The Department of Water and Sanitation has warned municipalities to take action against illegal dumping in sewerage infrastructure.
THE DEPARTMENT of Water and Sanitation has warned residents to refrain from dumping foreign objects into sewerage systems as these cause blockages and create environmental and health hazards for communities.
This comes as the department has started an assessment of wastewater management by municipalities aimed at ensuring that municipalities manage their wastewater treatment plants properly.
In a statement, acting chief director Siboniso Mkhaliphi said the main source of pollution in communities come from wastewater treatment works (WWTWs) due to sewerage blockages and poor operations and maintenance as well as those operating above design capacity.
He issued a stern warning to communities that sabotage infrastructure by dumping foreign objects.
“There are people who still flush foreign objects such as newspapers, disposable nappies and sanitary towels. These may not block your drain in your household, but they impact negatively on wastewater treatment works, and when the infrastructure fails, it is the same communities that cry foul,” he said.
“As a department, we encourage municipalities to strengthen their by-laws because we do not enforce the by-laws. However, we will not hesitate to take steps against municipalities to ensure such environmental crimes are accounted for.”
He said the assessment of the wastewater plants is expected to be completed next year and is aimed at ensuring that municipalities improve their maintenance and management of wastewater infrastructure.
“What we look for during these assessments are effluent and sludge quality compliance, the environmental, technical management, financial provision for operations and maintenance of the infrastructure, among other things,” said Mkhaliphi.
“These assessments are also meant to protect the taxpayer’s money.”
He said that ineffective maintenance often results in sewerage blockages which have dire negative health effects for residents and the environment.