High levels of E. coli bacteria found in KZN river

Umbilo River. Picture: Sandra Streak

The samples were taken from the river in June and July.

The results of water samples taken by the eThekwini Municipality have revealed the shocking state of the infamously polluted Umbilo River.

The results, shared on a Umbilo River community WhatsApp group on Friday last week, showed high levels of E. coli (Escherichia coli) – a type of bacteria that normally lives in gastrointestinal tracts.

The samples were taken from the river in June and July.

In March this year, Neil Pearce, one of the members of the group, organised a series of photographs to show the difference in water quality above and below the eThekwini Umbilo Municipal Wastewater Treatment Works near Sarnia.

He said he believed the results highlight the severe contamination of the river, which is something residents have been complaining about for years.

Image: Supplied.

Residents in the Mosley, Escombe and Northdene areas of Queensburgh said they could smell the contamination in the river as soon as they arrive back from working in other parts of the city.

“We have known this river was bad, we could smell it every day. The river smells like a sewer, but these results show there really is something wrong,” said Sandra Streak, who lives near the river.

Repeated attempts by the Highway Mail to obtain comment from the city have been unsuccessful.

Image: Supplied.

Meanwhile, the department of water and sanitation has said the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic may put a strain on the availability of water in the country.

In a statement, the department said with a warning of Covid-19 reaching its peak in the next two weeks or so, the demand for South Africans to wash hands frequently is also expected to rise, which might put a strain on water resources.

This article first appeared on Highway Mail and was republished with permission.

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