Selling seawater

Port Alfred entrepreneurs see market demand

COMMERCIALLY bottled and sold seawater from Port Alfred may soon become the “toast of the town” for inland residents who value seawater for its medicinal properties.

Former Ndlambe mayor Sipho Tandani has partnered with local plumber Guy Snyman to abstract seawater from Shelly Beach, between Kelly’s Blue Beach and Flame Lily, an activity which has been sanctioned by the Eastern Cape department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism (Dedeat).

No desalination is involved in the bottling process, so no brine is produced.

Tandani said seawater had long been valued for its medicinal properties and inland visitors to the coast often filled a few bottles themselves to take back with them. After doing some market research into the viability of a commercial operation, he was satisfied there was sufficient consumer demand and approached Dedeat.

In a letter of response last month, Siyabonga Gqalangile, Dedeat’s manager of environmental impact management, said “the intended activities as they relate to the abstraction of seawater would not trigger listed activities in terms of the 2014 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations promulgated under the National Environmenal Management Act, 1998 as amended… In lieu of the facts reflected herein supra, you may commence with the proposed activities without an environmental authorisation.”

Tandani and Snyman’s company, PA Beverage (Pty) Ltd, will erect an on-site notice at the point where the abstraction is to take place, to inform the public.

A 95m long pipe will be used to pump seawater to between 8am and 3.30pm from Monday to Friday each week. It takes about 40 minutes to fill a 1 000 litre tank, which will then be transported by bakkie to the already existing PA Beverage plant in the industrial area.

The pipe will be removed within a reasonable period after the extraction.

A bakkie and trailer will be stationed at the Shelly Beach parking area while seawater is being pumped.

“We will do regular tests to check the water quality, like testing for e.coli,” Tandani said. “But there’s no desalination – it’s pure seawater.”

Dedeat also stated: “The abstraction of water shall only take place at Shelly Beach and any deviation/s from the said activities which might have negative environmental impacts shall have to be authorised by this office and the National Department of Environmental Affairs: Oceans and Coast Branch.”

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