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15 Feb 2022

Source of murky discharge in uMngeni River identified

(Northglen News) Picture: River ranger, Sphelele Qhinga takes a sample at one of the site along the uMngeni River. The samples provide information as to how polluted the river system is and what bacteria is found within in.

The eThekwini Municipality has addressed the murky black discharge found in uMngeni River which has been a cause for concern for more than a month. In late December, conservationists raised the alarm over a discolouration which was flowing out of the Northern Waste-Water Treatment Works outfall pipe. This has led to high levels of E.coli found in the river posing a threat to those who use the river on a daily basis.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson, Lindiwe Khuzwayo said the City was aware of the issue and is using a disinfecting agent to treat the discharge.

“The dark water emanating from the ponds at the Northern Waste-Water Treatment Works (NWWTW) is due to the excessive inflow of storm water into the Works that flooded the ponds and put the settled sludge into suspension, discolouring the water. This water has to flow into the river.

“We are currently dosing the discharging water with sodium hypochlorite and we are using alum to settle the solids in the ponds. We are also advertising an emergency contract to dredge the settled sludge from the ponds. This water will not affect beaches; however, residents are urged to stay clear of it for their safety,” she said.

Janet Simpkins, the founder and director of non-profit organisation (NPO), Adopt-a-River, said she remains concerned over the health of the river.

“While the extremely high E.coli readings have come down, it is still not within acceptable norms. We know this river is still polluted and unsafe for all to use. We regularly test the water quality at various points of the uMngeni River and the situation is still critical.

“Sadly, despite the City’s attempts to stop the discharge, we are still seeing it flowing into the river at the NWWTW outfall pipe. We feel the river needs more attention, especially from the authorities because so many communities and people use the river on a daily basis. It is clear to us through our water quality tests that everybody’s health is at risk,” she said.