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Water Affairs sues over toxic spillage
by News24.com
13 January 2014
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By: By Adele du Toit & Dale Hes, African Eye
2014-01-12 21:00

Mbombela -  The department of water and environmental affairs (DWEA) has laid criminal charges against the Bosveld Phosphates company responsible for a toxic spill into the Selati and Olifants rivers.

The leak killed fish over a 15km stretch of water and forced the Kruger National Park, through which the Olifants flows, to switch to borehole water to protect several camps that usually use river water.

Corrective

Bosveld Phosphates chief executive Andrew McLaggan said in a media statement that exceptional rainfall in late December caused an impoundment dam at the company’s fertiliser manufacturing plant in Phalaborwa to overflow.

The company also said it would continue with its efforts to put in place long term corrective measures that are agreed in close consultation with external specialists and the relevant authorities.

The DWEA director for compliance monitoring and enforcement Nigel Adams, said earlier:  “We’ve already taken administrative action and have laid criminal charges against Bosveld Phosphates for contravening the National Water Act.”

Investigation

Adams said that samples had revealed water quality in the dam was well below the levels stipulated in the Act.

“Meetings with the mining company are taking place to come up with an action plan. This is a parallel process focusing on both investigating the incident and preventing further incidents,” said Adams.

Adams added that more charges could be added depending on the results of the investigation.

SANParks spokesperson Ike Phaahla said that a forensic report on the incident was being compiled and would be released soon.



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