No clarity on ‘gross’ water

Lowvelder journalist Bombi Mavundza, also a resident of White River, shows the state of the water on Monday.

For more than a month residents of White River have had to endure tap water that is nothing short of disgusting.

Smelly, oily and saturated with white flakes have been just some of the ways this “drinking” water has been described.

Video: White flakes floating on water

Rita Rama, a resident of Kingsview, said they have been drinking this water from the taps for about three weeks and getting sick, only to realise there is something “sif” lurking in the water.

“We tried boiling the water, but it tastes disgusting,” said Rama.

Even Joseph Ngala, spokesman for the City of Mbombela described the turbid state of the water as gross.

“Images that I saw on social media were repulsive,” he said, and added that the issue was reported to the Department of Water and Sanitation more than two weeks ago, to which the department responded: “We were notified about the post flocculation happening in some parts of White River. We incurred delays in the delivery of chlorine gas bottles. Because of this we used granule chlorine (HTH) as an emergency before the purification process. However, the dosing was not effective to oxidise the minerals. We corrected the problem by getting gas chlorine elsewhere. The situation was back to normal. We note the latest reports that turbidity is still high and will investigate this and continue monitoring the network lines to check if post flocculation is still happening.”

Upon investigation, White River Post found that a breakthrough is yet to be made.

On a previous occasion when turbidity levels were just as high, Ngala explained that a system failure combined with heavy rain was the cause.

He then explained that even after the problem was fixed, the water would take a while to clear.

“Unfortunately the dirty water already entered the reservoir, so it might take a while to clear,” he said and added that the municipality apologised to customers who had to endure the dirty water.


Stefan de Villiers

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