Church members worry as basement flood worsens

2012-10-04 00:00

IT may not be as bad as the waters that carried Noah’s Ark aloft, but a major flood at a local church has parishioners very worried.

City Harvest Church members are worried that their church might collapse if the municipality does not act fast to fix a major water leak that has flooded their basement.

The basement has been waterlogged for more than two months and several attempts to pump the water out have failed. The problem is believed to be caused by a leaking municipal water pipe and worn valves that need replacing.

The church building — the former OK Bazaars building on the corner of Church Street — is old and has a stream running under the basement.

When The Witness visited the premises yesterday, there was mould on most of the basement and a musty smell in the entire building.

Pastor Patrick Lettman said that there are automatic pumps fitted below the basement that are meant to pump out the water as soon as it reaches a certain level.

He knew there was a problem two months ago when the water level continued to rise.

“We discovered there was a leak in a hole in a corner and saw there was water coming in. When we went to look at the water coming in, we saw that it was crystal clear, which meant that it was drinking water leaking from somewhere,” said Lettman.

He said that they traced the problem to a valve and called the municipality to fix it.

“All they did was to close off and look at the valves — that’s it.”

With the water continuously leaking in, the church hired pumps to remove the water, at a cost of about R1 000 a day.

Still, they couldn’t get rid of the water. “There was just too much coming in,” he added.

Another call to the municipality resulted in a hole being dug outside the church about two weeks ago, in an attempt to fix the problem.

However, the problem remains and a man reportedly fell into the hole and had to be rescued by the fire department. He is believed to have sustained minor injuries.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Brian Zuma said they have done an excavation to determine what the problem is.

“There are fire connection pipes which supply water to the fire hydrants. The fire connection pipe is the one that’s leaking. The valves are worn out,” he said.

He said the municipality would go to the church today to replace the damaged pipes, put in meters and replace the worn valves.

• Siyathemba.Ben@media24.com

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