The Department of Water and Sanitation says the results on water samples taken for analysis from the Vaal River are still pending.

The department was promoted to conduct the analysis following increasing calls of fish kills in the Vaal River, particularly at the Vaal Barrage and downstream.

Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said one of the findings in an investigation initiated by the department in 2010 was that most of the fish kills in the area were caused by chronic stress conditions due to the sustained lower oxygen concentrations, which is a result of natural variations.

“Most of the investigations concluded that the fish kills were caused by seasonal weather changes, while others were inconclusive, mainly due to late reporting,” Ratau said.

He said in the latest media inquiry dated 23 July 2018 regarding this phenomenon, preliminary investigations indicated the absence of any dead fish at the alleged site, and that the incident occurred a week before where there was a drastic drop in temperature.

However, samples were taken for analysis and the results are still pending.

Keeping an eye on Emfuleni sewage spills

In terms of the failing infrastructure at Emfuleni Municipality, Ratau said the department is carrying out its regulatory functions and support is being provided to the municipality.

To date, Ratau said, the department has issued five notices and six directives to the municipality in relation to the sewage spillages along the Sedibeng sewer scheme.

The department is also looking at finding additional funding for operations and maintenance to complete the construction of Module 6 and complete the upgrade of Modules 1 – 5, which are not operating at full capacity.

Ratau said the department is also cognisant of the process underway by the Gauteng Provincial Government in terms of Section 139, which is still at the level of the National Council of Provinces.