Cape Town sewers clogged by sheep heads‚ ovens‚ nappies

23 July 2018 - 12:04 By Aron Hyman
Mayoral committee member for informal settlements‚ water and waste services‚ and energy Xanthea Limberg said that residents were abusing the sewage system.
Mayoral committee member for informal settlements‚ water and waste services‚ and energy Xanthea Limberg said that residents were abusing the sewage system.
Image: Alicia Kalil ‏via Twitter

Sheep heads‚ lawnmowers‚ and ovens are just some of the items dumped into the sewers of Cape Town‚ causing blockages and overflows that cost the city R170-million a year to fix.

Smaller items flushed into the system such as condoms and human hair stick to massive balls of congealed cooking oil in the city sewers.

Mayoral committee member for informal settlements‚ water and waste services‚ and energy Xanthea Limberg said that residents were abusing the sewage system‚ increasing blockages from 293 per day in the 2015/16 year to an average of 330 per day in 2017/18.

She said that garden chairs‚ car engines‚ tyres‚ cloth‚ nappies‚ and rope “should not be dumped” into the sewage system.

“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‚” said Limberg. “It also wastes city resources which could rather be used to extend service delivery to our communities.”

She said that many people did not know that flushing down things like condoms or general litter was illegal according to local by-laws and she said that residents‚ often incorrectly‚ believed that sewage overflows were due to lack of proper maintenance.

“Common causes of blockages include rags‚ nappies‚ tampons and sanitary pads‚ wet wipes‚ condoms‚ general litter‚ building materials and the build-up of cooking fat or oil‚” said Limberg.

“In the case of cooking oil or fats: when these substances are poured or flushed down your sink or drain‚ they harden and build up on the inside of the sewer pipes and act like glue‚ attracting rags‚ hair‚ paper and other debris‚” she said.

“Residents should rather please let grease cool and harden in the pan‚ and then scrape it along with any food scraps into some newspaper or paper towel and dispose of this in the kitchen bin‚” said Limberg.

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