WARNING: City of Cape Town orders Atlantic Seaboard residents to stop drinking tap water

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 28, 2021


Cape Town – The City of Cape Town has advised residents in the Camps Bay, Sea Point and Fresnaye areas to refrain from drinking tap water until further notice.

The City’s Water and Sanitation Department, in consultation with the City’s Health Department, is investigating complaints related to an unusual smell/taste of municipal tap water along the Atlantic Seaboard, it said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

The reports indicate that the water has an earthy/metallic character.

’’As soon as test results from quality sampling are available, the City will provide updates on the matter. Initial results from water samples taken in the investigation should be available by tomorrow morning,’’ the City said.

— City of CT Alerts (@CityofCTAlerts) April 28, 2021

In December 2019, the City reassured residents who had detected an earthy taste to their tap water that it remained safe to drink and compliant with SANS241 standards. The change in taste was due to the presence of geosmin in the raw water supply.

"It must be emphasised that geosmin poses no threat to human health. It is a naturally occurring organic compound and is responsible for the earthy taste of beetroot and the scent that occurs in the air when rain falls after a dry spell.

’’The compound is sometimes present in water, particularly during periods of hot weather, and even minute concentrations of a few parts per trillion can be detected by the human palate," the City said at the time.

The City was dosing powdered activated carbon during the water treatment process to reduce the effect of the geosmin, but it took some time for the taste and smell of the water to normalise.

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