A major sewage leak at Durban harbour has prompted a health scare at one of South Africa’s premier marinas, Point Yacht Club, where yacht owners are under siege by polluted water.
Last month club manager Darryl Williams confirmed financial losses due to the tide of polluted sewage water that flowed into the port due to a broken city pump station. The club’s restaurant was closed, and functions had had to be cancelled due to the ongoing problem which also poses a serious threat to surrounding marine life.
The City last month officially banned fishing and diving in the port precinct due to health concerns, and a major surf contest was cancelled. It is unclear whether the ban has since been lifted.
“It is a serious thing. For us as a yacht club it has created a problem for business,” Williams told SABBEX. “The anti-fouling on the bottom of boats is already starting to go black. Costs will be quite severe.”
Williams said he believed city officials were battling to source the necessary spare parts to fix the broke pump station. The situation had been exacerbated by a municipal workers strike.
Durban daily newspaper the Mercury reported fears of water-borne diseases and negative environmental impacts. Local city councillor Sharmaine Sewshanker told the newspaper she was disappointed in the response to date from local government. “They have been dragging their feet since February in resolving this issue of sewage flowing into the harbour,” Sewshanker told the Mercury. “I have reported the seriousness of the issue to the department of water and sanitation literally pleading with the head of department for assistance,” she said.”