City acts against illegal stormwater discharge

2018-01-23 06:00

The City of Cape Town has embarked on a stormwater campaign in some areas of the southern suburbs.

Conducted through the City’s Water Demand Management Strategy Department, ward councillor Ian Iverson explains that the survey will not just help to monitor usage during this drought situation, but will also help residents save money. The four-month survey started on Tuesday 9 January.

Affected areas include Bishopscourt, Claremont, Newlands and Rondebosch. Iversen says this campaign will be continued to include suburbs moving towards Simon’s Town.

Iversen says it has been discovered that many people are not aware of the disadvantages of ignoring the warnings against the discharge of stormwater into the sewer system.

“All sewage lands up at sewerage plants where it is treated. Obviously this costs money and residents pay a sewerage charge based on the amount of water they use. However, if water gets into the sewerage system, it means that the sewerage plants are treating both sewage and water and therefore there is an additional cost, which is unnecessary. I would imagine that most residents are either unaware that stormwater is getting into the sewerage system or, if they are aware, do not think that it is a problem,” says Iversen.

He explains that where faults are found, the City will inform the owner of the property and request that they rectify it within a certain period of time, and thereafter a follow-up visit will be conducted to assess the progress. Should the owner fail to fix the problem, Iversen says they could be subject to penalties.

He advises that should someone arrive at your gate claiming to be from the City, it is important that you request identification and, if necessary, phone the municipality to check if the person really works for them.

Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, Xanthea Limberg, adds that the analysis of the flow data at wastewater treatment plants indicates that there is a huge increase in hydraulic load during a rain event. This has several knock-on effects, such as overflows and sewage spills from sewer pipes being filled beyond capacity; spillage from sewage pumpstations; flooding of wastewater treatment works and reduction of their treatment capacity; reduction of water quality in stormwater, wetlands and river systems; increased risk to human and ecological health.

Limberg says the current survey targets 20 000 households and will over a period of time spread to the northern suburbs. Limberg emphasises the penalties that will be imposed on offenders should they fail to comply. “They will be served contravention notices and given a three-month period to rectify the illegal connection and inform the City thereof. If the owners fail to notify council of their actions taken to rectify the contravention, a monthly charge will be levied in accordance with the miscellaneous tariff schedule.”

The door-to-door survey is scheduled:

. Newlands – Tuesday 9 January to end February

. Claremont – Tuesday 16 January to end March

. Rondebosch and Bishopscourt – Thursday 1 February 2018 to end April.

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