Dusi committee may seek second opinion on tests

2008-01-10 00:00

Continued doubts around the quality of the water in the Umsunduzi River at Pietermaritzburg have led the Dusi Canoe Marathon committee to seek a second opinion on test results.

“I think there is a danger of a health risk for paddlers, therefore contingency plans have been put in place to change the start of the race if this becomes necessary,” said committee chairman Cameron McKenzie .

No new test results were released to the media yesterday, despite earlier assurances.

McKenzie said transparency on water quality results is of “utmost importance”.

“We … rely heavily on experts to advise us, particularly on safety and not just water quality.”

A statement released yesterday by the race committee said tests indicate that the water quality in the river poses a “tolerable moderate health risk for canoeing” at this stage.

This was the conclusion reached after a joint meeting with a panel of experts at Umgeni Water, including representatives of the Msunduzi and eThekwini municiplaities, the Water Affairs and Forestry Department and the Duzi Umgeni Conservation Trust.

Race spokesman Ray de Vries said eThekwini Municipality water and sanitation reported that they have good river water quality in the Umgeni at the race finish.

“If no major storms occur in the days preceding the race, and there are no major sewer bursts, the start will remain at Camps Drift,” he said.

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