Draft minutes for the Meeting on 27 February 2013.
CAPE Estuaries Programme: Implementation of the Estuary Management Plan (EMP) for the Zandvlei Estuary, Muizenberg, Cape Town.
Report on the 5th Meeting of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF): 27th February 2013 at the Zandvlei Sports Club/Yacht Club.
Summary of follow-up actions.
1. Welcome and introductions
Apologies were received from Councillor D’Alton, Pierre de Villiers, Candice Haskins, Phumla Ketani-Poort, Nontsasa Tonjeni
and Wilna Kloppers.
The Chair thanked everyone and expressed her commitment to continue with efforts to make the Forum operate in a constructive manner.
2. Matters arising from the 4th ZEMF Meeting
2.1 Sewage Spills
Concerns raised at the 4th ZEMF meeting in relation to the City’s response to the recent sewage spills resulted in the submission of a letter to Pierre de Villiers. This was taken up at the subsequent meeting of the Provincial Coastal Committee and is understood that the matter has been referred to the Pollution Directorate of DEA & DP (headed by Dr. Joy Leaner) for follow-up. Efforts to get her to attend the meeting had not been successful due to the short notice but contact will be made with her prior to the next meeting.
The Chair expressed her appreciation regarding the presence of two officials from Water & Sanitation at the meeting, namely:
BT indicated that he had recently submitted a report to Councillor D’Alton on sewage spills in the South Peninsula during 2012. There had been 16 – of which 4 had been in the vicinity of Zandvlei. A 5-year report is also available and monthly reports are submitted to the Portfolio Committee. These are available on the City’s website.
In relation to the spill in January, BT reported that for all pump stations, the minimum requirement is 2 pumps – one on duty and one on standby. In the January incident, both circuit breakers had tripped at the same time. New standard operating procedures developed by DWA are currently being put in place and a new monitoring system has been set up in collaboration with the Reserve Manager. A number of new standby generators are also being installed.
BT also indicated that they do undertake bio-augmentation to assist in the biodegradation of the sewage. In addition, they add something to reduce the smell. However, they are having problems with the Procurement Division at present, as there are few suppliers. MT reported that there are around 100 bio-augmentation products on the market which they are currently evaluating to see which are most viable. The outcome of this evaluation should assist with Procurement. The Chair also offered to intervene on behalf of the Forum if it would assist.
DG gave a report-back on his investigation into the feasibility of providing retention facilities around the key pump stations as suggested at the last meeting. He indicated that he had obtained maps of the areas around the pump stations – of which there are about 14 in the vicinity of Zandvlei, 10 of which are in the Marina – to look at the potential for containment. In most cases there was insufficient land area available, and in the Westlake River area the water table is too high. The only place where it might be feasible is in one or two places in the Sand River area. In these locations, a relatively small facility was suggested (10 – 20m3). Once full, this would flow into the stormwater system.
BT agreed that it is very difficult to have permanent retention facilities. Moreover, getting equipment onto site after a spill is also impractical and in the majority of cases it is likely that the spill would have been stopped before retention facilities could be put in place. They do, however, put such facilities in place when there is, for example, a planned upgrade.
MT suggested that the size of any retention facilities should be based on the estimated time to respond.
AT reported that with regard to problems with the reticulation – where the majority of problems are a result of people throwing things into the sewers – the blockage crew are now usually able to get on site and resolve the problem within 45 minutes. Since it is not possible to have telemetry on the reticulation system, they rely on the public to a large extent to report problems.
Discussion then turned to the question of whether the regular Scientific Services monitoring data was actually able to pick up spikes in eg. E.coli levels following sewage spills. It was suggested that an analysis of old data should be done to see how quickly any impact from a spill dissipates. However, the regular monitoring only takes place on a monthly basis, and is unlikely to detect spills unless they happen to coincide with sampling days. It was noted that in terms of the Contingency Plan there is provision for additional sampling after a spill. This is usually requested by the CSRM and BMB and it was suggested that Water & Sanitation consider having a direct agreement with Scientific Services since they are the first to know when a spill occurs.
JG noted that they had got some sample bottles from SS and are able to assist in getting samples as soon as possible after a spill. They are also looking at historical data, noting that there are two issues:
The latter are more likely to be critical in the long-term.
It was proposed that it would be useful to do some Case Studies. If it could be demonstrated that the majority of spills going into Zandvlei have no lasting impact on public health, then it might not be necessary to do these additional bacteriological samples in each case. The Case Studies should include spills at the upper end of the scale of spills which commonly occur in the estuary.
