Sewage flowing into Midmar Dam

2014-07-23 00:00

RAW sewage seeping into Midmar Dam is contaminating the main source of drinking water in the Midlands.

The sewage has formed a stinking wetland adjacent to the dam.

The latest research by Umgeni Water shows the water quality in the dam and nearby stream is unsatisfactory.

Environmentalists are concerned that the pollution poses a health risk and could render the water unusable in just 15 years.

The main causes of the pollution are the raw sewage leaking from Mpophomeni township and waste from nearby farms.

Sewage leaks in two sections of the township and flows into the Mthinzima and the Inguga streams that flow into Midmar.

Between the two streams, there is a large “wetland of sewage”, a short walk from the dam.

A volunteer involved in river clean-ups with the Duzi-Umngeni Conservation Trust (Duct), Alfred Zuma, said: “We can tell without testing that this is sewage …”

Liz Taylor, the chairperson of Duct in Howick, said the thought of sewage flowing into Midmar was unsettling.

“Every day, sewage is polluting Midmar … It’s supposed to be our clean source of drinking water, but the authorities are having to spend more and more money to clean it.”

She said the E.coli levels in the water were not as serious as the health risk of diseases such as cholera that are carried by sewage.

She said there was a concern that the water in Midmar may become unusable in the next 15 years if the situation persists.

In addition, she said, “The faeces, whether human or animal, carry a nutrient load of phosphorous and nitrogen, which settles into the water.

“When it reaches a certain level, it may turn the water green and unusable and that will be very expensive to clean,” said Taylor.


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