Foul stench in Delft

Hilary Williams’s yard after the sewer drain overflowed.

A Delft woman says the City of Cape Town had a lethargic response to an overflowing sewer drain that caused her a lot of discomfort and expense.

On Thursday October 8, residents of Tulp Crescent in Roosendal, Delft returned from work to find that a sewer drain had overflowed into their backyards bringing a foul stench to the area.

Hilary Williams, a resident in the area, said: ‘I came home just after 5pm on Thursday and found my yard flooded with water, and it made the whole area stink. I immediately called the City to clean it up, and they promised to come, but they never came. The stink was so bad that I could not even go outside. My neighbours also called the City, but they still did not come out to clean up the mess.”

Ms Williams said that when the response team had finally come out the next day, just after 2pm, residents had already started feeling the effects of the mess.

“My neighbours were getting sick from the foul stench, and I had to take a day off from work because I was still waiting for the City to come and clean up my yard. I made various calls to them, and they just kept promising that somebody would come, and when they did come they told us that the situation was very bad and will require a major clean-up, which actually irritated us more because we felt that it was a reason for them to take longer.

“After they did their initial assessment, they said that they needed to fetch extra equipment, and, when they came back, it was still not enough because the tanks they used to suck up the water got full.”

The sanitation staff had been unable to clear all the mess and had instead used a disinfectant that had dried up the water and removed some of the smell, she said.

“My yard was filled with this blue foam, but the smell was still too bad for me to go outside. I could not do washing the whole weekend, and then when I asked the team when they would come and clean up the blue foam, they promised that they would come the next day, but I am still waiting till this day. On Sunday, I had to pay somebody from the street here to come and clean up the mess that the City had left in my yard, which I feel is unacceptable, but it is something I had to do because I already got into trouble at work for taking off the Friday, so I could not afford to take Monday off as well.”

Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said the sanitation workers had done things by the book, but she did not say why they had failed to return to clean up the disinfectant.