Concern over white foam forming at weirs in Baakens River

SOAPY SUBSTANCE: Foam forming in the Baakens River. Picture: Eugene Coetzee
SOAPY SUBSTANCE: Foam forming in the Baakens River. Picture: Eugene Coetzee

White soapy foam at the weirs of the Baakens River has put environmentalists on alert after being noticed earlier this week.

A reader of Weekend Post’s sister publication The Herald wrote to the newspaper claiming that foam had collected at the bottom of the Third Avenue dip, which links Newton Park to Mangold Park on the other side of the Baakens River Valley.

When the area was visited yesterday, foam could still be seen forming as water flowed through the concrete canals under the paved road.

Further down at Dodds Farm, foam was evident in the weir.

It is not the first time foam, which is soapy to the touch and smells of cleaning detergent, has been spotted in the area.

In 2010 plumes of foam at the Third Avenue dip formed high enough to reach over the road.

Wildlife and Environment Society (Wessa) environmental governance manager Morgan Griffiths said the phenomenon was not new to the area.

“There is a problem in the Third Avenue dip area with possible sewage leaks or illegal discharging [of contaminated water],” he said.

Griffiths, who is also manager of the Baakens River Community Partnership (BVCP), said foam in the area had been a recurring issue over the past few years.

“Previously it was suspected it came from a laundry [upstream] illegally discharging contaminated water into the river,” he said.

Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the municipality was aware of the situation and was investigating.

Anyone who notices foam, illegal dumping or discharge in the Baakens River should call the water hotline on 0800-205-050 or the Settlers Park Nature Reserve offices at (041) 506-1799 during office hours, or report it on the BVCP Facebook page.

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