The City of Cape Town has spent more than R2 million in the first six months of the current financial year to clean pump stations city-wide from the negative effects of the dumping of inappropriate objects into the sewer system.
‘The dumping of inappropriate objects, such as rocks, wood, car parts, tyres and industrial waste in the sewer network negatively affects the City's capability to move wastewater from the source to the endpoint where it has to be treated. The rampant vandalism of the City’s infrastructure, which is vital to ensuring our sustainability going forward, is totally unacceptable,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.
The Koeberg Pump Station, for example, is located at the Theo Marais Park on Koeberg Road. It receives wastewater from the surrounding areas of Milnerton, Montague Gardens, Monte Vista and Century City.
This pump station, like many others city-wide, is continually placed under severe strain when the City's sewer systems are abused. It becomes a very costly exercise when pump failure occurs as a result of the dumping of inappropriate objects in the sewer system.
‘The Koeberg Pump Station has, in a very short space of time, experienced a dramatic increase in the quantity of unwanted material removed from the inside of the pump casings. Every time the pumps have to be hoisted from the chamber in order to be cleaned, it places the local sewer network at risk because pump failure could result in the overflow of sewer manholes into the immediate environment. This in turn poses problems for residents and the environment,’ says Councillor Sonnenberg.
Approximately 70% of blockages are caused by substances and objects which should not be deposited in sewers. The cost of unblocking sewers is expected to be approximately R311 million in the current financial year. This money could have been used by the City to build new infrastructure, to replace ageing infrastructure, and to increase the already high levels of service delivery to residents.
The City has a vast sewer network of over 9 000 kilometres of pipeline. This sewer network is supported by 381 sewage pump stations located strategically across the city to ensure that the wastewater emanating from households, businesses and industries is conveyed along the shortest route to the nearest wastewater treatment facility.
Annually, the City deals with approximately 102 000 sewer blockages – or about 11 blockages per kilometre per year – largely caused by the incorrect usage of the onsite sewer system, the removal of sewer covers, the dumping of inappropriate objects, and vandalism of the City’s infrastructure.
It is important that the City is informed when these dumping activities or acts of vandalism occur and residents are encouraged to report this to our Call Centre on 0860 103 089, by sending an SMS to 31373 or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Alternatively residents can use a FreeCall line at their nearest City facility.