Sewage leak at Korsman a health hazard

According to Clr Mary Goby, in whose ward the sanctuary falls, the leak has been an “on and off problem” that never seems to be resolved.

Adding that the system was upgraded four years ago, she said it did not seem to resolve the problem and has been brought under the Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality’s attention every time it arises.

The leak affects the residents and the people who walk, cycle and runs along The Drive.

“The stench is the worst, but the health risk is the major concern,” she said.

“There is also a major sewerage problem in Racecourse Street, near the boom, which is also not being resolved, as it gets cleared and, before you know it, the problem is back,” said Goby.

“I really think the whole water and sanitation infrastructure for Lakefield and Western Extension should be looked into, as it is very old piping and really needs to be upgraded soonest.”

Chairwoman of the Korsman Conservancy Jane Trembath said Goby notified residents of a sewerage and adjacent water pipe collapse not related to another leak on The Drive.

“It appeared to have been coming from underneath the road, so I suspect a cracked pipe — it is minor compared to other spills in the last few months, which were due to broken pumps,” she said.

“We had an inflow of clean water of unknown origin at the same time.”

Trembath said the frogs are mainly at risk.

“They have thin skins so they absorb toxins from the water, such as human medicine that gets flushed down the toilet.”

“Birds are relatively unaffected by sewage, but a reduction in the frog population has a secondary effect, as frogs are an important food source for birds such as herons and egrets,” she added.

She explained that sewage inflows affects the whole ecosystem, as it brings an oversupply of nutrients, which contribute to reed overgrowth.

“This, consequently, causes loss of habitat for wading bird species, when the reeds encroach onto the beaches,” Trembath said.

Goby added that it can cause hyacinth.

Trembath said she reports spills that leak into the sanctuary directly to a contact within Ekurhuleni’s Water Department and that the metro assured her that they place a priority on leaks that affect environmentally sensitive areas.

“In regard to the the pump breakdowns, I was told EMM has tendered for new sewerage pumps for the northern pumping station,” said Trembath.

“There are other, ongoing sewerage problems around the conservancy, such as a leak into a storm water drain, and I cannot get an answer on when they are going to rectify that.”

“It would probably mean digging up the road to find it.”

The City Times requested comment from the Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality a week ago, but had not receive it at the time of going to print.

Tanya Bester

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