Family stuck indoors as sewage floods home

The flood of sewage outside Sarah Hope-Johnstone’s home in Ernest Tooth Road.
The flood of sewage outside Sarah Hope-Johnstone’s home in Ernest Tooth Road.

A frustrated Scottsville resident has lashed out at the municipality for ignoring her calls for help after numerous sewer bursts have left her family under virtual house arrest.

In three months, Sarah Hope-Johnstone said her yard was flooded with sewage twice, leaving her at her wits’ end.

Hope-Johnstone, who lives in Ernest Tooth Road, said her children and family pets are forced to stay indoors because of the flood of waste outside her door.

“My children are on school holidays and cannot even play in their garden or go for a swim. The stench is so bad, we have to keep the windows closed and yet we can still smell it. My animals are getting sick and this is unacceptable,” she said.

Hope-Johnstone demanded the municipality provide a more permanent solution.

She said the problem has been plaguing the family for well over a year now with no assistance forthcoming from Msunduzi Municipality.

“It is running down the street and is a severe health hazard, but to date I have not had one possible permanent solution offered and it seems no one is prepared to take on the real issue. This has been going on for more than a year and we need a solution.”

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha did not respond to questions by the time of going to print.

The family were left scrubbing, cleaning and refurnishing their entire house after numerous sewage floods wrecked their family home in October this year.

She said she was told a brick lodged in one of the pipelines was the cause of the continuous flooding. Hope-Johnstone said she usually found faeces, toilet paper and condoms floating among the sewage.

“The flooding started some time last year when the municipality installed a new pipeline in the area. Ever since then, whenever it rains, my yard is flooded,” she said in October.

In March this year, Hope-Johnstone said she had made two major insurance claims after the sewage flooded her kitchen, lounge and other rooms in her house.

In another case of burst sewer pipes in the city, a businesswoman said they cannot use their staff toilets in Retief Street because of the flood of sewage in their back yard.

The businesswoman asked not to be named, but said she suffered numerous health issues and believed it was linked to the “health hazard” outside her store.

“As a woman I’ve suffered numerous health problems because I don’t drink water during the day so that I won’t need to use the toilet,” she said.

Building owner Dr Arshaf Muhamed said he raised the issue with the municipality but nothing was done.

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