Sewage stench the new normal in suburbia

HAVING to negotiate ankle-deep sewage in the street and tasting its fetid odour has become the new normal for residents in the suburb of Pescodia in Kimberley.

For more than a month, sewage has oozed from the ground making life intolerable in parts of the middle-class neighbourhood.

Sewage pooling on roads and verges in Kimberley Pictures: CAMERON WARD

Irate residents say the Sol Plaatje municipality is doing too little. The municipality, in turn, blames delays in fixing the problem on a drawn out process to appoint a private contractor.

Norman Ferris described how, when temperatures soared into the upper 30s, the stench became unbearable.

“This problem has been for more than a month. Two streets from where we live, a friend of mine lives across from a manhole where it overflows every day. According to the municipality they send a truck once a day to clean up the mess, but they aren’t fixing the problem. They are just cleaning up the mess. We cannot live like this with the sight of sewage flowing everywhere,” he told TimesLIVE.

Ferris said that water interruptions were compounding the problem. “People in the Western Cape have a bigger water problem but they have water in their taps. We don’t have that big a water shortage but our taps are constantly dry. We are always told that the water pipes need to be fixed, that is why the water is off,” he said.

“I have two grandchildren, and they constantly have friends over and sewage running over like this can be hazardous to their health. You have no idea of the disgusting smell that lays thick in the air all day, all night. The streets are full of sewage. You cannot drive over it with a normal vehicle. The sewage is as high as the street curb,” said Ferris.

Cameron Ward, another resident, said: “My mother is an elderly woman and my younger sister is pregnant. I am worried that they might get sick. Sewage laying like this is a breeding ground for all sorts of diseases.”

Sol Plaatje municipality spokesman Sello Matsie said previous efforts to unblock a sewage pipe had not worked.

“The Sol Plaatje Municipality is very much aware of the sewage problems in Pescodia. For some time now, we have been trying to remedy the situation on a temporary basis as we are currently busy with the appointment processes for a private contractor who will be appointed to do repairs on the four meter deep pipeline that has caved in or been blocked.

“All the alternative methods have been used like using our jet-vac truck to open the pipe to no success. We regret the situation and constantly appeal to residents to avoid letting foreign objects into the sewer network,” said Matsie.

PETRU SAAL

TMG Digital, Cape Town

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