Arson suspected after fire cripples Wallacedene sewer pump station

09 May 2022 - 09:27
The Wallacedene sewer pump station was torched by arsonists, the City of Cape Town said on Sunday.
Image: Supplied The Wallacedene sewer pump station was torched by arsonists, the City of Cape Town said on Sunday.

The costs to repair the Wallacedene sewer pump station, damaged when it was allegedly torched by arsonists on Saturday, could amount to hundreds of thousands of rands, the City of Cape Town said.

Preliminary investigations at the facility, which has a critical function in conveying sewage from homes and businesses to Wastewater Treatment plants, revealed that both the electrical and mechanical equipment required for the pump station to function was completely destroyed. This means it is unable to operate. 

The City of Cape Town’s Water and Sanitation team asked anyone with information about this incident to please report this urgently so it can be investigated and the culprits held accountable.

A reward of up to R5,000 is being offered to anyone who reports any incident or provides information related to theft and vandalism of water and sanitation infrastructure that leads to a successful arrest or recovery of stolen infrastructure.

"This act of vandalism has resulted in sewer overflows and flooding at the pump station as well as the linked sewer network throughout Wallacedene," it said in a statement.

"This will also impact on the surrounding communities and the receiving natural environment.

With the winter rains looming and the pump station not working, rainwater will dilute the sewage and spill into the streets, giving rise to potential health concerns.

"Furthermore, raw sewage that enters the environment will affect water quality in the system, making it unusable for water users downstream, such as farmers."

‘The department said it was considering different options to eliminate and reduce the impact as far possible. This includes diverting flow from the damaged pump station to other parts of the sewer network where possible.

"The use of sewer tankers and over-pumping methods are, for the time being, logistically not possible.

"‘The level of infrastructure destruction caused by this criminal incident will see this very critical pump station out of operation for quite some time, which will also negatively impact the surrounding areas over the same period," said Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation.

"At the end of the day, it is the public’s rates and tariffs that pay for the repair and replacement of infrastructure that is vandalised - money that could be used to expand the pipe replacement programme or conduct other proactive maintenance work."

All incidents can be reported to the City’s public emergency call centre:  dial 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.