Govt intervenes in Carolina water crisis

Mbombela - The water affairs department intervened over the weekend in the crisis in Carolina, in Mpumalanga, where drinking water has been contaminated by acid mine water seepage.

Water affairs spokesperson Themba Khumalo said on Monday that the department was extremely concerned about the situation.

He said the department had appointed a rapid reaction team of scientists and engineers to help local authorities remove heavy metals - iron, aluminium and manganese - from the drinking water.

At this stage, officials at the Chief Albert Luthuli local authority were pouring dozens of bags of lime into the town's drinking water every day to try and raise pH levels and supply water to the approximately 15 000 local residents.

Town officials were struggling to remove aluminium, in particular, and the water was still not fit for human consumption.

Local authorities notified the department of water affairs in writing in January about the impending water disaster, Beeld newspaper reported.

Local authorities have been trucking drinking water to Carolina from nearby Breyten and Chrissiesmeer.

Khumalo said the department had offered to assist the community financially while the water was being brought in, and to supply two water trucks.

Some of the money would be used to upgrade the town's water purification plant.

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