It’s a stinky situation, but let’s talk about it

Ward 58 has a sewage crisis – raw sewage flowing on the streets and constant blockages  all over the ward.
There are certain hotspots, including Lillian Ngoyi and Crown Road, 8th Avenue along Clifton, College, Church and Bird Street, of which we are aware.
The City Council never attended to the complaints in terms of the standard turnaround time.
The free flowing sewage poses a serious health risk to the residents of the ward and could lead to serious illnesses if left unattended.
It would be beneficial to analyse the causes of this crisis and to suggest steps that could be taken by residents to help prevent this situation.

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The root causes of this problem include aging infrastructure in the ward. Our sewerage system is very old and the City need to invest major capital in overhauling the pipes in the Ward. But in all probability, this is unlikely to happen and we will be stuck with short piecemeal fixes in areas where the pipes burst.

Another root cause which we can prevent is bad building practice and illegal connections of sewerage lines. 8th Avenue is particularly problematic because some residents on this street illegally connect their sewerage lines to the storm water drains when renovating or building. This leads to raw sewage coming up from the storm water drains during heavy rains in summer. Another problem is the use of cheap labour and unqualified plumbers when renovating. If these workmen install sewerage pipes at the wrong gradient then this can cause the build up of sewage in pipes and lead to overflowing toilets and pipes bursting. Lazy workers throw rubble into pipes during construction which also leads to blockages in the system.

Residents themselves are part of the problem. They flush objects down the toilet that should not be flushed causing further problems in the system. Behavioural adjustment can therefore significantly improve the situation.
Here are some points to consider and adopt to improve the situation:
– Don’t flush sanitary towels, tampons, condoms or nappies down the toilet. Wrap them up and dispose of them in a responsible manner.

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– Only use the correct toilet paper. Newspaper and other heavy paper block the system.
– Don’t use wet wipes or so-called “ flushable wipes”. Cities like London have concluded that these flushable wipes are one of the biggest causes of blockages in their sewerage system.
– Hire qualified workmen and plumbers. In the long run it is cheaper as it helps retain your property value if the neighbourhood is seen as hygienic.
– Do checks on building contractors while they on the job to ensure they not throwing rubble in pipes.
– Report sewage spillages immediately to the City Council

Remember, you can call 0860 562874  (0860 JOBURG) and log the issue.
Choose the Joburg Water option. Because Joburg Water sometimes transfers the issue to Joburg Roads there is sometimes an overlap and you may need to log with both Joburg Water and JRA. The standard turnaround time to deal with the problem is 24 hours. If they fail to respond then message the Ward Councillor Alex Christians on 081-402-5977.

Mohamed Patel, Ward Committee Member for Environmental Portfolio and
Abeda Bhamjee,Ward Committee Member for Community Development 2 Portfolio

Have a story? contact a reporter on 073-018-3507 or call into the Rising Sun offices on 011-852-0842.

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Staff Reporter

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