No action taken over sewage leak near homes

HEALTH HAZARD: A lake of sewage in a Fairbridge Heights, Uitenhage, park. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
HEALTH HAZARD: A lake of sewage in a Fairbridge Heights, Uitenhage, park. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

An overflowing manhole has rapidly transformed a play park into a cesspool, leaving Van Riebeeck Heights residents fuming about the stench they have had to endure for the past three weeks.

Chunks of human waste floating in a stagnant pool of water on the corner of Daniel Pienaar Road and Van der Stel Avenue, Uitenhage, have angered residents.

They have been waiting almost a month for the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to resolve the problem.

Ward 51 councillor Pieter Terblanche said the pool of raw sewage, measuring at least 10m by 5m, was caused by an overflowing manhole in the park, near two high schools, which has been blocked for at least three weeks.

“The problem has been reported and the last information I received is that a contractor had been assigned and was scheduled to start repairs on Monday,” Terblanche said.

“However, [yesterday] there was still nobody on site. “There is an outlet pipe where this sewage pool has developed, leading the water along a canal to the Swartkops River.

“So all of that sewage is on its way to the already fragile Swartkops,” he said.

Residents of Van Riebeeck Heights and neighbouring Strelitzia Park say they have to monitor the wind to learn which of the two suburbs will endure the stench on any given afternoon.

Strelitzia Park resident Nicola Thomas, 36, said: “We have to watch which way the wind blows so that we know whether we can be outdoors.

“A lot of school [children] walk through that park daily.” Van Riebeeck Heights resident Andre Bezuidenhout, 43, said: “I can’t believe this situation is not a matter of urgency.”

There was a pool of raw sewage just metres from his house. “I understand if the municipality takes some time to get to a leaking water meter or fused street light,” he said.

“But this is insane . . . raw sewage left for three weeks is a health, safety and human dignity issue.” The municipality failed to respond to questions for two days.

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