Masvingo City Council has acknowledged partial responsibility over the discharge of the effluent into natural water sources which has resulted in the dying of fish in Mucheke and Shagashe rivers.

Videos over the weekend were circulating showing dead fish and other aquatic life, presumably as a result of toxins discharged along the two rivers.

The local authority has since released a statement speaking about the dying aquatic life but absolving itself of any wrongdoing as it accused vandals.

“Council acknowledges the recent discharge of raw sewer into Mucheke and Shagashe rivers due to blocked sewer main lines in Mucheke A and Rujeko B as a result of vandalism.

“Big boulders were deposited in manholes thereby choking the sewer lines.

“Another source of discharge was Rujeko Pump station where we experienced pump breakdown.

“Our engineers are working flat out to repair the pump station. We have attended to the sewer blockages and we also routinely monitor trunk sewer lines,” read part of the statement undersigned by Town Clerk Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa.

The statement revealed that council has taken samples of the contaminated water to ascertain if it is raw sewer that caused massive deaths of aquatic life especially fish over the past weekend with residents reportedly picking the dead fish for resell and consumption.

“After the incidents, we collected and sent samples to a reputable laboratory in Harare for tests.

“We are therefore awaiting the results from the laboratory in order for us to ascertain whether the alleged death of fish was caused by raw sewer discharge or other chemicals that might have been deposited in the water bodies.

“Our engineers have committed to complete repairs at Rujeko pump station by May 26,” added the statement.

Masvingo Environmental Management Agency (EMA) office has been reluctant to take action save for the response in which they encouraged council to attend to the problem.

It has since promised to compile a report which will be released soon.

-Text/ Image: Open Council Masvingo