Sedgefielders lash back over septic tank services
In Sedgefield, residents are equally upset about the rates hike, as well as the issue of septic tanks being emptied for their account.
A well-known resident, Mike Young, says the sewerage rates are one of the main issues locals face. “It definitely is a problem in Sedgefield – I’ve spoken to many different members of the community and nobody knows what we’re going to do about it,” he says.
Sedgefield Ratepayers Association (SRA) member Terry Cockroft says that in addition to the sewerage rates hike, residents with septic tanks have also been left with questions. “The municipality used to empty our tanks for free at least twice a year, and we would pay a minimal fee for the rest, but no more.
Now they’re charging us for all emptying of tanks,” he says.
Cockroft, a retired engineer, says he thinks fewer than 20% of Sedgefield homes are connected to the sewage treatment works, while the rest rely on septic or conservancy tanks.
“I suspect the free emptying of tanks dates back to the old Sedgefield (municipality) days, which Knysna accepted when it took over. Now it seems to me like they (KM) need the money and I think the funds are probably going towards sewerage in general. We have raised this and many other issues with the municipality, but no answers or solutions are offered,” he says.
A resident of Sedgefield Island Village, accountant David Tromans, confirms Cockroft’s assertion that emptying of tanks used to occur free of charge twice a year, and that now each emptying of a tank is paid for.
According to Tromans, residents of Island Village, where solids are stored in a tank for emptying and the liquids end up in a separate tank that leads to the sewage treatment works, pay for both the emptying of their tank as well as being charged the general sewerage rates. “Each home pays standard rates – I think mine has gone up about 70%,” he adds.
According to KM, in the past, services such as electricity, water, refuse and sewerage were subsidised by rates, which is no longer the case, and as such the tariff structure has been amended.
“The cost to operate the services must be recouped from the income for each service,” it says, adding the same applies to septic tanks.
In response to residents claiming they have reported their issues without feedback, the KM says: “Kindly provide details (emails sent etc.) for us to follow up on the matter.” -