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Illegal Dumping in Stormwater Infrastructure leads to flooding and road damage

George Municipality has highlighted the dangers of illegal dumping in our communities in recent weeks, but another form of illegal dumping is under the spotlight now. The dumping of litter and other items into toilets, stormwater drains, and sewer manholes causes a massive headache for the municipality. Overflowing storm water drains are generally found to be blocked by illegal materials and rubbish dumped directly into the drain causing damage and flooding down the line.

One of the main reasons for blocked drains and sewerage spills is the wrong stuff being flushed down toilets or thrown into manholes. Items that should not be flushed down toilets include baby nappies, sanitary pads and tampons, newspaper, cloth and fabric, fatty food or fat. Regular items that municipal staff have to clear from manholes include branches, tyres, rocks, mattresses and other solid items.

So not only does illegal dumping into civils drainage infrastructure led to flooding, but it can also cause this infrastructure to fail. Most recently the road surface and pavement structure of a newly built road showed signs of damage which had to be investigated and it was found that a contributing cause to the failure was the condition of the subsoil drainage. All of the stormwater structures alongside this street (see photographs) were found to be filled with illegally dumped rubbish and dirt which clogged the outlets of the subsoil drains draining into these stormwater structures.

The subsoil drains could not function to protect the road layer works from subsurface moisture, which is one of the factors leading to the premature failure of the road. Preliminary estimates indicates that the repair work could cost between R1.2-1.8 mill which would entail the reconstruction of the effected layer works, resurfacing the road as well as cleaning the subsoil drains.

The municipality appeals to communities to NOT flush unsuitable items down the toilet, and to help prevent people from throwing stuff down manholes.
• Report blocked stormwater drains and sewerage complaints to Civil Engineering Services on 044 801 9262/66 during office hours or 044 801 6300 after hours.
• Waste should be collected in refuse bags and placed for collection on your areas waste removal days.
• Builders’ rubble and waste not suitable for bags must be dropped at the municipal refuse site on the R102 (airport road).

If you can provide names, vehicle registration details or addresses of alleged perpetrators who have dumped illegally and you are willing to make a statement in this regard, please report it to Law Enforcement at 044 801 6350 or You don’t need a photograph of the perpetrator, but it will strengthen the case for a warning or fine to be issued.