Ekurhuleni: Worms In Water Not From City’s Water Supply

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

The first incident came from a resident in Birchleigh, and was investigated and neigbhours were interviewed. Tap water samples were taken from the complainant and neighbours and the results showed no signs of foreign elements or traces of anything that can result in a formation of a worm. The only possible cause was found to be faulty plumbing.

A Kempton Park resident also complained of the same in July. In both cases the worms were of terrestrial species and were alive when found. These type of worm species cannot survive in water due to the water reticulation system’s inherent high pressure, and the worm species’ inability to breath in water. In addition, the City’s water supply comes from Rand Water where it goes through a chemical-intensive purification process that cannot be survived by any type of a living species. 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 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, 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 which can be seen as coming from the potable water supply system. They can also fall into a bath full of water and be perceived as being in the water.
  • Worms, such as 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. They can also crawl through the waste water drain system into the overflows of the basin/bath – again this can then be seen as coming from the potable water supply system.

It should be noted that if a worm is found alive it could not have come through the municipal system as the worm would not have been able to breathe 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 our website on a monthly basis. The latest results conducted in June 2018 showed excellent compliance levels in all areas, recording 100% compliance levels in the areas listed below, and 99% in Operational Compliance (ORC):

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


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