Cape Town - Maiden’s Cove and Glen Beach in Camps Bay have been temporarily closed due to a collapsed collector sewer that caused an overflow on to the beach.
The beach closures follow the recent closures of Zeekoevlei, Rietvlei and Zandvlei, respectively, due to sewage spills.
The City said various City departments were activated to respond to the incident, which included taking samples to confirm if there was any risk to the public. The City said a suction tanker was commissioned to relieve the overflow and contain the spillage in preparation for a maintenance team to do repairs.
“Results from coastal water samples will help determine the extent of the impact and risk to bathers,” the City said.
Camps Bay resident Byron Herbert said the history of what was currently happening in respect of the Marine Outfall Point (MOP) had, been well documented and the City had been defensive as to its contested legal rights allowing it to pump untreated sewage into the sea.
“I have not been told what the cause of this past weekend's beach closure due to sewage is, however Camps Bay itself has a long history of untreated sewage being pumped into the bay. When I was part of the Camps Bay & Clifton Ratepayers’ Association, all we asked the City to do was to acknowledge that pumping untreated sewage into the sea was not an acceptable practice.
“Even though the MOP has been in operation since the early 1970’s, this doesn’t mean it was acceptable then, nor is it acceptable now. The negative effects have significantly increased since the pump station was first commissioned, as a result of the increase in the need to process and pump the human waste of an increasingly popular area, with everything ’flushed’ from Clifton through Camps Bay to Bakoven,” said Herbert.
Dr Jo Barnes from the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences said package plants that took less space and new technologies existed to remove many hazardous chemicals and pathogens, and the City had not released the results of any investigations into these options.
“They simply deny in one way or another that the sewage released into the sea does damage to the environment and pose health risks. The second and equally urgent undertaking that is long overdue is a thorough upgrade of the sewerage systems in the entire City.
“The systems are overburdened, leaking and bearing the brunt of poor disposal habits by many inhabitants who lack proper services such as reliable and frequent solid waste disposal,” said Barnes.
She said the City blamed inhabitants for disposing waste in the wrong places, thus blocking the system, but was guilty of disposing huge amounts of sewage into the sea in an equally inappropriate manner.