Ourselves to blame!

Walvis Bay is steering towards a disaster with its sewer system, and a considerable part of the problem lies with the behaviour of the harbour town’s inhabitants. Not the ageing system itself.

Shocking statistics were released by the Walvis Bay municipality this week showing a steady increase yearly in the number of reported drain blockages and overflows. In 2018 there were 8046 incidents of blockages and overflows and almost double in 2019 with 15 033 incidents reported by the public. In 2020, a total of 18 960 incidents were reported, according to media statement.
Although not denying the town’s sewer system is aged and in need of a massive upgrade, the municipality of Walvis Bay states in the statement residents must do their part by not dumping unwanted items in the sewer system.
From sheep heads, fly traps, tires, pipes, heavy duty ropes, fishing nets, clothing items and old camping chairs were found to be responsible for many of these blockages and overflows. People simply don’t care and use the sewer system to get rid of these unwanted items. Little do they realise they are the cause of many of these smelly and messy blockages and overflows.

Apart from causing their own discomfort and that of their families, friends and fellow residents, the municipality of Walvis Bay also has to spend exorbitant amounts of taxpayer money each year to open up the blocked sewer system.
Just in 2020 alone, Council had to spend N$21,170 million to unblock the sewer system. If the abuse of the town’s sewer system can be curbed these funds could be applied to upgrade the existing system.
The work requires the commitment of an operations team all days and hours of the week. This operations team, despite many residents not cooperating, continues to serve the Walvis Bay community with exemplary service. As an example: recently a blocked system was reported in Narraville’s Koedoe Street. The call by a resident was logged at 12:30. By 12:45 the team was at the scene to unblock the sewer. The blockage was so severe that the team only concluded the work at 22:00.

The team retracted a broken pipe, clothing items, plastic bags, kitchen utensils and various other unwanted items from the manhole. It was clear the blockages could have been prevented had people not dumped their unwanted items in the manhole.  Let us stop the abuse of our town’s sewer system! As responsible citizens we must do our part to maintain our public infrastructure and in doing so ensure protect one another’s health and free up taxpayer money to be spend on more urgent projects.

Note: when the sewer line of an individual house is blocked, it is the owner or resident’s responsibility (at own cost) to get a plumber to fix the problem. When the sewer system of two or more premises are blocked or overflowing, it becomes the responsibility of the municipality. It needs to be reported at 081 128 8324.

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