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

Development and flooding 1998 to 2016 *

The Greater Germiston Council developed the Meadowdale and Tunny industrial areas 1990’s and 2000’s. Beginning in 1998 the increased run-off flooded Harmelia, Buurendal and Eastleigh suburbs downstream. The map below shows the catchment of the Edenvale Stream. Read a detailed account of the floods and their causes in the post “Buurendal floods and Meadowdale development.

Steams of Edenvale looking south
Steams of Edenvale looking south

Resident action groups in Meadowdale, Buurendal and Eastleigh demanded action. In the next few years

On 3 February 2009 floods damaged Edenvale suburbs including Buurendal, Harmelia, Eastleigh and the Avenues, and the Eastleigh industrial area.

In response to the flooding and pressure from the communities the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) built the Buurendal retention dam, but even after increasing the capacity in 2004 it fell far short of the recommendations of the engineers. The City upgraded Edendale Road Bridge in Eastleigh and enlarged the concrete canal to cope with “bigger floods”. The press expressed the view that “flooding … will be a thing of the past”.

Late afternoon of 9 November 2016 an exceptional storm broke and caused the greatest flood damage yet seen in Edenvale. People died and businesses closed down.

Residents submitted a petition to the Standing Committee on Petitions of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature demanding action. The CoE brought forward a plan dating before 2005 to improve flow through Eastleigh and upgrade the Central Avenue Bridge. But CoE abandoned the project. But CoE abandoned the project, and as happens, public interest dwindled and the momentum was lost. The number of articles in the Bedfordview Edenvale News per year about of floods reflects the declining interest.

Response by City of Ekurhuleni *

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 on Lower Edenvale Stream *

The impact of the increasing run off has caused a massive enlargement and displacement of the stream channel. The view upstream from the First Avenue Bridge in the next four photos shows the changes. Note the tree in the center of the channel as a reference point. There was no erosion in 2003. By 2009 the erosion was severe and manhole and pipelines had collapsed into the stream. The flood of November 2016 enlarged the channel further, sweeping the tree away.

Eastleigh Stream channel north of tree December 2003
Edenvale Stream from First Avenue Bridge December 2003
Eastleigh Stream south of tree December 2007
Erosion of the Edenvale Stream at 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 at First Avenue bridge after the flood of November 2016
Channel of Edenvale Stream at First Avenue Bridge after 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. The flood of November 2016 damaged the First Ave Bridge. Controversy over the state of this bridge and its reconstruction filled the pages of the Bedfordview Edenvale News for the next year. It reopened in August 2017 with temporary repairs.

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

Water quality and pollution in Edenvale Stream *

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

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