re introduce fluoride dosing to the main supply once the upgrades were completed. The fluoride was turned off as part of the chlorination response back in 2016 as we use the same dosing infrastructure, with the priority being the safety of the water for drinking water first. 

Why not Napier?

Dr Bloomfield indicated that the first batch of instructions was targeting low-hanging fruit, where introduction of fluoride would be relatively easy, as is the case with Hastings. Napier, however, has never had fluoride and with its multi-well and distributed treatment system fluoridation would require more significant engineering investment.

Napier turn is doubtless coming!

Now back to the Covid charts …

Join the Conversation


  1. Unbelievable that MOH will ignore their own statistics regarding the uselessness of fluoride in the drinking water, and ignore international respectable studies of harm due to community water fluoridation only because those studies originated outside of NZ. Yet they gullibly ingested the folly of covid vax being safe & effective treatment(same dogma they give to fluoride) from foreign corporates only interested in profits and not safety. I have downloaded FL children’s stats in previous years and am dumfounded they have now been washed from the MOH website because they don’t tell the same story as their spin. One can access reliable foreign studies that show harm and little difference when drinking water is fluoridated, google this one for example: Prenatal Fluoride Exposure and Cognitive Outcomes in Children at 4 and 6–12 Years of Age in Mexico. Fluoride Action Network has a considerable body of research available, peer reviewed studies etc for further truth on the matter. Everyone (esp our politicans) should be concerned and do their own due diligence on this subject !!!

    1. I totally agree with the above comment about reintroducing fluoride in our water. It is a chemical which is not needed and is harmful. Cut out the sugar and fund decent toothpaste for those children whose parents cannot afford this like they did or still do in Scotland. Many European countries stopped putting in Fluoride into the water supplies decades ago. What a shameful parting shot of Ashley Bloomfield to demand this as one of his last acts.

  2. I remember, some 50 years ago, when Waimari CC (Canterbury) wanted to introduce flouride to the county water. My father was furious, and introduced me to the then current research on flouride. That research still stands, and has been confirmed and developed over years since.
    I was horrified to see, this past week, alarming footage of young childrens tooth decay! Flouridating a city’s water supply is not the answer and will not change the cause of tooth decay! Invest the money in educating parents on how to feed kids healthily, and that giving kids succky sweet stuff causes tooth decay!
    I have been a huge supporter of Labour and Bloomfield over the pandemic, but equally hugely disappointed over his departing shot on flouride!! It seems a very lazy way of dealing with an issue that needs so much more!

  3. Where are the results of the fluoride trials that were done between Napier (no fluoride) and Hastings (yes fluoride) also Stats on levels of fluoride occurring naturally in other countries and their dental health.

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