Skip to content





Prevent blocked sewers<h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​​​How to avoid sewer blockages </h2><p>​​Blocked or overflowing sewers can be dangerous to your health, are unpleasant and smell bad. Blocked sewers are also bad for the environment, because they cause sewage overflows into the street, stormwater systems, rivers or the sea.</p> <span> <div class="notification with-heading dark-copy light-blue bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info fastfact">​​</i></div><div class="desc"><h4>bin it, don't block it​</h4><p> Download our pamphlet on the right way to get rid of your rubbish so that it doesn’t end up in the sewerage system and cause blockages (<a href="" target="_blank">English </a>| <a href="" target="_blank">Afrikaans </a>| <a href="" target="_blank">isiXhosa</a>).</p></div></div></span> <h4>You can avoid blocking your sewer by following these guidelines:</h4><ul><li>Do not flush foreign matter like rags, newspaper, nappies, nappy wipes, plastic packets, tampons or sanitary pads down the toilet. Wrap these up and throw them in the bin.</li><li>Do not throw sand, building rubble or any other object into drains or manholes.</li><li>Report missing manhole covers to the City. Manhole covers prevent objects like sand, stones and discarded items from falling into our sewers. They are also important for safety and prevent bad smells and cockroaches from leaving the system. </li><li>Check that tree roots are not growing into your sewers.</li><li>Ensure that your drains are fitted with suitable covers to prevent sand, leaves and other foreign material from entering the sewerage system. </li><li>Sweep sand away from drains and dispose of it in small amounts in the normal household bin, or at your local <a href=""> drop-off site</a>.</li><li>Check your property for illegal stormwater connections. Never let rainwater from your roof or paved areas drain into the sewerage system – this makes it easier for the sewers to flood. Learn more about <a href="">preventing stormwater ingress</a>.</li><li>Do not pour oils or fats down the drains. These thicken and harden in the sewer and cause blockages.</li><li>Do not wash food scrapings down the drain. Throw these in the rubbish bin. Do not install a food grinder in your sink. </li><li>Install and properly maintain a grease trap if you run a restaurant or are involved in food preparation.</li><li> <a href="" target="_blank">Call a qualified, registe​red​ plumber​</a> to unblock sewers on your private property. Call our Technical Operation Centre if the blockage is in the street or on public land. </li></ul><p>Report blocked or overflowing sewers, or missing manhole covers to <em> <a>0860 103 089</a></em>. </p> <span> <h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​Disposal of wastewater for businesses​​​​​​​</h2></span> <p>If you own a business, it is your responsibility to ensure that your business practices do not block Cape Town’s sewers. Businesses are required to adhere to the terms of the <a href="" target="_blank">Wastewater and Industrial Effluent By-law</a>. The disposal of wastewater monitored by water pollution control officers. </p><p>If you contravene the by-law, the City of Cape Town has the right to issue a fine or take legal action against you to recover costs. Repeat offenders may be prosecuted or your business may be disconnected from the municipal sanitation system. Our sewer system is only designed to accept toilet waste and sink, bath or basin waste. Anything other than this can damage or block the sewer system. Sewer blockages are often caused by foreign materials like building materials or grease that has entered the sewer system.</p><p>Grease from cooking is bad for our sewer system since it forms greasy solids that reduce sewer capacity, causes blockages and sewer overflows and reduces the efficiency of our wastewater treatment facilities. Many sewer blockages are caused by the incorrect disposal of greases and fats. </p> <span> <div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info note">​​​</i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>report illegal dumping</h4><p>Call <em><a>0860 103 089</a></em> to report illegal dumping. If you have the culprit's vehicle registration number and/or can identify him/her, call <em><a>021 400 6157</a></em>, or email: <em><a href=""></a></em>.</p></div></div></span><span> <div class="mobile-scroll"><table> <caption> Keep the following tips in mind if your business deals with grease:</caption> <thead><tr><th style="width:350px;">Do's</th><th style="width:350px;">Don'ts</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td style="width:350px;">Maintain grease traps and related equipment regularly</td><td style="width:350px;">Don't pour cooking oil, fat or grease down the drain</td></tr><tr><td style="width:350px;">Use strainers in sink plug holes (and empty contents into the bin)</td><td style="width:350px;">Don't wash food scrapings down the drain - throw these in the bin</td></tr><tr><td style="width:350px;">Collect waste oil in a suitable secure container</td><td style="width:350px;">Don't install a food grinder in your sink</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1" style="width:350px;">​Arrange for the oil to be collected by a licensed waste contractor</td><td rowspan="1" style="width:350px;">​Don't sweep waste into floor drains - throw it in the bin</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1" style="width:350px;">​Wipe and scrape plates, pans and utensils before washing and put the waste in the bin</td><td rowspan="1" style="width:350px;">​Don't pour boiling hot water down the sink to dissolve fat and grease. It doesn't work - it will solidify again further down the pipe</td></tr></tbody></table></div>​​​</span> <p> For more information, read our <a href="" target="_blank">grease traps information booklet</a>.</p><p> <strong>Keep building materials and foreign objects out of the sewer system</strong></p><p>If you are a builder or are involved in the building trade, you have a responsibility not to let any of the building materials or foreign objects that you use in your work enter the sewer system.</p><p>To find out more, read our information booklet on <a href="" target="_blank">blockages caused by building materials and foreign objects</a>.</p> <span> <h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​Education resources for you and your community</h2></span> <ul><li>Watch our <a href="" target="_blank">sewer blockage awareness campaign video<i class="icon link-external"></i></a></li><li></li><li>Download our pamphlet on<a href="" target="_blank"> the correct use of grease traps</a></li><li>Download our pamphlet on <a href="" target="_blank">preventing sewer blockages caused by sand or other building materials</a></li></ul><h4>Watch our videos on the importance of safe water and how we can build better communities: </h4><ul><li> <a href="" target="_blank">English<i class="icon link-external"></i></a></li><li> <a href="" target="_blank">Afrikaans<i class="icon link-external"></i></a></li><li> <a href="" target="_blank">isiXhosa<i class="icon link-external"></i></a></li></ul><h2 class="sectHeading">City Connect</h2><p>You may also want to apply to discharge industrial effluent or report a blocked sewer. Follow the links below to find out how:</p> <span> <div class="notification with-heading white-copy yellow bg-darker-grey"><div class="graphic"> <i class="info citycard">​​</i></div><div class="desc"><h4>city connect</h4><p> <a href="">Apply to discharge industrial effluent</a></p><p> <a href="" target="_blank">Report a sewer blockage via e-Services</a><i class="icon link-external"></i></p></div></div></span> <h2 class="sectHeading">Contact us</h2><h4> <a href="">Water and Sanitation Department</a></h4><p> <em>Telephone:<br><a>0860 103 089</a><br><br>Email:<br><a href=""><em></em></a></em></p> <em></em>GP0|#c76827ad-40fc-431d-915f-d51b08b96c5e;L0|#0c76827ad-40fc-431d-915f-d51b08b96c5e|Prevent blocked sewers;GTSet|#ef3a64a2-d764-44bc-9d69-3a63d3fadea1;GPP|#b7d85630-8bda-4b28-adc9-6def4cb10e31;GPP|#a3964d56-b74d-4d64-95c1-ff381a88a277;GPP|#245ec7aa-a528-4cd3-bcac-597c292db711;GP0|#5eeb33f7-4743-410f-8384-4dcd97227c05;L0|#05eeb33f7-4743-410f-8384-4dcd97227c05|Prevent blocked sewers;GPP|#69af3a35-ae90-45eb-8557-9dcd3cb9880b;GPP|#36dcb5fe-6bfc-4ae9-92d7-8bd08d1f6414;GPP|#af370586-9ba3-404a-9d6e-02066ca42752;GP0|#24665827-5ae4-4184-a1bb-325400c76176;L0|#024665827-5ae4-4184-a1bb-325400c76176|Prevent blocked sewers;GPP|#dc7d603c-ae6b-49eb-8ff7-8f48e6169510;GPP|#99fac000-f3ac-4774-9ffd-e5e59a130e21;GPP|#e88ff549-973f-4e3c-a46c-cfbe61bd6a24Take note of the best ways to avoid blocking sewers in your home or business and help us keep Cape Town safe and clean.0



