Wafting sewage smells grate Amanzimtoti councillor

Workers work on the repair of the 300m rising main in Warner Beach. PHOTO: Andre Beetge

Amanzimtoti residents are collectively clenching their noses in response to complaints about a continued smell of sewage wafting across the town, especially in the vicinity of the Adams Road interchange and Warner Beach.

Ward 97 councillor, Andre Beetge said council is aware of the spillages and some repairs are underway.

At Warner Beach there is a break in the 300m rising main between the Kingsway one pump station and the N2 over San Gabriel Road, with effluent outfall as waste is pumped uphill to the treatment works.

“Following a complaint, Warner Beach resident Iain Pike located the spill along the roadside,” said Cllr Beetge. “While pedestrians, joggers, cyclists and vehicles use that road every day, bizarrely it appears nobody bothered to report it. It is important that if you see something, you report it so that something can be done about it.”

READ ALSO: Clarity after foam fuels fears of Amanzimtoti river sewage leak

Cllr Beetge said once the problem had been reported, attention was immediate. Most of the excavation had to be done by hand and about two metres of the concrete pipe will be replaced by PVC. It was reported on Thursday, 19 April and by Tuesday, 24 April the pipe was excavated, casing exposed and the new pipe was ready to go in.

Effluent lowing alongside the road due to the breach of the 300m rising main in Warner Beach. PHOTO: Andre Beetge

“Refrain from ‘reporting’ a problem on social media, as the municipality does not monitor local community groups. Likewise, mentioning a problem to a municipal official on the street does not constitute reporting the problem. Instead use the platforms created for this purpose by either calling 080-131-3013, WhatsApp 073-148-3477 for water-related problems, email [email protected] or engage the eThekwini Municipality webpage and secure a reference number.

READ ALSO: How to report municipal faults in Durban

The significance of the reference number is that it contains the date and sequence of report, thus confirming that the complaint was captured so that a job card can be created and followed up. If the municipality is unaware of a problem, they cannot assist and there is no record of the complaint.”

Cllr Beetge said the sewerage flow increases both early morning and evening while long weekends for example, the influx of visitors to this weekend’s Highland Gathering, will put increased pressure on wastewater infrastructure. Officials are on standby but they cannot react if they are not alerted to any problems.

“Pumpstations could release a smell during these increased flow times, as chemicals could be inadequate or prematurely exhausted, which does not necessarily mean the system is unable to manage the increased flow.”

The smell at the Adams Road interchange is due to a breach in the 300m main line that runs under the N2 from the Bernadotte Road line to the Commercial Road pumpstation. “It was first reported about six weeks ago and temporary measures were put into place on 24 March,” said Cllr Beetge. Overflow was directed into an existing drain but during increased flow periods, spillages do occur, hence the smell.

The spillage at the Adams Road interchange. PHOTO: Andre Beetge

“The department indicated it was awaiting funding. I have alerted environmental health and other relevant municipal departments of the continued flow of effluent into the Toti River.

While I received comment from the environmental and health departments that there are budget constraints, having followed up with the treasury department, it would appear there are, however, no budget constraints as the department remains underspent and funding can be re-directed if required. However it remains subject to officials motivating in line with the situation –which has apparently not been done.

On Friday, 19 April the area wastewater engineer assured me a team was deployed and the matter would be resolved. However, to our disappointment, we were informed on Wednesday, 25 April that there were challenges, such as hard-to-come-by fittings required to finish the job.”

The temporary solution at the Adams Road interchange. PHOTO: Andre Beetge

Cllr Beetge has written to city manager, Sipho Nzuza and the Department of Water and Sanitation to highlight the unacceptability of the situation and that the municipality and officials appear to be dragging its heels rather than fulfilling its legislated obligation, which compels local government to ensure minimal or no contamination finds its way into natural resources.

“The constant excuse of challenges as opposed to finding resolutions has become common and the unaccepted norm within eThekwini Municipality and government at large. However, we will not rest until this matter is resolved,” said Cllr Beetge.

  AUTHOR
Earl Baillache
Journalist

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