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Monday, 28 November 2016

Is raw sewage being dumped into the sea in Cape Town?

Date 25 November 2016 By Kirstin Buick



A group of people believe raw sewage is being dumped into the Atlantic Ocean near some of Cape Town’s best-known beaches – but the municipality says the beaches are safe. Using a drone, Johnny Miller, a Cape Town photographer, last Tuesday took photographs of the sea about 500 m from Clifton’s Fourth Beach, and at Camp’s Bay. The photos show a milky cloud under the water. According to Miller, it’s sewage.

Miller posted these photos on Facebook and Instagram. “If you swim at one of these beaches you’re basically swimming in heightened E.coli levels without knowing it. Since thousands of people use these beaches in summer it’s potentially a big problem,” he says. “The city says the sewage is treated by means of a sifting method, but I’ve heard first-hand that the sieves are damaged. This means anything flushed down a toilet lands in the sea. It’s unacceptable,” he wrote in his posts.

Is raw sewage being dumped into the sea in Cape Town?
By Kirstin Buick 25 November 2016 

Residents are fuming after this drone footage emerged of a "milky cloud" under the water in Camp's Bay and Clifton.

A group of people believe raw sewage is being dumped into the Atlantic Ocean near some of Cape Town’s best-known beaches – but the municipality says the beaches are safe. Using a drone, Johnny Miller, a Cape Town photographer, last Tuesday took photographs of the sea about 500 m from Clifton’s Fourth Beach, and at Camp’s Bay. The photos show a milky cloud under the water. According to Miller, it’s sewage.

Miller posted these photos on Facebook and Instagram. “If you swim at one of these beaches you’re basically swimming in heightened E.coli levels without knowing it. Since thousands of people use these beaches in summer it’s potentially a big problem,” he says. “The city says the sewage is treated by means of a sifting method, but I’ve heard first-hand that the sieves are damaged. This means anything flushed down a toilet lands in the sea. It’s unacceptable,” he wrote in his posts.
Ernest Sonnenberg, a Mayoral Committee member for utilities says the sewage is sieved to remove solids, toilet paper and objects larger than 3 mm in diameter. Bacteria are also monitored and treated.

According to Sonnenberg this process reduces the concentration of contamination in sewage by 99 percent before it enters the sea.

“The outfalls are a reasonable distance from the coast so the transport of waste water to the beach or other areas where people come into contact with the water is excluded.

“Beaches in proximity to the marine outfalls show no additional E. coli burden. In fact beaches such as Clifton and Camps Bay have successfully retained Blue Flag status over many years which would not be possible if the outfalls were contaminating our inshore waters.

“In addition the sea around Cape Town has some of the world’s strongest ocean currents, which quickly dilutes the waste water. Any sign of pollution on beaches is the result of activities on land rather than outfalls.”

Miller is a member of a project launched by the organisation Social Weaver to take water samples five times a week at Clifton and Camps Bay over a period of three weeks. The project is financed by Code of Africa. Miller does the photography for the project with a drone.

Miller says the aim of the project is to make the public aware of what’s going on so close to our beautiful beaches. “Our aim is to create a more detailed analysis of what the water actually contains,” Miller says.

“The City of Cape Town does do testing, but only fortnightly. The results that I have seen from January to June 2016 are disturbing in the frequency of elevated levels of the bacteria E.coli and Enterococcus.

“We hope to be able to put together enough evidence to be able to predict when and where the levels of bacteria will be higher, based on tides, wind, and current.

“Everyone involved in the project is committed to clean air and water, and we all enjoy Cape Town's outdoor environment. We want the disposal options for wastewater to be as transparent and as healthy as possible.”

Miller says the problem spots are at Camps Bay near Maiden’s Cove, Green Point and Mouille Point.

The Cape Town municipality has ways of treating the sewage to remove solids but “it’s essentially raw sewerage that goes into the ocean close to our Blue Flag beaches. The water gets into the sand and that makes me sick to my stomach.”

The data from the water sample tests will be placed on a website daily.

Sonnenberg says this method of dealing with sewage is used in cities such as New York, Barcelona and Sydney. There are currently no plans to replace this infrastructure.

