‘Toxic stench’ firm ad­mits to be­ing fined

Daily News - - NEWS -

ENVIROSERV, a com­pany that has come un­der fire for the stench em­a­nat­ing from a Dur­ban land­fill site it op­er­ates, has ad­mit­ted it had been fined five times by the eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The com­pany’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Dean Thompson, said the com­pany had been fined five times in the past five years for breach­ing the city’s by­laws re­lat­ing to leachate dis­charged from the waste site it man­ages in Shong­weni.

“We have been fined on five oc­ca­sions dur­ing the last five years, each time on the ba­sis that one of the 17 standard parame­tres set and mea­sured by eThek­wini ex­ceeded the re­quired standard,” said Thompson.

The re­lease of the state­ment fol­lowed a closed emer­gency en­vi­ron­men­tal meet­ing on Thursday gate­crashed by about 100 an­gry Hill­crest res­i­dents af­fected by the fumes, who ac­cuse the com­pany of do­ing noth­ing to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion. They streamed into the meet­ing un­in­vited, hop­ing to plead their case to se­nior of­fi­cials of the en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs de­part­ment (DEA) present at the meet­ing.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from eThek­wini Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion, who in­tro­duced her­self as Sim­phiwe, told the meet­ing that EnviroServ had been fined for by-law trans­gres­sion on more than one oc­ca­sion.

Re­spond­ing to ques­tions, she said “(They have been fined for by-law trans­gres­sions) for about five years. They get an ad­mis­sion of guilt fine. Ac­cord­ing to by­laws, they cur­rently pay R1 000.”

The crowd erupted at the dis­clo­sure, ask­ing how many times ex­actly EnviroServ had been fined over the past five years and why, if it was a re- peat of­fender, the mat­ter had not been es­ca­lated.

EnviroServ was only one of the sources of the stench and it was tak­ing “the most de­ci­sive ac­tion” to deal with the odour. Thompson did not say who else was re­spon­si­ble for the nox­ious odour.

The Shong­weni site is op­er­ated by EnviroServ in terms of a waste man­age­ment li­cence is­sued by the DEA and a sewer dis­charge li­cence is­sued by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

At Thursday’s meet­ing, DEA deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral of chem­i­cals and waste man­age­ment, Mark Gor­don, said about 300 com­plaints about the stench were be­ing re­ceived each week.

He said the de­part­ment had sent EnviroServ a let­ter on Au­gust 22, af­ter meet­ing the com­pany, which de­tailed ac­tions EnviroServ had to com­ply with.

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