After Xanadu residents suffered from a sever sewage stench the past two weeks, it has only now come to light that the Rietfontein sewage plant has been discharging untreated sewage into Hartbeespoort Dam for the past five to six years.
“The plant has had no chlorination dosage system for all this time and most of the time only one clarifier and mixer were operational,” Madibeng ward councillor Erna Rossouw said this week after investigating. “There is not even chlorine or lime on the plant presmises.”
The plant’s serious problems were only discovered now because the rest of Hartbeespoort have been refurbished and for the first time in years are now fully operational pumping all of Hartbeespoort’s sewage to Rietfontein as it should be. “In the past sewage was continuously spilling from various pump stations, not reaching the plant. Now we find out that the plant is basically non-functional,” she said.
Water affairs minister Edna Molewa was contacted last weekend and an urgent meeting with the department, contractors, the Madibeng Municipality, councillors and Xanadu stakeholders was held on Saturday.
“Promises were made that the clarifiers would be functional the next day. However by Sunday afternoon no work had been done. By Monday only one clarifier had been repaired,” she said.
Raw sewage is running directly from the plant into the Swartspruit leading to the Dam.
“The plant had only been functioning at a 20% capacity for the past five to six years. An amount of R15 million was allocated to refurbish the plant that in future will also have to accommodate sewage from Sunway low cost housing development and Refentse. Although the tender was published in January, no contractor has been appointed yet.”
Kormorant was informed that a consultant was in fact appointed without a tender.
“Also shocking is the fact that officials at the plant have no municipal transport, no telephones or computers, and no telemetry systems. They use their own phones, vehicles and computers to document analysis and flow charts. I only discovered that when I asked for an official’s email address,” Rossouw said.
Rossouw compiled a report on sewage flowing into the Hartbeespoort Dam a few months ago on request of the Madibeng mayor.
Xanadu residents informed Rossouw that they are taking legal advice and will take the matter to the High Court.
Kormorant 7 June 2012 to 13 June 2012
I cannot say I was surprised when I read this (unfortunately). If you recycle grey water from your house to your garden for irrigation purposes, you send as little as 5% instead of 70% of your consumed and metered water from municipal source into the sewer for treatment at the sewerage treatment works. The Garden Rhapsody is a very affordable effective system that can be used anywhere; house or office. People often want to harvest rainwater, store it in water tanks to be used at a later stage for irrigation. Yet, by re-cycling your grey water you can irrigate your garden the entire year with water that you would’ve ‘thrown’ away (sent to the sewer line).