Home News No end to city’s sewage woes

No end to city’s sewage woes

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Collapsed sewerage lines in several streets have resulted in residents being forced to wade through raw sewage, which is flowing down several roads in the suburb

Picture: Danie van der Lith

OVERFLOWING manholes and rivers of raw sewage flowing down the road have become all-too common sights throughout Kimberley, and for desperate residents there appears to be little assurance from the Sol Plaatje Municipality that the situation will be resolved soon.

In Roodepan, collapsed sewerage lines in several streets have resulted in residents being forced to wade through raw sewage, which is flowing down several roads in the suburb.

Municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, said yesterday that contractors, currently busy in Nobengula Street would move into Beethoven Street during this week, where a section of the sewerage line has also collapsed.

“From there they will move to Spreeu Street, which is on the same line as the one in Seeduif Street.”

According to Matsie, the line in Seeduif Street is 11 to 12 metres deep, making the replacement of the broken concrete pipe more difficult and time consuming.

While residents pointed out yesterday that sewage has been flowing out of manholes in the area since November last year, Matsie said attempts were made to try provide relief by pumping the sewage from the one manhole to another one, bypassing the broken portions of the line.

He further admitted that the same contractor currently working in the area, replaced the pipe, which is once again broken, two years ago. “At the time we checked the work and we signed off that it was done properly.”

He was unable to give a reason why the pipe had broken in the same spot just two years later.

“The contractor will come back and dig up the pipe to see what is happening. We think that one of the problems is that each time we covered up the pipe, the sand would just disappear. It could be that there is a sinkhole in the area.”

The municipality, however, is hoping that the recent purchase of a sand retracing machine will also go a long way towards clearing blocked sewerage pipes in the city.

“We have a major problem currently with sand and grit in the line and with this machine we expect to be able to remove 95 percent of the sediment that is blocking the line.”

He said that the machine, which arrived this week, had, however, not yet been commissioned. “We are waiting for a person to come from Johannesburg to commission it and show us how it works.”

According to Matsie, the machine will essentially use a rod to pull a bucket through the line, picking up the sand and grit. “This process will be done repeatedly, each time with a bigger bucket, until it is the same size and the diameter of the pipe.

“The first area we will start with is the Gogga line and then move to Seleke Street, which is where the biggest problems are currently being experienced. Then we will also work on the line in Roodepan.”

Problems with deteriorating infrastructure have many city residents losing confidence in the local authority, despite assurances from the executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, who continues to speak of an improved infrastructure in Galeshewe, Roodepan, Colville, Greenpoint, Ritchie and Platfontein, recommitting “the municipality to channelling our resources to where the need is most identified and prevalent, and that is the previously disadvantaged and impoverished communities”.

The daily reality for many residents, however, is ongoing illegal dumping, roads that are deteriorating daily, faulty street lights and blocked stormwater drains and sewerage pipes.

One road that has become a serious concern for many is Meyer Street, which has become almost impassable due to the massive “dongas” in the road.

“At one stage the municipality drained the water, which was flowing from the broken pipes at the Newton Reservoir, and cut out tar squares around the potholes. This was filled with dirt in preparation for tarring but then just left. The water built up again, and has been streaming out there since May 26,” one resident said.

“The cut-out squares have now become massive potholes and motorists using the road are scraping the bottom of their vehicles going through these holes. The road carries massive amounts of traffic as it is the main route to Newton Primary, Northern Cape High, Technical High and Adamantia High.”

He pointed out that with the road being full of water, someone who was not familiar with the situation would not see the holes and could damage their vehicle beyond repair, or be involved in an accident.

“Is the municipality only going to do something when someone gets injured or, God forbid, dies there?”

He also pointed out that other streets in Kimberley were not in much better condition. “A couple of businesses and residents have opted to get a private contractor to fill the potholes and repair the roads.”