/ 13 October 2008

Sewage spill contaminates E Cape river

The Eastern Cape health department on Sunday urged residents of the Mqanduli area near Mthatha not to use river water for drinking as it was highly contaminated after a sewage spill.

Spokesperson Sizwe Kuphelo said investigations into the sewage spill revealed that the water was not suitable for drinking.

During heavy rains last week, there was a spillage on the river that supplies more than 12 villages in the Mqanduli area.

A team of health and sanitation experts was deployed to find what caused sewage to spill into the river, said Kuphelo.

”Research has revealed that the water is highly contaminated and not suitable for drinking. Water tanks and chloride will be supplied in the affected areas,” he said.

There had been no reports of illnesses due to the spillage but the deployment of the team was a precautionary measure.

Health professionals and municipal officials will visit the affected areas to educate residents on how to use chloride.

”Residents are advised to boil water before drinking it,” said Kuphelo.

He said the department was also investigating allegations that a sewage truck was dumping its waste in an open veld in Mqanduli.

”If these allegations are found to be true, we will have to put a stop in this act,” he said. — Sapa