The deteriorating state of infrastructure in Newcastle has once again come under scrutiny following the emergence of a substantially large sewage pool on Marconi Drive in the Riverside Industrial area.
This festering issue has escalated to the point where raw sewage is now spilling further down the road, creating a dire situation that demands urgent attention.
Speaking with Newcastillian News, a distressed factory owner on the street, grappling with the repercussions of the problem, expressed his concerns, stating, “The pool has been growing larger every week, and the smell is overwhelming on certain days. Something needs to be done, as it is not only a health hazard for business owners and their staff, but it is also extremely bad for business.”
During an inspection at the source of the sewage overflow, Xolani Sithole, an official from the Newcastle Municipality’s Water Services Department, shed light on the issue. He said while the exact cause of the problem requires investigation, it is speculated that a collapsed pipeline could be the potential cause.
Shockingly, just meters away from the epicentre of the sewage pool, additional sewage leaks were discovered. One of these leaks had not only formed a pool near local businesses on the well travelled road but had also started seeping into the driveways of nearby factories, exacerbating health related concerns and hurting local commerce.
In a thorough examination of the matter, Sithole and his team probed the source of the secondary sewage leak, a nearby manhole allegedly problematic for the past three weeks, according to a business owner.
The culprit, in this instance, was identified as a blockage, prompting a shift of blame from the Newcastle Municipality to certain factory owners operating in the vicinity.
“We have discovered several objects in the lines that have been improperly flushed, coupled with the challenges posed by ageing infrastructure. These factors combine to create issues like the one we’re dealing with now,” stated Sithole.
Faizel Cassim, a Newcastle Municipality Exco Member, who oversees Development Planning and Human Settlements, also added to the narrative, revealing an unexpected twist. “We suspect that certain factory owners are not providing adequate toilet paper for their staff members, who are then forced to use fabric offcuts when they go to the bathroom. This situation is causing further problems and will need to be investigated.”
Furthermore, he emphasised the need for the Development Planning and Human Settlements Department to collaborate closely with the Technical Services Department to ensure that the sewage pipelines can cope with the growing number of businesses being established in the area.
While the Newcastle Municipality grapples with the challenge of this sewage crisis, Sithole acknowledged that his team was facing some formidable hurdles, including the limitations of an ageing infrastructure. He noted, “Besides ageing infrastructure, we have only one team servicing the entire Newcastle area, and we are working as hard as we can.”
Additionally, Councillor Cassim drew attention to the municipality’s financial constraints, stating, “We do not have the money to deal with everything at once, as we had to make some cuts to resolve the debts. But we will be focusing on improving service delivery to ensure the necessary problems are addressed.”
As Newcastle residents are urged to exercise patience while the Newcastle Municipality grapples with this substantial sewage overflow, we invite readers to share their thoughts on this matter in the comments section below.
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