Amendments give WAF powers to fine illegal connection offenders

The Water Authority of Fiji is clamping down on property owners in the Suva Central Business District whose properties are illegally connected to its wastewater network.

Its efforts in this regard are being buoyed by recent amendments to the WAF Act 2007 which gives them powers to impose fines to repeat offenders, in a development that has been welcomed by Minister for Infrastructure Jone Usamate and WAF Chief Executive Dr Amit Chanan.

Dr. Amit said the illegal connections have proven costly for the authority particularly when it rains.

“Our data shows that every time it rains in Suva CBD, our sewer pumping costs go up because we have to pump illegally connected stormwater that ends up filling our sewer network. This is adding a significant ongoing operational cost for the Authority and we must catch those who fail to do the right thing,” Dr Amit said.

Mr Usamate advised property owners to check with the WAF if they are not sure about whether they are connected legally or not.

“We cannot afford the extra cost and this burdens the Water Authority in terms of electricity charges as well as the quality of the water that has to be treated at our wastewater treatment facilities. With the introduction of infringement notices, WAF will be strengthening enforcement and compliance to curb these breaches to protect its assets and the environment. To date, WAF has been closely working with relevant stakeholders to educate and raise awareness in this area.

“With the recent amendments that have been done to the legislation, the Water Authority of Fiji has some teeth now and if people persist with this they can expect to pay the penalties that Government will pose on them.”

Smoke testing involves forcing smoke-filled air through a sewer line. The smoke under pressure fills the main line; then follows the path of connections, quickly revealing any illegal stormwater connections. This exercise assists WAF in identifying these problems and developing strategies that will ultimately lead to the
increased capacity of the existing wastewater network in Suva CBD by reducing sewer overflow during rainy weather and increasing the overall efficiency of the wastewater network within the Suva CBD.

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