CT's desalinated water may have long-term health risks, scientists warn

Scientists in the Western Cape have warned of long-term health risks associated with drinking Cape Town's treated sea water.

Desalinated sea water still carries concentrated traces of contaminants and pollutants, according to scientific researchers from the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

UWC's Professor Leslie Petrik explains that effluent going into the ocean has a concentration of chemicals.

Read: 20% of water in Beaufort West is recycled sewage water. Could Cape Town be next?

She also explains that the desalination intake pipes will be positioned very close to local marine sewage outfall pipes.

According to Prof Petrik, drinking such contaminated water can be linked to health risks such as feminization, cancer and mutagenicity.

Also read: Less flushing in Cape Town could cause more disease-transmission, warns expert

Our studies have shown that there are low concentrations of a plethora of chemicals in the water.

Prof Leslie Petrik, Leader of the Environmental and Nano Science Research group at UWC

The desalination plants are going to be relatively close to where the sewage outfall pipes are.

Prof Leslie Petrik, Leader of the Environmental and Nano Science Research group at UWC

These compounds are coming through into drinking water and there are a variety of health effects that have already been tracked.

Prof Leslie Petrik, Leader of the Environmental and Nano Science Research group at UWC

Listen to the professor outline the concerns with desalination:


CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
The pros and cons of net neutrality explained

The pros and cons of net neutrality explained

There are concerns about scrapping network neutrality in the United States. MyBroadband's Jan Vermeulen explains what that means.

UCT chemical engineer grad on how he overcame depression and nabbed his degree

UCT chemical engineer grad on how he overcame depression and nabbed his degree

UCT chemical engineer graduate Matimba Mabonda says students who are feeling overwhelmed by university life should seek support.

20% of water in Beaufort West is recycled sewage water. Could Cape Town be next?

20% of water in Beaufort West is recycled sewage water. Could Cape Town be next?

Water expert Pierre Marais says effluent supplied by the municipality undergoes a lengthy treatment process before it's drinkable.

Desalination plants aren't a panacea for water crisis, says myth-busting expert

Desalination plants aren't a panacea for water crisis, says myth-busting expert

Dr David Olivier says a range of combined efforts are needed to fight the water crisis and the misinformation that surrounds it.

Less flushing in Cape Town could cause more disease-transmission, warns expert

Less flushing in Cape Town could cause more disease-transmission, warns expert

Epidemiologist and health expert Dr Jo Barnes says less flushing poses a risk for the City's sewage system and health of locals.

CoCT denies plans to build desalination plant on Mouille Point promenade

CoCT denies plans to build desalination plant on Mouille Point promenade

A small-scale temporary plant may be built in the harbour area of Granger Bay.

Popular articles
'Banned ANC delegates have shot themselves in the foot, got what they deserved'

'Banned ANC delegates have shot themselves in the foot, got what they deserved'

Deputy Editor of Financial Mail, Sikonathi Mantshantsha says branches were warned but did not listen, and he has no sympathy.

Adam Habib: Where would the money to fund free education come from?

Adam Habib: Where would the money to fund free education come from?

Vice-Chancellor of Wits University Adam Habib says Zuma's promise requires about R40 billion in order to be fulfilled.

[LISTEN] 'I never wanted to be President, I was not ambitious'

[LISTEN] 'I never wanted to be President, I was not ambitious'

Listen to what President Zuma had to say on Friday at the #ANC54 Gala Dinner ahead of the elective conference.

JUST IN: Some delegates barred from voting #ANC54

JUST IN: Some delegates barred from voting #ANC54

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe announced that some delegates will not be able to vote in this weekend's elective conference.

Van Damme: De Lille has until Monday to respond to maladministration claims

Van Damme: De Lille has until Monday to respond to maladministration claims

The DA has suspended Patricia de Lille from party activities but Eusebius McKaiser says its statement 'is clear as mud'.

LISTEN: Father of drowned toddler speaks of dangers and heartbreak

LISTEN: Father of drowned toddler speaks of dangers and heartbreak

Connor Weber, fell unnoticed into a bin of water and drowned.

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Watch the Guptas pack their bags and run in Nando's inspiring new advertisement.