Coast KZN

03 May 2019

Raw sewage at yacht club poses health threat

Se-Anne Rall (The Mercury)

DURBAN – Durban’s Point Yacht Club, which is a sought-after wedding and social events venue, has been trying for weeks to get the city authorities to resolve a problem of raw sewage that is causing a stink in the area.

In recent weeks, the stench of raw sewage flowing from a nearby canal has forced many people to cancel bookings and look for alternate venues.

For the past three months, PYC has been complaining about the flow from a nearby storm water drain.

PYC manager Darryl Williams said the club had recently suffered a loss of revenue. “On Sunday, we hosted a lunch and people kept complaining about the smell,” he said.

Williams said he was also concerned as the flow of sewage posed a serious health hazard to both the fish and birdlife around the marina.

He said they often had similar issues when it rained but the latest incident was exacerbated by the recent torrential downpours.

“The flow from many of the buildings along the Esplanade flow to this drain, which then runs into the canal. There is a pump in the Point area and they have also had some issues recently,” he said.

In email correspondence between the city and PYC, eThekwini Municipality superintendent for architecture and reactive maintenance, Nunda Moodley, said a plumber had visited the site.

“He suspected that it could be a sewer line blockage or failure at the sewer pump station that is causing sewage to flow into the storm-water line and discharged at the Point Yacht Club canal,” he said, adding that raw sewage was floating around the yachts.

“This situation poses a serious environmental and health threat,” Moodley said.

Councillor Sharmaine Sewshanker said she had been trying to get the city to attend to the sewage leak for the past three weeks.

She said she was appalled by the attitude of municipal officials over the matter.

“They have been dragging their feet since February in resolving this issue of sewage flowing into the harbour. I have reported the seriousness of the issue to the department of water and sanitation literally pleading with the head of department for assistance,” she said.

Sewshanker said after the recent floods in the province, there was a possibility of an outbreak of water-borne diseases.

“This poses a risk to many as this is a popular tourist site and jetty for residents at Wilsons Wharf,” she said.

Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said: “The storm water and wastewater departments are working on tracing and establishing the source of the problem.”