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City monitoring discolouration of water at Diep River mouth<p>The discolouration of the water pictured in an aerial photograph of the Diep River mouth is due to a combination of factors, including sediment from recent heavy rainfall, algal growth due to high nutrient loading from treated wastewater and inflows of untreated wastewater due primarily to informality in the catchment, and the ongoing clearing of water hyacinth, which darkens the water . The discolouration is not due to a specific raw sewage spill incident.</p><p>The Diep River is a large catchment and there are a number of pollution sources and points along the catchment. Currently bacterial loads are very high, which indicates significant human contamination within the catchment. Higher nutrient loads lead to increased algal growth and in turn will make the water look green/brown. </p><p>In addition, there is always a contrast between sea water and river water where they meet. Due to heavy rainfall, there has also been a lot of suspended sediment in the Diep River recently, which can contribute to discolouration of the water.</p><p>The City is monitoring this matter and residents are assured the health of the waterways is of top priority under the new post-drought Water Strategy. </p><p style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>City’s ongoing efforts in Diep River catchment</strong></p><p>An action plan to address chronic pollution in the Diep River has been developed and is transversal and inclusive of a number of different departments and tiers of government. There is a monthly report of short, medium and long-term interventions being implemented, submitted to sub-councils and the Western Cape Government, which is available publically.</p><p>However, challenges around illegal development in the catchment and obstruction of City sewerage infrastructure for maintenance remain prevalent, as does misuse/abuse of the sewer system. A whole of society effort is needed to address these issues and ensure sustained improvement in the lagoon.</p><p><strong>In the meantime, some major infrastructure projects under way in the Diep River catchment area, include:</strong></p><ul><li><strong>The Potsdam WwTW upgrade project</strong>, at a total estimated value of R2,2 billion, will progressively provide new technology and additional treatment capacity between now and estimated completion in August 2025. The Phase 1 demolition on the property is already complete, and the project is currently at the end of the detailed design phase. The mechanical and electrical as well as the civil construction procurement process is set to begin.</li><li><strong>Stormwater to sewer diversions</strong> to address the impact of unlawful land occupations in Dunoon/Doornbach are being designed for completion in 2023. A Dunoon Bulk Upgrade has already been completed in June 2020.</li><li><strong>Upgrade of Koeberg Road Pump Station</strong> (including construction of stormwater to sewer diversions in Montague Gardens) to be completed by July 2022.</li><li><strong>Montague Gardens Bulk Sewer Upgrade</strong>: The size of this bulk sewer pipeline is being increased. City Council is this week set to approve the procurement of engineering services for this project. Sewer abuse however remains the main cause of blockages. Only behaviour change and not an increase in size will bring an end to sewer blockages and resultant spills.</li><li><strong>Stormwater outlet litter traps</strong> to be installed by the end of 2021 in line with a progressive metro-wide rollout of this following planning, design, procurement, and installation. The City is further procuring services, equipment and machinery to enhance sewer spill incident response times.</li><li><strong>Over R130 million investment in Sewage Pump Station Upgrades</strong> is planned for high-priority stations in the Diep River catchment as part of a city-wide audit and upgrade programme.</li></ul><p>An over-arching pollution incident protocol has been completed, which will inform regular reports on ongoing efforts to combat sewer blockages, misuse and enforcement of by-laws.</p><p>Ongoing by-law contraventions in the Diep River catchment are a significant driver of pollution and remain a major concern for the City as we simply cannot police these 24/7 and need members of the public and businesses to help by complying with by-laws and reporting abuse of the sewer system.</p><p>Various unlawful land occupations have occurred along the Diep River on both public and private land, particularly during the national lockdown.</p><p>Assessments are ongoing in terms of basic service delivery to newly formed settlements following the spike in illegal occupations during the national Covid-19 lockdown since last year, 70% of which occurred on land unsuitable for human settlements. It is estimated to cost more than R300 million to service the newly unlawfully occupied areas across the metro where it is possible to do so.</p><p>The City continues to work with other landowners in the catchment to protect property from mostly well-organised illegal occupation attempts, which have an environmental impact.</p><p>Various spatial planning and human settlements projects are also underway to address informality in the Diep River catchment, and the City is piloting new innovative means of waste management in settlements such as Doornbach.</p><p>The City is further driving public awareness and education to reduce, misuse and abuse of the sewer system, through its Bin it, don’t block it’ campaign, which aims to encourage residents to help prevent sewer blockages from incorrect waste disposal.</p><p>While there are not short-term solutions to the symptoms of dumping in sewers, land invasions and unplanned development, the City has developed plans to manage these symptoms, and implementation of these plans is being tracked by the Western Cape Government.</p><p><br><strong>End</strong><br></p>2021-07-26T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#a56018a2-0c7a-4055-af9c-df4728adb384;L0|#0a56018a2-0c7a-4055-af9c-df4728adb384|water and waste;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#0adac055-e831-432b-b160-e66051b6661b;L0|#00adac055-e831-432b-b160-e66051b6661b|Vleis10

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