Sewage spill ‘unintentional’, says Ugu

2015-09-10 06:00

THE Margate beach will remain closed until bacteria levels in the water drop to an acceptable level.

At a media briefing on Monday, municipal manager, DD Naidoo, and his team explained that the recent sewage spill on Margate beach was “not deliberate or caused by a lack of maintenance” as has been suggested in the media.

He stressed that the municipality was not “killing tourism”.

A pump trip was detected on 24 August, causing the dry well to flood.

All vacuum tanker services were dispatched to try and drop the level of the water to avoid damage to the electrical panels.

“The situation worsened the next day and grey water started overflowing into the stream. It was artificially diverted to avoid the flooding of the bowling green,” said the municipality’s spokesperson, France Zama.

The relevant departments were called to authorise the artificial breach and repairs to the pump station were conducted on 25 and 26 August.

“Swimming, fishing and recreational activities are prohibited on the beach until water sampling results are acceptable,” said Zama.

Tests are conducted every second day and results take two days to be finalised.

Tests conducted for the period of 25 to 31 August indicate that e-coli levels have dropped from 85 000 to 1 400.

The acceptable level is between 130 and 165.

Paul Watson, head of water operations, assured that the spill was not caused by a lack of maintenance on the pumps.

“Maintenance is carried out on a daily basis.

“The spill was caused by a mechanical failure. The casing on the pump that cracked has been sent for material analysis,” he said.

Naidoo said that the municipality had enough resources to solve the problem, but should the need arise for external expertise to be brought it, this will be done.

“Unfortunately, these pumps are situated along estuaries and tourist beaches.

“It was not the municipality’s intention for this to happen … we are not killing tourism.

“Why would we sabotage tourism when we provide the body with funding to the tune of R14 million,” said Naidoo.

With regard to criminal charges that may be brought against him, Naidoo said he would “deal with them when it comes”.

“We’ll have to look at what gave rise to the spillage. It was not pre-mediated and not caused by a dereliction of duty,” he said

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