Part of the Midmar Dam closed after ongoing sewage spill

19 November 2019 - 12:22 By LWANDILE BHENGU
An aerial view of the sewage spilling into the Midmar Dam in the KZN Midlands.
An aerial view of the sewage spilling into the Midmar Dam in the KZN Midlands.
Image: supplied

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has confirmed closing access to part of the Midmar Dam after a sewage spill into the water near Mpophomeni, in the midlands. 

Ezemvelo spokesperson Musa Mntambo told TimesLIVE on Tuesday that they instructed people to stay clear of the dam near Mpophomeni at the beginning of October, after the water started showing high levels of sewage.  

“We have instructed people not to fish there and not to use boats because of a sewage issue. We cannot say where the sewage comes from,” said Mntambo. 

“We don't deal with water, but now and then we do go and test the water in dams. When that section was tested, there was a lot of sewage,” he added. 

Midmar Dam Sewerage Spill - The Mpophomeni Township sewerage system has collapsed entirely resulting in pure sewerage...

Posted by John Easton on Monday, 18 November 2019

Meanwhile, environmental lobby group Save Our Rivers has applied to the department of water and sanitation to intervene.

“Sewage flowing into dam [is] worse than usual. aQuellé Midmar Mile, we hope you’re watching carefully and begin to add your voice to the call for immediate action. Department of water and sanitation ... here is another dam and water source at threat,” they wrote on Facebook. 

However, Umgeni Water told TimesLIVE on Tuesday that the sewage spill was not as serious as social media reports had made it out to be.

"Investigations conducted by staff of Umgeni Water show that some information circulated on social media this week was far from the factual situation," said Shami Harichunder, Umgeni Water's corporate stakeholder manager.

"Contrary to exaggerated claims on social media, the amount of effluent that made its way into the river system and the dam was small in quantity and unlikely to have any significant impact on water quality. The situation is not of serious proportions."

Harichunder said a new R389m wastewater treatment plant would be constructed in  Mpophomeni next year and that in the interim, Mpophomeni's sewer was being transferred to the Howick wastewater treatment works.

The recent KZN storms have hindered the process, he added. "Pipeline capacity is often the source of some of the problems that are experienced. Torrential rain over the past 10 days has exacerbated the situation. This resulted in transfer not occurring speedily, thus spills occurring."