Fears of sewage contaminating city's drinking water

Sewage spilling into rivers feeding Wriggleswade Dam has sparked fears that water in East London, Stutterheim and Morgan Bay will become contaminated and unsafe for human consumption.

Raw sewage spilling into rivers feeding Wriggleswade Dam has sparked fears that water in East London, Stutterheim and Morgan Bay will be contaminated and unsafe for consumption.
Raw sewage spilling into rivers feeding Wriggleswade Dam has sparked fears that water in East London, Stutterheim and Morgan Bay will be contaminated and unsafe for consumption.
Image: File/ Sharon Salmon

As a direct consequence of the strike by Amathole district municipality workers, raw sewage has been spilling into the Cumakala River and Morgan Bay lagoon, contaminating the water, causing panic over the quality of drinking water in East London, as well as health and environment implications in Stutterheim and Morgan Bay.

ADM spokesperson Nonceba Madikizela-Vuso confirmed to DispatchLIVE that an exposed manhole in Stutterheim had been spilling faeces into the Cumakala River, which feeds the Wriggleswade Dam, which in turn caters for East London.

However, she allayed fears that the quality of drinking water would be negatively affected.

“The sewage spill is a result of vandalism of our infrastructure,” she said.

“We are attending to the water and sanitation issues across the district. However, owing to the strike action, our turnaround time is rather slow as there are no staff to attend to the matter.”

Madikizela-Vuso said the spillage was “likely to be diluted” and bear “minimal effect” by the time it reached the Wriggleswade Dam.

Although cautioning people against swimming at the Wriggleswade Dam, she added that the spillage should have “minimal” effect on swimmers.

She said the water was treated at the Kei Road water treatment works before it was distributed to households.

Kei Mouth-Kwili forum resident Pieter Korff said sewage had been flowing into the Morgan Bay lagoon since the strike started.

“This has environmental and health implications for us. That’s a big estuary.

“The community and unions need to sit down and address this, we can’t continue like this.”

Great Kei mayor Ngenisile Tekile could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

DA PR councillor Richard Pickering said the spillage, coupled with the landfill hovering above Cumakala River, was a deadly combination for East London water consumers.

It’s absolutely shocking. Wriggleswade Dam is almost becoming like a septic tank
DA PR councillor Richard Pickering

“It’s absolutely shocking. Wriggleswade Dam is almost becoming like a septic tank.

“As soon as we have heavy rain here, it will become a mess.

“I’m going to take action over the spillage next week.

“Cumakala flows into the Kubusi River [in Stutterheim], and it flows into Wriggleswade Dam. Kubusi has become like a sewer.

“The river is filthy and it’s all going into Wriggleswade Dam.

“I’d imagine you will need quite a bit of purifying from Wriggleswade for East London to have clean water, and Wriggleswade is a big dam.”

Pickering said it was impossible for Wriggleswade to be adequately purified.

soyisom@dispatch.co.za


X