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Milnerton residents upset over polluted lagoon

The residents of Milnerton are up in arms, as they claim the City of Cape Town has taken more than a decade to do anything about the pollution found in their local lagoon. As a result, the Milnerton Central Residents Association (MCRA) has requested a meeting with the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato.

The City, however, reports that is has worked closely with the relevant community organisations, and has shared water quality data with them. “The water quality challenges in the Milnerton Lagoon are communicated to numerous interested and affected parties,” says Mayco Member for Water and Waste, Xanthea Limburg. “The City is working to find the source and cause of the pollution and will take the necessary actions to cease the pollution once this investigation has concluded, and will provide information in due course.”

Speaking to CapeTalk, Richard Allen, chairperson of the Milnerton Canoe Club, is currently consulting with the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) to take legal steps against the City. Allen alleges that the water of the lagoon is black and smells putrid.

“The City tests routinely at the lagoon and monitors water quality at several locations within the greater Diep catchment area. The City’s investigations and sampling of various confluences into the vlei have revealed that there are various sources of pollution that impact on the vlei, and another component of the investigation which is currently underway, seeks to identify these sources,” Limburg said. “The City will take necessary actions to cease the pollution, chiefly at the three main stormwater channels. Information will be provided in due course.”

Limburg also adds that the City has in fact conducted E.Coli tests to determine the quality of the water at a number of sites in the local catchment area, and this includes the Milnerton Lagoon.

“A number of sites in the catchment, including the Milnerton Lagoon had elevated E.coli results due to the ongoing challenges associated with informal settlements, back yard dwellings and overflows/blockages in the sewer reticulation system. Cable theft and vandalism at pump stations also create system failures, and unfortunately, this is not uncommon. Recreational users have been notified about poor water quality in the Milnerton Lagoon section,” she said. “Within the deep water lake, sometimes known as Flamingo vlei, where a number of recreational activities take place, water quality is very good and the guidelines are always met. However, water quality in the lower section known as Milnerton Lagoon has been compromised of late. Signage warning the public about poor water quality in this lower section has been erected. The user groups, which are chiefly canoeists, are aware of the ongoing water quality challenges in this region and have been requested to exercise caution/avoid entering these waters.”

Limburg has urged residents of Milnerton to please contact the City if they have any complaints by doing the following:

– Via email: for water-related queries

– SMS to 31373 (maximum 160 characters)

– Visiting a walk-in centre

– Logging a service request by phoning the call centre on the telephone number 0860 103 089

– Sending a WhatsApp message to 063 407 3699

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