Delay in Diepsloot water questioned
A PLAN to fix the sewage-polluted water supply in Diepsloot will be made public today, says the City of Johannesburg.
The water supply to the township, home to an estimated 150000 people, was contaminated when a contractor working on a nearby sewer line broke the drinking water line, spokeswoman Millicent Kabwe said yesterday.
Johannesburg Water had finished repair work in Diepsloot on Saturday afternoon. "Everything possible is being done. However, the water has to be completely free of contamination prior to it being distributed. It is not possible at this stage to indicate when this will happen," Ms Kabwe said.
Residents were warned on Friday not to drink the water.
But wetland specialist Paul Fairall, chairman of the Jukskei River Catchment Area Management Forum, said the forum was suspicious of the delay in releasing the water for domestic use.
"Your basic tests for (bacteria and pollutants) can be done in 24 hours.... We are very worried there is something they don't want to admit to. Six days (wait) is unheard of," he said.
Results of new tests done on the water were expected to be available late last night, Ms Kabwe said. Only the water in Diepsloot West could be said to be safe.
However, Prof Frank Winde of the University of the North West's School of Environmental Sciences said there was "no chance" of the water being contaminated with acid mine drainage.
"Wherever (in the city) it is, there is no chance ... the acid mine drainage is still hundreds of metres below the surface, even if it is rising," he said.
Mr Fairall said it was understandable that pipes could be damaged due to human error, but if the pipe was fixed by Saturday, the water should be back.
"The pressure is there. All you do is bleed the line ... there is no reason it should still be offline."
Ms Kabwe said water tankers and task teams had been deployed through Diepsloot with priority given to the elderly, children and the disabled.
Mr Fairall said the Diepsloot community, which had members on the management forum, had not been in the know. Diepsloot had long been neglected during infrastructure upgrades. "There are babies ... it is not fair."
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