Sewage spills

A Northpine resident whose yard was flooded with sewage twice in one week suspects sprawling development is overburdening the sewers and she fears for her sickly father’s health.

Shireen Leukes, of Wolwetein Avenue, said the flooding happened at least twice a year, but so far this year it had happened three times already, and she is worried about her father, who lives with her and needs dialysis.

“It’s getting worse,” she said. The yard flooded on Tuesday July 11 and then again on Tuesday on July 18.

Her house is at the end of the street and both her and her neighbour’s yards flood when the pipe in the main road blocks.

“We are the last two houses in the street, and because my house is the closest it flows out into my yard.”

Ms Leukes complained that it sometimes took City sanitation staff up to two days to unblock the pipe.

“They should really be here within half an hour. It’s not safe and it’s unhygienic. We have to keep the dogs in the garage the whole time because they usually run in the yard.”

Her father has an open incision allowing for him to be hooked up to the dialysis machine at home.

“So we have to keep the dialysis machine really clean and we need hygienic surroundings. And my neighbour has two small kids, this can’t be healthy for them.

“It’s terrible. It’s a horrid smell, and my parents are the worst off because their room is right by the drain.”

Ms Leukes suspects growing development in the area is putting too much of a burden on the sewage network, as she first noticed problems after a new housing scheme was built nearby.

“It’s a re-occuring thing,” she said. “The City needs to put contingency plans in place to sort out the drainage,” she said.

Sub-council 2 shares Ms Leukes’s concern that the plumbing and electrical infrastructure in the northern suburbs are under pressure from growing residential development.

Chairman Grant Twigg, at a sub-council meeting in March, said infrastructure upgrades in the northern suburbs were not keeping pace with the rapid speed of residential development.

Mr Twigg said the north had “development galore”, but he cautioned that “we are not going to have the infrastructure to support it” (‘Housing outpace works,’ Northern News, March 22).

But according to Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north, “the infrastructure in the area is coping”.

She said of disposal of bulky and inappropriate objects, including sanitary pads, wet wipes, cooking oils and fats, was to blame for most blockages.

Residents can report blockages at 0860 103 089, water@capetown.gov.za, by SMS to 31373 or by WhatsApp to 063 407 3699.