WATCH: Warning after ‘widespread fecal contamination’ found in Durban harbour | - South Africa News

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Wayne Bezuidenhout watches the dirt after sewage leaked onto the Durban harbour last week
Picture Bongani Mbatha / African News Agency (ANA)

Durban – The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has issued a warning to anyone planning on visiting the Durban Harbour to be careful about getting into the water or making contact with it after research found widespread fecal contamination in the water. 

Sewage has been discharging into the port through Lavender Creek, in recent days, due to the failure of pumps at the eThekwini Municipality’s Mahatma Gandhi Pump station. 

Nokuzola Nkowane, the Acting Port Manager of Durban Transnet National Ports Authority(TNPA) said members of the public are cautioned to avoid contact with Port of Durban waters after water quality monitoring was commissioned by TNPA. 

“Environmental department confirmed that the contamination levels represent a risk to human health.TNPA will undertake another round of sampling once the municipality has fixed the pumps and the outflow of sewage into the port has been halted,”Nkowane said. 

The port authority’s suspension of all diving operations and fishing activities within the Port of Durban also remains in place until further notice.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela repair work has been undertaken and is continuing. He said the pump station is in operation.

“An environmental impact assessment has been done. This was one of the first assessments. We are currently busy with clean up operations,” Mayisela. 

Video source: Ethekwini Secure-Facebook

The main cause of the problem was pump failures. Mayisela said the mechanical rakes at the entrance to the pump station allowed 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,”Mayisela said.  

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