Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has started repairing two sewer pipes at Aisleby Farm that burst 10 years ago, following an outcry by residents in Richmond suburb.
The residents feared the raw sewerage would expose them to health hazards.
BCC spokesperson Nesisa Mpofu Thursday said the local authority was addressing the problem which had dragged for too long.
“Richmond residents, especially those along Gwayi Avenue have been severely affected by the discharges from western areas mainly along Entumbane line and Njube catchments,” she said.
“We acknowledge that sewerage has been flowing into streams and this is not pleasant to the community as well as the environment.”
Mpofu said the economic meltdown in the past 10 years had crippled council operations, hence the delay in repairing burst pipes.
“As a municipality, we have been doing our best to maintain existing infrastructure. Quite a number of outfalls especially from the eastern suburbs collect into Aisleby Treatment Works and it could happen that most are old and leaking into nearby streams,” said Mpofu.
“However, city council is currently repairing the two major outfalls (Umvutcha and Saurcetown-Aisleby lines) that drain into Aisleby Treatment Works No 3 and 1, which will see some parts of the city cleared of flowing sewerage.”
Mpofu said the project would be completed by September this year.
“This is only the initial phase of a number of interventions that will see a number of outfalls being repaired not to forget the tripartite arrangement with World Vision and Dabane Trust, where five outfalls will soon be repaired too,” she said.
“The city through the Bulawayo Water and Sanitation and Emergency Response Project has also been carrying out awareness campaigns to conscientise residents on water conservation and anti-vandalism of sewer lines.”
Commenting on reports Richmond residents had taken council to Environmental Management Agency (EMA) over the spilllage, Mpofu said: “We view EMA as one of our key partners as they continue to work with us especially on the hot spots that need urgent attention.
To date various sites have been cleared of overflowing sewerage in both the eastern as well as the western suburbs.
“We shall continue to work with EMA as we periodically send them updates on current rehabilitation work.”