‘No dis­charge per­mit’

Can­non Rocks res­i­dent blows whis­tle on brine pipeline

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - JON HOUZET

ACan­non Rocks res­i­dent has blown the whis­tle on a new pipeline be­ing laid in the coastal vil­lage, af­ter dis­cov­er­ing it was not in­cluded in a pre­vi­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment (EIA) and that ad­di­tional brine would be dis­charged on the beach from an in­creased ca­pac­ity re­verse os­mo­sis (RO) plant.

New res­i­dent Mar­cia Fargnoli alerted TotT to the project on Tues­day, af­ter con­tact­ing the com­pany that did the pre­vi­ous im­pact stud­ies for Ama­tola Wa­ter for Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s bulk potable wa­ter sup­ply pipeline from Can­non Rocks to Alexan­dria.

Af­ter TotT con­tacted the de­part­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs (DEA), chief di­rec­tor of com­pli­ance Son­ny­boy Bapela con­firmed no coastal dis­charge per­mit had been is­sued be­cause no ap­pli­ca­tion had been re­ceived.

TotT wrote a se­ries of ar­ti­cles two years ago on var­i­ous prob­lems re­lat­ing to “quick wins” in the bulk wa­ter project, in­clud­ing that the pipeline that was laid from Can­non Rocks to Alexan­dria, at a cost of R13m, was not be­ing used be­cause Ama­tola Wa­ter re­alised the Can­non Rocks RO plant was not pro­duc­ing enough wa­ter to also sup­ply Alexan­dria.

A sign­board for the cur­rent project at Can­non Rocks states that it is for “aug­men­ta­tion of the Alexan­dria bulk wa­ter sup­ply”, funded by a mu­nic­i­pal in­fra­struc­ture grant, with P&S Con­sult­ing En­gi­neers as the en­gi­neer and Czar JV as the con­trac­tor. The project du­ra­tion is ex­pected to be 10 months.

“Projects of this na­ture must com­ply with the Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Act [Nema],” Fargnoli said.

“Bulk wa­ter re­quires an EIA process and full pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, even if the pipeline is within the road re­serve. This is clearly noted on the sign­board from the pre­vi­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact study con­ducted [at the Bok­nes cross­road].”

In ad­di­tion, in ac­cor­dance with Nema, Fargnoli ex­plained that waste­water (brine) dis­charge/dump­ing re­quires a coastal lease, a coastal dis­charge per­mit from the DEA, and a full EIA.

“This cur­rent project does not fall within the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact process that was pre­vi­ously com­pleted. I have con­firmed this with the con­sul­tants that con­ducted that study, Coastal & En­vi­ron­men­tal Ser­vices,” Fargnoli said.

She also alerted Can­non Rocks res­i­dents to the project by post­ing on a com­mu­nity Facebook page.

“The pre­vi­ous study did not in­clude an ad­di­tional pipeline for ad­di­tional wa­ter, it did not in­clude the ad­di­tional bore­holes, and it did not in­clude any as­sess­ment of any im­pact with re­gard to waste­water (brine) dis­charge from a re­verse os­mo­sis plant. It also did not in­clude the in­crease in ca­pac­ity for the RO plant. Ac­cord­ing to Nema, an EIA and pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion process must take place for th­ese,” she said. Fargnoli, who has strug­gled to get an­swers out of Ama­tola Wa­ter and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, said most of the in­for­ma­tion given so far has re­lated to the ad­di­tional pipeline go­ing down Pot­gi­eter Street, which is go­ing to the RO plant.

“What peo­ple seem to not be aware of, is the waste­water pipeline that is set to go down Pot­gi­eter and Alice through the area of the green­belt where there are large trees and for­est con­nect­ing to Addo Woody Cape Sec­tion. Many species from Addo move back and forth be­tween this part of Can­non Rocks and the park,” she said. “This new waste­water pipeline is for ad­di­tional waste­water, be­yond what is al­ready be­ing pro­duced and dumped on the beach.”

She feared it would also end up in the ocean and af­fect sea life.

But an­other Can­non Rocks home­owner, Jon Goetsch, said there had been a brine dis­charge on the beach for years and it did not reach the ocean.

“It has cre­ated a calk bank on the beach,” he said. “In all other coun­tries the brine is piped into the ocean where it can mix quickly with fresh sea­wa­ter.”

Goetsch pre­vi­ously blew the whis­tle on il­le­gal dune min­ing in Can­non Rocks in 2014, when tons of sea sand was be­ing carted away by a con­trac­tor for use in the lay­ing of the Can­non Rocks to Alexan­dria pipeline. It was even­tu­ally stopped by the Green Scor­pi­ons.

Goetsch said from what he un­der­stood, the other pipeline be­ing laid – not the brine dis­charge pipeline – was for a planned RDP hous­ing de­vel­op­ment at the Bok­nes cross­roads. TotT wrote about this pro­posed de­vel­op­ment in June.

At the time, mu­nic­i­pal spokesman Ce­cil Mbolekwa said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was en­gag­ing the de­part­ment of hu­man set­tle­ments on the pro­posal, but that the de­part­ment had its own boxes to tick be­fore any de­vel­op­ment was ap­proved, in­clud­ing bulk in­fra­struc­ture and sewer ca­pac­ity and de­mand.

Asked what the de­part­ment would do about the lack of per­mit for ad­di­tional brine dis­charge, Bapela said DEA com­pli­ance of­fi­cers were presently in­volved in an in­ter­na­tional ex­er­cise at sea with In­ter­pol.

“We might be able to look into the mat­ter by early Novem­ber and is­sue some di­rec­tives and com­pli­ance no­tices, when our guys are free,” he said.

“I don’t want to say what can be done un­til we’ve been there.”


MAK­ING QUICK PROGRESS: Can­non Rocks res­i­dents are con­cerned about a new pipeline be­ing laid in the vil­lage with­out an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment be­ing done


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