New grid won’t solve all the pollution problems, Milnerton residents say

The City of Cape Town installed a new grid to catch pollution at the stormwater outlet in Erica Road, Milnerton.

The City of Cape Town has installed a new grid at the stormwater outlet in Erica Road, Milnerton, to minimise the amount of pollution flowing into the outlet.

This particular outlet has been a source of headaches for Milnerton residents and the City of Cape Town for years.

Many Milnerton residents believe that surrounding neighbourhoods like Joe Slovo and Phoenix are the main sources of the stormwater problems in the greater Milnerton area.

According to mayco member for water and sanitation, Dr Zahid Badroodien, this stormwater outlet is a “symptom of a larger problem”.

He said that greywater enters the stormwater system through illegal connections, industrial spillages, illegal dumping in stormwater inlets and surface greywater discharge.

“The City is working with communities in Joe Slovo and Phoenix to regularise illegal connections, and the Urban Waste Management Department is implementing daily public cleaning campaigns. Unfortunately, some solid waste still finds its way into the stormwater system. The Erica Road Stormwater Outfalls is the location where the Water and Sanitation Department over pumps the greywater back into the sewage system, and we have a screen that blocks refuse from entering the Milnerton Lagoon,” he said.

Milnerton resident and member of the Milnerton CPF, Jacqui Pember, said that although she is grateful for the installation of the new grid, there was still a larger problem of overcrowding in Joe Slovo and Phoenix.

“It’s no wonder that the sewerage and stormwater systems are overloaded with human waste. Yes, educate the residents but treat the root cause which is the overutilisation of the infrastructure. Stop allowing owners to build on extra rooms, remove illegal wendy houses on properties, remove shacks where they are illegally constructed, such as on pavements etc,” she said.

Tracey Carter, a Milnerton resident, said there were many Milnerton residents who also had a part to play in the issues.

“We have people building constantly on their properties here. Letting more people into their homes. While I do get that Joe Slovo and Phoenix may be part of the issue, we can’t ignore the negative impact from Milnerton, Royal Ascot and Sunset Beach residents have on our sewer and stormwater systems. We all have to take the blame and work together to solve the situation,” she said.

Last month, the City of Cape Town stopped a Milnerton homeowner from building shacks on his property in Erica Road (“City moves to stop shacks at Milnerton home”, Tabletalk, February 16).

Caroline Marx of the Milnerton Central Residents Association said that installing the grid may be a small step but a necessary one in efforts to cure the area of sewage and pollution problems.

Dr Badroodien added by saying that residents must remember that the grid is only treating the pollution at the discharge point.

“The Water and Sanitation Department is committed to bettering the health of the Milnerton Lagoon and will work on addressing the pollution at its sources,” he said.