Summer of sewage for far south beaches

Fish Hoek Beach has been closed due to a sewage spill.

The sewage is hitting the beach in the far south with the City closing Fish Hoek and Muizenberg beaches within days of each other after two spills.

It’s not known what caused the latest spill, which led to the closure of Fish Hoek Beach on Sunday, according to a City statement, but parts of Muizenberg Beach were closed on Monday December 12 because of an electrical fault at a pump station.

That beach was reopened on Friday December 16 after the City said water samples met national water-quality guidelines for recreational activities.

But that beach had barely reopened when Fish Hoek Beach was closed.

It would stay closed until daily testing determined water quality had returned to safe levels, the City said.

Anyone entering the water before then risked gastrointestinal illness, the City said, adding that warning signs had been posted.

In a statement that followed the earlier Muizenberg Beach closure, mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews said wind and wave action helped to dissipate sewage in the sea, but it could take several days between that happening and the beach being reopened.

Laboratory results took two-to-three days so there was always a delay between when the pollution had actually cleared and when the beach could be officially opened, he said.

“From years of monitoring the impacts of spills, our expectation is that that actual pollution would have cleared and dissipated within 12 hours of the fault being repaired and the spill stopped.

“However, in terms of governance, the City cannot officially re-open the closed section until we have a laboratory result indicating the return to normal expected levels.”

A City statement following Sunday’s spill at Fish Hoek, said various departments had responded to the incident.