Durban – As the festive seasons heads into peak season with schools closing and holidaymakers making their way to the Durban shores, eThekwini Municipality has provided the latest facts about its beaches.
The City has been facing flak from residents on social media in recent weeks about the opening and closing of beaches, over e-coli levels.
Some social media users have vowed not to set foot in the water.
The devastating April floods had caused major infrastructure damage, with raw sewage reportedly flowing into rivers, streams and beaches.
Yesterday (Friday) eThekwini provided the latest ‘facts’.
Some beaches are opened, while some remained closed.
The City said that those beaches that met quality safety standard were opened and were safe for swimming. The quality of water at bathing beaches is tested regularly by a team of scientists.
This is where you can swim:
As of December 8, Point, Ushaka, Addington, South, Wedge, North, Bay of Plenty, Anstey’s Toti and Pipeline beaches were opened to bathers.
How often is the water being tested?
The City said testing had been taking place twice a week.
eThekwini says residents’ safety is a priority?
The City said there were claims that some eThekwini beaches weren’t safe even though they were open.
“The safety of residents and visitors is a priority for the municipality. Water quality tests are conducted regularly to ensure the safety of both residents and visitors. Beaches that do not meet the safety standard are closed.”
Videos of overflowing sewers have been doing its round. What is the impact?
The damage caused by the April floods to the City’s water and sanitation infrastructure is extensive. Repair of most of the infrastructure is under way and has been completed in some areas, the City said.
“As we repair infrastructure and pump stations start pumping, pipelines are getting pressurised, but these pipelines have been idle for many months. Some have been vandalised and some extensively damaged, so when we start pumping we sometimes experience overflows. Where tests show that beach water quality has been compromised, that beach is closed.”
Why uMhlanga Main Beach was closed?
The City tested uMhlanga Beach and found it complaint on four consecutive occasions before declaring it open. A decision was then taken to open it.
However, subsequent tests showed that it was no longer compliant, and it was then closed. This is the point of the regular testing. It enables the City to take the necessary action should any beach not be deemed compliant or safe. Another test of uMhlanga Beach with an independent organisation was done on Thursday (December 8). Results are pending.
Why is there a difference between beach water quality results of eThekwini and those of independent laboratories?
The City said the main reason for this was due to samples not being collected at same spot or time. They said environmental conditions at sea change all the time, therefore results will fluctuate if they are taken on different occasions.
The result can also be affected by factors such as how a sample is handled, transportation, testing, and reporting.
Who tests the water?
The City’s laboratory is accredited and operated by a team of experienced scientists.
In some instances, the City now conducts its tests together with an independent lab to compare results.
“We invite any independent, accredited lab that wants to test beach water to sample together with the City so that the results can be comparable. This is in everyone’s interests.”
This is why the majority of pools at the Durban beachfront is closed:
Three of the four beachfront swimming pools are closed for maintenance.
The City said repairs on the Rachel Finlayson Pool have started and repairs to the Children Amusement Centre pools are imminent. 24 pools across the City are open.
Where can I check if my favourite beach is open?
You can get this information on the home page of the City’s website www.durban.gov.za Updates also are shared on our social media platforms on Facebook @eThekwiniM and on Twitter @eThekwiniM