Raw sewage continues to flood eThekwini beaches

A damaged sewer pipe near uMlazi Megacity which spills into the uMlazi River leading to the ocean. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

A damaged sewer pipe near uMlazi Megacity which spills into the uMlazi River leading to the ocean. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Sep 11, 2023


Durban — ActionSA PR councillor Alan Beesley has revealed Umgeni Wastewater Treatment Plant had 20 million litres of raw sewage on a daily basis, which was always unaccounted for by the eThekwini Municipality.

Beesley added Warner Beach and surrounding areas had continued to be hammered by poor water quality and faulty pump stations.

This, while eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda on Monday embarked on an oversight visit to beaches around eThekwini to assess progress on sewer pump station repairs.

Beesley said, as reflected in the latest eThekwini water and sanitation report released recently on the water quality at the various beaches, it was highlighted how bad eThekwini’s sewage crisis was, and that it was not getting any better.

“Recent site inspections undertaken by ActionSA at several wastewater treatment plants and pump stations revealed the shocking state of eThekwini sewage infrastructure.

“These site inspections were undertaken as part of ActionSA’s court case against the municipality and the various government departments.

“One such example is the Northern WasteWater Treatment Plant. This plant used to receive 35 million litres of raw sewage daily to treat, however it is currently only receiving 15 million.

“The difference of 20 million litres is the amount of raw sewage that is daily being discharged into the environment. This raw sewage ultimately ends up in the Umgeni River and into the sea, thus impacting on the quality of beach water.”

A second example was the Kingsway 2 Pump Station, south of eThekwini in Warnerdoone. He said this pump station was without a pump for over 18 months and was discharging raw sewage into the Little Amanzimtoti River.

Beesley said it was important to note the reason for not having pumps was not flood related.

He added that the result of the raw sewage being discharged into the river was that the river was full of sewage.

“The smell from the river is overpowering and the impact on residents and local businesses has been catastrophic. A bed and breakfast nearby has not had one booking the whole year. Because of the high e-coli levels, Warner Beach and Winklespruit Beach have been closed for swimming for a year and a half.”

Beesley said the latest report on the quality of water at the various beaches, and a site inspection of some of the wastewater treatment plants and pump stations, demonstrated eThekwini had a serious sewage crisis.

He said it was increasingly apparent the ANC-led municipality did not have the political will or competence to address the crisis.

“The costs of this crisis ultimately impact on all of eThekwini’s residents, businesses, tourists and the environment, and as such ActionSA’s court case will continue,” Beesley said.

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