Stalled sludge removal at sewage works causes stink

Table View residents have raised a stink about a bad smell coming from the Potsdam sewage plant.

A hold-up with the City’s appointment of a new contractor to haul sludge from the Potsdam sewage works has left a stench hanging over Table View.

The bad smell started hitting nostrils at the weekend and residents took to social media to complain.

“Does anyone know where this smell comes from and what’s causing it? Most importantly is it being attended to by relevant authorities?” said Cikiziwe Madyibi.

Jaqcues Moon, from Flamingo Vlei, complained to Tabletalk that the City had failed to respond to his logged service complaints about the smell.

“For about a week, there was this little faint smell in the air, but I didn’t take it too seriously, thinking maybe it’s something that would pass. It wasn’t until this past weekend where I actually noticed that the smell was very bad. It’s like this strong poopy smell. I’m starting to wonder myself and my family could get sick from this,” he said.

Ward 107 councillor, Nicky Rheeder said sludge had not been removed from the Potsdam plant since January 1 and odour suppressants were being used to mask the smell. “It will hopefully be resolved soon,” she said.

Xanthea Limberg, the mayoral committee member for water and waste, said a contractor usually removed sludge from the sewage works daily, taking it either to landfill or to farms.

However, the contract for this service ended on New Year’s Eve without a new contractor being appointed due to a dispute over the issuing of a new tender.

“The new tender has been appealed for the second time, and has therefore not been awarded yet,” she said.

“The City is currently investigating alternative means to dispose of the sludge on a temporary basis until the appeal on the tender appeal can be resolved. Delays are not common in this area, and these are exceptional circumstances.”

The sludges were a by-product of the treatment process at all municipal sewage works, she said.

“The sludges contain these solids, which consist mainly of organic and biological matter. The sludges are mechanically dewatered on site, and the resulting sludge cake removed for final disposal.”

Dr Zahid Badroodien, the mayoral committee member for community services and health, said: “The unpleasant odour is more likely to impact on the quality of life of persons in the area as opposed to their health status.”