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Concern over city’s drinking water

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“These tests were done before the water crisis so it appears that there are higher levels of organic compounds in the water, whether this is plant matter or whatever, and that this has been a long-term issue.”

ABOVE: Treated water from Riverton under an ultraviolet light shows no traces of E. coli. Picture: Soraya Crowie

NEW CONCERNS have emerged regarding the quality of the tap water in Kimberley with an increase in the number of cases of diarrhoea being reported in the city.

The spokesperson for Mediclinic Gariep/Kimberley, Denise Coetzee, confirmed yesterday that the hospital currently had five children who had been admitted for diarrhoea.

“However we cannot say that this is because of the quality of the water,” said Coetzee.

She also pointed out that most cases of diarrhoea were treated by general practitioners and the patients were not admitted to hospital. “It is therefore difficult to say that there is an increase in the number of people with diarrhoea.”

According to a city resident, who did not want to be named, tests done on the organic compound levels in Kimberley’s drinking water, however, indicate that the levels are around seven times higher than they should be.

“These tests were done before the water crisis so it appears that there are higher levels of organic compounds in the water, whether this is plant matter or whatever, and that this has been a long-term issue.”

According to the Sol Plaatje Municipality, tests are done daily on the city’s drinking water and these had met the required minimum standards set by the Department of Water Affairs.

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie stated yesterday that tests were done daily on the raw water taken from the Vaal River at Riverton, as well as on the water once it had been purified.

“The water is tested for the total number of coliforms, the E. coli levels, the turbidity, the hardness, as well as the nitrate, aluminium, calcium and magnesium levels. All these levels are within the standard requirements set the Department of Water Affairs, indicating that there are no issues with the quality of the water.

“For example, the treated water tested at Riverton on Friday last week indicated that the heterotrophic plate count was 0 (the DWS guideline is less than 1 000), the total coliforms was 0 (the DWS guideline is less than 10) and the E. coli level is 0 (the DWS guideline is 0). Only the turbidity level is higher than the level recommended by the DWS.”

Matsie pointed out that twice a month water is taken from 72 different sites around Kimberley and tested.

“If anyone is concerned about the quality of the water, we recommend that they contact us at the laboratory.

“At the moment, however, we are satisfied with the quality of the water in Kimberley and Ritchie.”