South Africa 20.8.2018 07:22 am

Faulty treatment units the cause of Vaal River contamination

What appears to be raw sewage is pumped from the eMbalenhle sewage treatment plant straight into the Brak River which feeds the Vaal dam. (Photo: Tim Denny. Pilot: Ron Lawson)

What appears to be raw sewage is pumped from the eMbalenhle sewage treatment plant straight into the Brak River which feeds the Vaal dam. (Photo: Tim Denny. Pilot: Ron Lawson)

A visit to municipalities and the Sebokeng wastewater treatment plant and found that some of the treatment units were not functional, resulting in an overload in the remaining units.

A lack of maintenance of sewage infrastructure by the Sedibeng district and Emfuleni local municipalities in Gauteng is at the hub of the crumbling infrastructure, leading to contamination of the Vaal River system, according to parliament’s water and sanitation portfolio committee.

The committee visited the municipalities and the Sebokeng wastewater treatment plant and found that some of the treatment units were not functional, leading to overloading of the remaining units, committee chairperson Mlungisi Johnson said in a statement yesterday.

“The committee has always emphasised the need for proper investment in maintenance of infrastructure,” Johnson said.

“It is also a requirement by the department of cooperative governance’s back to basics programme that municipalities must spend 10% of their budgets on maintenance.”

While the committee supported building new units, it emphasised that the old units should be maintained to ensure optimal use of the entire plant. A matter of concern for the committee was the delays in implementing the Sebokeng regional sewer scheme.

“Due to the spillage into the river system, the amount of money it spends on purifying the water increases astronomically,” Johnson said.

“At the centre of the committee’s preoccupation is ensuring that spillage into the Vaal River system is stopped. Furthermore, the reduction of costs of purifying chemicals will ensure that municipalities have more money to spend on service delivery.

“As such, the committee has resolved that it will get monthly reports on interventions by all spheres of government in resolving the problem,” he said. 

– African News Agency (ANA)

 

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