Waste water treatment plants show improvement

The Department of Water and Sanitation has commended the improvement of over 198 waste water plants in municipalities during the 2014 Green Drop assessment period.

The 2014 Green Drop Progress report is based on a self-assessment by municipalities and is confirmed by the department to ensure credibility. The department's team that served as moderators is made up of a trained group that not only assesses performance but also ensures that regulatory advice is given to municipal wastewater management for further improvement on their systems.

The department said the main objective of the exercise is to develop measures that will gradually improve the level of wastewater management in South Africa.

The department assessed and verified 824 waste water treatment plants and 152 municipalities throughout the country. The report presents the current risk profile and a six-year trend analysis of wastewater treatment plants.

Water Services Manager in the department, Noxolo Ncapayi, said there are various factors that contribute to the mismanagement of waste water treatment plants. Industries that dump their effluent on river catchments and farmers and abattoirs disposing of their pesticides and carcasses within the catchments contribute enormously to the pollution problem.

"Hartbeestpoort Dam in Brits, North West, is a classic example of a downstream water resource that is subjected to heavy pollution by industries. The dam receives water from Crocodile River, whose main tributary is Jukskei River. Jukskei, which runs through Johannesburg and Alexandra township, is one of the worst polluted rivers in the country," said Ncapayi.

However, the assessment shows that although some plans are still not satisfactory, the overall improvement is encouraging.