Foul conditions in Cafda after sewer main collapses

Overflowing drain water has been causing a foul smell in Cafda.

Cafda residents have had to endure a foul smell and dirty water spilling over from their drains since a bulk sewer main collapsed in Prince George Drive, Retreat, in March.

Residents in roads including Blagden, Ensor and Herslett say if they open their front doors they are met by unhygienic sewer water and the stench emanating from it.

They have been logging complaints to the City of Cape Town hoping for help.

Rowena Hendricks of Blagden Street said since the collapse last month, she has come home from work to find her furniture, mats and bath covered in sewer water.

“We are now experiencing this problem every night. We cannot bathe. We have to bath in a separate ‘bakkie’. My grandson has a chest problem and came out of hospital as he had pneumonia. He had to live with this smell since that day. I have to do the washing at my sister’s house as we cannot live with this smell. We also have to keep our dogs tied because if they drink from this water they will get sick.

“We are pleading with the City to help us replace our (damaged property) or (have) officials checking up on us as a courtesy call.”

Emily Pierce, who lives with her husband, children and grandchildren in Blagden Street, said the smell is sickening.

“We cannot breathe. It is terrible, we keep our doors and windows closed all the time to avoid the smell.”

Ms Pierce said she had been living in Cafda for over 50 years. “Our children can’t play outside as they step into dirty poo water and come back inside the house with their dirty shoes. We need the City officials to clean up the roads.”

Danny Jacobs of Hersletts Street said he has four drains on his property and the clogged drains have caused much discomfort for his family.

“During the rains the (spillage) gets worse. I have a big drain in my driveway and I cannot even consider paving my driveway. We need to put planks outside to avoid stepping on dirty water. I have a 5-year-old son who loves to play outside and he contracted two ring worms. I also have a father-in-law who’s a pensioner, who must endure discomfort.”

Ward 110 councillor Shanen Rossouw said the underground pipes that collapsed in Prince George Drive contributed to the spillages in Cafda.

Ms Rossouw said she was only alerted by a few residents in other roads who complained the foul smell.

“I will investigate further. I will appreciate it if I can get addresses of where spillages are exactly in the streets that you mentioned,” she said.

Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral committee member for water and sanitation, said the City’s Water and Sanitation Directorate is heading into the final stages of repairing the 990mm diameter bulk sewer main that collapsed in Prince George Drive, Retreat, in March.

“Unfortunately work will not be done by April 30 as initially anticipated. The time frame for the completion of this project will be updated over the next few days.

“This weekend, the City’s contractor started installing the first section of the new pipeline to replace the collapsed section of the bulk sewer main.”

City contractor working on replacing the new pipeline after the collapse.
Drains are overflowing in Cafda.

Mr Badroodien said 30 metres of pipeline will be replaced.

“As part of the preparation leading up to the final stages of repair, the area around the collapsed sewer main was excavated more than five metres deep so the pipe could be safely and unrestrictedly assessed and removed,” said Mr Badroodien.

In the meantime, the contractor has implemented measures to prevent the sewage from entering the excavation site and also ensuring the continuous conveyance of the sewage volumes with onsite mobile pumps. “Additional pumps are on standby to assist with managing the flow variance,” said Mr Badroodien.

“Our teams are doing all they can do to ensure the work is done as soon as possible while also prioritising the safety of staff on site while on duty. The directorate is continuously monitoring the progress on site.” said Mr Badroodien.

“In the meantime, thank you to residents and commuters for their patience and support throughout the repairs thus far and also now while this work is in its final stages.”