Alarming E.coli levels in local water samples

COMMUNITY leaders leading the Kenton Development Forum based in Ekuphumleni are furious about poor water quality in the township.

The community leaders came to the Talk of the Town offices last Wednesday to report the water crisis, claiming that people have been taken for granted and disrespected.

“We are here to report a matter that public should have long known about,” said former independent councillor Zache Ngxingo. He said his community had been deliberately given water that does not meet acceptable drinking standards.

According to the water samples memorandum Ngxingo obtained from the municipality dated February 12 (TotT has a copy), tap water in Ekuphumleni has a faecal coliform count of 22cfu/100ml, where the maximum allowed is 0cfu/100ml. The levels of E.coli in the water is 5cfu/100ml – again the maximum allowed is 0cfu/100ml.

Treated water at the Bathurst reservoir is even worse, with a faecal coliform count of 59cfu/100ml and an E.coli count of 15cfu/100ml. Faecal coliforms and E.coli were also present in Kwanonqubela, the Alexandria CBD and Wentzel Park, but at lower levels.

When water is in this condition it needs to be boiled before being drunk

“When water is in this condition it needs to be boiled before being drunk” said Gerald Ncamiso. However, he said if people were unaware of it, they were unlikely to boil their water.,

Ngxingo and Ncamiso indicated that if the community was informed about the condition of water, they would have taken precautions to minimise the risks related to consuming tainted water. They said children and the elderly are the most vulnerable groups in this water crisis.

Our children and old people have been drinking this water and we have been paying for this poop

“Yeh bruu! Imagine our children and old people have been drinking this water and we have been paying for this poop,” said Ngxingo.

“Write that down – I want to see it on the paper, enough is enough.”

When asked who should have informed the community he said it is the responsibility of the infrastructure directorate. He specifically mentioned a Mr Sophelo, who is the deputy director of infrastructure.

Ngxingo said the department lacks leadership, because informing the community would not have been a difficult thing to do.

He also wondered whether Ndlambe Municipality had been paying Amatola Water for impure water.

Before approaching TotT, the group said they had raised the issue with the relevant departments – community protection services which is responsible for assessing the standard of water, and infrastructure which manages the purification systems.

Ngxingo mentioned when they talked with the director of community protection services, Nombulelo Booysen-Willy, she was willing to share the blame and apologised. But they still have not been told when this water quality issue will be resolved.

Community protection services directorate is monitoring drinking water quality on a monthly basis

Municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa forwarded a response from senior environmental health practitioner Mcingeli Madlebe on Wednesday, stating: “Community protection services directorate is monitoring drinking water quality on a monthly basis and the analysis is conducted by an accredited laboratory. The sampling run for February was carried out on February 7, where there was a failure at Ekuphumleni sampling point. As required a resampling was taken on February 14, and the resampling results came back compliant with the prescribed standards (SANS 241 for drinking water).”

The municipality did not explain the presence of faecal coliforms and E.coli at multiple testing points.

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