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The Department of Water and Sanitation says the drinking water in Bloemfontein is safe and free of E.coli despite recent reports showing traces of the bacteria.

The water flowing out of Bloemfontein taps will be slightly murkier this week as higher amounts of chlorine and lime have been added to the region’s water. This was reportedly done to offset E.coli that was found in the water last week.

According to a local laboratory, chemicals were added however the presence of the E.coli bacteria was not confirmed.

Media reports indicated that the water was discoloured last week, with recent reports on the city’s water quality reflecting some signs of the bacteria.

While the city’s spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, did not confirm or deny that E.coli was found in water drawn for testing from several points, acting city manager, Tankiso Mea, told News 24 that he wasn’t aware of any E.coli in the potable water.

Mea said he would ask Bloemwater, the company that supplies the city’s water, for feedback on the situation.

There were also fears that despite recent heavy rains upcountry, there was a possibility that water would run dry in some areas. Mea said although the Boskop reservoir’s levels were low, the situation was being closely monitored to avoid disruptions.

There were also concerns over the Brandkop reservoir being almost completely empty, however Bloemwater’s communications manager Pule Mlambo said the reservoir was more than 60% full.

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Bloemwater and the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality on Thursday said that there was “no truth in widely spread claims that the Bloemfontein drinking water has E-coli”.

All three entities said water samples were “tested by the experts”.

“We are pleased to announce that results confirmed that the water being supplied in this area meet the standards set by the South African National Standards (SANS) at 241:2015,” the department said. “There is no trace of E.coli and there are no extra dosages of chlorine used in the reservoirs at this stage.”

The department added that if anything were wrong with water levels during testing, a public notice would be issued.