Coast KZN

06 May 2019

Raw sewage flows into the sea at Westbrook beach

Elana Wagner (North Coast Courier) Picture: The sewage runs straight into the sea at Westbrook beach.

Raw sewage has been flowing unhindered into the sea at the Westbrook Blue Flag beach for more than four weeks. Westbrook councillor Geoff Pullan said officials were aware of the problem, but were unable to fix it because of the ongoing municipal strike.

“The industrial action by municipal workers has seen tampering with valves and even restricting access to facilities.

“Regrettably many of our pump stations have been affected and the Westbrook Beach pump station, it seems, is one of them,” said Pullan.

“The industrial unrest can be laid squarely at the door of the mayor, who appointed 55 MK veterans as staff members at the municipality.

“These people were subsequently promoted through the ranks, and are earning more than some existing staff.

“As one would expect, this is a recipe for conflict.”

The pump station is flooded with sewage.

He said they took down the Blue Flag at Westbrook a couple of weeks ago.

“Various aspects were not up to standard. Obviously we will not fly the blue flag until these failings which includes the efficient running of the pump station have been attended to.”

Westbrook resident and keen surfer John van Rooyen said he felt ill when the smell and sight of human feces hit him as he walked onto the beach after returning home from a long business trip.

“My understanding is that this has been happening the past four to six weeks. What saddens me most is that this is not being treated as a matter of urgency.  This is a major health risk to all using our waters, from the local surfers, holidays makers, fishing ski enthusiasts and our lifeguards who are expected to work in these contaminated waters,” said Van Rooyen.

He said he had been an avid user of the blue flag beach together with his family, but now they avoid the beach completely.

“Locals I have spoken to have been complaining about stomach cramps and I would not be surprised if this is linked to the contaminated water.  I hope alarm bells will be raised with the Ethekwini municipality and that they will get involved before someone gets seriously ill.”