The Water Authority of Fiji (WAF), would like to once again remind members of the public to refrain from improperly flushing or disposing of waste items such as rags, plastic bags, diapers, or other material which cannot be processed by WAF wastewater systems.
This comes after a team from WAF attended to a sewerage overflow on Thursday, 18 November 2021, which had been reported by the residents of Nadawa, residing off Tiri Road, along Qari Place and Mana Place.
WAF Acting Manager Waste Water Treatment, Josaia Koroilavesau, said that while in the process of carrying out works pertaining to the complaints raised by the residents, WAF 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,” said Mr Koroilavesau.
“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 has, however, been rectified as of yesterday afternoon, with the overflow having been stopped at around 5:00 pm with the nearby drains and affected areas being disinfected shortly after. 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.”
Mr Koroilavesau added that despite repeated reminders, it was disappointing to see that such behaviour still persists amongst members of the public, who seem to have completely disregarded what the impact of their actions are on surrounding communities.
“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.”
Mr Koroilavesau further added that in an effort to mitigate such problems, the team is designing new debris baskets, which we are targeting to install 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.”
Mr Koroilavesau also corrected misinformation reported by Fiji Television in their news bulletin this morning (19/11/2021), which claimed that the issue was a long-standing one.
“Despite these claims, our records show that there have been only 3 blockages experienced at this particular station since April of this year.”
“In this regard, we kindly urge all media outlets to please speak to us first and seek clarifications before reporting issues so as to prevent needless panic and anxiety amongst Fijians.”