News24

Govt intervenes in Carolina water crisis

2012-02-21 09:25

Mbombela - The water affairs department intervened over the weekend in the crisis in Carolina, in Mpumalanga, where drinking water has been contaminated by acid mine water seepage.

Water affairs spokesperson Themba Khumalo said on Monday that the department was extremely concerned about the situation.

He said the department had appointed a rapid reaction team of scientists and engineers to help local authorities remove heavy metals - iron, aluminium and manganese - from the drinking water.

At this stage, officials at the Chief Albert Luthuli local authority were pouring dozens of bags of lime into the town's drinking water every day to try and raise pH levels and supply water to the approximately 15 000 local residents.

Town officials were struggling to remove aluminium, in particular, and the water was still not fit for human consumption.

Local authorities notified the department of water affairs in writing in January about the impending water disaster, Beeld newspaper reported.

Local authorities have been trucking drinking water to Carolina from nearby Breyten and Chrissiesmeer.

Khumalo said the department had offered to assist the community financially while the water was being brought in, and to supply two water trucks.

Some of the money would be used to upgrade the town's water purification plant.

Comments
  • Kobus - 2012-02-21 09:39

    Is such a pity that the concern from the Government always comes AFTER the disasters struck and they are simply to incompetent to prevent it in the first instance :(

  • JudithNkwe - 2012-02-21 09:42

    And the mine that has caused the problem? Is action being taken against them?

      Leon - 2012-02-21 09:57

      The mine closed down many years ago...

  • PB - 2012-02-21 10:01

    The government has not been bothered by all the reports of the contamination until now. It has been known for YEARS that the whole Chrissiesmeer/Ermelo/Carolina area's watertable is being contaminated by the coal mining industry in that area. This spill is just a more obvious once-off. Too little, too late

      maseratifittipaldi - 2012-02-21 10:42

      Exactly PB. The SABC 2 programme 50/50 pointed out the impending disaster about 10 years ago, but they could never anticipate the levels of antipathy, ignorance and arrogance within the ANC government. As long as their (ANC) buddies are making money out of the coal, everything is just fine. They can use the money to buy fancy mansions abroad, so this is not their problem.

  • Lee - 2012-02-21 10:25

    Shame, you was warned.

  • Graham - 2012-02-21 10:30

    Just when you think our government can't get any worse, they surprise us every day! There truly is no limit to their corruption and incompetence!

  • Jacqui - 2012-02-21 10:40

    Wait till a couple of buidlings collapse in Jo'burg from all that acid water and even Trevor Manual will have to sit up and take notice. Somewhere else arsenic in a stream is killing everything and I bet you Government is very concerned about that too, while they sip their cool bottled water all day long. Enough to make one sick, water or no water.

  • dewald.galjaard - 2012-02-21 10:42

    why 'intervene'? shouldn't they have been 'involved'?

  • Phumi - 2012-02-21 11:10

    If there Dr. Mulder's of this world can trace who was here in this country first. Surely they can be able to trace all these Mine owners who left our country in distute and ravaged by these toxic waters. We need to name and shame the culprit and solicite some kind of compensation from them. This atrocity cannnot go unpunished but we know that those who stole the land will never reveal there wherabouts of these criminals!

      Kevin - 2012-02-21 11:17

      Phumi they are still there - plenty of coal mines opening in that area as well as the existing ones. It is heading for an ecological disaster.

      Warren Mudge - 2012-02-21 11:19

      hello Phumi, wondered where you were? Do not forget that this present government also benefitted from these mines by way of taxes for the last 15 or so years. Are the also then not party to this and then also criminals? The mines are not the only guilty ones here.

      Phumi - 2012-02-21 11:34

      There whole of Joburg is sitting on a time bomb of acid water. Those self proclaimed historians like Dr. Mulder must stand up for what is right and tell us who are these Mine owners and where are they now? We inherited this problem and it is a fallacy that this government benefitted from these so called gold mines that are ghost town today in the East Rand and Springs area in particular. But who are we kidding we know that these reactionary elements will look the other way because this directly affects one of their own. A code of silence will be the order of the day. Another sad day in the land of plenty!

      Phillip - 2012-02-21 13:55

      Phumi, I think you have raised some valid points - that's why no one here likes you! But unfortunately, I don't think you will ever catch the corporate shape-shifters who were responsible. They have vanished into thin air long ago. Are we really a nation of blind moles, who have nothing better to do than dig and argue about the colour of the other moles? (that they can't even see properly). It's time we realized that we are members of the human race, and we're losing! We need to start moving away from mining - we aren't going to find any food down there.

      davidm.greyvenstein - 2012-02-21 14:23

      The blame must be placed on both the government and the mining houses. At ERPM the pumping was done for years with the government subsidising the cost. When the government stopped the subsidy, the mine could not maintain the financial burden and halted the pumping. This is not a historical issue, but rather a gross mismanagement issue. The government has known about this problem for years, but it looks like they will only believe the water is a problem when it runs down the streets of our towns.

  • Phillip - 2012-02-21 11:17

    It is all very well to blame the ANC for everything, but they didn't dig the mines, did they? They have just carried on what we've all been doing for a hundred years. The consequences are those of full-blooded South African stupidity, not just ANC. But if you want to see how to deal with the problem in a REALLY stupid way, just look at what wannabe popular USA politicians are saying right now. Or do we all want to be stupid dead frogs?

  • Fanie - 2012-02-21 11:22

    The minister of water affairs said 3 years ago that we must not worry about acid water, that it was not a problem. What now minister. I SEE THAT YOU DON'T EVEN TALK ABOUT IT BUT A SPOKES PERSON MUST DO IT FOR YOU. THIS JUST SHOWS YOU THAT YOU ARE INCOMPETENT AND VERY, VERY LAZY. YOU ARE THE SAME AS THAT WOMEN WHO WAS THE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATION WHO THOUGHT SHE WAS VERY CLEVER BUT LOOK AT TELKOM TODAY!

  • Ross - 2012-02-21 11:28

    This will no doubt mean setting up a task team, booking hotels, flights, cars, catering and a venue to host "talks"... All of which is being paid for by us and no outcome will ever come.

      Mike - 2012-02-21 13:18

      You are so spot on Ross. I'm a musician and play regularly at a Conference Centre. I see it ALL the time. Sometimes some bring small kids with!

  • Se-a Spencer Ikeremm - 2012-02-21 11:30

    There's a place called Carolina in SA O.O Before we deal with this water issue, I suggest a name change from Carolina, to something equally nice like Karabo ^^

  • piet.vandergrijp - 2012-06-18 10:07

    The People of Carolina who now drill boreholes to get to fresh water must ensure that the borehole aquifers are not connected to the acid mine drainage water (AMD). Dependancy on boreholes may result in the lowering of the surrounding water table, and if AMD finds it's way into the aquifers, they might as well pack up and leave. Government must regard this problem as if it is a neuclear disaster and must act accordingly. The only solution is to establish mobile Sulphur recovery plants and re-treat all the affected waste and slimes dams in the country. Releasing Katze water from the Vaal dam to dilute the downstream pollutants is criminal. All this does is spread the pollutants even further. And now we are going to destoy the Karoo with Fracking! AMD and municipal sewage discharge mamagement must become priority. For once, the Goverment must look beyond BEE and allow us all to clean up this mess.

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