It said its Scientific Services branch situated in Athlone boasts laboratories with cutting-edge technology to conduct scientific tests of water samples collected from rivers, dams, vleis, wastewater, industrial effluent, groundwater, marine, recreational (public swimming baths), solid waste classification, leachates, treated leachates, and drinking water. They are also able to monitor air quality across the city.
Mayoral committee member for water and sanitation, Councillor Zahid Badroodien said 10 of its staff members recently underwent accreditation testing to obtain a three-year accreditation from the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to conduct the South African Scoring System version 5 (SASS5) testing method in rivers.
“It’s important to periodically evaluate the health of our aquatic river systems, and to do that successfully, various ecological indicators need to be assessed. The City’s SASS5 practitioners are well-qualified with backgrounds in environmental and water science, conservation biology, and aquatic ecology, and will conduct seasonal assessments of rivers across the city in Autumn, Spring, and Summer,” Badroodien said.
He said having the relevant skills is crucial as the SASS5 testing method is field-based.
It is a method used by the City since 2000 and it doesn’t rely on laborious time studying specimens through a microscope as the insects are easily identified to their family level with the naked eye.
Badroodien said SASS5 testing can be applied independently or compliment standard chemical testing methods, to provide a more holistic overview of river conditions. It is also a quick and cost-effective way to detect the level of health of a river and the quality of water, based on the presence of naturally occurring living organisms known as macroinvertebrates.
“Results of these various assessments will be instrumental, especially in the long term, when we will be able to track trends, showing the improvement or deterioration of water quality in rivers across Cape Town.
“Test results will also be made readily available to DWS for their purposes, including classification and reserve determination of rivers, as well as issuing water use licenses,” Badroodien said.