Ageing pipes can’t stand the strain

2009-05-21 00:00

AFTER many electricity blackouts in recent weeks, six burst pipes that resulted in the disruption of water services in parts of Hilton over the past few days have raised further questions about defective infrastructure in and around the city.

Residents in large parts of Hilton were without water for four days.

Last Friday, most Hilton residents had no access to water for the day after an asbestos pipe burst. The supply was restored over the weekend after the pipe was replaced with a new plastic pipe, but on Monday, residents suffered yet another water cut when smaller pipes burst.

The uMgungundlovu District Municipality manager for technical services, Bheki Mbambo, said that after they replaced the old pipe, the sudden pressure build-up led to smaller pipes bursting. “This was not due to negligence. Hilton is a place where there are many trees, so some of the roots caused the pipes to shift,” he said. “We would like to apologise for the inconvenience. Although we have cut the roots of the trees back, this may happen again because we can’t predict which direction a tree’s roots will take,” he said.

Elize Joubert, who runs Seventh Heaven Frail Care Home in Hilton, said the lack of water meant they had to operate the facility under extremely difficult conditions. “We spent a fortune having to buy bottled water and baby wipes for our frail care patients, a lot of whom are in nappies,” she said.

Joubert said she was disgusted at the state of the water in a water bowser dispatched by the municipality on Tuesday. “They sent 70 litres of dirty water not fit for consumption. We refused to accept it because we couldn’t give old people dirty water. They took it away and came back with another tanker of better quality water,” she said.






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