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Council working on clearing sewer blockages

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says they have put in place plans to pick up pace in clearing sewer blockages in the city and encouraged residents to report anyone who deliberately vandalizes the sewer system.

This came out during the tour of the City of Bulawayo projects by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube on Wednesday.

Residents in the City, especially in the Western suburbs have been complaining of unattended sewer burst systems.

The local authority has managed to rehabilitate the Southern Areas Sewer Treatment Plant (SAST) wastewater treatment plant at a cost of US$ 2.5 million under the Bulawayo  Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP).

In an interview, the Acting Director of Engineering Service, Engineer Skhumbuzo Ncube, said there are contractors assisting the local authority to clear sewers across the City.

“Let us consider that the City has old segments that need totally new upgrading if you remember in 2012, we commissioned Water and Waste master plan, that document was containing an investment of almost US$965 million, of that almost US$500 million was on wastewater, we split it into different projections, immediate, short, medium term to long term, over a 20-year horizon, as we speak right now in 2022, we have now clocked 10 years”.

“If funding was coming in its proper streams, we could have spent about US$170 something million by now, of course, we have funding from other development partners, funding from government, we also borrow this money, so if you combine all those streams they don’t really get to the amount of money which we projected by now for expenditure,” said Eng. Ncube.

Engineer Ncube appealed to the residents to assist the local authority in ensuring that the sewer is not blocked.

“It starts at your own household, we have gully traps when you are cleaning your dishes let us desist from using a lot of sand draining into the sewer pumps, it eventually blocks sewers as well,” he said.

“Again we have community gardens dotted around, we know it’s a form of livelihood but let’s not go to block main holes that are near the community gardens and use that water as the source of irrigation because by so doing you are also blocking the systems.”

Engineer Ncube added that residents should avoid introducing solids such as pampers and stones that are not meant to be in the sewer system because they cannot flow with the natural flow of the volume of water in the sewer and will clog the system.

He added that the municipality is also working with other contractors to assist in clearing the sewer backlog.

“Of course as City Council we have programs in place where the material is being bought, supplied to the sewer teams who are going around clearing sewers, we also have contractors in place who assist and give us the extra boost to ensure that we pick up the pace to clear the sewer backlog because the sewers are a moving target, you have to continuously maintain but it needs resources, resources are limited but we are doing what we can with what we have,” said Engineer Ncube.

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