Home News Outcry over ’mini Kamfers Dam’

Outcry over ’mini Kamfers Dam’

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Ritchie residents have dubbed a large dam of raw sewage that has accumulated at the back of the Ritchie wastewater treatment plant as “Mini-Kamfers Dam”.

A dam of sewage has formed behind the Ritchie wastewater treatment plant. Pictures: Supplied

RITCHIE residents have dubbed a large dam of raw sewage that has accumulated at the back of the Ritchie wastewater treatment plant as “Mini-Kamfers Dam”.

Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said on Thursday that they would send a team to inspect the situation, although the department, he added, had not received any complaints.

DA PR councillor Elize Niemann stated that the large dam started to form after Motswedimosa township was connected to the main sewage line.

“The pumps are not always working and as a result the raw sewage is drained into the veld that is the property of a private farm – Jakkalspan. It has become a nesting place for birds and insects and resembles Kamfers Dam. This creates a massive health hazard and there is a danger of contamination of the underground water as many rely on borehole water. Samples have been sent away to check for the presence of E-coli,” said Niemann

She added that the large volume of water had caused parts of the dam wall to collapse, while the cables of the pump station had been stolen, rendering the sewage plant non-functional.

“No assistance has been forthcoming despite reporting the matter to Sol Plaatje Municipality and the Department of Environmental Affairs.”

The farm manager of Jakkalspan, Louis Johannes Botha, stated that the sewage had filled about one hectare of the farm.

“I had to relocate my livestock as they can contract all sorts of diseases, while people who consume contaminated meat can develop all sorts of illnesses. Some flamingos came to nest in the pan. Emerging farmers in the area are also affected,” said Botha.

He added that the ground had dried after the municipality had built a high wall around the retention dam.

“The ground was never compacted and strong winds causes the dam walls to collapse. A long-term solution is needed to prevent this from re-occurring. There should have been an impact study conducted and recommendations implemented but it is apparent that nothing is being done.”

A Ritchie resident, Norman Hammer, said streets and houses were flooded with sewage spillages in Motswedimosa.

“There are supposed to be two pumps working so that the one can kick in if the other stops working. The pump station does not have the capacity to process the amount of sewage that is being produced. They blame the theft of cables on the plant not working and yet nothing is being done to fix it,” said Hammer.

“Whenever it rains people cannot get out of their yards, while children are playing in the sewage. Many residents cannot afford to buy bottled water.”

A Rietvale resident, Nathier Anthony, added that he had a blocked sewage drain in Neptune Street for the past four weeks, where no one from the municipality was able to come to his assistance.

“The smell is horrible and the whole street is affected.”

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Thoko Riet explained that the pond of sewage water was the result of the controlled discharge of the tertiary state of effluent into the surrounding municipal area.

“As more effluent is discharged, the effluent gravitates into the neighbouring farm, which is privately owned. The pollution incident has been reported by the farm owner and discussions ensued with time frames adhered to. Initially, a TLB truck was dispatched to the site to construct a band wall to prevent spillage into the adjacent farm. That did not last and the effluent seeped through it and the situation worsened,” said Riet.

She added that the situation had since been “contained”.

“Management diverted the drying bed ponds to contain the excess effluent. This has been going on for almost three months. There is no more effluent discharged outside the plant and the first pond is still not near full. There is no more pollution to the environment and no further intervention is required on the quality as this effluent is not exposed into the environment. Cable installation has nothing to do with the discharge of effluent. Final effluent from sewage plants is not good for animal and human consumption.”

Riet said that the drinking water was safe to drink.

Raw sewage from the Ritchie sewage plant has formed a dam on a nearby private farm (Jakkalspan). Picture: Supplied
Sewage spills from Mokotoi Street into Lutheran and Maphala streets, Motswedimosa. Picture: Supplied
Children playing in sewage spills in Ritchie. Picture: Supplied
Raw sewage at the Ritchie sewage works is left untreated as a result of stolen cables. The plant has apparently not been operational since last year. Picture: Supplied
Pictures: Supplied
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