The discharge of any effluent into the coastal environment from a land-based process must be authorised by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).
Previously the disposal of land-derived effluent into coastal waters was controlled by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (now the Department of Water and Sanitation) under the National Water Act, 1998 (Act No. 36 of 1998) (NWA). This provides
the specific conditions for the treatment and disposal of the effluent. Under the ICM Act, the discharge of effluent from a land-based source into coastal waters is authorised by the DEA through a Coastal Waters Discharge Permit (CWDP).
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Any person or entity who discharges or intends to discharge land-derived effluent into the coastal waters of South Africa must apply for a CWDP.
Section 69 (1) of the ICM Act states:
“No person may discharge effluent that originates from a source on land into coastal waters except in terms of a general authorisation ... or a coastal waters discharge permit ...”
Under the ICM Act, “effluent” is defined as:
(a) Any liquid discharged into the coastal environment as waste, and includes any substance dissolved or
suspended in the liquid; or
(b) Liquid which is a different temperature from the body of water into which it is being discharged.
Under the ICM Act, “Waste” is defined as:
“... any substance, whether or not that substance can be re-used, recycled or recovered –
(i) that is surplus, unwanted, rejected, discharged, abandoned or disposed of;
(ii) that the generator has no further use of, for the purposes of production, reprocessing or consumption; and
(iii) that is discharged or deposited in a manner that may detrimentally impact on the environment.”
Applications for Discharge Permits
An application form with all applicable documents must be addressed and sent to the:
Department of Environmental Affairs- Oceans and Coasts
Director: Coastal Pollution Management
2nd Floor East Pier Building
East Pier Road
V & A Waterfront
P.O. Box 52126
V & A Waterfront
Electronic submissions: firstname.lastname@example.org
The discharge triggers Listing Notices in the Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA) Regulations under NEMA, and is subject to the applicable environmental authorisation by the DEA and/ or a Coastal Waters Discharge Permit (CWDP) or a General Authorisation (GA).