Stench frustrates estate’s residents

SOYISO MALITI

A storm is brewing between Durbanville’s Sub-council 7 and residents who live near the Kraaifontein waste water treatment plant over the severe stench emanating from there.

Avalon Estate signed a petition on behalf of more than 1000 of its residents about the stink, bringing into question how the City had approved a property development so close to a sewage plant.

André Classen, the estate’s manager, said there had been a rumour that Sub-council 7 wants to expand the plant.

Mr Classen said waves of stench could sweep through the area for up to two days at a time.

A resident, who didn’t want to be be named, said the stink is so strong that residents keep their windows closed every day.

Mr Classen said four months after they submitted their petition, they have yet to receive a response from the City.

“To my knowledge, I don’t know of any sewage plant in the middle of a residential area,” Mr Classen said, adding that while he was well aware that the plant was there before the estate was developed, he questioned the City’s planning.

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He said while most of the complaints came from the bottom part of Avalon Estate, which is a stone’s throw from the Kraaifontein plant, residents on the upper side of the estate are also affected by the smell.

Ernest Sonnenberg, the City’s mayoral committee member for utility services, said the plant is surrounded by urban areas currently undergoing rapid urban and commercial development and densification, “resulting in an increased need for waste water capacity”.

He said it had been proposed to upgrade and expand the existing Kraaifontein plant so as to equip it with enough capacity to service the envisaged development.

He added that the proposed extension would take place within the existing footprint of disused process facilities on the property, and that the development would not extend beyond the boundaries of the property.

Mr Sonnenberg said even though a public participation process was held regarding the expansion – from November 11 to December last year – a final report has yet to be released.

He confirmed receipt of complaints during public participation on the draft basic assessment report (BAR), but denied that a petition, apparently signed on behalf of the 300-odd families, was submitted. He said based on the comments received, an air quality specialist was appointed to run tests on the air near the surrounding properties and once the air quality assessment had been concluded, the findings and recommendations would be put in the project design and the final BAR, to be made available for further public review and comment.

The Avalon Homeowners’ Association, registered as affected party, will be notified when the final report is available to review and comment on, he said, adding that the question of the use of alternative plants forms part of the BAR.

Mr Sonnenberg said Sub-council 7 is dealing with the Kraaifontein plant.

“Odour control at the pump stations, in the reticulation systems, and at the Kraaifontein plant is currently addressed through suitable operational and maintenance activities, as well as on the plant with the use of the existing odour treatment facilities,” he said, stressing that any complaint will be investigated, and mitigation measures instituted as required by the City’s water and sanitation department.