Legal action follows toxic spill

2012-02-19 10:36

Durban - The department of water affairs was to take legal action against the company responsible for a cyanide spill in the Ngagane river near Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, according to a report on Saturday.

The department was waiting on investigation results, which should be completed by the end of next week, said acting regional director for water resource management in KwaZulu-Natal Jay Reddy, reported the SABC.

If it was confirmed Karbochem, a synthetic rubber manufacturer, was the culprit of the spill, "the department will hand over the matter to our compliance and monitoring and enforcement unit which will enforce legal action against the company," he said.

Reddy said the culprit would be responsible for compensation to those who had lost cattle as a result of the contaminated water, reported the broadcaster.

The spill was discovered on Thursday morning when cows died after drinking from a stream near a site outside Newcastle, uThukela Water spokesperson Dumisani Thabethe said on Friday.

The cyanide spilled into a stream near the Karbochem site in Newcastle. The stream flows into the Ngagane river which was the source of the area's raw water supplies.

Karbochem spokesperson Jaco Prinsloo said on Friday that the water was "far within the safe and legal limits."

He said the cause of the spillage was being investigated.

- SAPA

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