Fiji’s Water Authority is asking members of the public to stop flushing or disposing of waste that cannot be processed by its systems after finding rags, plastic bags and diapers that caused a sewage spill in Nadawa this week.
Residents of Tiri Road along Qari Place and Mana Place reported the incident to WAF whose technicians were able to determine that the cause of the overflow was a blockage within the pumps, as well as the emergency stop switch being engaged.
“Our teams on the ground discovered that one of the causes of the overflow was rags that had been thrown into the chamber, which in turn got tangled up within the impeller, creating a blockage in the pumps,” WAF Acting Manager Waste Water Treatment Josaia Koroilavesau said.
“In addition, the emergency stop switch had also been engaged, which we suspect may have been done by individuals who accessed the pumping station by climbing the fence surrounding the complex. We have CCTV footage and are investigating.”
The issue was attended to yesterday with nearby drains and affected areas also disinfected.
“Work on clearing the built-up wastewater in the network, which had accumulated after the engagement of the emergency stop switch, continued this morning as well.”
Koroilavesau said it was disappointing to see that such behaviour still persists.
“Careless littering down our wastewater systems results in major blockages to pipelines and pumps, manhole overflows, damage to essential equipment, as well as takes our teams away from providing value-adding services to our customers and carrying out vital infrastructural development work.
“Our teams have also gone to great lengths to ensure that the community is educated on the issues created by littering and in fact, our wastewater team had carried out a community engagement exercise in September, where they handed out posters and discussed with homeowners the impact of such actions on WAF’s operations and also on the environment.”
“This awareness campaign is still an ongoing project for our teams as plans are in the pipeline to hold virtual meetings and webinars, on a quarterly basis with homeowners.”
Koroilavesau further added that in an effort to mitigate such problems, the team is designing new debris baskets, which we will be installed in densely populated residential areas for the purpose of collecting rubbish.
“We are also looking at proposing in the upcoming financial year, other solutions such as the introduction of lockable manhole lids and installing sewer socks downstream of Housing Authority of Fiji and Public Rental Board flats.”