Draft estuary plan, a step in the right direction for Milnerton Lagoon pollution

Issued by Cayla Murray – DA Constituency Head, Blaauwberg/Durbanville
07 Sep 2022 in Press Statements

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Last night, the City of Cape Town held its very first quarterly meeting on Milnerton Lagoon and the Lower Diep River Catchment. During the engagement, the city unpacked their draft estuary management plan that includes short-term interventions to better the health of the lagoon.

The estuary plan acknowledges that the catchment ecosystem collapsed and needs urgent intervention. The estuary is divided into six distinct zones, based on water quality and hydrology, habitat, and management priorities.

The short-term intervention will preserve the functional Rietvlei ecosystem by minimizing disturbance and water quality impacts from the Diep River by installing a barrier. The Milnerton Lagoon will benefit from improved handling of stormwater runoff and the city will reduce the impacts of sewage spills and other pollution sources through the fast-tracking of the installation of generators and better telemetry monitoring.

The intervention is followed by an announcement that the city is considering developments to install temporary package plants, signalling a massive win for the community as it means that we are on the right track to addressing the significant pressure placed on local sewerage plants including Potsdam, as well as the pollution of the beloved lagoon.

The temporary package plants will see the implementation of domestic wastewater treatment plant/s which individually can process up to 4000 kl a day.

The quarterly meeting was hosted by Councilor Zahid Badroodien, the Mayoral Committee Member for Water, and was further attended by local Councilors Anthony Benadie and Fabian Ah-Sing.

Currently, Potsdam’s capacity stands at 47 ml a day and its upgrade capacity will enable it to process up to 100 ml a day by 2026. It was explained that there are upgrades across the City of Cape Town to Wastewater Treatment Works as a part of its major capital upgrade programme. This is amid significant pressures faced not only at Potsdam, which serves the Milnerton area, but also Macassar and Zandvleit.

Among the encouraging steps announced were that:

• The City of Cape Town is conducting awareness within communities on the use of stormwater drains to prevent dumping and spills.

• Local reticulation will be taking place.

• That there will be increased pumping at the necessary stations during peak times to prevent spills.

Yesterday, I submitted written parliamentary questions to the Provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Developmental Planning, focusing on the penalties associated with the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998, the installation of further strategic stormwater outlets, timelines associated with directives issued by his department, and future engagements with the relevant stakeholders.

Mass urbanisation in the area is creating serious service delivery pressures has resulted not only in pollution in the river but further means that communities, including Dunoon and Joe Slovo, require additional sewerage services. We are, however, very encouraged by the steps taken by the City to address these issues.