Municipality admits — “yes, Mogol River is contaminated with sewage”

LEPHALALE — Mogol Post has frequently reported on the sewage disaster in Lephalale and asked the question whether raw sewage is being pumped in the Mogol River several times.
Not a week goes by without receiving complaints from despondent residents. Some of them have been living with the smell and mess for at least a year. Afriforum investigated and in desperation called on the local municipality with buckets filled with sewage collected from in and around town.
Many excuses and explanations have been received from the municipality over the past few years, but none of their attempts have ever drastically improved the sewage situation. As they receive so many complaints and as a follow up, Sybil Nieuwoudt, DA Councillor at the Lephalale Municipality, sent a few written questions regarding this matter to the Municipal Manager, Edith Tukakgomo.
The questions were replied to during the Lephalale Municipal Council meeting held on 29 August 2017.
The council member responsible for Infrastructure Services (which of course includes the infrastructure and operation of the sewage works) is Executive Manager, Mr KL Tlhako.
The first question was if the Municipality installed a new sewerage pump at pump station 23 and if so, when was the new pump installed?
“The service provider was appointed on 7 August 2016 to repair pump station 23 and replace 4 km of the old AC pipe from pump station 1 to Paarl WWTW. The project also included the installation of two new pumps, a screen and electric panel at pump station 23”.
What is the reason for the sewerage being pumped from the pump station into the river at intervals?
“We are experiencing problems and challenges with the operation of sewer systems due to numerous factors contributing to failures such as vandalism and theft and we continuously discover foreign objects and materials dumped into the system causing blockages and damage to pumps. As the authority, we are responsible to ensure that services are rendered appropriately to the community and we encourage the community to also take ownership of the infrastructure services. The Municipality would like members of the public to report any incidents regarding illegal dumping and defaults encountered on the system. The standby number for sanitation is 082 306 9446 and it is available 24/7. It can be used to report all problems associated with sewerage operations.
Has the Mogol River been contaminated by sewerage and is there a health risk for humans and animals?
Yes, overflows on manholes and outflow from pump station 23 goes in to Mogol River, it must be noted that there is no treatment taking place on the network or pump stations and the sewerage at this point is still raw. The only place where final effluent can be tested is at the waste water treatment works.
(This admittance can lead one to more questions like have they even bothered to warn the public through warning signs that there is sewerage in the river?
How often is maintenance work done at the pump stations to ensure foreign objects are removed before they harm the system? Is the purpose of the screen not to prevent foreign objects from blocking the pumps? At least admittance is a start – Ed)

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