MG noted that they also had sample bottles and it was agreed that they should liaise with BMB in future. They also normally put up signs when the water quality poses a health hazard. However, KF noted that while the signs might be useful in terms of the City avoiding liability, it was not a useful form of communication with the users. Canoeists were unlikely to see signs. It was proposed that there should be some form of electronic communication preferably through an e-mail to the user organisations. GP noted that he runs a Zandvlei Estuary Facebook page which has a lot of followers. It was proposed that this be linked to the Zandvlei Trust website.
It was noted that it would take time to get the communication system working optimally but that it was a crucial element in restoring the public’s confidence in the ability of the City to manage Zandvlei and in securing their co-operation.
2.2 ZEMF and Zandvlei Trust
It was reported that Zandvlei Trust is registered as a vendor with the City and would therefore be able to apply to them for funds to support the Secretariat. The Chair will draft a proposal for the financial support needed for a secretariat for comment by ZEMF members; discuss it with Zandvlei Trust; and then submit to appropriate section of the City.
Following a request for weekly pondweed harvesting reports, the first such report was circulated last week. The meeting expressed their appreciation for this.
There was a query as to why there had been no clearing in the last few months of 2012, and particularly why this had not been communicated to users. JG reported that they had been advised by Scientific Services to suspend harvesting due to the high levels of phytoplankton in the water – a reflection of relatively low levels of pondweed. Such conditions can lead to the outbreak of algal blooms and there was therefore no clearing between October and December. With respect to the communication, it was noted that this was, in fact, discussed at the ZEMF meeting in October, 2012. However, the importance of timely communication was stressed again.
JG noted that at present pondweed is being cut in areas where it is starting to die off; where it is restricting water flow; and in response to recreational needs.
It was agreed that the Pondweed TWG be reconstituted as soon as possible with KF and JG taking the lead.
3. Matters Held Over from the ZEMF 4th meeting.
3.1 Nutrient Study
JG reported that as part of the process of drawing up a TOR for this study he has been looking at all previous studies and, in fact, a lot of things have already been covered and do not need to be repeated. Any new study should focus on the gaps.
It was also noted that nutrients are measured as part of the ongoing CSRM monitoring programme and CH has produced a number of reports indicating trends. DW requested that he be given access to the historical data so that he could get a student to analyse it.
JG also reported that he currently has a volunteer who is a final year microbiology student. He will be assisting with sampling and data analysis on the bacteriological side for the rest of the year.
A question was then raised as to whether a Reserve Determination had been done for Zandvlei.
3.2 Contingency Plan
DG reported that there was a need to make some changes to the terminology related to the involvement of provincial and national government in an official City plan. However, it has been accepted by the head of ERMD and the next step will be to get the Directors of each of the other City departments involved to officially sign off on it. DG will be driving this process.
Copies of the plan – minus personal contact details – will then be made available to the public.
3.3 Vlei By-law
The current draft of the by-law is that dated November, 2011 which was gazetted for public comment. DG has now been tasked to consolidate the public comments received, following which it will go back to the Legal Division to produce a second draft which will then again be circulated for comment. SF suggested that a copy of the draft produced by Marina da Gama be obtained to see if it would assist the process.
DG noted that the task of consolidating the public comments is enormous and unlikely to be accomplished in the proposed timeframe. It was suggested that the Chair and he follow up with Cllr D’Alton on his offer to try and secure some funding to hire someone to assist with this work. It was also suggested that they look into the possibility of voluntary legal services.
3.4 Coral worm
JG reported that they had done some clearing under Park Island Bridge, but that it has grown back quite quickly.
There was also some feedback on a project being undertaken by a UCT Masters student - Kirsty McQuaid – who is working under Prof. Charlie Griffiths. She is looking at it – and the associated communities - in the context of it being an invasive species and has found a number of other invasives associated with it, including isopods and amphipods, as well as some that might be previously undescribed species.
The point was raised that it has previously been reported to play a positive role in the estuary in terms of filtering, but that it may also be important in terms of assimilating nutrients. DW was requested to look at the possibility of doing a student project on this.
3.5 Constitution / Version Control
GL spoke to his proposal for version control, a copy of which is attached as Annex 3. This procedure is important for a variety of reasons including:
There was a proposal to change the naming date format such that the year is first. In addition, there was a discussion on how the documents should be circulated for comment within a TWG / s and or the Forum Members and a suggestion that all existing ZEMF documents should be made consistent with these proposals before archiving them.
It was agreed that in the absence of further comment, the document be regarded as a working instruction for all the members to refer to and use. It should be available for all on the website in a conspicuous place so no one can plead ignorance.
