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

SA tap water could be undrinkable in 19 years

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 09 March 2011

Tap water in SA could be undrinkable in the next 19 years if the country does not change the way it uses water, or how it treats used water, scientists say.

Already, some of the tap water in SA contains poisons.

Blue-green algae produce toxins that rob water bodies of oxygen.

Poor quality water will negatively affect the economy, curbing the manufacturing sector directly and indirectly, says limnologist Bill Harding. Limnology is the study of freshwater bodies.

Despite Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica promising a turnaround in the parlous state of wastewater treatment almost a year ago, there has been no visible action taken to curb the risk from semi-treated water discharged into SA’s rivers and reservoirs, the scientists say.

Last year’s Green Drop (wastewater quality) report showed that only 32, or 3%, of SA’s estimated 850 wastewater treatment works complied with requirements for safe discharge. The report noted that only 449 of the works had been assessed, with the rest either ignoring, or being unable to comply with, the call to submit to scrutiny.

Only 32 (7%) complied with the Green Drop criteria after being measured for E. coli bacteria, nitrates, phosphates and ammonia and other nasties.

The national Green Drop Programme was launched in 2008 and was meant to cover all wastewater treatment works so as not to harm the water bodies into which they discharge their product. Continue reading

Water affairs short of enforcement officials

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 25 November 2010

Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says the water affairs department has less than a third of the officials it needs to enforce compliance with water quality and pollution laws.

Edna Molewa intends to create a fully-fledged branch for regulation.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, she said the department had only 31 full-time staff for enforcement, monitoring and compliance across the whole country.

“There are 16 officials at national level… and 15 officials at provincial level.”

There were nine vacant posts at national level and 56 at regional level, she said.

On the posts not filled, the reply lists, among others, technicians, pollution control officers, resource protection staff and drinking water quality officials.

On plans to create a so-called regulation branch within the department, the minister said this had not yet happened.

“My department intends to create a fully-fledged branch for regulation. The process of organisational design for this new structure has not been finalised as yet, but there are plans in place to increase the number of officials dedicated to compliance, monitoring and enforcement,” she said.

The Green Drop Report – a national assessment of wastewater treatment plants, released by the department in April this year – found only about seven percent of municipal sewage works were operating to acceptable standards.

With many of the 852 treatment works around the country discharging raw or only partially treated sewage into rivers and streams, experts have warned of a looming pollution crisis and growing threat to South Africa’s water security.

– Sapa

Water Open Day in Western Cape

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 31October 2010

Water users in the Western Cape will in the coming weeks have an opportunity to access valuable information on the services rendered by the Department of Water Affairs.

Berg River Dam

The department’s Regional Offices will from 01 to 12 November hold Water Open Day in its three Water Management Areas and the Breede/Overberg Catchment Management Agency.

The open day to be held under the theme “Working together we can save more water”, is targeted towards various water users including farmers, wineries, mines, municipalities and all people who use water resources.

Western Cape Regional Office Chief Director, Rashid Khan said the event offers an exciting platform for water users to access valuable information with regards to the services of the department.

“This first of its kind event, will provide a friendly and relaxed platform for departmental officials to give support in the completion of license applications, water registrations, waste discharge change registration queries, Adopt-a-River initiatives and Blue and Green Drop programmes,” Khan said.

He added that the department hopes to have the open day on a regular occurrence.

“We eventually hope to have a Water Open Day campaign at least twice every year, this will depend partly on a survey that will be carried out during the event that hopes to analyse the various perceptions that departmental customers have regarding services rendered,” he said.

The open days will be held in the Berg from 01 to 03 November, BOCMA (Breede) from 04 to 05 November. From 08 to 09 November they will be at Gouritz and at Olifantsdoorn from 11 to 12 November 2010.

Source: BuaNews

South African Blue Flag Beaches 2011

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 30 October 2010

South Africa was the first country outside of Europe to implement the Blue Flag programme and it was launched here in November 2001 as part of the South African Government’s CoastCare initiative. Since 2001, the Blue Flag programme has become a truly global initiative with over 42 countries participating and a further seven countries undertaking the feasibility stage.

Camps Bay beach

27 South African beaches (listed at end of article) have achieved world-class standards during the past season and have been adjudicated by both a South African and an International Blue Flag Jury to meet the standards of excellence Blue Flag beaches must achieve.

“The success of the Blue Flag programme in South Africa over the past 10 years can be attributed to the commitment of participating municipalities to provide beach-goers and holiday-makers with world class beaches offering safe, clean and well-managed facilities,” said Alison Kelly, WESSA’s Blue Flag Program Manager.

“The municipalities managing Blue Flag beaches are showing that high levels of excellence and delivery of services to benefit both local and international visitors are possible. Blue Flag as an organised and internationally managed accreditation programme provides a viable system for service excellence on our coastline and those municipalities receiving accreditation today should be acknowledged for what they have achieved” Kelly said. Continue reading