East London residents up in arms over sewage spill in the area

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Communities in some parts of East London in the Eastern Cape are upset over a sewage spillage that is causing an unpleasant smell in their neighbourhoods.

Overflowing sewer pump stations have caused pollution at the rivers and beaches in Nahoon and Gonubie.

A civil group from the affected areas has approached the courts to compel the Buffalo City Metro Municipality to deal with the situation.

This unpleasant pollution is believed to be caused by load shedding and inadequate infrastructure at sewer pump stations. The spillage puts the health of the residents in the surrounding area at risk and resident Scott Revert says their living conditions are horrible because of this.

“We are greeted every morning by this horrible stench depending on where the wind blows, where we all know as community members, that when you want to walk to the beach you can’t go that way. And if you walk in the water you make sure you wash your feet because if you got a little stretch, within a day or two, it festers and you gonna get a wound,” said Revert.

Another local community member, Carel Pohl says they have reported the matter to the authorities, but their calls to have this fixed fall on deaf ears.

“Nothing is being done. We try every time. We report it. This has been reported a couple of times. It’s still flowing and it’s difficult for us as a community to do something when it’s basic infrastructure that needs to be repaired.”

Currently, the Buffalo City Metro Municipality has no backup system at the sewer pump station when the power is off, and therefore, no control over the spillage.

Metro’s Spokesperson Samkelo Gwenya says they are working on a permanent solution.

“The power is affecting not only pump stations. We got 81 sites. Currently, we’ve put in systems that are detecting all of them. So, we’ve started with substations. We are going to come in on sewer stations, but it’s not going to be an overnight process; it’s an expensive process, but those are the types of systems we have put in to change our business now that load shedding is in place,“ he said.

The East London High Court has given the Buffalo City Metro less than a month to provide the sewage pump stations with an overflow pump that can hold four hours of sewage and also a backup power supply.