Life slowly returns to Harley Street stream -15 May 2014

The health of a small stream in Harley Street in Pinetown has improved, thanks to the efforts of the Palmiet River Watch.

Mariclair Smit | 15 May 2014

Lee D’ Eathe with Prince Dlamini (Durban Solid Waste), Sarika Devraj and Candice Naidoo (department of water and sanitation – pollution and environment) next to the small stream on Harley Street.
THE health of the notoriously polluted Harley Street stream in Pinetown was recently reassessed, and it was discovered that the stream showed signs of recovery.
The steam on Harley street, which flows into the Palmiet River, was regularly being polluted with detergents, food waste, paint and petroleum waste, which caused discolouration, foul smells and foam.
Residents observed these forms of pollution for years. There were reports of foam standing a meter tall at times, which blew into residents’ yards. Detergents were being discharged into the storm water system regularly on Fridays and Sundays. According to Lee D’Eathe, founder of the Palmiet River Watch, the reports and photographs submitted by the River Watch community have helped the department of water and sanitation to determine what the pollutants are and where they originated, and has enabled the authorities to narrow down their search for the polluters.
“An enthusiastic and dedicated municipal team undertook door to door inspections which resulted in a number of warnings, and some prosecutions for water pollution. Individuals and businesses that pollute the storm water system, streams and rivers have no excuse for not knowing that this is illegal and has serious consequences for the environment, and future generations,” said D’Eathe.
Offenders could face a fine or imprisonment. Fines and imprisonment increase progressively for repeated offenders with maximum fines of R 100 000, R 200 000 and five years or 10 years imprisonment for the first and second time offenders, respectively.
When the simplified SA Stream Assessment (miniSASS) was undertaken in November last year the river looked and smelled terrible and was almost devoid of any form of life. Only one minuscule worm, a tiny crab and one snail was found, reported D’Eathe.
The last test revealed that there is currently an abundance of insects and other organisms in the stream. It will take time for the chemical pollutants to leach out of the subterranean soils, reported D’Eathe.
Errol Hancke, a local resident, confirmed that the stream’s ‘condition’ has improved. “The odours, discolouration and foam has slowly been disappearing over the past few months. We have witnessed a 100 per cent turn around,” said Hancke. Contact Lee D’Eathe on 083 461 5964.

Pollution turns the Palmiet River red – 25 March 2014

The Palmiet River ran bright red after it was recently polluted with an unknown substance.

Mariclair Smit | 25 March 2014 08:00

MEMBERS of Palmiet River Watch were shocked after it was recently reported that the river had once again been subjected to some form of pollution.
Leon Grobbelaar, a member of the watch reported, on WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application used by the watch to monitor the river, a bright red discolouration near Cherry Road, Pinetown.
Lee D’Eathe, the founder of the watch, said “There has been a remarkable improvement in the water quality of the Palmiet River. The river has been running clear and we have received fewer reports of pollution. At times we have even received reports of fish beginning to return to the waters,” said D’Eathe.

Westville Conservancy Newsletter – Dec 2013

Palmiet River Watch
Lee D’Eathe has been instrumental in setting up the Palmiet River Watch. Folk who live, work and play on the river, all the way from where the Palmiet River joins the Umgeni River at 0km, to its source in Manors at ±22.50 km, are working together with officials to locate and stop undesirable activates and water pollution.
A good working relationship is being developed with officials, with a commitment to respond to the issues as they arise; and they have already had some successes.
By communicating with one another, property owners along the Palmiet River determine the important details and roughly where the pollution has entered the river; and in this way, meaningful complaints are being submitted to the relevant authority to investigate, refer, follow-up and conclude with a report back.
Lee reports that there are now a total of 53 points that are covered with individuals with a vested interest in our river environment.
SMS’s, phone calls, emails and particularly WhatsApp are proving very effective tools for rapid communication. Contact Lee on 083 461 5964 or

Polluters beware! – 14 November 2013

The Palmiet River Watch helps department of water and sanitation to track down polluters in the area.

Mariclair Smit | 14 November 2013

Lee D’Eathe next to the tranquil Palmiet River.
ACTIVE members of the Palmiet River Watch have successfully helped officials to pinpoint sources of pollution and to reprimand the guilty parties.
According to Lee D’Eathe, who initiated the river watch, it has received a lot of meaningful response from the business and residential community, and the photographs sent on WhatsApp, the mobile messaging application, have helped the department of water and sanitation to determine what the pollutants are and to trace them from where they came from.
“The reports from the residents have enabled the officials to catch and warn some of the polluting companies, and they are narrowing down their search to the Pinetown North Industrial area which includes Suffert Street, MasonStreet Old Main Road, Oppenheimer Street, Schenk Road, Olivier Road,nd Blair Road,” said D’Eathe.
The latest pollution to be reported by the active members is a small stream in Harley Road, which eventually washes into the Palmiet river.
According to residents in the area the stream has suffered major pollution for the last 16 years and on Sunday yet another pollutant drained into the small stream creating major foam.