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

Pollution killing endangered turtle

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 05 March 2011

Hundreds of people are working around the clock to clean up a lake in the heart of Vietnam’s capital in hopes of saving a rare, ailing giant turtle that is considered sacred.

Only 4 giant freshwater turtles are believed to be alive worldwide

Experts say pollution at Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake is killing the giant freshwater turtle, which has a soft shell the size of a desk. It is one of the world’s most-endangered species, with only four believed alive worldwide.

Teams of people are cleaning debris, pumping fresh water into the lake and using sandbags to expand a tiny island to serve as a “turtle hospital”. The rescuers may even try to net the animal for the first time as part of the effort.

The Hoan Kiem turtle is rooted in Vietnamese folklore, and some even believe the creature that lives in the lake today is the same mythical turtle that helped a Vietnamese king fend off the Chinese nearly six centuries ago.

It swims alone in the lake and in the past has been glimpsed only rarely sticking its wrinkled neck out of the water. But it has recently surfaced much more frequently, alarming the public with glimpses of raw open wounds on its head and legs. Continue reading

Water Affairs happy with AMD recommendations

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 24 January 2011

The Department of Water Affairs says it is doing everything possible to control the acid mine drainage (AMD) problem that has recently been made worse by heavy rains.

Government acknowledges that amd needs to be urgently addressed

The department’s inter-ministerial committee, which was formed to address the problem last year, – will hand over a report to the cabinet in the next two weeks.

“We are on top of the acid mine drainage problem. We appointed a team of experts to compile a report. They have handed the report to us and we are happy with their findings and recommendations,” said the inter-ministerial committee spokesperson, Makhosini Nyathi.

AMD is a chemical reaction process that is a result of sulphate-bearing minerals or pyrite, found predominantly in gold mines, as well as in coal mines, being exposed to oxygen and water.

Nyathi said government acknowledged that AMD was a challenge that needed to be addressed urgently. “This should be done in a coordinated manner between a range of stakeholders that include the mining industry and government,” said Nyathi.

National Water Forum chairman Louis Meintjies said the problem with the contamination of water was not only due to AMD – but also with raw sewage getting into the water system.

“The past heavy rains have caused raw sewage from our treatment plants to overflow and get into our dams. The damage has been done – we need to urgently address this problem,” said Meintjies. Continue reading

Concern over polluted water supply following floods

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 20 January 2011

The National Water Forum voiced concern over the pollutive effect of the recent flooding on the country’s water supply.

Flooding in Gauteng.

NWF national chairman Louis Meintjies said that in Gauteng, acid mine water levels rose quickly because of the rain and that the acid water had now affected a wider area, with the water pollution spreading.

“The downpours may have diluted the concentration of heavy metals in polluted water but it certainly did not allow contaminants to dissolve,” he said.

Meintjies warned that several sewage plants were flooded due to the heavy rains and that raw sewage had ended up in the water systems.

“Farmers have to take note of the possibility of the outbreak of fungi and diseases spread by the contaminated water on farm lands,” he said.

Water Affairs ministry spokesman Mandla Mathebula acknowledged that the floods had the potential of contaminating the water.

“We did anticipate cases of flooding and as a result of that we have a team that is looking at that situation,” he said,

“We don’t think we will have that problem of contamination, we are guarding against that.”

Experts from the department were put on high alert to ensure that the country’s water supply remained safe, Mathebula said.

– Sapa

Raw sewage flows down the streets

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 18 November 2010

Residents of Mthatha are fed up with authorities for failing to fix the city’s water infrastructure, which has had water flowing freely from burst pipes for years now.

Mthatha is considered to be one of the filthiest towns in the Eastern Cape

Some claim raw sewage can at times be seen flowing down the streets.

It is considered by many to be one of the filthiest towns in the Eastern Cape, and residents say not much is being done to change Mthatha’s stinky reputation.

Ratepayers’ Association of Mthatha (RAM) chairperson Graeme Alexander said the leaks were “frustrating”.

“OR Tambo (District Municipality) is doing nothing about the problem. Why is management doing nothing? The mayor needs to take the lead and get things done – this is a health hazard. People of Mthatha have come to accept it as the norm and there is a lack of interest from management.

“Where is all the money being spent? We need responsible, efficient and proactive staff that will sort out the problem,” said Alexander.

Mthatha forms part of King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) Local Municipality, but OR Tambo District Municipality is responsible for water issues.

OR Tambo acting municipal manager Mbuso Ncube yesterday said they were aware of the problems in Mthatha. “Our biggest problem is that we have old infrastructure that has never been refurbished and the town is growing at such a fast rate that the infrastructure cannot keep up. Continue reading