Brackenfell water safe to drink

The City has notified residents that the water in St Michaels, Brackenfell, has been confirmed as once again compliant with drinking water quality standards.

This comes after a series of burst pipes in the area resulted in flow reversals in the system. As a result of these reversals, poor quality water from stagnant sections of the pipeline was drawn into the supply lines.

The City has apologised to residents for the inconvenience caused, but says it was preferable to err on the side of caution when issuing the notice last week about taking precautionary measures to boil water.

Residents are advised, however, that their water may retain an earthy character due to algal growth in the Theewaterskloof Dam. A by-product of this algae, geosmin, causes these issues, but poses no threat to human health.

Geosmin is removed using powdered activated carbon in the water treatment process, however, even minute concentrations can still have an effect on taste and smell due to the incredible sensitivity of the human palate to the compound.

The minimum levels of geosmin required for human detection are in the region of 3.5 nanograms (1 thousand millionth of a gram) per litre.

While residents may therefore notice an earthy taste, the water is now safe to drink without boiling, the City said.