Cape Town authorities appeal to residents to avoid clogging City’s sewage system with solid waste

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Cape Town authorities have appealed to residents and visitors to do all they can to prevent solid waste from entering the city’s sewage system.

Sewage overflows over the festive season have resulted in a number of beach closures.

Cape Town’s popular Fish Hoek beach has been re-opened after its closure earlier this week, due to a sewage overflow. At present, a section of Gordons Bay beach remains closed.

Blocked sewer pipe

The temporary closure of Fish Hoek beach on Monday was due to a sewer overflow caused by a blocked sewer pipe that has been cleared. It’s the second time that it had been closed since the start of the festive season.

City authorities say items such as plastics and materials were removed from the pipe. City of Cape Town deputy mayor, Eddie Andrews explains, “Generally there are quite a few reasons why we have spills. The one would be the impact on the infrastructure. When there’s a power outage we expect the infrastructure to switch back and when there’s a mechanical fault or technical fault, then it delays the system restarting. And also people disposing of their waste irresponsibly, the system is not designed to process all of the domestic waste and also builder’s rubble, dead animals and of course bedding and linen and stuff are being disposed of in the sewer system.”

Quality testing 

Andrews adds that beaches that have been closed will remain so until health authorities give the clear for reopening. He says water samples will be taken daily for quality testing.

“It takes anything from 36-48 hours for our City health department to confirm the quality of the water testing and it has to be in the norms and standards and as soon as they give the green light, then we would open the beach.”

Locals and visitors have also stressed the importance of keeping the oceans clean.

“I think the tourists and the locals have been affected badly and I think that it’s hit us hard.”… “It’s very important especially for the sea life and everything how they affect the ocean life, but for us. We are obviously going to enjoy being on the beach and having a good time. But it is important that the sewage system is taken care of,” say locals.

Meanwhile, a section of Gordon’s Bay beach has been temporarily closed, also due to a sewer overflow in the area related to a sewer pump station that tripped.