Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has suspended all diving operations within the Port of Durban and is prohibiting all angling activities due to a severe sewage discharge that poses a risk to diving personnel and marine life.
The discharge stems from the failure of pumps at the eThekwini Municipality’s Mahatma Gandhi Pump station.
The municipality has taken the pumps out of commission and is currently awaiting the arrival of spare parts from overseas in order for repairs to be effected.
TNPA’s environmental department is engaging with the municipality and is appealing to port users for their cooperation as the City acts to repair the pumps.
In particular the suspension of diving will have an impact on companies using the repair quays within the port’s ship repair precinct.
The Port of Durban is unfortunately on the receiving end of the large volume of litter, effluent and sewage that is discharged via the storm-water reticulation system from a catchment area of over 200km2 in size.
Diving operations are cautioned against operating in the Port of Durban.
An investigation into the matter by Water and Sanitation has identified the main cause of the pump failures is the failure of the mechanical rakes at the entrance to the pump station allowing an ever increasing amount of foreign objects to enter the pumping system.
This resulted in the pumps tripping and failing mechanically. The mechanical rakes have been repaired.
Due to the foreign objects entering the pumps, the pumps became imbalanced and the consequential vibration caused the pumps to fail mechanically.
The pumps are fully imported and consequently their spares parts are not available locally which has caused a delay in repairing the pumps.
The Municipality is embarking on a process to dose the overflow and aerate the polluted area until the repaired pump is reinstalled and the spill averted. The expected installation date is Monday, 13th May 2019.
In the interim we plead with residents, tourists and business owners to refrain from getting in contact with the contaminated water until communications to do otherwise is issued.