Bin It Campaign Pamphlet (Afrikaans)185662GP0|#367c7831-4239-4ad6-824a-c4325897c033;L0|#0367c7831-4239-4ad6-824a-c4325897c033|Pamphlet;GTSet|#f1e8889f-f7d7-4d5b-a3f5-af0ca2e076ea;GPP|#5340fe0b-73a7-472c-bef7-04e450fb5c4f;GPP|#0972c695-fd19-46c4-ab5d-9601f17b780e2021-03-01T10:00:00Z
Bin It Campaign Pamphlet (English)228862GP0|#367c7831-4239-4ad6-824a-c4325897c033;L0|#0367c7831-4239-4ad6-824a-c4325897c033|Pamphlet;GTSet|#f1e8889f-f7d7-4d5b-a3f5-af0ca2e076ea;GPP|#5340fe0b-73a7-472c-bef7-04e450fb5c4f;GPP|#0972c695-fd19-46c4-ab5d-9601f17b780e2021-03-01T10:00:00Z
Bin It Campaign Pamphlet (isiXhosa)185329GP0|#367c7831-4239-4ad6-824a-c4325897c033;L0|#0367c7831-4239-4ad6-824a-c4325897c033|Pamphlet;GTSet|#f1e8889f-f7d7-4d5b-a3f5-af0ca2e076ea;GPP|#5340fe0b-73a7-472c-bef7-04e450fb5c4f;GPP|#0972c695-fd19-46c4-ab5d-9601f17b780e2021-02-28T22:00:00Z
Water Amendment By-law: 31 May 20181197386GP0|#ef51c989-391a-435e-96a1-0535f4eab240;L0|#0ef51c989-391a-435e-96a1-0535f4eab240|By-law amendment;GTSet|#f1e8889f-f7d7-4d5b-a3f5-af0ca2e076ea;GPP|#2d2209ac-5bcc-4d2a-9da9-05fb21c94ea1;GPP|#0972c695-fd19-46c4-ab5d-9601f17b780e2018-05-30T22:00:00Z
Water By-law564494GP0|#d103d4c5-1de8-474e-9fc7-0f42143d9284;L0|#0d103d4c5-1de8-474e-9fc7-0f42143d9284|By-law;GTSet|#f1e8889f-f7d7-4d5b-a3f5-af0ca2e076ea;GPP|#2d2209ac-5bcc-4d2a-9da9-05fb21c94ea1;GPP|#0972c695-fd19-46c4-ab5d-9601f17b780e2010-09-30T22:00:00Z



You have disabled JavaScript on your browser.
Please enable it in order to use City online applications.