Stinky river causes health hazard

Stinky slimy water enters the Diep River from the direction of the sewage plant in nearby St Joans Road.

The stench along the Diep River in Plumstead is getting worse every day and is a threat to wildlife and public health according to Raymond Dreyers, who lives near the waterway.

He says he bought his flat at Helderstroom, a block in Burnham Road, Plumstead, to be close to nature and enjoy the riverine environment. But now he regrets that decision because of the foul odours coming off the river.

“It makes me want to hurl,” he said. His flat should have been an asset, but now “I’m too embarrassed to invite anyone to visit”.

Mr Dreyers was there on the day when another Helderstroom resident, Anton van der Westhuizen, asked council workers not to remove branches and stones residents had used to build up
the riverbank and stop it collapsing in heavy winter storms (“Riverbank flooding fear,” Bulletin April 5).

“We asked them not to do it, but they were so rude and unprofessional and continued to throw our work into the river. The roots would have helped hold the riverbank together,” said Mr Dreyers.

Area south Mayco member, Eddie Andrews, said the section of the Diep River between Burnham and Main roads was on private property. However the City maintained it because a lot of the stormwater run-off generated upstream of Burnham Road was from municipal infrastructure.

But property owners, he said, would have to carry the costs of any upgrades to embankments.

Complexes such as Constantiaberg Villas and others along the river had done exactly that in consultation with the City, said Mr Andrews.

“Helderstroom has elected not to follow the advice of the City and has instead, without consulting the City, built a makeshift structure with builder’s rubble and poles,” he said.

Mr Andrews said the structure was inadequate and had eroded away. It was also in contravention of the stormwater by-law and possibly the National Environmental Management Act and the National Water Act as well.

The City, he said, recommended a gabion wall be constructed by Helderstroom, but any work it did should be done in consultation with the City.

Mr Van Der Westhuizen said they had not consulted the City again after its environment
department had visited the area following the collapse of the riverbank in a storm in November 2016.

Instead they had built up and restored the riverbank and covered it with soil and planted grass.

Mr Andrews said the City cleaned rivers annually if budgets allowed.

The Bulletin asked the City if an overflow from a sewerage pump station in St Joan’s Road could be the source of pollution, but it did not respond by deadline.