Duzi water dirty after heavy rain

2008-01-17 00:00

THE water quality at Camps Drift is poor and carries a high health risk after this week’s downpours, putting a damper on today’s start of the Hansa Powerade Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Spokesman for the Dusi joint task team, Ian Bailey, said the decrease in quality was “as expected after heavy rains”.

However, he said the release by Umgeni Water of water from Henley Dam is expected to flush away much of the contamination.

The race organising committee said they were not informed of the increased health risk.

Committee chairman Cameron McKenzie said experts advised them to keep the start at Camps Drift.

Race spokesman Ray de Vries told The Witness that they will go on the advice given to them by the Dusi task team experts.

“We are not the experts. A task team was initiated by relevant role-players who were tasked with advising the committee whether we could start or not at Camps Drift by considering the health risks,” said De Vries.

Bailey said “the advice … was that there was likely to be a moderately high to high health risk and novice paddlers who expect to capsize frequently are advised to consider portaging the main weirs and rapids up to the Campbells portage”.

He added that “the first Campbells portage take-out should rather be used in order to avoid the Darvill sewage works storm overflow”.

Msunduzi Municipality crews spent Tuesday night clearing sewers blocked after Monday’s storm, and are using HTH to disinfect overflows from sewerage pump stations caused by electricity load shedding.

De Vries said that this was “a bit of a dampener because we’ve got such a brilliant race with a number of international tourists”.

“Directly after the Dusi we need to talk turkey with Umgeni Water and the municipality,” De Vries said.

He added that the committee are “as ready as can be”, and “while there is a dampener, we will do whatever it takes to ensure the Dusi survives and gets bigger and better”.

Race founder Ian Player (80) at a press briefing yesterday said: “The Dusi River is a metaphor for life. If the river is sick, the city is sick.”

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