Water at Cape Town’s beaches is tested every two weeks. The water at Clifton’s Fourth Beach, Llandudno and Camps Bay is tested every week to make sure the water quality is what you would expect from a Blue Flag beach.

Wastewater disposal through an effective outfall with preliminary treatment is an affordable, effective, and reliable solution that is simple to operate and with minimal health and environmental impacts,” Sonnenberg says.

“Environmental assessments indicate that the outfalls are functioning adequately and within their design capacity, with no threat to water quality at our beaches. The City operates 27 wastewater treatment plants, several of which do require an immediate increase in treatment capacity to accommodate this rapidly developing city.”

Thursday, 10 November 2016

New station commander for Camps Bay Police

Captain Keith Chandler in his office at Diep River police station.
By
 KAREN WATKINS November 10, 2016
After 30 years, Keith Chandler’s contribution to protecting and serving the community has been recognised.
At 11am on November 1 he heard that he had not only been given a promotion, from warrant officer to captain, but also a new position. From November 21 he will take over the reins as station commander at Camp’s Bay police station.
Since his wife Adriana broke the news, dozens of people have been congratulating him and saying how he will be missed and that the promotion is well deserved. She wrote on Facebook: “I am WAAAAYYYYY too excited and proud to keep this a secret any longer. My amazing husband”
Speaking to him last Friday at his corner office at Diep River police station his excitement bubbled over as he spoke of his past, his dreams and his future. Quietly spoken, Captain Chandler is surely an example of his profession and yet he’s also a force to be reckoned with.
As a child growing up in Plumstead, he attended John Graham Primary and then Plumstead High.
His first vocation choice was that of a Roman Catholic priest but this was not meant to be. Instead he applied to join the police force at Diep River.
He started the next day.
Since then he has moved around from Westbrook when PW Botha was the state president, to Soweto. Then back to Diep River in 1993 to join the Gang Unit. Three years later he joined the flying squad where he learnt advanced SWAT and driving skills. In 2006 he returned to Diep River where he has stayed until now, all the time taking whatever opportunities to advance his skills and knowledge.
Asked if the move to Camp’s Bay meant that he could sit with his feet on the desk and go swimming every day, he laughed.
Captain Chandler visited Camp’s Bay the previous day and says the station is in poor shape. He says crime in Camps Bay is very different to anywhere else. “They have 90 to 110 crimes in winter but this triples during the summer season,” he said.
Other differences are that the Diep River precinct has a denser urban area, middle-class, a railway line and more property-related crimes with the odd violent crime. The area also has an industrial area, a large CBD and 115 second-hand dealers.
Camps Bay is more affluent, has no trains, low traffic flow, no second-hand dealers or antique shops but lots of B&Bs, hotels and multi-million rand homes, many for the rich and famous.
Asked about his highlights at Diep River, he said his legacy is that of the neighbourhood watches. “Other police stations look at us as a flagship. It’s all about communication,” he said.
Captain Chandler was involved in the formation of two of the first in the greater Cape Town – Plumstead and Bergvliet Kreupelbosch Meadowridge (BKM) watches. And since 2007 when they held the first snake patrol, they continue every three months.
He explained that security providers, Law Enforcement, police and patrollers driving their own vehicles covered with decals, drive through the suburbs. From an 84-year-old to a youngster who has just got his driving licence.
“People are so tired of crime. Each time it gets bigger, with 56 on the last. When we go out in force like this, we don’t get crime,” said Captain Chandler.
But many residents know him through his involvement in policing narcotics.
From undercover drug operations to talks in schools, neighbourhood watch meetings and shopping malls – he doesn’t tell them not to do drugs but shows them what happens if they do.
Among other memorable successes were “catching” two babies and working with volunteer reservists. “We have the best score in the Western Cape with 12 who worked 780 hours last month. They’re supposed to work 192,” he added.
Captain Chandler recruits and trains these reservists. And while he might be moving station, he will stay in Plumstead and continue to be part of its neighbourhood watch and report suspicious behaviour. “It (police force) is not a job, it’s a passion, a calling,” he smiled.
In his spare time, he coaches soccer at Tramways and goes to gym every morning and trail running at night.
He also enjoys collecting antiques, especially silver.