Pipe spills sewage onto sports fields

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THESE pictures I attach are not of rainwater, but raw, smelly sewage flowing freely on the sports fields of Fort Beaufort Primary School! For the fourth time this year the sewage pipes have been blocked and the muck bubbles up from the sewage manholes.

The smell is awful and it is a health hazard for the pupils, who have had many sporting events cancelled due to the mess. The houses adjacent to the sports fields are experiencing backwash from manholes adjacent to their properties where the blockages cause the sewage to bubble up through their drains.

The sewage runs off into gardens, killing all grass, etc, leaving a filthy residue on paving, and causing dampness and mould to develop in their properties.

A health inspector in Alice says he “does not understand what the fuss is about because it is only water”. He obviously does not know the difference between a water manhole and a sewage manhole!

He also does not live in Fort Beaufort.

We are told by Amathole District Municipality that the problem is due to old and badly maintained infrastructure, lack of funds and lack of adequately trained personnel at local level. Every time the problem occurs they just come and dig to find the blockage, until the next time.

Apparently, there is approved budget for externally funded projects for upgrading Fort Beaufort waste water treatment of R2-million in 2013/14 and R5-million in 2014/15, and for Fort Beaufort pipe replacements R2-million in 2013/14 and R3-million in 2014/15. But will the pipes last that long as we experience water and sewage problems on a regular basis?

Amathole District Municipality has just increased its tariffs by 134%, but there is no budget to fix the problems in Fort Beaufort until the 2013/14 budget? We are all playing a waiting game.

Jan Hopkins, Fort Beaufort

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