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‘Foul smell’ engulfs Cape Town suburbs – but what’s kicking up this stink?

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Residents in the Table View area of Cape Town – and several surrounding suburbs – have reported that a terrible stench is lingering over their neighbourhoods. Since the start of the year, a mystery funk has made life a misery for some residents, who have complained that they can no longer open their windows ‘due to the increased presence of flies’.

Something stinks: Where is the ‘bad smell’ in Cape Town?

Stifling hot weather conditions have only exacerbated the problem this week, and a raft of complaints have been shared online. This picturesque part of Cape Town has been sullied, and the affected areas are as follows:

  • Table View
  • Flamingo Vlei
  • Parklands
  • Milnerton
  • Postdam

Table View: What’s causing the stench?

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Xanthea Limberg is a Mayco Member Water and Waste Services for the City of Cape Town. She revealed that a ‘stockpile of sludge’ at a water treatment plant is to blame for the stench. Limberg says the City has been covering, liming, and applying odour suppressant to the build-up – but long-term solutions remain hamstrung by issues with tender contracts.

“The source of the odour relates to the stockpiling of sludge at our Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Plant. Since 1 January neither waste activated sludge or primary sludge cake are being removed from any of our wastewater treatment plants due to appeals. The procurement process is long, meaning we haven’t been able to get the new sludge tender in place.”

Xanthea Limberg

How long will parts of Cape Town have to live with this smell?

Locals are likely to be stuck with this smell for the next few weeks, if not months. When the Potsdam facility caused trouble for the Milnerton Lagoon last year, the City of Cape Town hinted that there could be a wait of ‘up to five years‘ to get maintenance issues fully ironed out. As you’d expect, social media users have been kicking up a stink…

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