Sewer blockages caused by debris dumped in drains

The Walvis Bay municipality attributes the main cause of sewage blockages to foreign objects being dumped by residents into drains.

17 October 2020 | Local News

Walvis Bay municipality; “Council has come up with measures to address the current sewer challenges…”

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

After complaints surfaced that the sewage has been overflowing and blocked for quite some time in Maraboe Street, Kuisebmond, the municipality said that this blockage usually occurs when the main sewer line on Volstruis Street experiences a blockage.

According to the municipality, the Volstruis Street main sewer line is where Maraboe, Aasvoël and Leepelaar street sewer lines are linked to and flow through to the nearby Cemetery Pump Station in the vicinity.

“When such blockage occurs, it causes sewer back flows which will unfortunately surface at any possible lowest point as in the case of the houses in Maraboe Street.”

A couple of houses on Maraboe Street are located at the lowest level of the system due to their foundation construction and thus sewer tends to surface mostly out of manholes located on these properties, as a middle block sewer system is positioned on the street.

The municipality said that the cause and magnitude of the blockage determines the time it requires to clear, and this results in sewer overflow from the manholes.

“Currently, we do not have records of weekly sewer blockage in the area. However, the main causes of sewer overflow experienced in Walvis Bay is mainly due to sewer system abuse.”

The municipality says that residents dump and deposit foreign solid objects such as fat, oil, grease, cutlery, unwanted clothing and bags, face clothes, bricks, tins of food and drinks as well as personal hygiene products to mention a few, that do not belong in the sewer system.

“Sewer lines are not designed to handle such debris. As a result, these objects clog up and obstruct the sewer flow, causing sewer blockages and eventually overflow.”

Some members of the community also make illegal connections to the sewer system without the Council’s consent.

“Many residents have connected their residential sewer discharge pipeline directly into the main sewer line system’s manholes, allowing direct debris to deposit into the system. This causes problems since the municipal team needs to clear all debris in that specific manhole to allow for flow to be restored. Residents who are caught doing this are fined and ordered to remove their pipes.”

Some community members that have manholes on their premises seem to open the covers and dump foreign objects into them directly.

“Manhole covers are stolen, leaving the manholes open or covered with temporary covers. This leads to unpleasant odours, pest infestation and unhygienic conditions which may cause diseases. The municipality is however, in the process of replacing existing manhole covers with lockable alternatives.”

The rapid increase in the number of informal backyard units such as ghettos also contribute significantly to the sewer overflow problem.

“Most of these residents only share one or two ablution facilities, thus putting pressure on the system. It has been noted that an increase of illegal dumping in manholes located on erven is likely to occur as there is limited access to proper ablutions facility on the premises. A municipal decongestion campaign is currently underway to address these issues.”

Council has also come up with measures to address the current sewer challenges, including maintenance. However, such efforts will only be successful if the community plays its part as well.

“Provision has been made in the current financial year to upgrade and rehabilitate some sewer pump stations. The removal of midblock sewer systems is also being addressed. If a sewer blockage is contained to a single house, it is the owner’s responsibility to call a registered plumber to unblock and flush the sewer pipes. If a blockage affects more than two houses in a particular street, blockages should be reported on the Emergency Blockages line at 081 128 8324."