People walk along the beach near the Milnerton Lagoon which flows between the Milnerton Mainland and Woodbridge Island and onwards to Milnerton Beach Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - A court showdown between the City and Milnerton residents is looming over the sewage pollution at the lagoon. Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said it had written to the City to request a meeting to find workable solutions to fix the sewage pollution crisis within the Diep River and Milnerton Lagoon.

Outa legal project manager Andrea Korff said: “We tasked independent consultants to take water samples as part of our ongoing investigation and, according to our sample reports dated 23/01/2020 and 03/02/2020, water pollution sources point to the Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works and an identified structure believed to be a sewage lift station. These results identify the City as one of the main culprits of sewage contamination in the Milnerton Lagoon catchment.”

“The Potsdam sample was a diluted sample taken just downstream from the discharge point and the E coli levels are far above the legal requirement,” she said. Resident associations had reached out to Outa.

Recently, the City announced plans to upgrade the facility, which was scheduled for completion in 2025. The City said the plant was not the primary cause of the pollution and there were various sources of pollution.

The City identified Montague Gardens, Dunoon, Doornbach and Phoenix as major contributors to the pollution of the lagoons, and has developed preliminary plans to intercept and divert water from the two main canals serving these areas. Resident associations had reached out to Outa for help in finding a solution to the problem by applying pressure on the City to fix the environmental issue. 

Mayco member for water and waste services Xanthea Limberg said: “A range of City representatives met members of the community and shared progress of plans to alleviate challenges in the catchment, which was followed by a Q&A session.

"This is one of several meetings between the City and  community recently, and the City is committed to sustaining a close working relationship with the residents as we drive the projects to improve water quality. We acknowledge the community’s frustration and hope that by keeping channels of communication open that costly litigation can be avoided.”

The Greater Table View Action Forum’s planning and biodiversity portfolio chairperson David Ayres said: “We have worked with other community based organisations to compel the City of Cape Town to account and acknowledge its responsibilities.  And ensure that basic services are provided and the Potsdam WasteWater Treatment Plant treats effluent to an agreed and acceptable levels. 

"The City has to date ignored the pleas of the community and have offered little in the way of solutions. The City of Cape Town seems to favours clean audits to clean rivers, nature reserves and a clean environment. Preferring to battle its citizens in litigation rather than work towards solving the problems they are responsible to solve.” 


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Cape Argus