Upgrade or move poo plant, say residents

The City uses odour suppressants at the Potsdam sewage plant in response to residents’ complaints

Moving the Potsdam sewage plant is not an option, but there are plans to upgrade it and make it a better neighbour, City officials told Table View residents last week.

Mayoral committee member for water Dr Zahid Badroodien, along with two other City officials, Odwa Ndesi and Rajan Moodley, met with roughly 15 Heron Waters and Ville Du Cap residents at the sewage plant on Tuesday March 8.

Smells from the plant, the condition of the Diep River and the possible relocation of the plant, were among the issues discussed.

Fiona Strydom, who lives at Heron Waters, which is less than 2km from the plant, said the community endured the constant smell of raw sewage.

“We can’t even sit in our yards because the smell forces us to stay indoors… There needs to be urgent intervention. We need a solution whether to have the sewage plant removed or urgent upgrades need to be done so we don’t have to live like this,” she said.

The residents complained that overgrown reed beds in the Diep River impeded its flow, causing the water to stagnate and smell.

Dr Badroodien said that while moving the sewage plant was out of the question, there were plans to upgrade it.

“Our mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, is obsessed with our sewer-and-infrastructure issues in the City. We are working to tackle these issues. Over R1 billion has been invested over the past 10 years in the sewer pipe replacement programme. We are working on upgrades of at least three of our wastewater treatment works and Potsdam being one of them.”

Mr Moodley said plans to upgrade the plant had been on the table since 2011, but they kept getting bogged down by appeals.

“Construction is due to begin early next year, and we expect to complete the project in 2027,” he said, adding that the upgrades would bring better odour control.

City officials Odwa Ndesi, Dr Zahid Badroodien and Rajan Moodley spoke to Table View residents about planned upgrades to the Potsdam sewage plant.

Sunridge resident Heather Kensley said rampant development in the area put pressure on the sewers.

“I would suggest that the planning department stop approving development plans and allowing buildings to go up. That process needs to be halted. We can’t have any more developments going up while we have this crisis at the sewage plant. The planning department approves things left, right and centre. All that needs to stop until we can sort out the mess at Potsdam,” she said.

Ward 113 councillor Joy Solomon was also present at the meeting and said there was a moratorium on developments in the area until Potsdam had been upgraded.

“But the problem is that some of these developments were approved some years ago before this moratorium. So now some of these buildings can’t be stopped,” she said.

Dr Badroodien said that R85.5 million had been budgeted for the sewer pipe replacement programme.

“By the end of June, we are targeting to replace 26 000 metres of sewer pipeline. This is a citywide initiative and the Milnerton area is also one of the areas where these upgrades will happen. Things seem to be on track for the Potsdam upgrades and the sewer pipe initiative,” he said.

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