Edenvale Stream – Eastleighspruit

Edenvale Stream – Eastleighspruit Issues *

The Edenvale Stream (also called Eastleigh Stream or Eastleighspruit) begins in Klopper Park, with smaller branches from Hurlyvale and Buurendal joining at Horwood’s Farm. It flows through the center of Edenvale to meet the Jukskei River near Sizwe Hospital. There are two key issues concerning the Edenvale Stream:

  1. Pollution, of which sewage is the most frequent
  2. Storm water run-off and flood risk

Development and flooding 1998 to 2001 *

During the 1990’s and 2000’s the Meadowdale and Tunny industrial areas were developed on a large scale. About a third of the catchment area was developed in this period. This caused increased run off and regular floods the suburbs immediately downstream, Harmelia, Buurendal and Eastleigh, starting 1998. The map below shows the catchment of the Edenvale Stream. A detailed account of the floods and their causes is given in the post “Buurendal floods and Meadowdale development.

Steams of Edenvale looking south
Steams of Edenvale looking south

In response to the flooding the local authority built the Buurendal retention dam. The Edendale Road Bridge in Eastleigh was upgraded and a larger concrete canal built to cope with “bigger floods”. This was completed in 2005, with the view expressed in the press that “flooding … will be a thing of the past”.

Floods 2009 to 2010 *

On 3 February 2009 Edenvale suburbs including Buurendal, Harmelia, Eastleigh and the Avenues were flooded. The following year there were more floods. A petition demanding action from City of Ekurhuleni was submitted to the Standing Committee on Petitions of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature. The CoE brought forward a plan dating before 2005 to improve flow through Eastleigh and upgrade the Central Avenue Bridge. But they did not do it. As happens, public interest dwindled with time and momentum for change was lost. The number of articles in the Bedfordview Edenvale News per year about of floods tells the story. There was only one article in the period of flooding from 1998 – 2000, but in 2009 there were 12. The number of articles went down and in 2012 there were none.

Graph showing number of articles on flooding in Bedfordview Edenvale News by year 1997 to August 2018, with peaks after 2009 flood and 2016 floods.
Number of articles on flooding in Bedfordview Edenvale News by year 1997 to August 2018

Impact of flooding in Lower Edenvale *

The impact of the increasing run off can be seen in the lower regions around the Avenues. The view upstream from the First Avenue Bridge in the next three photos shows the changes. In 2003 there was no erosion. Note the tree in the center which gives a reference point. Erosion started and in 2007 accelerated. Late that year the channel moved north of the tree and infrastructure was threatened. By 2009 the erosion was severe and manhole and pipelines had collapsed into the stream. The flood of November 2016 enlarged the channel further and the tree was swept away.

Eastleigh Stream channel north of tree December 2003
Edenvale Stream from First Avenue Bridge December 2003
Eastleigh Stream south of tree December 2007
Edenvale Stream First Avenue Bridge December 2007
Eastleigh Stream eroding north bank at First Avenue Bridge Oct 2009
Edenvale Stream First Ave Bridge October 2009
Greatly enlarged Eastleigh Stream channel and eroded north bank after November 2016 flood
Edenvale Stream First Avenue Bridge November 2016

The bridges at Fourth and Sixth Avenues were damaged in 2009, while a flood line study showed the First Avenue Bridge not large enough for future peak flows. CoE abandoned this project (GDARD: 002/13-14/E0307) after June 2014, leaving the bridges vulnerable. In November 2016 the First Ave Bridge was also damaged and closed. Controversy over the state of this bridge and its reconstruction filled the pages of the Bedfordview Edenvale News until August 2017 when it was reopened with temporary repairs.

Eastleigh Stream First Ave bridge damaged by flood 9 November 2016
Edenvale Stream First Avenue Bridge damaged November 2016
Eastleigh Stream First Avenue Bridge damaged flood 9 November 2016
Edenvale Stream First Avenue Bridge damaged November 2016

Water quality and sewage contamination *

Edenvale RiverWatch volunteers monitor pollution  in the Hurleyvale Stream (St Andrews Rd site) and Harmelia Stream (Beverley Rd site in Highway Gardens) almost daily. The Harmelia Stream has frequent periods of pollution from Klopper Park, from both sewage and industrial sources. Even when this is cleared, the Harmelia Stream remains more polluted than the Hurlyvale Stream. The chart shows a steep increase in pollution starting April 2018. The longer term graph by month shows there was a slight improvement over the last two years, but the recent spill lasting two months from April to July 2018 was the worst incident yet. Even though it appears to have stopped the state of the channel downstream is polluted beyond imagining, as shown in the video. 

Graph showing upper Edenvale Stream pollution, RiverWatch score, from January to July 2018. The Harmelia branch, from Klopper Park, is highly polluted specially in May and July
Pollution in the branches of the Edenvale Stream weekly January – July 2018
Graph showing upper Edenvale Stream pollution, RiverWatch monthly average score for 28 months to July 2018. The Harmelia branch, from Klopper Park, is highly polluted specially in May and July
Pollution in the branches of the Edenvale Stream 28 months to July 2018

River health bio-monitoring *

Bio-monitoring is done by sampling the invertebrates present. The First Avenue Bridge has been monitored since 2005, and the two tributaries Harmelia Stream and Hurlyvale Stream since 2013. The results show river health always in the “Poor” category which is the lowest level, and the health of the Harmelia Stream coming from Klopper Park is the lowest.

Graph showing River Health trend for Edenvale Stream and tributaries from 2005 to 2018, with a sharp decline in the last year. Shows poor state at all sites, but Harmelia Stream poorest.
Health of Edenvale Streams MiniSASS 2005 to 2018

Counts for fecal coliforms in Edenvale Stream at First Avenue, extracted from Ekurhuleni Water Quality Reports from September 2013 to March 2019, show coliform counts between 10 000 and 100 000 for the last five years. This shows high levels of sewage contamination.

Graph showing trend in coliform counts per 100 ml for Edenvale Stream 2013 to March 2018 from Ekurhuleni Water Quality Reports, showing high level sewage contamination
Sewage pollution at high levels in Edenvale Stream from 2015 to March 2019

Photo monitoring Edenvale Stream *

Eastleigh Stream lower Photo monitoring sites
Photo monitoring sites of the lower Edenvale Stream

Edenvale RiverWatch monitors the Edenvale Stream in the lower section and upper sections of the stream. The middle section flows through a canal and is not recorded. The sites are all selected to record potential changes to the channel of the stream, the surrounding landscape or the impact of future construction work. Below is the example of the fixed point on the First Avenue Bridge looking upstream for the period 2014 – 2015.