Independent tests show some Durban beaches have 'critical' E coli levels

04 July 2023 - 13:14
By Suthentira Govender
Many of Durban's central beaches have shown critical levels of E coli in tests conducted by independent company Talbot. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart Many of Durban's central beaches have shown critical levels of E coli in tests conducted by independent company Talbot. File photo.

Independent water quality tests by accredited testing company Talbot show critical levels of E coli at several central Durban beaches.

Any count of E coli above 500cfu/100ml is considered critical.

Talbot's latest results were posted on its Facebook page on Monday as part of regular public service announcements about the quality of water at some Durban beaches and in the city's rivers.

The samples, taken on June 29, show critical levels of E coli at Point, Ushaka, South, North, Battery and Country Club beaches.

The eThekwini municipality's June 29 beach status update shows all of these beaches as “open”.

Umhlanga Main, Bronze, Umdloti Main, Reunion, Warner and Umgababa beaches remain shut, according to the municipality.

The latest test results by Talbot
Image: Talbot via Facebook The latest test results by Talbot

“This status of beaches and pools will be updated as and when their status changes. You can still enjoy other recreational activities at closed beaches,” it said.

TimesLIVE was referred to the municipality's website when questions were posed about the status of the beaches and the cause of high E coli levels.

The storm that hit Durban a week ago also affected Blue Lagoon beach.

“The environmental impact of the heavy rains has resulted in pollution at Blue Lagoon Beach in Durban, caused by debris from the Umgeni River. 

“The department, in partnership with eThekwini, is facilitating the cleaning of the beach, which may temporarily lead to its closure,” said the KwaZulu-Natal co-operative governance & traditional affairs department.

Talbot's June 29 test results from the Umgeni River area also show critical E coli levels.

Cameron Service of environmental clean-up organisation The Litterboom Project said: “With flash flooding like this at such a strange time of the year, it’s hard to refute climate change effects.

“One thing is certain though, scenes like this will continue to occur and people's lives will continue to be at risk unless upstream mitigation measures are taken. This is the premise of our whole project.

“In the short term, we are deploying teams at coastal regions from Mangroves through to Umhlanga for the next few days and will monitor progress closely.

“Medium to long term, we need to stop acting surprised by these scenes and start acting on solutions to the environmental, social and structural challenges the rivers, and especially Umgeni, face.

“Interception, education, innovation and infrastructure are vital. Until this is done, this is our new norm,” he said.


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