Zeekoevlei, whose name directly translates as “hippopotamus marsh”, is the latest area to be affected by an enormous sewage spill that poses a threat not only to the surrounding residents, but to the endangered western leopard toad as well.
According to IOL, this is now the third recreational vlei to be closed to the public after the spill allegedly started last week Thursday. This unfortunate incident follows the Rietvlei that closed last Sunday, while the Zandvlei waterbody was closed on May 25.
@CityofCT @Our_DA @jsteenhuisen @alanwinde @OUTASA @PeteWalsh_ZAR @DeanMacpherson now Zeekoevlei is also closed for ecoli due to sewage spill. What on earth is going on here guys? And still zero response from anyone? Are you purposefully trying to shut down watersports industry? pic.twitter.com/iHsgMyzjpp
— Simon (@Consumer_HeroSA) July 7, 2021
— Helen Lockhart (@2OceansHelen) July 7, 2021
Friends of Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei vice-chairperson Tom Schwerdtfeger, said that these spills present serious health risks to residents in the surrounding areas, as reported by IOL.
“The sewage spill disaster and the lack of effective action to contain it around it contradicts the City of Cape Town’s Water Strategy, which clearly states its commitments to the provision and facilitation of safe access to water and sanitation, to the growth of inclusivity and trust, to support ‘the rehabilitation of urban waterways and increase their value, and use for recreation, flood management and water supply’, and to protect natural environments,” he said.
Schwerdtfeger added that volunteers were deployed to assist with the conservation of the endangered western leopard toad.
“In recent years, the toads have returned to breed in Zeekoevlei due to the tireless efforts of all the volunteers who have assisted them across the roads over the years, as well as those who have made major contributions to improving water quality in Zeekoevlei, thus making it habitable once more for this endangered species,” he said.
Schwerdtfeger added that the toad breeding season is expected to commence in the next two months, but would not reap success if the water quality was not addressed.
Meanwhile, Mayco member for water and waste, Xanthea Limberg said the main cause of the overflow was still unclear.
“The City is currently using temporary pumps at the inlet works of the Cape Flats Wastewater Treatment Works while permanent pumps are in for repairs. Three of the four permanent pumps have experienced mechanical failure due to dumping into sewers.
“Currently, everything from plastic to nappies to large objects like steel drums and gas cylinders can be seen jammed into the remaining screw pump. These will be cleared as soon as sump levels drop,” she added.
Good day, the City would like to assure residents that it is doing everything possible to miminise the environmental impact of a significant sewer overflow into Zeekoevlei, part of the False Bay Nature Reserve. Read more: https://t.co/qcjuWyXfcJ
— City of Cape Town (@CityofCT) July 8, 2021