WARNING: Sewage leaking into Umgeni River. Health warning by eThekwini Municipality.

4/12/12

PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY – SEWER SURCHARGE –UMGENI RIVER – POSSIBLE HEALTH RISK

The city wishes to advise of a very unfortunate situation whereby a sewage pump station situated at Kennedy Road has malfunctioned and sewage is consequently has being discharged into the Umgeni River.

The volume of the surcharge is significant and there will be consequent pollution of the river itself and the possibility of water quality being compromised on bathing beaches to the north and south of the Umgeni River.

Repairs to the pump station are underway and are expected to be completed by 25/12/2012.

Water sampling is being undertaken to determine the extent of the impact caused by the surcharge.

In the interests of Public Health the city wishes to advise members of the public to refrain from recreation contact with water in the Umgeni River and on Beaches within 800 meters north and south of the Umgeni river mouth.

However it must be noted that that the dilution of the sewerage in the Umgeni River water reduces the impact of the contamination and impact on water quality and we are also chemically treating the water.

The 800m North and 800m south requirement not to use beaches for recreational purpose will have the following impact on the beaches and the Umgeni River;

1) No swimming is allowed in the river

2) 800m north of the Umgeni River only impact on recreation fishermen, and they will be advised accordingly.

3) 800m south of the Umgeni River impact on the following beach areas:

a) Blue Lagoon

b) Jet Ski

c) Laguna Beach

d) Thekwini Beach

These areas are closed to the upgrade due to construction of the Promenade. Taking the above into account it seems there will be no impact on the Central Swimming Beaches. However, the situation in terms of water pollution is monitored and we can ensure visitors that should it be required in terms of water quality beaches will be closed.

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