Ugu Municipality ordered to act on sewage spill after residents complained of dead fish floating and foul smell on KZN south coast
Durban - A sewage spill on KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast which has been unattended for weeks has now got the attention of the province’s member for the executive council for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Ravi Pillay.
Pillay visited the spillage site in Uvongo, in the Ugu district municipality on Sunday to assess the full extent of the damages caused by alleged malfunctions at the pump stations after receiving numerous complaints from affected residents, the department said in a statement on Monday.
He has directed the Ugu municipality to act urgently on the sewage spill which polluted the Uvongo river and Uvongo bathing beach.
“We are very concerned that this matter has been left to go on for many weeks. This is why we have issued this directive as a form of administrative enforcement. The department has the right to pursue criminal enforcement but we hope it does not come to that,” Pillay said.
“All the stakeholders, including the municipality and contractors on site, have assured us that the situation is being given priority and is being attended to with the urgency it deserves. We are satisfied with the information we have received that there is work underway to connect a temporary line which will solve the immediate problem.”
During Pillay’s visit, Uvongo’s pump stations two and three were overflowing with sewage that made its way into the river and beach. The overflow is due to the damage to the pipeline connecting the two pump stations to the wastewater treatment works.
“A pollution incident of this nature may result in environmental damage and degradation. Not only does this spillage infringe on the rights of residents but it may also have a negative impact on tourism which is the lifeblood of many of our coastal areas, especially on the south coast,” Pillay said.
According to reports, dead fish have been floating in the affected river and residents in the affected area have also complained about the foul smell.
The South Coast Herald reported that the sewage spill occurred after a municipal contractor went in to repair a faulty pump at the water treatment works but instead, damaged a sewage pipe.
According to Ugu residents, a tree had fallen over and the municipality sent in an excavator to remove it. A “big hole” was dug up which damaged the pipeline.
African News Agency