It costs the City of Cape Town R170-million every year to unblock drains and fix blockages because residents continue dumping inappropriate material into the sewerage system.

Mayco member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services, and Energy, Xanthea Limberg says the city is seriously concerned about the items making their way into the sewerage system.

“Ovens, sheep heads, garden chairs, tyres, cloth, car engines, lawnmowers, nappies and rope,” were among some of the items Limberg warned not to dump into sewers.

“The number of reported blockages and overflows has steadily risen over the previous two years, from an average of 293 per day in the 2015/16 year, to an average of 330 per day in the 2017/18 financial year,” she said.

The drought and water restrictions also contributed to the increase in dumping, but abuse of the sewerage system still remained a primary cause which costs the City an estimated R170m a year to clear.

“The sewer reticulation system is only geared to accept toilet waste (urine, faeces, and toilet paper) and sink/basin/bath waste (water, washing liquid and soap),” Limberg explained.

In terms of household usage, rags, nappies, tampons, sanitary pads, wet wipes and condoms should not be flushed down the toilet. Cooking oils and fats are also damaging to the system as they harden and build up inside pipes and act like glue, attracting rags, hair, paper and other debris, Limberg said.

Residents are asked to be more aware of the things which they discard into the sewerage systems, it is recommended to rather allow grease to cool and harden in a pan and discard in a dustbin as well as ensure stormwater is not being drained into sewerage pipes as this causes overflows too.

In addition, the City has called on residents to report any missing or stolen sewer manhole covers “as they can act like a magnet for illegal dumping and litter”.

Picture: Unsplash

Article written by


We love this place! Cape Town Etc features news, reviews, entertainment and lifestyle in the Mother City.