Septic and Conservancy tank cleanings no longer free from July 1st
Residents living below Main Road are generally not connected to the council sewage infrastructure. Instead, they rely on septic tanks and soak aways or on conservancy tanks for the collection and treatment of their sewage. NRPA published a document on these systems if you want to read more about them (recently updated: https://nrpa.org.za/septic-tanks-and-soak-aways-in-noordhoek/)
As old timers in the valley will tell you, septic tanks (if you treat them well) will work without problems for a very long time, sometimes even decades. There are instances, however, that septic tanks fail or that the sludge builds up in them. In those cases they will need to be emptied (“cleaned”) by a honeysucker.
Conservancy tanks are used on plots that are close to streams, where the soil cannot absorb the soak away overflow, or where the tank is too close to the common boundary. They need to be emptied regularly since they do not treat the sewage and do not have an overflow into the ground.
CoCT until recently offered 6 free tank cleanings a year, but in a surprise move they scrapped this allowance: starting July 1st, CoCT will be charging R279.20 (incl VAT) per 1000 liters for the cleaning of septic/conservancy tanks. NRPA has protested against this change for 2 reasons:
1. While it could be argued that septic tanks should not require cleaning if they work properly, we realise that not all residents know how to treat their septic tank kindly (see document above for tips). The change from 6 to zero free cleanings is too abrupt and should have been made gradually over multiple years, allowing residents to fix their septic tank problems
2. It is not fair to owners of conservancy tanks that they were forced to install these expensive tanks, and are now also forced to pay substantial annual cleaning costs (a 5000 liter tank will incur approx R15k annual cleaning cost if emptied monthly). CoCT should reinstate free cleaning for this category of residences
Unfortunately, while NRPA continues to lobby CoCT for a solution, residents will be faced with these increased costs.