Bakoven Beach is the latest beach in Cape Town to temporary close due to an electrical failure caused by “continuous load shedding.”
Fish Hoek Beach was reopened on Monday after the beach was closed on Sunday as a precautionary measure owing to a blocked sewer.
Earlier this month, a section of Muizenberg Beach was closed to the public after an electrical failure at the Clifton Road pump station.
These incidents happen because the sewer pump stations need electricity to function effectively and to be able to convey sewage to Wastewater Treatment Plants where it can be treated.
The City of Cape Town has the following plans to mitigate the impacts of load shedding and address the sewer spills.
∎ Larger priority sewer pump stations are fitted with permanent generators as a measure to increase the resilience of sanitation supply systems.
∎ Maintenance staff are on standby and will use mobile generators to power smaller pumps.
∎ All pump stations are fitted with telemetry to help monitor the sump levels of the facilities
The City of Cape Town said that with higher and prolonged stages of load-shedding being experienced, sewer spills and overflows are to be expected, despite the contingency measures that are implemented.
Litter, builders’ rubble, and fats that end up in the sewer network also pose a big problem as they block the flow of sewage.
“The City experiences daily challenges with inappropriate objects blocking our sewer network. The situation is compounded by load-shedding – particularly the sustained higher levels that we have experienced. The impact is quite visible,” said Acting Mayor, Alderman Eddie Andrews.
When there is a fault at a pump station, the City tries to fix it in the shortest time possible to stop the overflow.
Based on assessments, City Health might advise that a part of the beach be temporarily closed, and that warning signs be erected.
Regular water sampling follows, and the beach will only be reopened when the water quality meets the minimum requirement for recreational activities, as determined by the National Water Quality Guidelines.
Residents are urged to report sewer blockages and overflows so that these can be cleared within a reasonable timeframe.