Metro tackles sewage

The Mangaung Metro Municipality blames the overflowing of raw sewage within its jurisdiction on complex problems, of which some apparently arises due to residents’ negligence.

The municipality’s response follows an increase in reports regarding the overflowing of raw sewage – dams which have formed in residents’ yards and sewage streaming along the streets attests to the situation being dire.

Qondile Khedama, Mangaung Metro spokesperson, has admitted there is a serious challenge when it comes to raw sewage, blaming natural causes such as the changing weather patterns and outdated infrastructure.

“Most of our pipes are old and made of asbestos. As the pipes are exposed to the cycle of freezing, they are likely to burst due to fatigue. They are brittle and cannot sustain continual volumetric changes of water due to its solidification,” says Khedama.

“The other problem that exacerbates the situation is pressure witnessed in many areas within the city.”

Khedama says steps taken to address the worrying sewage problem includes the deployment of teams in problematic residential areas, which include sections in Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo.

“With the approval of the new budget, we are replacing asbestos pipes with steel pipes. This is assisting from the engineering point of view. The type of material that we are using can withstand different patterns of weather and is durable.”

Khedama further cites human error, such as the negligence of residents, for contributing to the blockage of raw sewage system. He says residents are using infrastructure to hide inhuman acts.

“Recently, we discovered the body of a newborn baby as the cause that had blocked pipe network.

“We have people who throw disposable nappies in the system, and this makes it very difficult for the technical team to make repairs.

“We have since established that most members of the community do not accept responsibility to take care of the city’s infrastructure.”

Some residents are forced to wade through raw sewage bubbling up from manholes, toilets and bathrooms alike.

The unpleasant odour caused by dams of raw sewage in their yard has forced some occupants to take their young ones to family members and keep no food in their houses – citing health hazards.

Affected by such a situation are Tlhokolo Seqhobane and Jan Dumpies of Grassland 3, ward 17, Bloemfontein. Living adjacent to each other, the two say they have been contending with raw sewage for almost three years.

“It is not only us who are affected; a number of people live and sleep in similar conditions. The yard of my house is soaked in raw sewage,” Seqhobane laments.

While they have reported their plight at the city council office, they are apparently frustrated by the response of people responsible.

“In the case of delays, we encourage residents to interact with the ward councillor or approach the nearest municipal offices. We are trying to shorten the response time, especially when it’s not a major problem. A reference number will be given to the person who reports,” says Khedama.

Residents are advised to report cases relating to blockages, leaks and the like to the city council call centre on 0800-111-300.