Jeffreys Bay – Kouga Municipality has closed the Seekoei Estuary for swimming and finishing until further notice from today, 24 July 2023.
Executive Mayor, Hattingh Bornman, said that this is a necessary precautionary safety measure, which must be taken until the quality of the water has improved to satisfactory levels.
“We are doing everything in our power to ensure that the water is clean and safe for all,” said Bornman.
While the mouth side of the estuary tested clean, the reserve side indicated unacceptable levels of e-coli.
“The Seekoei Estuary has not functioned naturally for a while, due to anthropogenic (human) activities that have led to the alteration of the natural ecological function of the estuary,” said Bornman. “This has been exacerbated by extraction and irrigation dams located higher up in the catchment area, as well as the ongoing drought experienced in the area and the effects of climate change – such as changes in temperature and frequency of precipitation events.
“In addition, both the Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) are not functioning optimally. We are doing everything in our power to rectify this problem as quick as possible.”
Bornman continued that the municipality will take the following steps:
- Although the Jeffreys Bay WWTW is functioning well – after spending an estimated R1.5 million on upgrades since January 2023 – the constant load shedding is causing strain on its performance. Thus, a generator will be installed on site within the next three weeks.
- The initiation of the R42 million MIG project that will see the upgrade of the Humansdorp WWTW, upon which the whole site will be revamped as the consultant and contractor progresses.
- A section of the car park close to the mouth of the estuary will be removed to ensure the natural flow of the estuary.
- The Estuary Management Committee and Plan will be revived.
- Possible sewage spills from private households will be a high priority and will be monitored.
- Regular tests on the quality of the water (bi-weekly) will be conducted and published.
“The health and safety of our residents and visitors are our first priority,” said Bornman. “Regular updates will be communicated to keep residents informed.”