OurHealth Water & Sanitation

Ermelo township mired in sewage

Written by Sphiwe Ntuli

Residents of Ermelo’s Wesselton township say they are tired of blocked sewers that have been sending foul-smelling water into their yards for years.

Sewage spills

A project to upgrade Ermelo’s sanitation system was 60 percent complete when the municipality ran short of funds, said Msukaligwa Municipality Spokesperson Mandla Zwane (File photo)

Phindile Nkosi has been living in the township for more than five years and says a manhole built in her yard is frequently blocked.

“I always report it to the municipality via the customer care line that is open for 24 hours,” she told OurHealth. “Sometimes they (the municipality) come after four or five times, and some other times they don’t come at all.”

Unblocked sewers soon become blocked again, she added. The stench from sewage bubbling out from under the manhole is unbearable but Nkosi said she felt as if she had no choice.

“We don’t have a choice because we report and we don’t get help,” she told OurHealth.

According to Msukaligwa Municipality Spokesperson Mandla Zwane, utility provider Rand Water has been contracted to provide water and sanitation services to the municipality. Rand Water has commissioned an independent assessment of Ermelo’s pump station, which will be upgraded.

“The project scope of work includes replacement of the pump at the sewer station, refurbishment of bulk sewer pipes and repair of sewer blockages,” Zwane said. “To date, 60 percent of the work has been complete but unfortunately the programme could not be completed due to a shortfall in the budget.”

He added the municipality is currently seeking additional funding to complete the upgrade.

In the meantime, he implored residents to refrain from disposing of foreign objects like disposable nappies or sanitary towels via toilets or sewers.

“Community are urged to report any sewer spillages to the municipal customer care line and the municipality would like to extend an unconditional apology to the affected community members,” Zwane added.

About the author

Sphiwe Ntuli