26 August 2010

Grahamstown water passes test

GRAHAMSTOWN’S toxic tap water has finally been given a clean bill of health by independent testers – six months after a Dispatch investigation exposed dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals in the precious resource.

Although the latest test results by Amatola Water show efforts by Makana municipal officials to sort out the problem have resulted in the water meeting strict Department of Water Affairs standards, local experts yesterday called for regular tests every week – instead of once a month.

After seven frustrating years of trying to get feedback on water test results from municipal officials, Kowie Catchment Campaign’s Dr Jim Cambray is happy that since the Dispatch published the report, efforts had been made to release the test results on the local authority’s website. However, the KCC – a group of “concerned” residents and experts “interested in water quality – questioned why no testing had been done in the industrial area – a hotspot for heavy metal contamination six months ago.

With recorded arsenic levels “seven times higher” than allowed by law, Dr Cambray said it was vital to check water quality there.

According to the latest municipal report on water quality testing, the results met the strict Department of Water Affairs South African National Drinking Standard requirements.

Spokesperson Thandy Matebese yesterday said while the quality of water at times “was not the best – it was still within the required government guidelines”.

“Although I have always maintained our water is safe to drink, it is good to know things are improving.”

Matebese said although Amatola only tested the water once a month, ongoing checks were done every week by municipal staff – “as required by law”. - By DAVID MACGREGOR
Port Alfred Bureau


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