High E.Coli count shuts Zandvlei water area

The Zandvlei wetlands has been closed to the public over water quality concerns. Picture: Helen Bamford/ African News Agency (ANA)

High levels of E.Coli have been found in the Zandvlei water area following the sewage spill last week.

The City of Cape Town has undertaken water quality testing at various points within the Zandvlei water body due to water quality concerns and has concluded that the water body should be closed to the public as a precautionary measure until further notice.

The closure only applies to recreational activities in the Zandvlei water area, including fishing, but does not prohibit access to the Zandvlei Nature Reserve and other visitor facilities in the area.

The test results showed high levels of faecal coliforms (Escherichia coli) within the water body, which indicates an elevated risk to human health.

The public is therefore advised to avoid all contact with the water at Zandvlei until these levels fall back within national recreational water use guidelines.

The high E. coli count is a result of a sewage spill earlier in the week due to a bulk sewer main collapse, which has subsequently been contained.

The City has been monitoring the effect of the sewage spill into the water body and the additional pollutants entering the vlei from the catchment area.

The additional pollutants are as a result of the flushing effect of the recent rain after an extended dry period.

The results of these water quality tests dictated the decision to apply a precautionary approach for the safety of the residents of Cape Town.

The City will continue to monitor the water quality and expects to see an improvement in these levels soon.

In the meantime, signage has been erected advising visitors to the vlei to exercise due caution. The public will be informed once the vlei is safe for recreational use.