Wastewater technology choices compromise quality

In many small towns municipalities have revenue bases that are not sufficient to cover the costs of operation and maintenance.

The findings from a Water Research Commission study done in partnership with  the South African Local Government Association (SALGA)  indicates that 44% of the studied wastewater treatment plants may have opted for less […]

Culprits of unlawful water usage

“Whilst unlawful water use by some irrigators is a concern that should be addressed, various other factors pose an even bigger threat to the availability and sufficiency of good quality water to society. It is, therefore, unfortunate that the irrigation sector was singled out as culprit with the launch of the National Water Week,” says Johannes Möller, president of Agri SA.

The quality of various water systems in South Africa is in a poor condition.

The Department of Water Affairs had since the enactment of the National Water Act in 1998 failed to implement sections of this legislation pertaining to the institutional capacity required to manage the country’s water resources.

“After 12 years the department only started in June 2010 with the verification and validation processes by appointing a professional service provider to assist them in addressing unlawful water use in the Vaal River system. This will only be completed in two years time,” Möller says. Continue reading Culprits of unlawful water usage

Over half of wastewater treatment plants well below standard

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 01 July 2011

Less than half of South Africa’s 821 sewage works are treating the billions of litres of effluent they receive each day to safe and acceptable standards, according to the latest Green Drop Report.

56% of treatment plants are performing poorly or in a critical state

The report – a measure of the state of wastewater treatment plants in all nine provinces – was released by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Thursday.

While it awards Green Drop status to 40 plants – up from 33 in 2009 – it warns that another 460 plants (56 percent) are either in a “critical state” or delivering a “very poor performance”.

The latest report examines wastewater treatment at 821 plants in 156 municipalities — the previous (2009) report examined 444 plants in 98 municipalities — and says this is “100 percent coverage of all systems”.

It is understood the report does not cover treatment works owned by public works, such as those at prisons, and other private operators.

Many of the poorly performing plants are located in the country’s poorer provinces, including the Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape and Limpopo.

“The Western Cape, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, are producing the high-performing waste water systems; Eastern Cape, followed by Free State, Northern Cape and Limpopo, are producing the bulk of the systems that are in critical and poor-performing positions.” Continue reading Over half of wastewater treatment plants well below standard

Water Awareness Event – Wildevoelvlei

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 30 March 2011

Issued on behalf of: Liesel James: Founder of Little Green Fingers

On 26 March 2011 a Water Awareness Event focusing on a local issue took place at Blue Water Café, Imhoff’s Gift. The community of South Peninsula, City of Cape Town and Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) were invited to discuss the ongoing eutrophication causing toxicity in Wildevoel Vlei and insisting on finding a successful solution.

The blue-green bloom in December 2010. Locals were warned to keep their pets and visitors away from the water.

50 people including local residents, environmental organizations and volunteer groups attended.

The Wildevoelvlei wetlands form an integral part of the wetland systems in the Noordhoek Valley. Originally the vlei was seasonal and dried out over the summer months. Rainfall, groundwater seepage, stormwater run-off and spring tides regulated the water level.

In 1977, the Wildevoelvlei WWTW was commissioned and the vlei became a permanent water body due to the treated effluent being discharged into it.

Wally Peterson founder of Kommetjie Environmental Awareness Group (KEAG) who was previously involved in trying to resolve this problem gave a comprehensive history of Wildevoelvlei at the event.

He said, “WWTW was upgraded in 1996, but the development in the valley has way exceeded the expected population growth as predicted in the EIA. This placed WWTW under huge pressure through an increase of treated effluent entering the vlei, and through an increase in quantity and decrease in quality of the nonpoint stormwater run-off discharged into the vlei.” Continue reading Water Awareness Event – Wildevoelvlei

Call for wastewater facilities to be prosecuted

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 28 March 2011

More than one third of 231 ­local municipalities do not have the capacity to perform their ­sanitation functions, a new study by the Council for ­Scientific and Industrial ­Research (CSIR) has found.

Overflows of raw sewage are severely detrimental to the environment.

The report, discussed at a United Nations water ­conference in Cape Town, includes a comprehensive survey of South Africa’s levels of water pollution.

It also tracks access to clean, safe water and sanitation. And it warns that South Africa is heading for ­disaster unless it tackles the problem of water pollution, ­including its failing sewage treatment ­systems.

It found that the situation was so bad, it called for waste-water facilities that did not comply with their licences to be prosecuted.

Water quality, the report ­stated, was excellent in metropolitan areas, but in many rural areas and towns, drinking water quality and waste-water effluent quality were frequently below the standards set. Continue reading Call for wastewater facilities to be prosecuted