Concern over Zandvlei’s contamination woes

The Zandvlei Estuary was contaminated once again in October, but has since been declared safe for recreational use.
The Zandvlei Estuary was contaminated once again in October, but has since been declared safe for recreational use.

The Zandvlei waterbody has suffered several incidents of contamination this year, with the most recent being earlier this month when it was closed for recreational use from Friday 4 October to Thursday 10 October.

While the vlei has been re-opened, residents – especially those in Marina Da Gama – remain concerned about the root cause of the constant contamination.

When the water became contaminated in July, it was reported that the spill had originated from Marina Da Gama ( “Sewage spill affects water quality at the vlei”, People’s Post 9 July). But, according to Julia Wood, biodiversity manager at the City of Cape Town, that is not the case this time.

“There has been a problem with two of the pump stations. Unfortunately, some sewage did get in and it caused high E.coli,” she told Cape Talk’s Refilwe Moloto.

The department tests the vlei once a month and tries to monitor its condition once a week.

The estuary’s manager, Kyran Wright, previously said that means of eradicating the sewage were limited. “Once the sewage is in the water, we’re a little bit hamstrung in our ability to deal with it and we have to allow nature to take its course.”

Estuary management’s Kingfisher weed harvester can assist the process. It oxygenates the water by circulating it to ensure the eco-systems are not compromised.

As False Bay’s only functioning estuary, the vlei is an important body of water which officials are working hard to conserve.

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