City removes sludge from sewage plant

The foul smell caused by sludge is set to be a thing of the past.

Work has begun at the sewage plant where accumulating sludge has been causing a foul smell for weeks.

Since the beginning of the year, Table View residents have been complaining about a smell coming from the Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works. Flamingo Vlei residents were hardest hit as they are situated right next to to the sewage plant.

Jaqcues Moon of Flamingo Vlei who has been complaining since the stench first became noticeable, says things seem to be getting better.

“There’s still a faint smell but it’s definitely not as bad as it was a few weeks ago. Maybe I’m getting used to the smell, maybe the suppressants they were using are to thank.

“Look, I’m happy that they are doing something about this but why did it have to get to this point? If you know that a contract with a certain company is coming to an end, why not renew it or find a replacement before this one expires?” he said.

Last week, head of the environmental portfolio of the Milnerton Central Ratepayers’ Association, Caroline Marx, said residents in Milnerton, Table Bay and surrounding areas began complaining about the stench from Potsdam in early January.

“There were also complaints of worsening allergies and asthma and feeling nauseated to the point of retching. Failure to satisfactorily award tenders does not excuse the City from its duty to comply with the water licence which states sludge must be handled in a way as to not cause odour or nuisance,” she said.

Xanthea Limberg, the mayoral committee member for water and waste, had previously said that the agreement with the contractor tasked with the removal of sludge at the plant had expired on New Year’s Eve and that a new contractor was appointed due to a dispute over the issuing of a new tender.

Dr Zahid Badroodien, the mayoral committee member for community services and health, had also said that the odour wouldn’t affect people’s health but would rather cause a slight inconvenience to their lives.

Ms Limberg said last week that two contracts for the removal and disposal of the sludge were signed after the appeals process was completed. She also said that the tender awarded was worth R200 million over three financial years and said that work was set to begin sometime last week.

“Once the work commences, residents might experience some foul smells for a few days as the sludge starts being removed. During this time, we ask residents to please bear with us as every effort will be made to clear the backlog as soon as possible, and to ensure the normal daily service resumes,” she said.

Cape Town mayor, Dan Plato sent apologies to residents who were affected by the foul odours over the past month.

“The City sincerely regrets the discomfort caused to residents as a result of the appeals against the awarding of the contract. The City has done absolutely everything in its power to move this tender along in the shortest possible timeframe, however the City is bound by the provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Supply Chain Management Regulations. It is a regulatory-heavy environment and the City is compelled to adhere to the national legislation. Appeal processes are provided for and must be followed,” he said.