MOSSEL BAY NEWS - Mossel Bay Municipality has on Thursday, 29 November declared the Hartenbos River unsafe for all recreational use and will again urgently petition the department of environmental affairs and developmental planning (DEADP) to breach the river mouth.
In a press release, the municipality said authorities confirmed that the water samples taken on 19 November and submitted to the municipality by the Hartenbos River Forum (HRF) did not indicate that water quality in the Hartenbos River was unfit for recreational purposes.
The municipality surmise that this may have been one of the reasons why the DEADP denied their application for the breaching of the Hartenbos River.
In an urgent missive to the municipality on Thursday, 29 November, the HRF implored the municipality to conduct urgent tests on all infrastructure and pipelines conveying untreated sewerage into the Hartenbos Waste Water Treatment Works to ensure that there is no seepage or accidental discharge of untreated sewerage into the Hartenbos River; and to visit all properties with septic tank systems on the banks of the Hartenbos River to compile a register of all these septic tank systems and to check the owner’s discharge records for their septic tanks for the past 12 months.
The HRF also wants the municipality to ensure that all these septic tanks comply with the basic requirements.
The HRF also advocates for the placing physical barriers to block vehicular access to the Hartenbos River on the northern bank from the N2 freeway to the mouth so that unscrupulous “honey sucker” truck operators are denied access to the Hartenbos River in an effort to stop potentially illegal discharge of untreated sewerage into the Hartenbos River.
This follows the HRF’s view that there are several potential sources of E-Coli pollution in the Hartenbos River.
Mossel Bay Municipality has previously indicated that weekly analyses of river water samples by an accredited laboratory will commence from 26 November. These samples would be tested for E-coli, pH, Faecel Strep and ammonia.
The Municipality on Thursday, 29 November received the results of the first sample taken on 26 November which indicates that water quality in the Hartenbos may indeed be unfit for recreational purposes, when the results are compared to the 2012 South African Water Quality Guidelines for Coastal Waters.
Mossel Bay Municipality will now do the following:
- Erect sign boards indicating that the estuary is now closed until further notice
- Together with the Hartenbos River Forum, prepare a new request for the breaching of the Hartenbos River for submission to the DEADP for a decision.
The Municipality will continue with water quality monitoring as previously described.
For more details, contact Mossel Bay Municipality on (044) 606-5000 or send an email to email@example.com.
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