Mucheke pollution: water quality improves as EMA fines council, Delta

Moses Ziyambi

Water in Mucheke River has over the past few weeks cleared-up, with the putrid stench that used to characterise the water body now largely imperceptible.

The improvement in the water quality of the river comes after the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) fined Masvingo City Council and the local unit of beverages producer Delta Beverages in June.

This followed the death of several fish in the river due to what was understood to be the massive discharge of pollutants by the two institutions.

After the fines were issued, follow-up river water tests conducted by the body began to show some slight improvements in the quality of the river water.

“The main variable tested was D.O (Dissolved Oxygen) at the final point of assessment was now at 34.7% which was an improvement from the initial previous tests which recorded 12.6%,” read a statement released by Ema after the fines were imposed.

City of Masvingo was slapped by a level 13 fine translating to $300 000 wile Delta Beverages was slapped by a level 14 ticket translating to $500 000.

On June 03, Ema had released a public statement confirming that the municipality and the beverages company were discharging toxic pollutants into the river.

“Follow up inspections to check on the compliance of Masvingo City Council to the Environmental Protection Order (EP 0011377), which spelt out that the local authority had to repair Rujeko Pump Station, to ensure that the Biological Nutrient Removal Plant (BNRP) was working and to stop discharge of effluent into the environment by May 27 2022 was conducted.
“The inspections revealed that the local authority was behind the compliance timelines prescribed in the Environmental Protection Order. As a result of this, a level 14 ticket (No EP 014599) was issued to Masvingo City Council for the offence,” the statement reads in part.

“It was observed that another source of pollution in Mucheke River was emanating from Delta Beverages where an unregistered discharge point was eventually draining into the river. Rapid onsite water quality tests of the effluent from Delta Beverages were conducted and the tests revealed that the Dissolved Oxygen was 12.1% saturation (Red Class) which meant that the free oxygen available in the water body was at a critical point and was well below the permissible value of at least 50% saturation (Green Class).
“An Environmental Protection Order was resultantly served (0019751) to Delta Beverages for them to register the site and a level 13 ticket (No EP 014600) was issued for the offence.
The environmental watchdog also encouraged institutions to do pre-treatment facilities before discharging effluent into the environment.
“We strongly advise and urge the industries which have effluent discharges to have pretreatment facilities before discharging into the environment and to be licensed by Ema which assists in monitoring and advising them on the best standard and prescribed practices which minimize and reduce environmental pollution,” further reads the statement.