Allegations recently surfaced, stating the persistent rainfall is responsible for the town’s sewage system overflowing into the streets and more concerningly, into its freshwater supply
Head of Communications at Newcastle Municipality, Mlungisi Khumalo addresses the matter, stating, “The municipality is currently unaware of a sewage spillage into our freshwater.” However, if anyone knows of this happening, he affirms, you must contact the municipality immediately.
The Government entity further states it takes great pride in the quality of freshwater flowing through Newcastle. “We would like to place it on record, that the municipality is known to have one of the cleanest waters, as we usually conduct E. coli tests to detect any foreign elements which are not supposed to be there.”
Because of this, Khumalo stresses, “If ever such an occurrence takes place, the municipality acts promptly to avert a health hazard to our residents. As a caring and listening municipality, we take such sewage spillage seriously and act on it speedily.”
While local rivers and dams seem to be escaping the clutches of sewage, local suburbs are not.
Ward 4 Councillor, Bertie Meiring elaborates, “I have attended a few complaints regarding sewage leaks, and the situation is rather bad.”
He claims one of the most significant issues is that of stormwater drains flooding when it rains; this, in turn, floods the sewage systems. According to Cllr Meiring, the flooding results in sewage gushing out into the streets. Moreover, he maintains that ageing infrastructure is also responsible for leaking sewage.
Cllr Bebsie Cronje concurs, stating, sewage and water leaks are problematic — pointing out that a massive sewage leak near Drakensberg Primary School poses a health risk to both the learners and their guardians.
Regarding reporting swage leaks, Cronje says the number, 0860 144 144 is often bombarded with calls, and community members battle to get through at times. This is an issue; she feels needs to be addressed by Newcastle Municipality in coming months.
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Authors: Quinton Boucher and Calvin Swemmer
Edited: Calvin Swemmer