The City said that currently 25 sewage pump stations have been vandalised or impacted by theft and a full cost analysis will be conducted.
Operating costs, including repairs and hiring of mobile equipment to minimise sewer overflows, are estimated to cost approximately R30 million.
The City said: “The worst case recently was the vandalism of the Site B pump station. The damage was so severe that it is not operating at all. It is estimated to cost R6m to reconstruct the pump station and for other related costs such as the hiring of mobile equipment.”
“Sewage pump stations are an important part of the sewer network. The majority of the system works on gravity, but in cases where the sewage must flow uphill, pump stations maintain the flow to wastewater treatment plants.
“Currently, 25 City sewage pump stations have been affected by theft and vandalism. These pump stations are either not working, or are having to run on borrowed or mobile pumps,” the City said.
The majority of these incidents took place in December 2020.
Most recently the sewage pump station in Site B, which services about 8 000 households in Site C and a part of Site B in Khayelitsha, was vandalised and is unable to function – resulting in major overflows and blockages in the network.
As a contingency measure, the City said that mobile pumps have been provided to assist with minimising the overflows.
“All operating equipment was stolen, the standby power supply generator badly damaged, and parts were stolen. The building was also damaged, as well as the fence, which needs to be replaced. The Eskom power supply cable was also stolen,” the City said.
“Given the severity of the vandalism at Site B, the City will need to reconstruct this pump station. The cost of the repairs for this facility are still being calculated, however, an estimate is that it will cost R6m.”
Some of the sewage pump stations that have been affected are Heinz Park, Philippi West, Wallacedene, Crammix in Brackenfell, Tambo Street in Gugulethu, Crossroads, Area L in Mitchells Plain and Paarden Eiland, among others.
A full cost analysis will have to be conducted as most of the stations were recently vandalised.
“The City condemns these actions of theft and vandalism in the strongest terms. We cannot tolerate the actions of opportunistic criminals whose selfish and destructive acts directly impact service delivery to residents.
“In some cases, security guards on site or fencing don’t even deter vandals as they either break the fence or steal it. The City does not have a limitless budget and damage caused by vandalism is a big drain on our resources,” said Mayco Member for Water and Waste, Xanthea Limberg.
“The City’s Water and Sanitation team is working continuously to ensure that pump stations operate at the highest capacity possible. In addition, the operational teams monitor the areas and are continuing to clear sewer blockages, which cause overflows, and will continue to do so in efforts to minimise the impact on residents.
“Furthermore, the City will continue to investigate and implement contingency measures wherever possible.“
The City has urged anyone who has any information regarding the vandalism incidents to please report it to the SAPS as soon as possible, so they can investigate.
To report vandalism in progress, call 107 from a landline, 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or contact the local SAPS.