Raw sewage that has been running down a Bluff street for about two months is making life unbearable for residents as they have to not only breathe in the fumes every day, but drive or walk through faeces that have turned green.
The chunks of excrement have been rolling down Mersey Avenue in Brighton Beach, providing a haven for flies and rats – although some have been seen dead alongside it.
And what is even worse is that the local councillor says this issue is not the worst of the raw sewage problems in the area.
The matter has been reported to the eThekwini municipality numerous times, but remains unresolved. Surrounding residents are fed up.
One of them, says the smell is so bad that his family has had to choose between suffering in the Durban summer heat with their windows closed, or breathing in the fumes to get some air.
“It is terrible. We have to drive through it every day and live with the stink. I saw a rat there the other day and now today, there is a rat in the same area, dead. If that is what the sewage is possibly doing to rats, then imagine what it is doing to us.”
He says some children regularly play in the street, and are at risk of developing health issues.
“My daughter was sick with an E.Coli infection two weeks ago, and although we expect her to have picked it up from one visit to the local beach, it is not surprising that our beaches are the way they are.”
Another resident who asked to not be named said the length of time it was taking to get it fixed was “ridiculous”.
“It has been like this from the end of December, which is ridiculously long. We don’t even walk to the shop anymore or use that road to drive on. The smell gets so bad at times that we don’t even let our son play in the front yard.”
He also believes that the sewage is a contributing factor to rodents breeding in the area.
“We are having issues with rodents at the moment. They are running into and out of our yard. Some neighbours have also seen rodents coming from that side. Last week we chased one and it got into the engine of my vehicle and chewed the wiring.”
Just this morning, another resident reported on Facebook that a street just below Mersey Avenue – and leading onto Brighton Beach, also had raw sewage flowing down it.
“Don’t go swimming until the leak of excrement flowing down Airlie Road directly into the drain is fixed. It is depositing it on Brighton Beach.”
Local councillor Zoe Solomon commented on the post saying she had since reported it to the municipality.
Other comments on the post named more roads on the Bluff that had raw sewage running down them, one of which was said to have been ongoing for over a year.
Confirming this, Solomon says the raw sewage in Mersey Avenue is “miniscule” compared to other such problems in the suburb.
“I have huge sewage stories on the Bluff. That one is merely a collapsed pipe that is causing the sewage to back up. We don’t have piping. [The municipality] is busy sourcing resources to fix the small sewage issues.”
However, there are bigger such problems.
“I have two houses going down a bank because of a sewage problem that have only just been passed and budgeted for (on Friday). They managed to get a Section 36 emergency fund to fix it.”
Housing has also collapsed onto the pipelines that run under the Bluff, and work has started on that.
“I have been pumping that…What we have in Durban is a severe lack of resources, so they need to excavate and replace piping. But it is on the top of my list.”
Regarding Mersey Avenue, she says the issue has been reported and escalated.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela says it is working on a long-term solution for the problem.
“Meanwhile we have sent jetting machines as an interim solution to mitigate sewerage spill. We apologise for the inconvenience to residents affected.”