Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
THE Environmental Management Agency (Ema) says continued discharge of raw effluent into Umguza River by the Bulawayo City Council is a potential time bomb.
Ema Bulawayo provincial manager Mr Descent Ndlovu said the Government must intervene to end procurement bottlenecks that are delaying the completion of the city’s sewer rehabilitation project.
During a joint media tour of Ema and Bulawayo City Council officials last week, Mr Ndlovu said the continued emission of raw effluent into Umguza River particularly during the rainy season could result in outbreak of diseases such as typhoid and cholera.
He said completion of work on the sewer reticulation infrastructure in Mahatshula and Sauerstown suburbs has been delayed because it was taking long to buy the required pipes due to the procurement red tape.
“We are urging the Government to make it a priority because that’s a serious problem in terms of pollution. If that raw effluent gets into the environment continuously, particularly when it is raining like now, we are likely to witness an outbreak of diseases such as cholera and typhoid,” said Mr Ndlovu.
“Remember the effluent also contains industrial waste that is also toxic and harmful to the flora and fauna so we need to urgently address the problem.”
BCC has embarked on a sewer rehabilitation project to stop polluting Umguza River.
Council has been paying huge Ema penalties for discharging raw effluent into water sources.
BCC deputy director of engineering, Engineer Mente Ndlovu said Government through the Office of the President and Cabinet recently visited Bulawayo to assess the extent of the pollution.
He said Government then approved council’s borrowing powers for $13 million to fix the problem.
“After the approval from Government we then engaged BancABC which is funding this project. Engineer Ndlovu said pipes especially in old suburbs were too old and as such raw effluent was no longer reaching the treatment works and it was this effluenct which was being discharged directly into water sources.
He said the project is expected to be commissioned at the end of June next year.
Through the $13 million loan facility council is also looking forward to rehabilitating six waste water treatment plants that have not been operational for some time.
The council identified six plants in the city: Aisleby 1 and 2, SAST 1 and 2, Thorngrove, and Luveve’s Treatment Works.