Mechanical failure caused cyanide spill

2012-02-20 14:45
Johannesburg - Mechanical failure at a synthetic rubber manufacturer caused cyanide to leak into the raw water supply of towns in northern KwaZulu-Natal, the company said on Monday.

"It was found that mechanical failure of equipment caused contaminated water to leak into the storm water system," said Karbochem spokesperson Jaco Prinsloo.

"The equipment has been repaired and steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence."

On Thursday, 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.

There have been no reports of human fatalities, but the spillage did result in the death of 12 heads of cattle.

Karbochem has offered to compensate farmers and local residents in the area who had been affected.
"We take full responsibility for the 12 cows that have died."

Karbochem was in discussions with the two affected farmers on their compensation.

Prinsloo said in a statement that clean-up operations were completed and site operations had returned to normal.

Water now safe

After the spillage last week, the river was flushed and by Friday afternoon Karbochem reported the water was safe.

"[The cyanide levels are] far within the safe and legal limits," said Prinsloo.

He said tests of the water revealed less that 50 parts of cyanide per million parts of water as legally required.

"The levels are very far below that. It is below two parts per million."

Acting regional director for water resource management Jay Reddy said the department handed an investigation into the spillage over to the compliance monitoring and enforcement unit of the department of water affairs.

"Once the investigations are done, the department will decide what steps to take."

Prinsloo said he could not comment on any legal action against Karbochem as the matter was sub judice at this stage.
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  health and safety

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The Leo moon adds an element of drama and entertainment. A significant person that you may consult or confide in may play more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.