Upgrade of sewer lines to reduce blockages

Pollution in Joe Slovo at a park.

The City plans to spend R3 million to tackle the Lagoon Beach pollution crisis and stop sewage ending up in the stormwater system.

About 25 people met on Wednesday August 23 at the Milnerton library, where Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north; City officials and engineers from the department of water and sanitation, outlined plans to sort out the mess left in the wake of the violent storm that battered Cape Town in June.

During the storm, sewage and other waste overflowed into the stormwater system and ended up polluting Lagoon Beach.

Residents have complained bitterly since then about the City’s apparent lack of will to solve the problem. (“Residents accuse City of neglect”, Tabletalk July 26).

City officials say the project is set to start in the next three months and should be finished by June next year.

Upgrading the infrastructure by installing bigger pipes in the Phoenix and Joe Slovo system and diversion systems at Erica Road and Theo Marais seem to be the main focus at this stage.

The three-phase plan starts by tackling the source of sewage build up in the overcrowded Joe Slovo and Phoenix areas. Secondly, sewerage and stormwater pipes will be replaced to improve flow and in the third phase, a diversion process will separate sewage from stormwater before it gets to the lagoon.

Ms Little said upgrading several sewer lines in the area should reduce the number of blockages and overflows.

“We have found a solution to the Joe Slovo and Phoenix areas where most of the contamination is coming from. The pipes have been allocated as to where they will be installed and how they will deal with all the overflow of the sewer on the stormwater,” she said.

Caroline Marx, of the Milnerton Central Residents’ Association (MCRA) welcomed the plan and said it was a very necessary first step to fixing pollution problems in Joe Slovo, Phoenix and eventually Lagoon Beach.

“We have two major problem areas, the Erica Road stormwater outlet and the Theo Marais stormwater outlet and this plan by the City is welcomed,” said Ms Marx.

Ursula Marshall, a Phoenix resident, said it was about time something was done, because poorer neighbourhoods had suffered the brunt of the problem for many years with people in those communities getting sick.

She felt the City was only prepared to take the issue seriously after people in wealthier neighbourhoods had been affected.

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful but this issue is affecting other areas and the City is finally doing something about it. There are also many other issues in our area and I wish the City could be this responsive to those issues as well,” she said.