Middleburg: The Democratic Alliance in Steve Tshwete Local Municipality (STLM), has called for urgent intervention from the municipality to address the situation of the hazardous sewer pump, which has been overflowing for the past two years in Newton Ext 1.

According to the DA, during an oversight visit at the station conducted recently, it was discovered that the pump is still dysfunctional since their initial oversight visit in 2019.

“The repeated overflowing of sewer is a great health hazard to the community of this municipality as the sewer flows into the Klein Oliphants River which feeds into the Loskop Dam where the municipality water supply comes from,” said Palesa Mobango, DA Councillor in STLM.

Mobango said they acknowledge the steps taken to cordon off the pump station.

“However, the issue of the sewer overflowing has not been addressed and the pump is yet to operate automatically as planned,” she said.

According to Mobango, on the oversight visit, the DA noted that the sewer leaks have now worsened alongside the neighbouring houses.

“This is a threat to the health of children who play on the streets and the community at large. Not only is there a health hazard present, the biodiversity of the area is also being compromised due to the constant overflowing of sewer,” explained Mobango.

She said they have written to the municipality requesting for urgent intervention to take place.

“The DA will make sure that all steps necessary are taken to ensure that residents of the Newton area are not at risk. We will continue to engage with the municipality to safeguard residents from water borne illnesses that stems from water pollution,” she said.

STLM Municipal Manager, Adv. Bheki Khenisa, said the pump station have been operating with challenges since 2019, due to the foreign object that are discharge from the households.

“As the municipality, we experienced a lot blockages at the pump station and outlet pipeline frequently caused by such foreign objects and sand, resulting in overflow,” he said.

To deal with the problem, Khenisa said this month, they have installed one bigger pump to boost the flow which is capable of handling bigger solid material.

“We have also improved in the cleaning of pump station sump and rising main pipeline which requires the combo truck jetting and vacuum to work every 2 weeks,” he said.

According to Khenisa, most residents in the area have opened the inspection eyes to drain storm water from their houses, which is an illegal practice and it also letting sand into the system and increasing the storm water infiltration.

“This is a serious problem as the system is only designed to cater only 15% infiltration of storm water. The municipality will also engage the services of Town Planning Department to help with issuing of notices to transgressors to discourage this practice,” he said.


DA councilors during the oversight visit at Newton Ext 1
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