Sewer problems west and north of the Pinehaven intersection and the R28 Road

To: Executive Mayor Cllr Patrick Lipudi  

Petition to address the life-threatening consequences of sewer problems west and north of the Pinehaven intersection and the R28 Road. 

We, the residents living within the urban edge and in the urban area around the Pinehaven node and the Heuningklip, Honingklip, Steynsvlei and Northvale holdings respectively, are asking Mogale City Local Municipality (the Council) to urgently provide sanitation and waste water treatment facilities to circumvent and avoid a man-made disaster.

  1. The woefully inadequate waste water and sewage services in the Pinehaven node and the surrounding areas are causing a constant threat to the lives and health of residents, animals and wildlife who cannot cope with the potential consequences.
  2. Twelve years ago, the Council identified the need to establish the new sewer outfall system for this area through a Need Analysis undertaken by consulting engineers that it appointed.
  3. During the same period, the Council approved and allowed the development of Pinehaven Country Estates with two pumping stations PS1 and PS2 and a sewer line to connect to the Council main sewer outfall line along Hendrik Potgieter Road. The Council failed to observe that the pumps at both pumping stations were incorrectly sized (PS2 pump14 l/s compared to 15,33 l/s minimum), and did not even think of standby facilities or equipment spares.
  4. Already in 2005, the Council had judgment given against it in an urgent interdict in the High Court to prevent sewerage leakage into the wetland and the property below Pinehaven Estate’s pumping station; the E-coli levels in the water reaching 34 000 cfu/100 ml as opposed to the acceptable level of 1 000 cfu per 100 ml.
  5. The Council approved a number of developments in the area, fully aware of the fact that waste water and sewage services are not available and condoned the development of illegal housing and related developments west and north of Pinehaven Country Estate, notably in Steynsvlei with its wetland area.
  6. Furthermore, the Council failed to provide for or address developers such as the Netcare hospital, Heritage Heights and developments east of the R28 road as to any additional or back-up capacity for the pumps and sewer lines in the area.
  7. Already in 2007 there was an unbearable burden on the now still existing sewer infrastructure and bulk collection sewers were supposed to be installed as a matter of priority. Such facilities were however only installed south and east of the R28 road and Muldersdrift (Featherbrooke area).
  8. In 2008 the Environmental Impact Assessment process to enable the construction of the sewer outfall system in the area, the project was viewed as a priority and it came to the conclusion that without providing an optimum Muldersdrift Sanitation Strategy, sanitation facilities in the area will become prohibitively expensive.
  9. Phase 2 of the project featured the Pinehaven pumping station, the wetland to the north of it, and the wetland route between Francis- and Van Zyl roads as the key features with the sewer line to follow the two natural drainage lines for 6 316,2 m and then break into the Crocodile Catchment area with Phase 1 en route to the Driefontein Waste Water Treatment Works (a facility of Joburg Water).
  10. As long ago as 2007 the Council paid Joburg R1,8 m/year, an amount that was projected then to become R2,6 - 3,11 m by 2014, but in 2012 Joburg placed a moratorium on development north of the Protea Ridge due to capacity problems.
  11. The Council is now planning a Waste Water Treatment Works at Lindley at the confluence of the Jukskei- and Crocodile rivers, the farthest point away from the area where the need for sanitation is the most acute. It is not known how this project will go down with Joburg (with its own plans) and those affected residents. The Council is also a victim of its procrastination and incompetence. For its own project on its own property in Honingklip, the Council cannot proceed with the development due to lack of infrastructure- and sewer services, except if it is planning to provide portable sanitation and toilet services on a permanent basis, in defiance of its undertakings to the community.

The visual results can be seen in the photographs of recent events (residents have failed to document many previous transgressions by a Council with other motives and priorities), but what is not properly assessed is:

  • The surface pollution and contamination of surface water and boreholes.
  • The threat to lives and health from bacteria and pathogens conveyed in spilled and free flowing sewerage.
  • The effects on wildlife and vegetation.
  • The visual impact and stench associated with exposed sewerage.
  • Soils contamination and roads integrity issues.

We request that you attend to the sewer problems in the area as an urgent matter. We recommend the following:

  1. On an urgent basis, immediately consolidate the recommendations of numerous studies and approvals done over the last twelve years.
  2. Reprioritise the Council’s capital budgets to re-introduce Phase 2 construction of the Muldersdrift outfall sewer and proceed with site activities on an urgent basis.
  3. With community participation, address the negative perceptions, or now the realities, about the investment potential of the area and deminishing property values.
  4. Institute enquiries and possible disciplinary hearings on the accountability of relevant senior officials in allowing fruitless and wasteful expenditure and the escalation of the sewer problems in the area to the currently unmanageable levels.
  5. Address the potential for damages claims emanating from the evils created in not managing service issues on sewer and sanitation matters.  

We would appreciate your urgent attention to this matter.