EMA slaps BCC with 34 orders, 5 tickets for poor sewer management

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has been slapped with thirty-four orders and five tickets since 2011 to date by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) for poor sewerage management.

The local authority is struggling to maintain its sewer reticulation system which often collapses exposing residents to risk of contracting water-borne diseases.

Currently, the municipality is implementing major rehabilitation works on its water and sewer system under the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) funded by the African Development Bank.

In a petition, Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) lobbied EMA to take legal action against the local authority for failure to timeously repair burst sewer pipes and collect waste in residential areas.

In its response EMA lamented the continued discharge of raw sewerage into the environment by BCC.

“In 2010, a docket was opened at ZRP Queens Park for the burst sewer pipes in Kingsdale over Umguza River that had been discharging effluent for over two years. The local authority repaired the then broken sewer pipe,” EMA said.

“In 2011, 25 orders, four tickets and one docket were issued and all were complied with. From 2013 to 2017, a total of 9 orders and one ticket were issued. Currently there are two dockets which were opened in 2019 that are still pending.”

EMA also noted that some of the cases were before the courts and will be followed through until action is taken to rectify the situation. 

“A total of 34 orders and five tickets have been issued to the local authority for the period of 2011 to 2020. There is continued discharge of raw sewer into the environment. The discharges are through malfunctioning pump stations, sewer treatment plants, collapsed sewer pipes and bursts,” read the letter.

“The major problem area is the Sauerstown deep section and Silver Crescent in Kelvin West where sewer is being discharged into the environment resulting in pollution. The Agency has been engaging the City of Bulawayo on the need to address the challenges. It (Agency) has also been issuing tickets and orders for poor sewerage management and dockets have been opened for major discharges.”

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