Is Kamfers Dam On The Brink Of Collapse



A recent water quality study, conducted by Dr Jan Roos from Water Quality Consultants in Bloemfontein, has found that Kamfers Dam?s water quality has deteriorated significantly during the past year.


?The Kamfers Dam aquatic system is under severe pressure because of a massive cyanobacterial (algal) bloom and extreme oscillations in oxygen concentrations, driven by poor water quality?, said Dr Roos.

Not only is the water quality the worst it has ever been, but the water is now at its highest level ever. More than two-thirds of the Lesser Flamingo breeding island remains flooded, and two important railway lines are at risk. ?This is a disaster? explained Jahn Hohne, Chairman of the Save the Flamingo Association.

According to Dr Roos, the nitrogen, ammonium, fluouride, phosphates of the inflowing sewage water are exceptionally high and way above the allowable Department of Water Affairs standards.

Kamfers Dam is a nutrient enriched system because of an excessive inflow of nutrients (sewage) and consequent high algal biomass. The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), for example, in the discharge water is very high (206 mg/l) and above the maximum allowable limit of 75 mg/l.

A recent water quality study, conducted by Dr Jan Roos from Water Quality Consultants in Bloemfontein, has found that Kamfers Dam's water quality has deteriorated significantly during the past year. ?The Kamfers Dam aquatic system is under severe pressure because of a massive cyanobacterial (algal) bloom and extreme oscillations in oxygen concentrations, driven by poor water quality?, said Dr Roos.

Not only is the water quality the worst it has ever been, but the water is now at its highest level ever. More than two-thirds of the Lesser Flamingo breeding island remains flooded, and two important railway lines are at risk. ?This is a disaster? explained Jahn Hohne, Chairman of the Save the Flamingo Association.

This is a poisonous gas, which is extremely toxic to fish and other animals. It also causes bad smells and is a major nuisance and irritation for residents in neigbouring suburbs. Even visitors to the Road Lodge and Flamingo Casino have been complaining about the stench.

Of further concern is that faecal coliform bacteria in the outflow water were unacceptably high (>241 900 cfu/100 ml) and in fact too numerous to count at the Institute for Ground Water Studies laboratory in Bloemfontein.

?During the past three years the flamingos have bred on an artificial island which was constructed by Ekapa Mining? says Anderson. ?There were 9000 chicks in the first year, 13 000 chicks in the second year and possibly only 2-3000 chicks during the last summer?. The rising water level resulted in the flooding of the island in November last year, and thousands of chicks drowned and eggs were lost.

?Although some work is being done at the Homevale Waste Water Treatment Plant, there's absolutely no progress in the upgrading of the sewage works? said Hohne. ?More than R200 million is required to upgrade the works so that it can process Kimberley's waste water and treat it to an acceptable standard, funding which the Sol Plaatje does not have?.

The Save the Flamingo Association (www.savetheflamingo.co.za) was formed to address the threats to Kamfers Dam.



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