​Harbour water quality improves after crippling sewage discharge

19 June 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914962

Disaster Management
Harbour Infrastructure & Shipping
Industrial Cleaning
Occupational Health
Water & Effluent Management

DIVING and fishing operations in Durban harbour have restarted, albeit cautiously, after a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) decision to provisionally lift its ban on these activities following a sewage discharge in April.

Harbour Master at the Port of Durban, Captain Sabelo Mdlalose, said TNPA and the eThekwini Municipality had been working tirelessly to restore safety to the port waters.

“Marine water quality in the Port of Durban has substantially improved, although water quality in some areas of the port remains compromised,” he said.

​Harbour water quality improves after crippling sewage discharge
Captain Sabelo Mdlalose, Harbour Master, Port of Durban

He called on all port users to exercise care when making contact with port waters, especially in areas within close proximity of stormwater outfalls and canals.

“Despite the stoppage of the sewage outflow from the Mahatma Gandhi Pump Station, blockages within the eThekwini Municipality’s sewage reticulation network are a common occurrence which can result in the discharge of sewage into the stormwater system leading into the port,” he said.

Mdlalose said TNPA would not be held liable in the event of any loss or damages incurred by anybody choosing to make contact with port waters before TNPA declared port waters as fully safe.

Earlier this week, Port of Durban environmental specialist Siraj Paruk said water quality in parts of the port, particularly in areas closer to major storm water outfalls, remained compromised due to sewage from the central business district which spills into the port from time to time.

The good news, according to Paruk, is that their analysis showed that the level of contamination had dropped substantially after the problem at the pump station was fixed.

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