The City recently opened an extension of the Scientific Services Facility in Waste Water Avenue in Athlone to increase the scope and scale of water quality testing.

Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, Xanthea Limberg, explains the importance of the newly-opened extension of the scientific facilities.

“Investment in scientific research is critical for a forward-thinking and proactive municipality and the City is confident that this newly-enhanced capacity will act as a driver for enhanced management of these chemicals both on the manufacturing side and on the side of the regulator. As our understanding of human health and the ecological effects of various compounds improves, so does our ability to prioritise environmental interventions,” she says.

With the extension, the City now has the means and capacity to test water quality at levels above what is currently required by SANS 241. This will provide an opportunity for the researchers to build extensive and comprehensive data sets.

Along with the extension is a range of new scientific instruments which include: 

– A total organic carbon analyser for liquid and solid samples

– A ICP_OES instrument for metal analysis

– A direct mercury analyser

Laboratory assistants Xolani Adonis, Viwe Dyonta and Mlungisi Martins at the new extension of the facility.

The extension to the facility was decided on due to the growing global concern about the impacts of the accumulation of man-made chemicals in the environment. There is a concern that these chemicals could affect human health and research is required to establish which chemicals are problematic and in what quantity they become a hazard.

Recognised for their capabilities and contribution to the City’s Blue Drop and Green Drop successes, the scientific facility is paving the way for innovative water quality research.

Limberg adds that the City is focused on ensuring safe water for all.

“The City’s Draft Water Strategy commits to providing safe access to water and to transforming the municipality into a water-sensitive city. Extra capacity provided by this ISO-accredited laboratory to detect, to monitor and to research emerging pollutants will be key to fulfilling these commitments.”

She goes on to say the facilities are in highly-skilled and qualified hands and will help water quality in Cape Town to be maintained at the highest standard.

“The primary mandate of the Scientific Services Laboratories is to provide credible and reliable scientific monitoring services and advice to protect public health and to ensure that a safe environment exists. Over the years this section, whose staff compliment currently includes four PhD and 15 Masters qualifications equipped to maintain Blue Drop and ISO 17025 accreditation, has significantly contributed to the City’s reputation as a leader in scientific services countrywide. This highly-qualified team keeps us on track with meeting and exceeding relevant standards, and the new facility means that the City is now well placed to continue to do so.”

Xanthea Limberg at the new extension of the scientific facility in Athlone.

Picture: Supplied, City of Cape Town

Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about animals, social issues, the environment and current affairs.