Illegal dumping caused sewage spill, says City

Sewage flowing from a manhole near Bokmanspruit.

The City’s water and sanitation department conducted a visual inspection of Bokmanspruit in Ocean View last week after a sewage spill.

Kommetjie resident Erik Hesse said he had reported the spill on Saturday March 12 and a week later, “black water was still running into the ocean at Longbeach”.

He said he had not received any contact from the City regarding the matter.

Ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock said in his experience, the City’s sanitation department was “really good and responds timeously to blocked sewers”.

The issue, he said, could have been that it was not logged as a blocked sewer but as an environmental management issue.

Environmental management is not an essential service, and, unlike the water, sanitation, electricity and fire services, they are not available 24/7.

Mr Liell-Cock said he had been on-site on Saturday March 12 and the sewer team had been “extremely busy” in Ocean View.

“I was on-site with them, and we would have dropped down to Kommetjie if I had been informed of the spill,” he said.

Sewerage leaks were by nature short-lived and the reed bed in the Bokramspruit usually cleaned the water before it reached the sea, he said.

“The coastal management department will put up signs if they deem the water to be unsafe,” he said.

Mayoral committee member for water Zahid Badroodien said the City found that the overflowing of the sewer was caused by foreign objects dumped into the system.

Most blockages across the city were caused by the misuse of the sewer system, and sanitation workers frequently removed builders’ rubble, nappies, and tyres, along with general litter, he said.

“These blockages are exacerbated by the disposal of cooking fats into the system, which hardens as it cools and acts like glue for the other materials in the line,” he said.

Mr Badroodien said bio-enzymes had been applied at strategic points in the water.