Tests on sewage sites

2015-10-06 06:00

Tests will be carried out on the City of Cape Town’s marine sewage outfall sites, as part of an investigation of the City’s permit application for the pipes.

The permit is a new requirement by the department of environmental affairs.

The testing was announced by a City official at a recent ward 54 committee meeting.

The tests will be carried out by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and it is expected that a report will be ready in eight months.

The testing will also look into the reported plumes of sewage discharge which were spotted from the air on two occasions.

Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for utility services, says the plumes are visible near Hout Bay, Camps Bay and Green Point on calm, clear days.

Sewage is treated by removing solids before it is expelled.

Regular monitoring on three coastlines takes place and divers regularly inspect the pipeline and regular tests for E.coli levels are carried out.

However, plumes have been reported on two occasions, first last year and again this year, and will be one of the focusses of the series of testing, the official says.

Tests will be conducted to check for effluent characteristics, physical and chemical characteristics, water quality.

Testing will also be done beyond the dilution zone; sediments quality to determine the impact of discharged effluent on the marine receiving environment and mussel tissue monitoring – the concentration of contaminants in mussel tissue will give an indication of the condition of the surrounding water column.

The City recently came under fire for marine outflows after a permit application was advertised to allow the discharge of effluent water into the sea at Green Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay.

These outfalls roughly 5% of all the water treated at the City’s water treatment plants.

The Green Point outfall discharges sewage 1.7 km out to sea at a depth of 30 metres.

At Camps Bay the discharge takes place 1.3 km off the coast.

The sewage is treated before it is discharged, with any solid masses bigger than 3 mm removed.

The permit was as a result of a shift in national government regulation rather than changes to the City’s waste management, Sonnenberg has explained (“Sewage nothing new”, People’s Post, 16 June).

The new application relates to a change in the licensing requirements.

Despite already having licenced marine outfalls, the City was required to undertake a public participation process, he says

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