Coast KZN

25 Nov 2021

Poo plight worsens at former blue flag Westbrook beach

James Anderson (North Coast Courier) Picture: The stream runs beneath the main lifeguard tower and out into the ocean, less than 20m from the swimming area

The status of Westbrook’s once blue flag beach continues to worsen with another sewage spill into the ocean. Last week, the Courier reported on the broken down Westbrook sewerage pump station, causing serious effluent overflow into the nearby stream. This flows out into the ocean only 50 metres from Westbrook’s main beach.

Now another pump station directly behind the main beach lifeguard tower is experiencing similar problems, depositing sewage 20 metres from the main beach. Sewage from all properties east of the lifeguard tower, extending up to the Tongaat River, flows into this pump station, from where the raw sewage is transferred to the current non-functioning main station which has been non-operational for the past 4 months.

In the interim trucks collect the sewage for processing at a treatment and disposal facility, but, when trucks do not arrive on time, the auxiliary station’s overflow seeps into a nearby stream, coming out at Westbrook beach. This was confirmed by an eThekwini Metro pump attendant working at the station during the Courier’s visit last Friday.

“We have no choice. It overflows if we don’t pump it, so it goes into the stream and then to the ocean,” said the man, who asked to remain anonymous.

Although sewage at the auxiliary pump station had recently been pumped into the nearby stream, the evidence of a recent overflow was clear. He also identified another 6 pump stations between Westbrook and Tongaat that have been vandalised and never fixed.

When asked whether he thought it was a problem across eThekwini, he said almost all the pump stations were not properly maintained. Residents are fuming about the Westbrook situation.

“It is disgusting. Besides the terrible smell, children not comfortable in the ocean often play in the stream which fills up at low tide,” said lifelong Westbrook resident, Parry Govender.

“Thick clumps of sewage collect on the surface of the stagnant water directly under the main lifeguard tower. This is made worse by vagrants sleeping and defecating on the tower stairs when ablution facilities are locked overnight,” said Govender.

“When the lifeguards leave at 6pm, vagrants and revellers use whatever corner or bush they can find to do their ablutions. This is then hosed off into the stream or onto the beach the next day,” he said.

A second toilet block behind the tower is kept locked because of the poor state of its interior.

“Something has to be done, this beach is becoming unusable for residents because of the lack of maintenance.”

eThekwini Metro have not responded to the Courier’s request for comment.