Margate: Waste water pumps boost

2012-09-17 00:00

MARGATE’S three waste water treatment pumps that collapsed earlier this month, leading to serious pollution problems, should all be in working order by tomorrow.

Ugu District Municipality spokesperson Sipho Khuzwayo told The Witness this was an interim measure.

“Our technicians are working around the clock.”

The closure of the pump station led to Margate Beach becoming closed to swimmers and fears that it would not regain its Blue Flag status any time soon.

Khuzwayo said the rains on Friday and Saturday would have helped reduce the chances of E Coli in the Kongweni River, which flows into the town’s lagoon that opens on to the beach when the river flows strongly.

New pumps are on their way from Germany by ship, but are scheduled to arrive only at the end of next month.

In spite of getting things back on track, Ugu Municipality may find the Department of Water Affairs taking action against it.

“Once Margate’s sewerage crisis is resolved, the Department of Water Affairs will decide whether action should be taken against the Ugu District Municipality for having allowed the situation to become as bad as it did,” said Angela Masefield, director of water regulation and use.

“Let’s get the system up and running. That’s the main priority. Then we’ll see their responses and decide on appropriate action.”

She called Margate’s problem “quite a serious one … They really had a major failure. Quite a lot of sewage spilled into the lagoon and on to the beach.”

But Ugu had been able to respond a lot quicker than they had indicated.

“They have also been good at implementing mitigation measures, such as using tankers,” Masefield said.

On the tourism front, the Margate Beach Spring Festival scheduled to run from Saturday, September 29, to October 7 hangs in balance.

“We’re looking at it day by day to see if we can put events on the beach,” said Michael Bertram, CEO of South Coast Tourism.

Hilda Gabriel, general manager for marketing and events for the same company, added: “The Margate beach programme is subject to being moved to January 2013 if the current water situation does not change.”

• duncan.guy@witness.co.za

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