Cape Town makes progress on another major Bulk Sewer upgrade

16 Aug 2023 in Where We Govern

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis was on-site today as the City broke ground on the next portion of the major R470m Milnerton Bulk Sewer upgrade, with construction of an entirely new pipeline set for completion by 2025. Read more below:

This complex project entails the construction of a new bulk sewer in Montague Gardens using innovative micro-tunnelling technology. The City will also extend and connect the Edgemead and Century City Bulk Sewers into the new infrastructure.

Once the nearly 4km of new bulk sewer is built by early 2025, the City will divert sewage along this new line while it rehabilitates the existing Bulk Sewer in Montague Drive, Montague Gardens.

Given that the existing pipeline is under the busy Montague Drive roadway, pipe rehabilitation will make use of trenchless technology. A robotic crawler will first profile pipes to determine the best method of repair, and all work will occur underground with minimal surface level disruption to residents and traffic.

‘It was a joy to break ground on yet another major upgrade project of this administration. The existing Bulk Sewer under Montague Drive is operating at full capacity, with an upgrade needed to accommodate future growth in this part of the city. That is why we are constructing an entirely new bulk sewer, which will operate alongside the rehabilitated existing pipeline.


‘The new pipeline will be complete in 2025, the same year as the conclusion of our major Cape Flats Bulk Sewer rehabilitation – the largest in SA. In this way, we are future-proofing our city, so that Cape Town can be an even better place to live as the metro continues to grow.


‘When we talk of our long-term vision of building a city of hope for all, it really comes down to projects like this, which bring about better living conditions for residents,’ said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.


Over the next three years, the City will invest a massive R1,4bn in major bulk sewer upgrades to the Cape Flats, Philippi, Milnerton, and Gordon’s Bay lines.


Cape Town is ramping up infrastructure investment, with a 223% increase in its Water and Sanitation infrastructure budget over three years, from R2,3 billion in 2022/23 to R7,8 billion in 2025/26.


Besides bulk sewer upgrades, other highlights include:


  • R8,6 billion capital expenditure on WWTW upgrades over three years
  • R1,3 billion for sewer spill responsiveness including the proactive jet-cleaning of 200km of sewers annually
  • Quadrupling pipe replacement from 25km in 2021/22 to 100km annually, worth R850 million total over three years.


‘Aside from improving basic services, and personal and community dignity, the scale of Cape Town’s R43bn three-year infrastructure pipeline – bigger than Joburg and Durban combined – will create an estimated 135 000 jobs in the city over three years,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.


Infrastructure upgrades set to combat Lagoon pollution


Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation, said the Milnerton bulk sewer upgrade includes the installation of a sandtrap and screening facility at Koeberg Road Pump station. This is set to improve performance and reduce breakdowns caused by foreign objects entering the pump station.

A new 300m long bulk outfall sewer of 1 350mm diameter will also be constructed at the Koeberg Road Pump Station to accommodate the combined flow of the existing and new Montague Gardens Bulk Sewers.

‘Improving the Koeberg Road Pump Station’s operations will reduce the number of sewer spills into the Diep River and relieve environmental pressure.

‘The City’s goal is to steadily restore the environmental health of the Milnerton Lagoon through a combination of infrastructure upgrades and dredging of the waterbody to remove pollution build-up in sediment.


‘Besides the Milnerton Bulk Sewer Upgrade, other major infrastructure projects in the area include the R5.2bn upgrade to double capacity at Potsdam Wastewater Works – the Western Cape’s second largest infrastructure project – as well as the R118m Koeberg Pump Station Upgrade,’ said Councillor Badroodien.


Cape Town quadrupling sewer pipe replacement


Across the metro, the City exceeded its target of doubling sewer pipe replacement from 25km to 50km for the 22/23 financial year ending June 2023, replacing 55km of pipeline.


The annual pipe replacement target will now be doubled yet again to 100km per year from 2023/24, for a total investment of R850m over the next three years.


Pipe replacement is part of a strategy to bring down sewer spills over time, including major bulk sewer upgrades, proactive cleaning of sewer lines, resourcing of sewer spill response teams, and digital telemetry systems for early warnings on sewer spills.


These interventions have led to a 30% downward trend in reported spills in Cape Town over the last two years based on preliminary data. The City is now rolling out a Reactive Incident Management System (RIMA) to track progress even more closely by digitising the coordination of sewer spill responsiveness.


Sewer pipe replacement projects making up the 50km target for the 2022/23 financial year (ending 30 June):

  • 1 Major Bulk Rehab project – Cape Flats Bulk Sewer Rehabilitation
  • 22 Completed projects – Bishopscourt, Southfield, Constantia, 2x Bergvliet, 2x Kuilsriver, Strand, Tokai, Bellville, Dennedal, Delft, Milnerton: Joe Slovo/Phoenix, Milnerton: Dunoon, 4x Gugulethu, 4x Makhaza.
  • 14 projects currently in execution – Dennedal, Sweet Valley, Nova Constantia, 2x Strand, Scottsdene, Maitland, Uitsig, Epping, Bellville: Boston, Bellville: De La Hey, Bellville: Welgemoed, Durbanville, Gugulethu.


Planned projects to meet the enormous target of 100km of sewer pipe replacement for 2023/24 (starting 1 July):

  • Brackenfell Industrial, Stikland Industrial, Kraaifontein Industrial and Bellville: Welgemoed. Bergvliet, Muizenberg, Lotus River, Constantia, Tokai, Wynberg, Broadlands, Strand, Kuils River, Mission Grounds/Sir Lowry’s Pass, Tuscany Glen, Eerstriver South, Kraaifontein, Eversdal, Brackenfell, Bellville, Brackenfell Industrial, Dunoon, Joe Slovo, Langa, Phillipi: Samora Machel, Crawford/Lansdowne, Uitsig, Bakoven/ Camps Bay, Ravensmead, Rondebosch, Gugulethu, Parow Industria, Avondale, Parow, Bishopscourt, Clifton, Lansdowne, Athlone, Claremont, Lower Crossroads, Bridgetown, Fresnaye.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at