Council eyes filtering for lake snot


Several Queenstown hotels are dealing with a slippery issue - lake snot.

Chief engineer at City Hall Ulrich Glasner says council is aware of seven instances where a build-up of algae in Lake Wakatipu is affecting water supply.

His team is working with Otago Regional Council to learn more about it, what causes the green goo and what treatments are available.

Lake snot isn’t a health concern but he confirms it’s the same slime affecting Wanaka’s water system.

A decision has yet to be made on treatment options. It’s looking at a filter-system trial, used over the hill, to see if it could be a feasible treatment solution.

“There are potential options both in the short and longer term, but they all involve a significant cost and as such we want to have all the information on the table before we make a decision.”

Queenstown, Fernhill, Sunshine Bay, Kelvin Heights and Frankton’s water comes from two lake intakes, one at Kelvin Heights and another at Two Mile.

Ulrich confirms he isn’t aware of residential properties being affected.

Advantage Plumbing Ltd owner Peter Faul, who announced his intention to stand for council in last week’s Mountain Scene, says he’s come across the green goo a few times.

“Our maintenance staff have encountered a slime material in water filters on three separate occasions in the last four to six weeks.”

The algae, which blocks water filters and can reduce water pressure, isn’t something he’d seen in Queenstown up until six weeks ago, Faul says.

“It looks organic so is probably something that is naturally occurring in the lake and finding its way into our water supply.”

Council posted an update on social media late last month saying the goo was not a health concern.

“If you notice a significant drop in water pressure at home it might pay to check and clean your water filter,” the statement reads.