3.6 Citizen Science
SF reported that she and DW had met with Timm Hoffman who is responsible for the monitoring programme (ZIMP) whose results are incorporated into the Zandvlei Trust website. It was noted that it lacks input on the social aspects, and there was a suggestion that links should be made to scientists working in the area – for example, Nicki Oakes, who is working on otters.
3.7 WG on Communications and the Secretariat
There was some discussion on the importance of the Forum as a vehicle for communication between the stakeholder/user groups and responsible government officials. In this context, the question of representation on the Forum was raised and it was noted that there are a number of gaps including:
4. Any Other Business
4.1 Marina da Gama
SF noted that, despite a meeting between herself, Ken Findlay and representatives of the Marina to try and resolve some of the issues, they had decided to resign from the Forum and use alternative channels to get their issues addressed. It was agreed that the Forum should nevertheless keep the Marina representatives on the mailing list for ZEMF reports.
4.2 Problems with City Emergency numbers
GP reported that he and others had made calls to the City’s 107 number on a number of occasions but that there had been no follow-up to their complaints. It was suggested that the 0860 103 089 number should be used instead and that others had had a good response via that route. There is some confusion as this number is not on notices around the vlei but Nature Reserve numbers are. ZEMF needs to work with the City to resolve any confusion.
GP indicated that the calls that had been made had been to report illegal fishing activities and that they were actually trying to get hold of the new Law Enforcement Unit. Reference was made to the fact that Arne Purves had acknowledged at the previous meeting that there were still teething problems with this Unit. In fact, JG reported that the Unit had run operations at Zandvlei without informing him.
However, JG also reported that his staff had gone out in response to at least some of these complaints without Law Enforcement back-up and had found people with valid permits catching haarders rather than leerfish. He recommended that for the interim these type of complaints be made directly to the BMB emergency number, and that people try to get photographs of the illegal activities. In response it was reported that people trying to do so had been physically threatened.
A related development was that there is a proposal to get the Beach Officers trained and declared as Fisheries Control Officers.
It was agreed to defer:
5. Dates and Content of Next Meetings and Closure
The dates and proposed focus for the next few meetings can be found in Annex 4.
The meeting closed at approximately 17:00.
List of Attendees at the 5th Meeting of the ZEMF on 27th February 2013.
5th Meeting of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF)
14:00 – 16:00 : 27th February, 2013
1. Welcome and introductions.
2. Matters held over from the 4th ZEMF meeting2.1 Constitution – Master copy/ version control – Gavin
Lawson 2.2 Nutrient study funding proposal – Joshua Gericke 2.3 TOR for Mouth Management Study – Lynn
Jackson 2.4 Citizen science – Sandra Fowkes 2.5 WG on Communications &
Secretariat 2.6 Progress on new by-law – Dalton Gibbs 2.7 Pondweed Management & Coral worm removal – Joshua
3. Matters arising from the 4th ZEMF Meeting
3.1 Submission to CapeNature on sewage spills 3.2 Progress on proposals on retention
facilities 3.3 Location of ZEMF under Zandvlei Trust 3.4 Secretariat support
4. Discussion on determination of economic value of Zandvlei.
5. Any Other Business 5.1 Marina da Gama Association 5.2 Recent sewage spills – activation of Contingency Plan?
6. Dates and focus for next meetings in 2013.
Proposed guidelines for ZEMF documentation control – February 2013.
Why document control?
Document identification for distribution purposes.
zemf constitution ver A 15052012.doc
zemf forum agenda ver A 23012013.doc
zemf forum minutes ver A 23012013.doc
zemf pondweed agenda ver 01 14022012.doc
zemf pondweed minutes ver 01 14022012.doc
to relate these documents to the various meetings, which take or took place. This includes all documentation and data for Task Working Group meetings.
Understanding version control.
Draft documents need to be alpha designated in the version control. eg;
Adopted documents need to change to numerical version, before general publishing, distribution and archiving eg;
Whose responsibility and why.
Distribution and handing over of the Forum documents.
Archiving of the Forum documents.
National, Provincial and Local government budgets and structures are not in place to take responsibility for the Forum admin and document control, publishing, distribution and archiving of all the generated data.
There are possibly two temporary short-term solutions;
1. The Forum members need to raise funds / budget for this function from this meeting in January 2013, until the formal entities are in place. There are legal funding consequences, which need to be worked through and addressed. From what we currently understand The Forum is not a legal entity and therefore cannot raise funds legally. The civil society organisations need to raise the budget required to perform this function on behalf of the Forum.
ZEMF proposed meeting schedule for 2013.