SWAKOPMUND – The Walvis Bay Municipality has been accused of discharging sewage into the lagoon, an international Ramsar site that is home to water birds from all over the world.
Residents aired their discontent over the activity via social networks last week, citing the dumping as a health risk.
Residents said it is a disgrace the municipality uses the internationally renowned and tourist attraction area to dump “raw sewage”.
Learners of Walvis Bay Private School also started an online petition in a bid to stop the municipality from discarding the “sewage” into the lagoon.
Concerns are the lagoon that is also used for practice and to host international water sport competitions would become unfit and could spread diseases such as hepatitis E and other viral and bacterial infections.
However, the municipality on Friday denied polluting the area, stating that only semi-purified effluent/waste (locally known as PE) is discharged and not raw sewage as alleged by concerned residents.
According to the statement issued by the municipality the semi-purified waste water is the same water used by residents to water their gardens, while it is also used to water public parks around Walvis Bay.
This, says the municipality, has been an established practice for many decades.
In addition, the municipality claims that coastal cities around the world discharge their main streams of treated effluent into the oceans, while Walvis Bay only discharges it into special treatment ponds.
“PE goes through a treatment process at our sewage treatment plant at the liquid waste section to meet the effluent quality standards set by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. The municipality strictly adheres to the conditions of the permit issued by the ministry,” the statement further read.
The statement explained that the release of purified effluent into the lagoon is only necessitated when draining the network for repairs or flushing the system from time to time.
This maintenance occurs very rarely, and only limited quantities of PE are released into the lagoon.
The municipality said it takes pride in the lagoon as an international tourist attraction and a Ramsar Birding Site and its safety is a priority.
“Residents are therefore advised not to be alarmed by allegations to the contrary. We would also like to inform the public that the current upgrades to the water works will ensure better quality PE in future,” stated the municipality.
Eveline de Klerk
2019-07-01 09:30:07 16 days ago