KNYSNA NEWS - Multiple interventions to protect the Knysna estuary's ecological health are under way by authorities including SA National Parks (Sanparks), Knysna and Garden Route District municipalities and the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency.
Most samples taken this year indicate the main challenges lie in the Bongani catchment and Ashmead channel.
The most recent samples indicate that the Long Street culvert is also noncomplaint and this has prompted further investigations into the cause of pollution.
E. coli levels in effluent exiting the wastewater treatment works (WWTW) have improved over the past few months and are now compliant, but the amount of ammonia and suspended solids in the effluent remains a concern. The municipality will soon introduce cameras to assist in identifying pollutants entering the WWTW in an effort to trace the times and sources of pollution events that might affect its functionality. The municipality has indicated planned upgrades at the WWTW in September that will enhance the workings of the system.
The district municipality has reported oysters tested prior to the Knysna Oyster Festival were compliant according to the Foodstuffs, Disinfectants and Cosmetics Act 54 of 1972. Deepwater samples taken by Sanparks in the estuary ahead of the recreational events of the Oyster Festival also indicated that the estuarine area was safe for use.
Speaking about the progress of the Action Pollution Committee, Knysna park manager Megan Taplin said, "We are especially encouraged by the multiple interventions to further improve the health of the estuary. Monitoring done by the Knysna Basin Project is focusing on nutrient analysis of estuary samples as well as tributaries to the estuary so we get a bigger picture of what is entering the estuary."
More work to try and identify sources of pollution includes a recently held workshop focusing on the Industrial Area by authorities.
All sample results are uploaded on the Knysna Municipality's official website.
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