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Interventions to mitigate issues

STRAND – Ongoing concerns about the pollution in the Soet River has prompted the municipality to ramp up efforts to address the matter.

The river has been at the centre of complaints and concerns from residents for several years. They bemoan the stench of sewage emanating from the river and the unhygienic conditions that have led to this situation.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee member for Water and Waste, stated this week that the City of Cape Town is taking multiple steps to address the issue.

She stated that cleaning litter and dumped items from the stormwater system is a continuous exercise in the catchment, a daily task, except at weekends, when high levels of littering and dumping take place.

Limberg added that a combination of high-pressure hoses and vacuum tankers are used in dislodging and then collecting waste accumulated in these drains at access points along the pavement.

“Intensive cleaning work is taking place in stormwater canals that flow through areas such as Wag ’n Bietjie, Lwandle, Nomzamo and Asanda Village,” she explained.

“These canals are a major source of pollution of the river. An excavator and front-end loader have been used to clean large amounts of litter wherever possible and an additional 40 EPWP workers have been employed to deal with areas where this isn’t possible.”

The City is piloting an enzymatic cleaning solution believed to be effective in treating water affected by sewer spills, Limberg added.

“Tests for chemical determinants and E. coli levels are being carried out to assess the extent to which this could form part of pollution interventions going forward,” she related.

The City is also pumping contaminated stormwater from the western leg of the Soet River directly into the sewer system in a bid to reduce the impact of pollution on residents’ downstream.

A section of the canal, where the flow is very low, was dammed to allow water to build to a suitable depth for pumping.

Sandbags weighed down by broken paving stones were used.

It was also stated that nets, donated by Sea Harvest, had been installed at the entrance to the Greenways residential development to prevent transport of litter into the ocean.

“Initially attempts were made to install nets in publicly accessible areas, but these nets were quickly stolen,” Limberg said.

“The City thanks the Greenways Estate management for their cooperation in addressing this.”

She concluded that the City will continue with various interventions to address pollution in the Soet River.

“We call on the public to assist by refraining from littering and dumping waste in the river.”

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