Jukskei River Pollution Report February 2017

Irwin Juckes
Irwin Juckes

Summary *

  1. Quarterly Water Quality reports on the Jukskei River from City of Johannesburg (8 quarters) and Ekurhuleni Metro (14 quarters) were analysed for trends of sewage pollution
  2. Jukskei River pollution is from sewage unchanged over this period of two to three years
  3. The sites immediately downstream from the two sewage problem spots (Johannesburg CBD and Alexandra) show almost constant levels of pollution with no seasonal effect
  4. Sites further downstream from the problem spots show lower pollution and a clear seasonal low in winter
  5. Whether high or low, all sites have unacceptable levels of sewage pollution

Read here for more background to the Jukskei River catchment and its problems.

Upper Jukskei River *

The site highest upstream is Bez Valley (corner 4th St and 5th Ave), where sewage pollution appears fairly level at an average of 2.1 million E coli counts per 100 ml. Downstream at Bruma E coli have declined to an average of 750 000 and at Lombardy East to 23 000. Ekurhuleni tests coliforms (also an indicator of sewage pollution) at Clarkson Rd in Morninghill, Bedfordview. Over three and a half years there is no trend, but there is a seasonal low in winter.

Chart: Jukskei River upper sewage pollution trend April 2015 to January 2017
Jukskei River upper sewage pollution trend April 2015 to January 2017
Chart: ukskei River sewage pollution in Bedfordview trend October 2013 to September 2016
Jukskei River sewage pollution in Bedfordview trend October 2013 to September 2016

Alexandra and downstream  *

The first monitoring site after Alexandra is Marlboro Bridge, where the E coli counts per 100 ml are fairly constant and above 1 million.  Two sites downstream show lower pollution with a more marked winter low, but there is no overall trend.

Chart: Jukskei River sewage pollution from Alexandra downstream April 2015 to January 2017
Jukskei River sewage pollution from Alexandra downstream April 2015 to January 2017

Lower Jukskei River *

The E coli counts downstream from Northern Wastewater Treatment Works (NWTW) are fairly constant around 100 000 per 100 ml, which is about 5 to 10-fold higher than at the site upstream. This shows increased sewage pollution from the NWTW. The last two quarters are very similar, due to an increase at the upstream site. There is no trend over time.  

Chart: Jukskei River sewage pollution lower section, from April 2015 to January 2017
Jukskei River sewage pollution lower section, from April 2015 to January 2017

 

3 thoughts on “Jukskei River Pollution Report February 2017

  1. I stay in St Andrews and have noticed that the smell from the Jukskei river is particularly bad at the moment. This is only at night with visible foam, and I don’t know if it is because it is cooler at the moment but I am not happy that my family and pets are breathing this stench in all night. I am no expert but it has a smell of sulphur. Is there a company releasing chemical pollutants into the river at night?

    1. Its from a sewage spill into the Queens Wetland, which was stopped on Wednesday 3 May, but will take time to clear. See my more recent post.

  2. Dear Mr Juckes,

    I would very much like to have a conversation with you about montoring the river quality on the Jukskei.
    I am a member of the Gauteng Canoe Union and have taken it upon myself to find a way to link our community with the information and activities of people and groups concerned with water quality on the river.

    Much appreciated,

    Jonathan Thompson

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