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Concern as orange and murky substance flows into Durban Harbour

A murky orange substance has travelled through a canal and into the water underneath Maydon Wharf. Picture: Brett Hibbert

A murky orange substance has travelled through a canal and into the water underneath Maydon Wharf. Picture: Brett Hibbert

Published Dec 2, 2021

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DURBAN - A rusty-looking discharge in the Durban Harbour by the dry dock has reignited concerns about pollution and made the Port of Durban a grim sight.

A concerned avid harbour-goer, Brett Hibbert, said while working in the vicinity of Maydon Wharf and the dry dock corner, he noticed an orange and murky substance coming through a canal and into the water underneath Maydon Wharf.

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“I was working in the area and it was clean, but when I came back a second time, that’s when I saw it starting to come out on Monday morning,” Hibbert said.

He said it was not coming from the dry dock; therefore it was not rust that had chipped off vessels.

“This is the third or fourth spill in about three weeks. Two of them came out at about Point Yacht Club, prior to that there was a whole lot of sewage coming down and prior to that there was like a white milky substance that came down, all through the canal next to Point Yacht Club,” Hibbert said.

“It’s shocking what comes through our canals.”

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said: “The situation is back to normal in regard to the Mahatma Gandhi pump. The pollution you saw was coming from a construction site in Congella. It is not raw sewage. It was coming from a construction site that was flooded during the recent heavy downpours and there is no need for panic.”

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port of Durban manager Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana said they were aware of the turbid discharge from a stormwater outfall near the dry dock that appeared on Monday.

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“TNPA referred the matter to eThekwini Municipality for investigation since the source was found to be outside of port limits where the eThekwini Municipality has jurisdiction over,” Dweba-Kwetana said.

“Following an investigation by the eThekwini Municipality, TNPA received notification from the municipality that the source was found to be the construction site opposite King Edward Hospital (Old iJuba Site). The site was reportedly flooded with rainwater which together with sediment was pumped into the stormwater culvert leading to the harbour. The eThekwini Municipality is engaging the responsible party.”

Dweba-Kwetana said it must be noted that the outflow had completely stopped and there had been an improvement in water quality.

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She agreed that the pumps were successfully repaired by the eThekwini Municipality and that during the incident, water quality was tested by TNPA to ensure appropriate decisions were taken to protect the port community and the environment.

“Once the pumps were commissioned by eThekwini Municipality, TNPA tested the water and the quality test improved. A decision was then made by TNPA to lift the ban on affected parts of the port. To date, port activities are running normal,” Dweba-Kwetana said.

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