Lab's closure delays water testing

The Knysna lagoon

KNYSNA NEWS - Sampling results of the water of the Knysna Estuary have been delayed in the past months due to the closure of the National Health Laboratory (NHL) in Cape Town.
According to Nandi Mgwadlamba, spokesperson for SANParks, samples collected from point sources in the Knysna Estuary are now sent from Eden District Municipality (EDM) in George to Cape Town and then re-routed to Johannesburg. "This is a challenge authorities are wrestling with."
She explained that the EDM is only allowed to use a laboratory that is accredited by the SABS and that has the correct infrastructure.
"There is already an existing agreement with NHL," Mgwadlamba said. She said that the Pollution Action Committee (Knysna Municipality, Eden District Municipality, Knysna Basin Project and SANParks) will also be roping in local private laboratories to get a second opinion on all results sent to Johannesburg.
"The reason for getting an alternative lab is to ensure we receive results quicker and also take action where we pick up a problem. The other reason is for quality assurance. There is a procedure for collecting samples correctly and also a specific way in which they should be transported to the lab. There is also a limited time-frame [during which] the lab should assess results, namely within 48 hours of collection."
Mgwandlamba assured the public that they can rest assured that once sample results are received from both labs, these will be communicated to the public via media and also the Knysna Municipality's website.
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