Patience with sewer repairs

2018-05-29 06:01
Hazel Road in Gatesville.PHOTO: aishah cassiem

Hazel Road in Gatesville.PHOTO: aishah cassiem

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Motorists using Hazel Road in Gatesville have become concerned about ongoing sewer services delaying traffic daily.

Residents say City of Cape Town officials have been working on several pipelines along the road since last year.

“This is an immense holdup for motorists using this route on their way to work. There are about three to four construction trucks, and block-offs, in the middle of the road, causing motorists to either drive around it or to take another route,” says Wajadien Meyer, a resident of Athlone.

“It is dangerous if signs are not put up, and the area smells terrible. Some of the motorists also drive like hooligans down this road due to no patience. Can our ward councillor please speed up the process?”

Ward councillor Aslam Cassiem says the services are expected to continue for some time due to items previously found dumped in several drains, causing massive clogging in the area’s pipeline (“Clogged up drains cause a stink”, People’s Post, 24 April).

But Cassiem says the problem of regular sewage spillages in Hazel Road has been resolved through the pipeline that used to pump directly into the street, along with the rubbish diverted to Athlone Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW).

“Bridgetown Sewer Pump Station also used to pump all its waste via Hazel Road, but the City very recently spent R250m on installing another bulk sewer that is taking most of the sewage that used to flow down the road via another route to the waste water treatment works,” he explains.

“The design for another sewer capital infrastructure project is at an advanced stage already, with construction expected to commence early in 2019, whereby another R250m will be spent on diverting all Athlone WWTW’s waste to the Bridgetown pump station, as well as rehabilitating the two bulk sewers in Hazel Road.”

He says this will enable more effective manipulation of sewage flow from a single point of discharge at the Bridgetown pump station in order to achieve desired hydraulic objectives on all three bulk sewers.

“The rehabilitation of the bulk sewers will extend their life expectancy by at least 50 years and vastly improve the flow and self-cleaning characteristics in the pipeline due to the reduced frictional coefficients.”

The stench in Hazel Road relates largely to two bulk sewers installed more than 50 years ago at a very flat gradient. “This, combined with the low levels of sewage flow in the sewer system brought about by the drought situation, has reduced the flushing and self-cleaning capabilities of the pipes, resulting in solids building up in both bulk sewers traversing Hazel Road.

“We have altered the pumping protocols at the Bridgetown pump station so that it pumps via the bulk sewers in Hazel Road between 23:00 at night and 06:00 the next morning, in an attempt to assist with flushing the lines. The encrusted sewage and sludge has to be removed from the lines first before the flushing will be fully effective­.”

Cassiem says bucket machines are therefore being used to remove the solids from the pipelines and unfortunately this will have to continue until the City has reached the point where flushing and self-cleaning can be achieved.

“The low levels of sewage flow in the pipelines also mean that the sewage spends more time in the pipeline which causes the waste to start putrefying in the pipe, producing higher levels of gases with the commensurate increase in bad odours. We are treating both pipelines with bio-enzymes in order to mitigate the bad odour and will continue to do so until we achieve self-cleaning again.

“The fact that the bucket machines need access to the manholes in order to remove solids from the pipelines unfortunately means that these manholes have to remain open during this activity and this obviously allows the bad odours to be released more easily from the pipelines. All the other manhole covers not involved in this activity have been sealed with grease to minimise the possibility of gases escaping from the sewers.

“It is apparent from the above that the City is making every effort to deal with the various factors impacting on Hazel Road and sparing no resources to minimise the inconvenience to the affected community both in the short and long term. The City sincerely regrets the negative impact these bulk sewers have had on the community and will continue to do all in its power to improve the situation,” adds Cassiem.

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