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Sewage oozes out of taps, residents abandon houses

by Staff reporter
17 Oct 2021 at 08:00hrs | Views
A HEALTH hazard is looming in Bulawayo's Lobengula West suburb as sewage is oozing out of some houses' taps and toilets, with the local authority allegedly taking over a month to address the situation.

Some of the residents have been forced out of their houses as the sewage has flooded both the inside and outside of their homes.

The residents claim the situation has gone unattended for more than a month and the only time the local authority came close to attending to the anomaly was when a council vehicle came and parked in the affected area, but drove off without any attempt to attend to the system blockages.

Sunday News visited the affected area yesterday and witnessed that some houses were inaccessible while some residents have resorted to pouring sand on the sewage flooded yards.

One of the residents, Mr Moffat Phiri said he has since moved out and was staying with friends in Hillside.

"Literally, sewage is now staying in this house. It chased me out because I cannot stay in a house with sewage flowing inside, exposing myself and family to serious health hazards.

I only come here in the morning to feed my dog, but I feel it is also unfair even to the dog.

‘‘We have tried to report this issue to council but they seem not interested in rectifying the issue, all they do is promise us that they will attend to the issue but it is now over a month and nothing has been sorted out," said Mr Phiri.

He accused the local authority of being insincere noting that they were already proposing a 200 percent increase in rates but at the same time they were allowing residents to live in such environments.

"Any normal person will tell you that this is not healthy, at least I managed to move out as I had someone who could accommodate me, imagine other families that do not have that privilege, I won't be surprised if we have a typhoid outbreak.

It angers me to think that is the same council that is quick to cut water to residents when they do not pay their rates, but honestly give me a reason why I should pay my rates when for a month I have not been staying in my own house because of this," said Mr Phiri.

Another resident, Ms Netsai Mupande said they had  given up in engaging the local authority and had since resorted to trying to live with the problem.

"We now have resorted to adapting to this hazard because clearly the local authority has shown no interest in rectifying it.

We have tried but our cries are falling on deaf ears, instead all they give us are reference numbers.

Some residents have even tried engaging the director of engineering services, Engineer Simela Dube but all he says are promises that he will engage the crew but it ends at that. We now fear for our children because some can even play with this sewage thereby exposing them to water borne diseases," said Ms Mupande.

Efforts to get a comment from the local authority's corporate communications officer, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu were fruitless yesterday.

However, responding to questions on the delays in attending to sewer bursts recently, she revealed that they faced staff shortages hence the backlog.

"The delays in addressing the sewer challenges are due to the high number of reports received per day vis-a-vis the staff on the ground.

The backlog in attending to sewer faults was also due to the Covid-19 pandemic which affected our staff as some tested positive for Covid-19.

"Council has proposed the engagement of contract plumbers to assist our lean staff in a bid to reduce the time taken in responding to faults.

The city also has an ongoing as and when contract to assist clear sewer hotspots across the city. We have seen a reduction of the backlog of sewer chokes per day," she said.

The council spokesperson attributed the increase in sewer bursts in the city to vandalism of sewer infrastructure for irrigation purposes.

"We also face challenges with sand which is used by residents for scouring when doing their dishes. The city also finds a number of foreign material when de-choking the sewer lines such as spoons, clothes, stones, among others.

"The sewer infrastructure is also dilapidated and in need of replacement. The City of Bulawayo would like to urge residents to desist from using sewer water for watering vegetables, and other crops particularly foods eaten raw and tubers.

"This is because this presents serious health implications as sewerage contains bacteria that causes cholera, typhoid and numerous diarrhoeal diseases," said Mrs Mpofu.

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) recently took BCC to court for failing to upgrade its water treatment plants and sewer systems, which has resulted in raw sewage flowing into the water bodies which provide potable water to residents. The matter is still pending in court.

Source - The Sunday News
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