It has emerged at the inquiry into Havelock North drinking water that the Hastings District has the country's worst record for contaminated water.
The government inquiry is looking at how the town's water supply was contaminated, poisoning more than 5000 people with campylobacter in August. Three deaths were linked to the contamination.
The inquiry is focussed on a pond near the water bores being contaminated by sheep faeces.
Counsel assisting the inquiry, Nathan Gedye QC, revealed a similar outbreak occurred in the town in 1998 when 80 people were reported as falling ill.
Mr Gedye told the inquiry this incident appeared to have been forgotten and the lessons from it lost.
He opened the inquiry this morning by saying a lot of focus will go on the Mangateretere Pond near the Havelock North bores.
Mr Gedye said three paddocks surrounding the pond carry livestock in the winter.
He put it to the Hastings District Council that sheep faeces from those paddocks were the predominant source of contamination last year, and the council agreed.