Solution to blocked drains

Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi in the jet vac.

The City of Cape Town will cut out the middleman and fix blocked drains much quicker after getting a specialised truck to clear the stormwater system.

Previously when drains were blocked the City’s Public Housing Department had to manually use rods, follow a time-consuming process of procuring the services of a contractor via a tender or wait for the assistance of the Water and Sanitation Department.

The City spent about R2.7 million on the pneumatic vacuum truck nicknamed the “jet vac” which was unveiled earlier this month.

The truck clears sewer and stormwater pipeline blockages at the City’s rental housing units

At the Sub-council 18 meeting held at the offices in Lotus River on Tuesday May 23, chairperson Shanen Rossouw assured residents that the stormwater system was ready for winter after residents asked about whether the system was adequate.

Roads in certain areas across Cape Town are prone to flooding during the rainy season.

Southern Mail reported previously on blocked drains in communities including Vrygrond and Lotus River (“Vrygrond fuming on voting day”, Southern Mail, May 15; “Sewage spill causes stink”, Southern Mail, May 8).

On election day Vrygrond residents protested and burnt tyres because of blocked drains in Drury Road.

Raw sewage starting flow from the drain down Vrygrond’s main roads.

The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi
Booi, said the acquisition of the truck would save costs in the long-run.

“With the arrival of winter, the jet vac is gearing up for a busy season, as it is more common to receive service requests for the clearing of sewer and stormwater pipeline blockages.

“During the demonstration of how this jet vac can clear a block-
age, it was clear that this is a machine with a mission and that it is
hungry to clear winter blockages,” he said.

“It is foreseen that having access to the jet vac will enhance service delivery and response times,” said Mr Booi.

There are about 250 blockages reported monthly by rental stock tenants. “In the long-run, this truck will alleviate the load on our Water and Sanitation Department, who also have to respond to other reports across the city. The truck will save us money too as we will no longer be largely dependent on contractors to get the job done,” he said.

During the sub-council meeting, Ms Rossouw said flooding was often the result of blocked storm water drains, mostly caused by illegal dumping into the City’s stormwater system. “Staff are cleaning drains and clearing blockages using combination jet machines and often find mattresses, rags, bottles, building rubble, and substances like motor vehicle oil in the stormwater system. The City teams have also found that people living on the streets often store their belongings in the drains, and this poses a risk as we approach winter.

“We urge communities to please refrain from dumping objects in stormwater drains, and to report
anyone who is doing so. Residents can also do their part by clearing their driveways, pavements and gutters.

“Residents are requested to report blocked drains, and stolen or damaged drain covers in their areas. Please include your name, contact number and the exact location of the blocked drain or flooded area. The exact location is very important because this will assist us to respond quicker,” she said.

Tenants can report blockages to the Human Settlements Directorate’s Call Centre on 021 444 0333 or directly to their local housing/ rental office.