WATCH: Oil spill causes major Dusi river fish kill

WATCH: Oil spill causes major Dusi river fish kill

Thousands of fish have begun washing up on the banks of the Msunduzi river in Pietermaritzburg following a major oil spill into the water system earlier this week.

Dusi Media Office

The fish kill became apparent this morning. There have also been reports that some livestock have died after drinking the water downstream.

Msunduzi Municiplaity officials with the Environmental Health Department have been dispatched to the river.

WATCH: Dusi river off limits following major oil spill

The department has sent out a warning to communities not to drink any water or eat any fish from the river.

The warning comes after an apparent mechanical fault at the Willowton Group factory, which saw more than 1,600 cubic metres of oil, fatty acids and caustic soda spill into the river.

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It is understood that a burst valve saw one of the factory's tanks collapse and dislodge two more.

Head of Msunduzi's Health Department, Vishal Singh says a massive clean-up operation is underway.

"The chemicals that have spilt into the water have affected the pH of the water, making it very basic. It has also affected the chemical and biological oxygen demand, which has had a major impact on fish in the river."

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Singh says the water is not safe for people or animals to consume.

"Water has been released from the Henley Dam to help dilute the water. Clean-up companies have also been working to remove all of the solid waste from the river."

Dusi Media Office
Meanwhile, eThekwini has also issued a health warning for those making use of water from Inanda dam.

The municipality says the contamination from the Msunduzi river has made its way downstream to the dam.

"Residents upstream of the dam and in the dam surroundings are advised not to expose themselves to the water in the river nor should they allow livestock to drink such water until further notice," said the municipality.

"Residents will be advised accordingly when the spill has been contained."

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