PRESS RELEASE

10 February 2015

For Immediate Release 

CITY PUTS MEASURES IN PLACE TO MITIGATE UMBILO RIVER POLLUTION 

At approximately 18h00 on Saturday, 7 February 2015, a fire started at a chemical warehouse in Westmead, Pinetown that stores a variety of chemicals.

EThekwini Municipality’s Fire and Emergency Services Department went immediately on site to dowse the flames. The cause of the fire is still being investigated by the company.

Large volumes of water were used to extinguish the fire. The fire water mixed with chemicals that had been contained in drums on the site entered the stormwater drains before they could be sealed off. This polluted water entered the Umbilo River and caused a lot of foam.

Control measures such as the sealing of the stormwater drains are in place to prevent further polluted water from entering the Umbilo River and a spill clean-up company is on site to clean-up any contaminated water.

The clean-up company has already pumped 160 000 litres of the contained polluted water up into tankers to be disposed of at an appropriate waste disposal facility. 

Officials from Municipality’s Pollution and Environment Branch, the National Department of Water and Sanitation and Environmental Affairs were on site and will continue to monitor the situation.

The Fire Department is still on site as the fire re-ignited itself and they will be there until the fire is completely put out. 

The Municipality is waiting for the toxicity analysis reports, which will indicate whether the chemicals present in the river water are harmful or not. 

ENDS

Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa.

For more information contact Thabo Mofokeng on 031 311 4820 or 082 731 7456 or email:thabo1.mofokeng@durban.gov.za or Gugu Mbonambi on 0313114855 or email:gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za