Dumping sewage is not acceptable

Mark Jackson, TamboerskloofThank you for highlighting our Atlantic Seaboard sewage crisis (Seaboard sewage concerns, September 2)

I see many errors in Mayco member Marion Nieuwoudt’s comments, but perhaps the most telling is this:

She makes the serious mistake of confusing dilution with actual treatment.

Mixing effluent with water (dilution) does not treat/kill all the pathogens, it merely spreads them out.

And yes, whilst ecoli degrades in sunlight, never forget ecoli is just an indicator. If there’s ecoli, then there’s sewage contamination, which might include a huge number of other pathogens and viruses, some of which we’re led to believe can survive many weeks at sea, and drift many kilometers.

If pumping raw sewage into the sea really worked as treatment, then why bother with all the other 17-odd actual treatment stations around our Peninsula? Why spend billions upgrading Potsdam? Why not just pump all that in the sea too? Why do other coastal cities worldwide actually treat their sewage?

Another important point to make, is that yes, the marine outfalls may be fulfilling their design specifications from 1977, but a) we know much more today, about the dangers of sewage contamination, and b) we have far more chemicals in our waste stream now, than we did in 1977.

Back in the old days, we also gave thalidomide to pregnant women, and look at what that did!

Dumping raw sewage in the sea was controversial even back then, but knowing what we know today, it’s absolutely no longer acceptable.

Cape Town can do better, and deserves much better, than this.