Hoedspruit’s sewage system in disrepair | Letaba Herald

Hoedspruit's sewage system in disrepair | Letaba Herald

The complaint was filed on Thursday, September 14, by Marie Helm, the DA’s political head of the north-east constituency after the system which collects sewage from Hoedspruit and transports the raw sewage through a pipe and pump system to the air force base, came to a halt. “An oversight visit to Leguan Street on Wednesday, September 13, revealed one of the worst sewage spills in the whole Olifants River system. MDM is the agent responsible for the running and maintenance of the system.

A few weeks ago, the pump near the LeBamba Shopping Centre was out of service for weeks before MDM finally repaired the pump,” she said. “The 3-kilometer pipeline from the pump station to where the pipe enters the air force base system is without any manhole. That means it is almost impossible to find the blockage without breaking the pipe, which will lead to longer downtime and a possible sewage spill where the pipe is broken to detect the blockage,” she said.

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In the statement, Helm said due to the constant and increased level of load-shedding, the pumps cannot function properly. “This leads to a back-up of effluent and the eventual failure of the system. A backup generator is available but the electronic system that must switch the generator on during load-shedding has been broken for more than five years. MDM has finally put out a tender to fix the generator. This is one of the primary reasons for the constant dysfunction of the system.

“During load-shedding the pump stops, and the sewage starts building up. The raw sewage is running between the hostel and the school and poses a real danger to the lives of the learners. The stench is overpowering and especially on hot days people get sick because of the unbearable smell,” she added. She said the pollution is threatening animal and plant life, and the raw sewage is flowing down to the Blyde River which up to now was one of the cleanest rivers in South Africa.

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“The negligence by MDM is causing pollution and will destroy a large part of the Hoedspruit area renowned as one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa. “We call on the Green Scorpions to expedite their investigation and to hold MDM’s officials accountable,” concluded Helm. Meanwhile, James Cary, general manager of Raptor’s View Wildlife Estate, told the Herald that he also was part of the meeting attended by Siphokazi Depa and Takalani Mudau from the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) on Wednesday.

“Both officials are based in Nelspruit but service the Olifants River Water Supply System. Marie Helm and Peter Bradford (SCS) also attended, and Maurice Compton from Raptors Escapes also joined,” he said. “We met with Boitumelo Ntshebela, maintenance superintendent from MDM at the sewage pump station, along with many other MDM staff members as well as Petros Ngobeni from the Maruleng Municipality’s (MM) technical department,” he said.

“Petros explained that he had met with Chris Dreyer from Drain Surgeon earlier in the day and that they would assist with fittings to join the 200mm pipe to the existing 110mm pipe which had a blockage. Once the pipe is fitted the pump will be switched on to determine whether there are other blockages in the 3km-pipe to Drakensig.” He confirmed that there are no inspection eyes in the 3km stretch to determine where the blockages are.

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“Petros is confident that the problem will be resolved by Friday,” he said. DWS said they will issue a notice to MDM. “If MDM does not rectify the problem within seven days, a directive will be issued. If they still fail to comply with the provisions, an interdict will be obtained, and a criminal case opened. “An estimation of the initial costs is approximately R30 000-R60 000, depending on how long it takes for the spillage to be stopped,” he added. Herald contacted MDM’s spokesperson, Odas Ngobeni for comment on the way forward. He said that the MDM is busy with supply chain processes, which will lead to the procurement of the services.

Source: https://letabaherald.co.za/131787/hoedspruits-sewage-system-in-disrepair/