With winter rains, the City’s Water and Sanitation Directorate is calling on the public to report stolen and broken sewer drain manhole covers so that they can be replaced in the shortest timeframe possible to help reduce sewer overflows on rainy days.
The City’s Water and Sanitation team has spent about R2,6 million on replacing more than 4 900 sewer drain manhole covers that were stolen or broken in various areas across the city between July 2021 to May 2022. This figure has increased compared to the 3 382 manhole covers reported missing or stolen in the 2020/2021 financial year.
‘With the arrival of winter, we are encouraging residents to please report stolen or broken sewer drain manhole covers so they can be replaced. Manhole covers are an important part of our sewer infrastructure, which should only be opened by staff when they inspect the network or have to unblock the pipeline. These must not be stolen or removed.
‘Typically there is a trend that sees an increase in sewer overflows in winter because of the combined impact of various factors, such as rainwater and foreign objects entering the sewer network. Open manholes is one way that illegally dumped waste and rainwater can enter the sewer network.
‘Generally, waste items that are flushed, poured down sinks and drains, and which cause blockages and overflows, are already affecting the sewer system.
‘During heavy rain, overflows increase because illegal dumping of rubbish, old unwanted items, stones/rocks, sand, building rubble, etc, also wash into the sewer network system via open manholes. Coupled with this, more rainwater enters via these open manholes and from illegal stormwater-to-sewer cross-connections on properties, where rainwater is channeled from roofs, gutters, and paved or hard yard surface areas into sewer drains. All these factors contribute to blockages or reduces the capacity of the pipes to convey wastewater, and damage infrastructure like pump stations, resulting in overflows and flooding,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation Councillor Zahid Badroodien.
The Water and Sanitation team is doing extensive proactive work in various areas across the city to help reduce sewer overflows. This includes cleaning main sewer pipelines in most flood-prone areas using jetting machines to clear blockages, inspecting illegal stormwater to sewer connections at properties and ongoing public awareness education through the Bin it, Don’t Block it campaign. For tips to help prevent blocked sewer pipes, Recently, the City and National Government’s Department of Water and Sanitation launched a joint campaign to raise public awareness about the impact that the theft and vandalism of water and sanitation infrastructure have on essential services to communities. It also aimed to highlight the valuable role all stakeholders, including spheres of government and the public, have to help protect this critical infrastructure and staff who deliver this essential service.
‘Theft and vandalism of the City’s sewer infrastructure is unacceptable and has an impact on communities. We encourage residents to help us protect our infrastructure, such as manhole covers by providing information to one of the City’s Safety and Security agencies like Law Enforcement and Metro Police, to be eligible for a reward. The City is offering a reward of up to R5 000 to any resident who reports incidents or information related to the theft and vandalism of water and sanitation infrastructure that leads to a successful arrest or recovery of stolen equipment,’ said Councillor Badroodien.
Log water and sanitation problems or service requests
Report missing drain covers, vandalism damages, sewer blockages, burst pipes, leaks and water wastage using one of the following channels (Please provide the street address, and get a reference number):
SMS 31373 (maximum 160 characters. Standard rates apply)
Call 0860 103 089
Visit a City walk-in centre (see www.capetown.gov.za/facilities to find the one closest to you)
Customer Relations WhatsApp Channel: 060 018 1505
Report theft/vandalism to be eligible for a reward
Residents can provide information to one of the City’s Safety and Security agencies like Law Enforcement and Metro Police to be eligible.
Provide information on the whereabouts of stolen property or a suspected offender, by calling 0800 11 00 77.
If your confidential information leads to an arrest or recovery of stolen property by the City’s Law Enforcement or Metro Police, you can get a reward of up to R5000.
Source: City Of Cape Town