CHINHOYI municipality has been blasted over failure to be environmentally sensitive as it is discharging sewers into the Hunyani river, posing a danger to people, animals and aquatic life downstream.
The municipality seems to be ignorant and insensitive despite several cautions and fines by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and engagements by residents’ associations as well as submissions by residents during budget consultations.
Council engineer Simon Marara confirmed that the council was discharging the sewer into Hunyani River but denied claims that it was a raw sewer.
“The sewer discharged is not raw because what is going into the environment is partially treated but does not satisfy requirements.
“As a council, we are unable to fully treat the sewage at the moment due to a number of reasons and challenges including vandalism and theft of pump station transformers and electricity cables.
A case in point here is the Fernlea pump station transformer and we are at an advanced stage of procuring a replacement transformer,” he said.
Marara said the highly frequent pump failures at the Chaedza pump station were affecting sewer treatment but said construction of a gravity sewer line to correct that challenge was above 90 percent complete.
“The challenges and progress that we are facing are well known by the EMA and our parent Ministry (Local Government),” he said.
He bemoaned vandalism as a major challenge to the council’s efforts. When H-Metro did site visits to some of the sewer discharge points, one behind Chinhoyi University of Technology Hotel and at Fernlea pump station that directly discharged sewer into the river showed a different case.
Sewers gushing from the plants being discharged into the river were witnessed posing a great danger to the environment.
EMA provincial education and publicity officer Munyaradzi Nhariswa bemoaned poor adherence to environmental regulations by most councils across the province.
“We have problems with local authorities across the province regarding various areas including the whole value chain of waste management.
The coming in of devolution funds has seen so much noise on the issues that are being prioritised and waste management is one of them,” he said.
Provincial EMA manager Rambwayi Mapako sai Rambwayi Mapako D Chinhoyi, Norton, Kariba, Chegutu and Kadoma are operating under effluent court management orders.