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Clean tap water risk: Chlorine supplier playing catch-up amid fear of shortage

A supply disruption at a Kempton Park facility may affect stock of the liquid gas chlorine used by water boards and large municipalities to treat water to drinking standards.
A supply disruption at a Kempton Park facility may affect stock of the liquid gas chlorine used by water boards and large municipalities to treat water to drinking standards.
Image: 123RF/maridav

The national water and sanitation department has activated daily monitoring to manage the risk of possible liquid gas chlorine shortages that could affect the supply of purified water to households.

This is due to the supplier based in Kempton Park, Gauteng, experiencing a disruption. The reason for this is unspecified as yet.

A liquid gas chlorine shortage would affect the treatment of potable water and effluent water managed by water service authorities, metros and water boards.

The City of Cape Town raised a red flag on Thursday, saying SA’s main manufacturer of chlorine gas for water purification purposes had experienced severe supply disruptions in the past week.

“The factory is now operating again, but it will take time to build up stock reserves as there is pent up demand from water boards and municipalities,” said the city.

DWS' national spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said the latest report from the supply company indicates that production is stable at 80%.

The department has so far not received any reports that water boards are experiencing shortages of chlorine in their operations.

“As the department we hope that water boards, metros and water service authorities have spare supplies that will last them until shortages subside,” said Ratau.

He said the DWS, through its provincial offices, is tracking daily reports across the country to determine if the shortages are affecting water supply entities, and is committed to ensuring the quality of the water supplied to water users is not compromised.

Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for water and sanitation in Cape Town, said the city does have an adequate chlorine supply at all water treatment plants, and was on track to take delivery of further stock next week, assuring residents its tap water is safe to drink.

The city was also executing contingency plans to ensure chlorine is available to meet the national SANS241 drinking water quality standards.

“The city is already procuring chlorine gas substitutes locally and actively exploring all possible alternatives including international procurement options to mitigate the risk of protracted national supply constraints,” he said.

TimesLIVE


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