Ministry of Water and Sanitation warns communities against dumping foreign objects into sewer infrastructure
DURBAN – The Department of Water and Sanitation has warned residents to refrain from dumping foreign objects into sewer systems as these cause blockages and create environmental and health risks for communities.
It comes as the department has started an assessment of municipal wastewater management aimed at ensuring municipalities are properly managing their wastewater treatment plants.
In a statement, Acting Chief Director Siboniso Mkhaliphi said the main source of pollution in communities came from sewage treatment works (WWTW) due to sewer blockages, improper operation and l maintenance as well as those operating above rated capacity.
He issued a stern warning to communities who sabotage infrastructure by dumping foreign objects.
“There are people who still throw away foreign objects like newspapers, disposable diapers and sanitary napkins.
“These may not block your drain in your household, but they negatively impact sewage works, and when infrastructure breaks down, the same communities cry foul.
“As a ministry, we encourage municipalities to strengthen their bylaws because we are not enforcing the bylaws. However, we will not hesitate to take action against municipalities to ensure that such environmental crimes are taken into account, ”he said.
He said the assessment of wastewater treatment plants is expected to be completed next year and aims to ensure that municipalities improve the maintenance and management of wastewater infrastructure.
“What we are looking for during these evaluations is the conformity of the quality of the effluents and sludge, the environmental and technical management, the financial provision for the operation and the maintenance of the infrastructure, among others”, a declared Mkhaliphi.
He said that often, sometimes, the infrastructure funded by the ministry often collapses due to poor operation and poor maintenance.
“These assessments are also meant to protect taxpayer money,” Mkhaliphi said.
He said ineffective maintenance often leads to sewer blockages which have adverse effects on the health of residents and the environment.