CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town on Sunday urged residents to refrain from dumping items such as "ovens, sheep heads, garden chairs, tyres, cloth, car engines, lawnmowers, nappies, and rope", in sewers.
Operations to remove "inappropriate materials" from the sewer system were carried out on a daily basis and cost about R170 million a year to address, mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy Xanthea Limberg said.
"Materials such as ovens, sheep heads, garden chairs, tyres, cloth, car engines, lawnmowers, nappies and rope, among others, should not be dumped in the sewers. The persistent misuse of the sewer system continues in areas across the metro, causing blockages and overflows which place the health of our environment and communities at risk.
"It also wastes City of Cape Town resources which could rather be used to extend service delivery to our communities. It is also hugely unpleasant and inconvenient, to say the least, for those who have to suffer the effects of a sewer blockage," Limberg said.
The city’s sewer reticulation system operated under tremendous stress because it was being misused, although often unknowingly by residents. The number of reported blockages and overflows had steadily risen over the previous two years, from an average of 293 per day in 2015/16 to an average of 330 per day in 2017/18.
While the drought and water restrictions had likely contributed to the increase as it had reduced the amount of water that flowed through the system, the primary cause remained abuse of the sewerage system, she said.
"In terms of the Wastewater and Industrial Effluent By-law no person may discharge substances into a municipal sewer that will interfere with the free flow of sewage. The sewer reticulation system is only geared to accept toilet waste (urine, faeces, and toilet paper) and sink/basin/bath waste (water, washing liquid and soap).