Milnerton lagoon: One step forward and two steps back

Water test results more disturbing than ever.

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09/06/2020 12:04:53

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Milnerton lagoon: One step forward and two steps back

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      OUTA is concerned that the intervention taken by The City of Cape Town has not yielded the desired results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has been actively engaging with the City of Cape Town and the Green Scorpions (also known as the environmental management inspectors) over the past few months, to find ways to resolve the pollution issue within the Milnerton lagoon and surrounding areas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “We are still continuing with independent water testing, and the results we are currently receiving are more disturbing than ever,” says Andrea Korff, Legal Project Manager at OUTA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The City’s response to a pre-directive issued by the Western Cape Department’s Directorate: Environmental Law Enforcement stated that for the past seven weeks the Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) has been meeting the limits as stated in its water use licence, except for on E Coli.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The City also acknowledged that the water use licence for Potsdam WWTW states that E Coli should be zero (the special limits), which is unreasonable for most WWTW. The City is of the opinion that it does, however, meet the E Coli limits according to the General Authorisation which states that E Coli should be less than 1000 cfu/100ml.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “OUTA’s most recent independent tests, taken on 20 May 2020, shows the highest level of E Coli (102 000 per 100ml) we have ever recorded at the PDA sampling point,” says Korff. The PDA is the normal outfall discharge point at the Potsdam WWTW. “Generally, the results show fair treatment. However, the E Coli is significantly high and very concerning.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “What is even more of a concern is that our water test results for the past couple of months show how the E Coli levels at our sampling points have drastically worsened, despite the City claiming that the water quality is improving. As active citizens, we should never confuse movement with action and feel that the City is taking one step forward but two steps back,” says Korff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      OUTA and Milnerton residents want to see tangible changes in the quality of water being discharged from the Potsdam WWTW and call on the City to be transparent about its water testing and results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      OUTA will continue to monitor the water quality being discharged within the Diep River estuary and will update the results on the OUTA website.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The detailed report of all the Diep River water tests done up to and including 20 May is here

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Picture: Flickr/Warren

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      OUTA is a proudly South African civil action organisation, that is purely crowd funded. Our work is supported by ordinary citizens who are passionate about holding government accountable and ensuring our taxes are used to the benefit of all South Africans.