BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has engaged private companies to help clear sewage lines as the city battles to contain an increase in sewage pipe bursts owing to ageing infrastructure.
Sewage has become a common sight in a number of suburbs.
This has exposed residents to waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea.
In 2020, about 13 people succumbed to diarrhoea during an outbreak which was blamed on contamination of water sources by sewage, among other issues.
A recent report of the council’s sewerage section stated that the city is recording an increase in sewer chokes, a situation the engineering services department blamed on shortage of vehicles for maintenance works.
“For management purposes, the city is divided into four zones, namely town, Mabutweni, Nkulumane and Cowdray Park,” the report read.
“A total of 1 712 out of 1 815 chokes received during the month of June 2021 were cleared, leaving a cumulative backlog of 324. The cumulative chokes backlog recorded this month (June) increased to 324 (from 221 in May).
“The major challenge for the section was shortage of vehicles for maintenance purposes.
“Three contractors were awarded work to clear sewers across the city. Two will be clearing sewer chokes and hotspots, and the third contractor will be emptying sand traps and channel traps for the next four months.”
“There was a decrease in the number of sand trap clearance jobs, with a backlog of 35 requiring clearance from May 2021 to June 29 2021. Clearing of sand traps allows smooth flow of sewage and reduces choking of sewage lines,” the report further read.
“Despite getting a manpower boost, shortages of equipment and vehicles still pose a major challenge. However, the section is still committed to reducing all sewage job backlogs to single digit and ultimately zero in the long run around the city despite the above stated challenges,” the report said.