Sewer system makeover for Cape Town as load-shedding, urbanisation take their toll
Cape Town has approved a seven-fold budget increase to upgrade and protect the city's sewer pump stations from load-shedding and illegal dumping.
The budget, R70m in 2022, will increase to R400m in 2024 and R500m in 2025, the city said on Wednesday.
The upgrade is in response to load-shedding and to address ongoing vandalism, ageing infrastructure and damage caused by illegal dumping into the system.
By June, the city will have installed permanent generators at 110 priority pump stations. Another 30 are earmarked for installation.
Early warning alarm systems to detect faults have already been installed at all 487 stations.
“While we aim to end load-shedding over time in Cape Town, we are investing now to protect our critical infrastructure from the impact of sustained blackouts,” said mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
“Cape Town’s sewer infrastructure is under pressure from rapid urbanisation and in need of upgrading. One of our first actions in office was to quadruple the city’s proactive sewer pipe replacement target from 25km to 100km annually.
“Now, thanks to an ongoing citywide audit of sewer pump stations, we are ready to massively ramp up budgets for upgrades. This includes protection from load-shedding, sewer misuse, theft and vandalism.”
News of the upgrade follows reports of sewage pollution at some city beaches that were temporarily closed during the festive season. Water quality at these beaches failed mandatory quality tests, but they were reopened once it improved.
The pollution was caused by sewer system overflows, usually related to illegal dumping and load-shedding.
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