Only 3 of 156 South African towns fail water quality test

01 August 2017 - 17:15 By Ernest Mabuza
Thembi Mogoba gives her son, Kgothatso, water from a tap outside their home. File photo.
Thembi Mogoba gives her son, Kgothatso, water from a tap outside their home. File photo.
Image: LAUREN MULLIGAN

Three towns in South Africa were found to have substandard drinking water during mid-year testing‚ but the good news is that this has since been fixed - and it is fewer than last year.

Civil rights group AfriForum on Tuesday released its results on the quality of drinking water and sewage systems.

The organisation tested the quality of drinking water in 156 towns and the sewage systems of 88 towns during May and June. It said it had reason to be worried about the management of the complete water supply chain‚ especially in terms of treated sewage.

Three towns had substandard drinking water when AfriForum tested the water quality 156 towns during May and June.

Drinking water in Ellisras in Limpopo was contaminated with E.coli‚ a harmful bacteria. The presence of E.coli indicates that there has been a recent sewage or animal waste contamination of the water.

Drinking water in Heilbron and Villiers contained high concentrations of bacteria that are associated with human and animal waste.

AfriForum warned the communities in the three towns not to drink the water while the organisation engaged with the municipalities to address the poor water quality. The organisation’s head of environmental affairs‚ Marcus Pawson‚ said follow-up tests performed after the initial tests indicated that the water was now clean.

Pawson said this year’s results showed an improvement in the quality of drinking water‚ as seven towns failed the drinking water test last year.

However‚ there was a deterioration in the treatment of sewage systems.

AfriForum tested the sewage systems of 88 towns this year and found that 58 did not adhere to set quality standards compared to 26 out of 73 sewage systems tested last year.

Almost all the Tshwane treatment plants‚ with the exception of Pretoria East and Meyerspark‚ had high levels of E.coli.

The standards determine that there may be no more than 1000 units of E.coli per 100ml of water in treated sewage.

The tests found that Pretoria West sewage treatment plant contained 15‚000 units of E.coli per 100ml of treated sewage.

Cape Town North plant contained a whopping 50‚000 units of E.coli per 100ml of treated sewage.

“This deterioration is indicative of an invisible crisis that threatens South African communities‚ just as the current pollution of South Africa’s water resources is indicative of a serious crisis on national level that should be addressed by national government‚” Pawson said.

- TimesLIVE

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