Call for urgent investigation into Milnerton Lagoon 'sewage spill'
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Cape Town - The Milnerton Central Residents Association sent a request to Mayor Dan Plato and Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell for an urgent investigation and intervention regarding the Rietvlei reserve pollution as it overflows into the Diep River and Milnerton Lagoon, which the City is under a directive to fix.
Head of the association’s environmental portfolio Caroline Marx said the ongoing pollution in the Rietvlei and other reserves calls into question the City's ability to effectively and quickly respond to these problems.
Marx said the problem appeared to have been ongoing for weeks with no reasonable explanation provided.
“Are they really treated as urgent, given that months often pass before they are fixed? The City manager and Mayco member Xanthea Limberg do not appear to be very concerned about non-compliance with the directives and pre-directives issued.
“The standard excuse is to just divert the blame elsewhere, either on to residents or tender disputes or procurement or labour problems,” said Marx.
Table View resident Phillipe Roche said the lagoon and the vlei were “dead” as there was nothing living there anymore while residents were living with the smell.
Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said the discolouration witnessed by residents on Saturday was not due to a specific sewage spill incident but was as a result of a combination of factors that were contributing to the discolouration in the water, where the estuary meets the ocean.
“These contributing factors include the recent heavy rainfall and increased clearing of water hyacinth which, when cleared, releases dark water, combined with the poor state of water quality in the system as the Diep River is a large catchment and there are a number of pollution sources and points along the catchment,” she said.
Environmental Affairs and Development Planning spokesperson Rudolf van Jaarsveldt said Bredell and the department had been engaging Plato and the relevant senior officials on a range of inter-related environmental matters and legislative non-compliances since November 2019.
He said these were related to the Diep River catchment, Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works, a number of pump stations and also the Milnerton Lagoon and estuary.
“The CoCT has major capital upgrading projects, as well as essential maintenance works, programmed and budgeted for in the next four years,” he said.