Zimbabwe: Norton Town Council Discharging Sewer Into Darwendale Dam

28 January 2020

The Environment Management Agency (EMA) has hauled Norton Town Council to the High Court over continued discharge of raw effluent including sewer into Darwendale Dam causing major threat to residents and aqua life.

The battle has stretched for 10 years now but according to EMA, the town council is not employing any remedy to correct the harm.

This is despite the fact that Norton Town council has been found guilty and convicted twice in the past ten years.

Now the matter has spilled to the High court where EMA is seeking an order compelling the town council to stop discharging raw effluent and also fix its dilapidated infrastructure.

Cited as respondents in the high court application by EMA is Norton Town council and its Town Clerk, Kizito Muhomba.

In an affidavit on behalf of EMA, Christopher Mushava said the High court was its next hope considering that the convictions and fines were not working.

"This is an application seeking a prohibitory and mandatory interdict against water pollution of the discharge of raw untreated effluent or sewage by the first respondent (Norton Town Council) into the aquatic environment or water sources and an order directing the respondent to rehabilitate, repair and upgrade its water treatment plants and sewer systems to ensure proper treatment of effluent before discharge into the environment and water bodies as well as ensuring the licensing of any discharge of effluent in terms of the Environment Management Act Chapter 20:27 (the Act)," reads part of the application.

According to the application, Norton Town council is mandated in terms of the Urban Councils Act to ensure the treatment of raw effluent generated within the council's jurisdiction and to provide potable water to residents.

It was submitted that from 2010, Norton Town Council has been largely responsible for the pollution of water by negligently discharging raw effluent into streams leading to Darwendale Dam that provide water in its respective areas and beyond.

The problem is further compounded by the town's water sewer treatment plants which are no longer fully functional.

EMA says this has resulted in the high incidence of sewer pipe bursts posing serious harm to human and aquatic organisms.

In 2011 the respondent was summoned by EMA board on allegations of discharging raw sewer into the environment.

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