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06 August 2007

Potch water called safe

Drinking water in Potchefstroom is safe for human consumption, the city council said on Monday.

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Drinking water in Potchefstroom is safe for human consumption, the city council said on Monday.

The statement was in response to an article in the Beeld newspaper last week which said that a report indicated water from the Wonderfontein spruit area was not fit for farming purposes or human consumption.

On Monday, the Potchefstroom mayor's spokesman Kaizer Mohau said city council representatives met with the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) on July 24 to discuss the Brenk report - a report compiled by German physicists.

Drinking water not affected
"During this meeting the NNR stressed the fact that the drinking water of Potchefstroom is not affected and is totally safe for human consumption, the water is in fact of a high quality," he said.

Mohau said the council used the World Health Organization standard of measuring permissible levels of uranium in water.

Its standard of nine micrograms per litre was seven times lower than that of the Department of Water Affairs recommendation of 70 micrograms per litre, he said.

The quality of Potchefstroom water sources was monitored weekly and showed uranium levels in the water were safe.

Further investigation needed
Mohau also said the NNR needed to further investigate radiological ingestion doses by animals and vegetables.

Beeld reported on July 31 that water contamination in the area was caused by overflows from sludge dams, caused by long-term mining in the area.

However, on Monday, Mohau said the Blyvooruitsig DRD Goldmine was implementing an agreement it had with the council to regulate any pollution from leaving the mine property.

"The process to reach its goal is not a short-term objective but is being fully implemented," he said.

Harmful to people
Last week's Beeld article said food and crops farmed near Wonderfontein Spruit in Gauteng were probably harmful to people as water used in the area was contaminated with radioactive pollutants.

While people in towns in the area received drinking water from Rand Water, people on farms and informal settlements sourced water from the allegedly contaminated Wonderfontein Spruit, the article said.

The Brenk report stressed there was no natural water in the whole area that was safe for use by humans, animals or plants, said Beeld. – (Sapa)

Read more:
Water Centre

August 2007

 
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