The eThekwini Municipality says it has begun its weekly joint sampling of beach water with Adopt-A-River, which is a non-profit organisation.
In a statement the municipality says the joint effort is to ensure credible comparison of test results, in the interests of transparency and public safety.
It stated that until recently, the city and independent laboratories have not been sampling jointly, leading to different beach water results, which in turn caused confusion among the public regarding the results.
The eThekwini Municipality said that on 5 October 2023, it jointly sampled with Adopt-A-River whose samples are tested by an independent laboratory, Talbot.
The city said the joint sampling was done at Point Beach, uShaka, South Beach, North Beach, Battery Beach, Country Club, river at Kingfisher Canoe Club, river at Riverside and river below the Northern Wastewater Treatment Works.
Results from the joint sampling exercise are comparable and are summarised in the table attached.
Head of the Water and Sanitation Unit Ednick Msweli said joint sampling with Adopt-a-River will be done for the next few months.
“Our intention is to compare the results but also to educate the public about the processes of water testing because there’s often a misunderstanding when the public compares results by the city with those of independent organisations. If the same sample has not been taken at the same place at the same time, it is inevitable that the results won’t be the same, hence the joint sampling. This is because environmental conditions change all the time, therefore results will fluctuate if they are taken on different occasions,” said Msweli.
Msweli further explained that results have guidelines for compliance.
“For the quality of water to be regarded as compliant for recreational use such as bathing, E-coli levels must be anything between 0 to 500, and anything above 500 is poor to critical. You may notice that the numbers that indicate quality of water are not identical however these results are regarded as comparable because there are within the set guideline for excellent to poor,” said Msweli.
The city added that it will also continue to do its regular testing at all beaches to ascertain water quality.