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Cape Town building reserves of chlorine used for safe drinking water, pursues local substitutes after supply scare

File picture: African News Agency(ANA)

File picture: African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 28, 2022

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town (CoCT) will continue to build reserves of chlorine - which is used to treat water for human consumption - even though production levels of the country’s main chlorine supplier has stabilised.

“While national chlorine supply constraints have improved, the City deems it prudent to continue building reserves,” Cape Town’s Mayco Member for Water and Sanitation, Dr Zahid Badroodien said in a statement on Friday.

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Badroodien said the City is already procuring local chlorine gas substitutes and is actively exploring other alternatives.

On January 20, the country’s main chlorine gas supplier NCP Chlorchem, based in Gauteng, incurred problems acquiring imported raw materials and faced supply disruptions.

Chlorine liquid gas is used to ensure the purification of water enabling it to be suitable for human consumption as per the national SANS241 drinking water quality standards.

Jo Barnes, Stellenbosch University’s Senior public health professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, labelled the use of chlorine in drinking water as one of the major public health advances in the last century.

The announcement of a shortage sent shock waves through the country, as drinking water that has not been treated with chlorine will have the potential to contain disease-causing viruses and bacteria.

However, by Wednesday, January 26, NCP Chlorchem was up and running again and back to supplying all of its customers.

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Badroodien on Friday said that the City is receiving all of its deliveries of chlorine as scheduled.

“Cape Town’s tap water remains safe to drink and continues to meet national SANS241 drinking water quality standards at all times,” he adds.

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