Worms in water not from Ekurhuleni’s water supply

The City of Ekurhuleni has noted the recent media reports of two families that allegedly found worms from their potable water.

The first incident was a complaint by Ina Cloete of Birchleigh in Kempton Park.

Her complaint was investigated and her neighbours interviewed.

Samples from her tap water and from that of neighbours were taken.

According to the municipality, the laboratory results showed no signs of foreign elements or traces of anything that can result in the formation of a worm and the only possible cause was found to be faulty plumbing in her house.

Read: Dog loves rescuing earthworms

Christo Green of Kempton Park also complained of the same occurrence of a worm coming from his tap water in July.

The worms found by Cloete and Green were of terrestrial species and were alive when found.

These types of worms cannot survive in water due to the water reticulation system’s inherent high pressure and the inability of the worms to breathe in water.

In addition, the city gets water from Rand Water where it goes through a chemical-intensive purification process that cannot be survived by any type of living creature.

Furthermore, the city’s vast water reticulation infrastructure comprises of intermediate high-pressure pumps, valves and meters that no living creature such as a worm can pass through intact and get to the end-users’ taps.

How a worm can find itself inside a water tap?

  • Insects, such as moth-flies and other Diptera species like to lay their eggs in moist areas. Often these places are the mouths of water taps, bath or basin overflows, or drains. Once the larvae (first stage of the insect life cycle) hatches from the eggs, they can then drop into or be washed into a basin from a tap.
  • Terrestrial worms – those with feet and feelers, like millipedes, can crawl into a tap and be washed out once the tap is opened and it can then be perceived that it came from the potable water supply system. They can also fall into a bath full of water, from crawling on the side or wall, and be perceived as being in the water.
  • Worms, e.g. earthworms can crawl into leaking water pipes in the ground when the water network is off. Once a tap is opened the water pressure washes them out at the tap.
  • Worms, e.g. earthworms can crawl through the waste water drain system into the overflows of the basin/bath into, and it can then be perceived that it came from the water potable water supply system.
  • It should be noted that if a worm is found alive it could not have come through the municipal system, because the worm would not have been able to breath and it would also have been exposed to the pressure in the pipes.

The city’s water is regularly tested for quality, and the results are published on its website on a monthly basis.

The latest results conducted in June showed an excellent compliance levels in all areas, recording 100 per cent compliance levels in the areas listed below, and 99 per cent in Operational Compliance (ORC):

  • Acute Health Microbiological Compliance (AHMC)
  • Acute Health Chemical Compliance (AHCC)
  • Chronic Health Chemical Compliance (CHCC)
  • Aesthetic Compliance (AC)

Also read: No more free water for non-indigent households

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