Stink: call for lower rates
DESPITE residents in Phoenix getting a reprieve from the stench in the area after 700 tons of sewage sludge was trucked out last week, their neighbours in Ottawa continue to be burdened by the odour.
The stench was caused by an overflow of sludge at the Phoenix Waste Water Treatment Works located near the Ohlange River in Ottawa.
On Friday, about 700 tons of sewage sludge was transported by three trucks, which carried over 20 tons of sludge per trip, to the Merebank Waste Water Treatment Works.
While the residents in Phoenix can finally step outside their homes, those in Ottawa, near Verulam, are still being affected and have issued an ultimatum to the eThekwini Municipality.
They want the suffocating and ongoing stench eradicated with immediate effect and while processes are put into place, they have called for their rates to be reduced.
The outraged residents also decided, among other things, to make representations to the Human Rights Commission.
The municipality, they said, was failing to tackle the problem and had violated their rights to a clean, healthy environment.
They spoke out after the municipality’s waste water treatment officials outlined the processes under way to deal with the stench at a meeting at the Ottawa Hall on Thursday, a day before the sludge removal.
The meeting was held under the auspices of the Ottawa Environmental Forum, which has been making representations to the municipality about the odour for more than a decade.
Residents told municipal officials they had had enough of the stench and wanted confirmation that the smell would be eradicated at a follow-up meeting tomorrow at the Ottawa Hall.
“We cannot put up with this unhealthy state of affairs any longer,” said resident and community leader Charles Govender. He said despite their status as rate and taxpayers, they were being treated with contempt by the municipality.
“The municipality must stop treating us as if they can take us for granted. We are fed up and want to live in a clean and fresh environment like we have been doing all the decades we have been staying here.”
Fellow resident Atom Dilraj said: “We want this stench eradicated now and not in 10 or 20 years.”
The forum’s facilitator, Andisha Maharaj, said the air quality in Ottawa had degenerated because of the sewer works plant.
“All our representations have been totally ignored and now, in 2017, the air quality is 10 times worse than 2012. The plans to expand the treatment works has a direct bearing on the infrastructural plans we may have for Ottawa. The eThekwini Municipality must acknowledge that it has planned very poorly and must clean up the stink immediately.”
Maharaj said their rates should be reduced, while processes are put in place to eradicate the stench.
Municipal officials, including Theresa Munsamy, who outlined the measures that were being taken to reduce the odour, said they would pass on the concerns and ultimatums to the relevant parties.
In nearby Phoenix, an elated Vimla Naidoo, 63, of Ringwood Place, said she was grateful the problem had been sorted out.
“It is such a relief to open our windows and doors without having to worry about that horrible smell.”
Iqbal Hoosen, 62, who owns the BP garage in Woodview, said: “The horrendous smell that we have had to endure for the past month is gone. I’m so happy.”
Phoenix councillor Lyndal Singh said: “The sludge that caused the unpleasant odour in the area has been cleaned out. I can assure the community that the waste water treatment plant in Phoenix will be closely monitored to ensure that a repetition does not occur.”
The head of the city’s communications unit, Tozi Mthethwa, and the head of the Phoenix Waste Water Treatment Works, Vinay Nuliah, said odour control systems were being installed.
A concerned resident speaks out at a meeting in Ottawa.