The eThekwini Municipality has issued an urgent notice to members of the public not to drink water from the Umhlangane River at this time.
This comes after four pumping units at the inlet pumpstation of the KwaMashu Wastewater Treatment Works malfunctioned discharging raw sewage into the river.
The municipality said the affected pumping units have been put offline for repairs, resulting in only a single pump being available to pump the incoming flow to the works. “The remaining unit is unable to handle the flow to the plant and untreated raw sewage is being discharged into the river,” the municipality added.
“Members of the public are prohibited from using the river water below the treatment works for consumption or any recreational activities during this period. The affected areas will be demarcated with relevant signage. The municipality will undertake all necessary action to rehabilitate the river once the treatment works reaches full compliance,” it continued.
The municipality has put measures in place to divert some flow to the old treatment works to reduce the volume of untreated effluent going to the river. The effluent is currently being screened, degritted and disinfected to reduce environmental and public health impacts on the river.
The river will be aerated to increase oxygen levels and assist aquatic life. It will also be monitored and sampled daily with samples being sent to the laboratory for testing.
“The City apologises for the inconvenience caused and appeals to residents to be patient during this time,” the municipality concluded.