Children seen swimming in submerged reservoirs

2010-03-17 00:00

A LOCAL man is concerned about two enormous submerged water reservoirs at Claridge on Otto’s Bluff Road, which are not secured and in which local children have been swimming.

The man, who asked not to be named, said he first discovered the tanks when he was riding motorbikes in the area with friends, and stopped near the tanks.

“We noticed a child of around three years old playing there and all of a sudden he disappeared.” Concerned for the child’s safety, the man went to investigate and found that the child had climbed down a ladder into the underground reservoir and was standing on the bottom step playing in the water.

“Right where he was standing is a 20 cm inlet, which creates an “aggressive” swirling current. It’s very dangerous.”

The man said the reservoirs are “each as big as a rugby field and se­ven to eight metres deep”.

“The local children slip down there to play. I have tried to educate them about the dangers of this, and one of the children actually drowned while swimming at another local dam. Perhaps if better safety measures were in place here it would have sent out the message of safety and this could perhaps have altered the way things turned out. I really hope they are not going down there anymore.”

The man also expressed his concerns about the security of a clean water supply from the reservoirs to consumers if children are swimming in the water. There is no fence around the reservoirs either and no evidence of padlocks which should have secured the covers. “It’s really messy and not a good situation.”

Approached for comment, Umgeni Water said the reservoirs were not their responsibility, but fell under Msunduzi.

Despite being shown the pictures of the boy climbing into the reservoir, municipal spokesperson Ntobeko Ngcobo seemed incredulous that this actually occurred.

She said water samples from the Belfort reservoir were taken monthly for microbiological analysis.

“The samples were sent to the National Health Laboratory Services Laboratory in Durban for analysis. The laboratory’s reports on all the samples were in compliance with the essential microbiological criteria as per SANS 241 for domestic water. Therefore, the water is safe for human consumption.”

She said the two missing manhole covers will be replaced and all manhole covers secured to protect the health and safety of the consumers.

“This reservoir is not contamina­ted due to its not being easily accessible to the public …” said Ngcobo.

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