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City calls for assistance in combating Water Pollution

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City calls for assistance in combating Water Pollution

by City of Cape Town
15 Apr 2009
City of Cape Town
City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town's Water and Sanitation Department is taking its mandate to combat water pollution seriously and requests citizens and industries to play their part. It finds that many of our natural watercourses and stormwater channels throughout the city are awash with traces of pollutants, from solid waste to liquids that are environmentally harmful.

The Department has noticed a marked increase in pollution and it seems that our citizens and industries are unaware of how their practices are contributing to the destruction of the natural environment. The streams and vleis in Cape Town are often used by residents for recreational purposes which include fishing and bird watching and such opportunities are being reduced by increasing pollution.

Individuals and industry can play a decisive role in reducing pollutants in our streams. Harmful substances discharged in our roads and on paths first land up in the City's stormwater network and then in our streams and the sea. Such substances include motor vehicle oils, detergents and household chemicals, cigarette butts, litter and building rubble.

Water pollution also originates on industrial premises where onsite process control, storage, handling and other activities result in pollutants flowing into to the stormwater system or the runoff of these harmful substances during rains. This places our streams and wetlands under constant threat.

Illegal discharges into our sewerage system negatively impact on the City's biological wastewater treatment processes. This reduces the quality of its final effluent discharge into streams and wetlands. The City's Wastewater and Industrial Effluent By-law defines the parameters of legal discharges into the stormwater and sewerage systems and its Water Pollution Control Inspectorate monitors the extent to which it is complied with.

The Inspectorate consults with and advises members of the public, NGOs, CBOs and business forums in this regard. They have had many successful interventions but, at times, encounter resistance from property owners or businesses who deny them access to their premises, even though they have the necessary identification and supporting documents. The City would like to make it clear that these officials may not legally be denied access to any premises within the legal jurisdiction and framework of the by-law that safeguards our stormwater and sewerage systems.

Anyone who has concerns about water pollution can contact the Water and Sanitation Technical Operations Centre on 0860103054, by using the SMS line 31373, or by e-mail


NO. 218/ 2009
15 APRIL 2009

TEL: 021 400 3719

TEL: 021 487 2318 CELL: 084 307 2001

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