Pollution, poor infrastructure threaten Midmar Dam
UMgungundlovu District deputy mayor Sbo Mabaso said the unregulated building activity was a serious challenge for the municipality.
Mabaso was speaking to The Mercury after a meeting with her infrastructure portfolio committee members in Howick yesterday. She said the committee had met to deal with the challenges of pollution caused by crumbling infrastructure, especially the issue of the Mpophomeni Wastewater Works, which collapsed last year.
The collapse flooded Midmar Dam with raw sewage, prompting warnings to people not to drink the water or to consume fish from the dam as it might be unsafe.
Less than a kilometre from Midmar Dam new homes have continued to be constructed on plots of land with no access to municipal services, increasing the risk of further pollution of the dam.
Most of the houses built were formal houses made of bricks. The Mercury has been given to understand that they were being built on government land.
“We cannot have this situation where people continue to build without informing us.
“This creates a problem in that we put in infrastructure that is meant to accommodate, for instance, 5000 people and you find that there are a lot more homes and that puts pressure on infrastructure,” Mabaso said
She said last year’s pollution problems had been resolved and the district municipality and Umgeni Water were implementing plans to prevent further pollution.
Mabaso said the collapse occurred because the Mpophomeni Waterworks was old and had failed.
“We are planning to build a new wastewater treatment works in the area that will cost about R400million. It will be built over the next two years. In the meantime, we have closed the Mpophomeni Wastewater Works and we will be using the Howick plant to service the area,” she said.
Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said the project would have additional economic benefits.
“The wastewater treatment plant to be constructed in Mpophomeni is considered a developmental project, in that it is expected to create approximately 300 temporary jobs.
“When commissioned, it will play a significant role as a catalyst for housing, commercial and industrial development in Mpophomeni and surrounding areas,” he said.