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CCID stormwater drains team prepares for rainy season

CCID stormwater drains team prepares for rainy season

14 May 2019
The CCID drain-cleaning team in action

With the rainy season imminent, the CCID’s Urban Management department is taking steps to help prevent flooding in the CBD.

While the province and the city have had some rain in recent weeks, there will undoubtedly be more in the coming months as winter sets in, bringing with it the regular rainfall season and the possibility of flooding.

In preparation, the CCID’s stormwater drains team is currently busy inspecting the CBD’s drains across all its precincts to make sure the drainage system will work effectively and efficiently during the rainy season when well-maintained drains are critical to keeping flooding at bay.

The City of Cape Town, which is the CCID’s primary partner, has also started checking the stormwater system ahead of winter rains. The City’s Roads and Stormwater Department has a maintenance programme within each district and various roads depots do regular inspections of the roads and stormwater systems and respond to service requests from residents.

HUGE AMOUNT OF LITTER IN DRAINS

Richard Beesley, manager of the CCID’s Urban Management department, says discarded cigarette butts and litter are often the cause of blocked drains. He says: “People don’t realise that litter and cigarette butts that are discarded on pavements find their way into the city’s stormwater drains and if the drains have not been cleaned come rainfall season, the CBD will experience flooding.”

Statistics show that the amount of litter cleared from drains by the CCID over the period of a year amounts to thousands of kilograms of waste. Says Kally Benito, assistant manager of the CCID’s Urban Management department: “Our reports for the period from July 2018 to March 2019 show that the teams have used 2 723 trash bags which translates to 16 611 kg of waste.”

The CCID’s five-member drain cleaning team, which is put together via partner NGO Straatwerk, has already taken out a large amount of litter from the drains. The process involves opening the drains and using shovels to remove the litter inside. “In cases of blocked drains, drain-opening equipment is used. The team attaches a drain-cleaning head to the drain-cleaning rods and then inserts it in the drain channel,” Kally says.

Although 16 shifts have been scheduled for the team to clear out the drains before the winter rains, drains will also be attended to during the rainy season should the need arise.

BLOCKAGES AND VANDALISM A HUGE PROBLEM

The City’s drain-cleaning staff often find blockages such as mattresses, rags, bottles, building rubble, and substances like motor vehicle oil, in the stormwater system. People living on the street often store their belongings in the drains, and this poses a flooding risk as winter approaches.

According to Alderman Felicity Purchase, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for transport, the City also faces a huge challenge with the theft and vandalism of stormwater covers and frames.

“Repairing and replacing frames and covers costs between R3 000 and R4 500 each. Then you also have to keep in mind that it easily takes half a working day to fix a stormwater drain. Sometimes the drain is so badly damaged or vandalised that the officials have to rebuild it,” she says.

To help minimise the cost, the City is now replacing iron casts with polymer covers. It is also urging communities to refrain from dumping objects in stormwater drains and to report anyone who is doing so as flooding often occurs due to blocked stormwater drains, mostly as a result of illegal dumping into the City’s stormwater system.

REPORT DAMAGE

The City encourages residents to report blocked drains and stolen or damaged drain covers in their areas including the CBD. To report an incident, include your name, contact number and the exact location of the blocked drain or flooded area.

Service requests can be directed to the City’s Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63. This is a 24/7 information centre and is toll-free from a landline or a cellphone. Residents can also log a service request on the City’s website by selecting “Roads and Stormwater” with the option of reporting a stolen cover or requesting urgent maintenance work.

IMAGES: Carlisle Marankey, CCID precinct manager

Tags: CCID CCID Urban Management Richard Beesley Kally Benito cleaning drains CCID stormwater drains team City of Cape Town Alderman Felicity Purchase