The continuous sewage spillage into the Fish River in Cradock, Eastern Cape, is being remedied.

The sewage treatment plant in the town is dysfunctional and untreated sewage was flowing straight into the river for a considerable time.

Cradock falls under the Inxuba Yethemba Municipality and problems with this treatment plant goes back to 2016.

A frustrated department of water and sanitation is also preparing to interdict the municipality to fix the plant after numerous directives were not implemented.

The Chris Hani District Municipality has stepped in to oversee water and sanitation in the local municipality. A service provider has now been appointed to fix it.

The Fish River is a vital water resource in this arid area. It supplies water to people, animals and the agricultural community. The long-term sewage spillage put lives and people’s livelihood at risk.

Work at the treatment facility started this week.

Department of Water and Sanitation senior manager, Andrew Lucas says the Inxuba Yethemba Municipality ignored notices.

“It’s is a frustration because we have issued notices. We sat with them and had several meetings. We issued notices of directives, but we were ignored by the municipality. We are currently battling to get effective responses from them. They have failed to fix the problem which has had negative impact.”

Cradock is also home to the world-renowned Fish River Canoe marathon. Tourism is a vital economic pillar for the area. The sewage spills put this at risk.

Residents of the town are also fed up with situation.

“I have a guest house. I have a lot of foreign visitors, but they are not coming anymore due to the sewage. They have asked questions about this town. They say it’s so dirty with sewerage.”

In 2018, R28 million was allocated by the Chris Hani District Municipality to upgrade waste water treatment works, but nothing was done. The situation will now continuously be monitored.

The threat of legal action by the Department of Water and Sanitation also remains as a last resort if the municipality does not properly attend to the issue.