Sewage spillages crises

BLOCKAGE PROBLEM: A blocked sewer pipeline recently caused flooding in Pelem Road, a problem frequently experienced by residents in that area. The Chris Hani District Municipality communications unit said the blockage was due to foreign objects (mud, rocks, tree roots, refuse, and rags) and silt which build up in the pipeline and clogs the system Picture: ZINTLE BOBELO

The Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) has attributed the scourge of sewage spillages across the district to the continual acts of vandalism of its sewage treatments works, and the dumping of foreign objects into manholes.

Water and sanitation treatment works were reported to be the hardest hit as perpetrators continue to target them, causing massive damage to the system.

Common vandalism occurrences include the stripping of metal manhole covers, strainers, illegal water connections, and theft of screens and cables from electrical panels in various pump stations.

CHDM mayor Wongama Gela indicated the escalation of the criminal acts had an adverse effect on revenue collection levels and significantly increased the municipality’s operation and maintenance costs.

“The continued acts of vandalism taking place in Cradock and Middelburg in the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality, where foreign objects such as huge stones, dead dogs and all forms of garbage are thrown into manholes prompt huge spillages in the area. Damage to water and sanitation infrastructure is a grave concern for the district as this has a direct bearing on the provision of services to the community.”

In Enoch Mgijma Local Municipality, Komani, there are manholes that are regularly spewing human waste. Some are on the roadside, but the worst are the ones in people’s homes causing an unbearable stench and posing a health hazard.

In Pelem Road in Komani there is frequent flooding of smelly water which almost covers both lanes, making it hard for motorists to drive smoothly through, while also preventing those whose houses are near the pool of water from crossing the road.

Lingelihle township in Cradock is not immune to these criminal acts. As a result it continues to experience severe challenges of regular blockages and sewage spillages.

Gela said this was a huge setback for service delivery as spillages which require regular repairs recur frequently.

“Vandalism of pump stations where critical elements are stripped, does not only affect the functionality of the infrastructure, but disrupts water supply to communities and this also affects the financial wellbeing of the district.  Of major concern is the flow of sewerage to the nearby Scanlyn pump station in Cradock that is continuously hindered with every occurrence, with the last major spillage affecting graves built on top of the sewer line.  Our technical team has since undertaken constant patrols to monitor the situation.”

The mayor said the Middelburg waste water treatment works and sewerage pump station had been subjected to vandalism and theft which had rendered the plant totally dysfunctional.

He indicated that a service provider was on site to refurbish the infrastructure and that work was expected to be completed during October.

“The prevalence of theft and vandalism of infrastructure is disturbing as it has a direct and significant impact on the performance of the infrastructure, and service is negatively affected. We call upon all CHDM residents to work with government in protecting infrastructure that is beneficial to them by reporting those implicated,” said Gela.

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