Footage re­veals flood of sewage

Ef­flu­ent pours into al­ready heav­ily pol­luted Swartkops River

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Estelle El­lis el­[email protected]­me­

DRONE footage taken late last week has re­vealed mas­sive sewage spill pol­lu­tion flowing from the Kelvin Jones Waste Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant into the heav­ily pol­luted Swartkops River. At the same time, the Nel­son Man­dela Bay Mu­nic­i­pal­ity says it has no im­me­di­ate plans to fix the sewage build-up from the spill in farm dams, which has been blamed for the death of cat­tle on one heav­ily af­fected farm.

The drone footage was taken by the Zwartkops Con­ser­vancy.

It is un­der­stood a high-level meet­ing be­tween the Depart­ment of Wa­ter Af­fairs and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity will be held this week to dis­cuss the sewage sit­u­a­tion on the farm of Lofty van Schalk­wyk, 84.

Van Schalk­wyk, whose farm is right next to the Kelvin Jones sew­er­age works, has been com­plain­ing since 2010 that tons of raw sewage was flood­ing the dams on his farm.

The sewage is run­ning into the Swartkops River from the nearby waste­water treat­ment plant.

The Swartkops River runs through Van Schalk­wyk’s farm, with the sewage pool­ing in sev­eral low-level dams.

He said in the past month the wa­ter had be­come so toxic that 16 of his cat­tle had died.

The lat­est wa­ter re­sults from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity also show that bac­te­ria lev­els were 4 000 times higher than safe lev­els where wa­ter flowed into the Swartkops River from the Kelvin Jones Waste Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant.

“The mu­nic­i­pal­ity is re­fur­bish­ing the Kelvin Jones sew­er­age works at a cost of R35-mil­lion through an ur­ban set­tle­ments de­vel­op­ment grant from Trea­sury,” mu­nic­i­pal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said.

“Once com­plete, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity will be bet­ter placed to avoid sewage spills of this na­ture,” he said. “A more de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tion will also be done at the af­fected sites.”

The en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cer for the Zwartkops Con­ser­vancy, Jenny Rump, vis­ited the area late last week.

“Where the wa­ter flows down into the Swartkops River from Kelvin Jones, it is clearly sewage,” she said.

“What a beau­ti­ful place this could have been if it were not for the in­abil­ity of the metro to do what they should be do­ing to make Kelvin Jones Waste Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant func­tions prop­erly.”

Rump said since the be­gin­ning of the year they have been see­ing wa­ter re­sults show­ing mas­sive pol­lu­tion from the Kelvin Jones treat­ment works.

Un­treated sewage holds pub­lic health risks as it can lead to the out­break of hep­ati­tis and cholera.

“I hope the [re­cent] rain will di­lute some of the pol­lu­tion, but the river will have to rise a lot to clean out those dams,” Rump said.

UN­DER THREAT: Drone footage shows the ex­tent of sewage pol­lu­tion on the farm of Lofty van Schalk­wyk, next to the Kelvin Jones Waste­water Works

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