October 26 2012
By Tony Carnie
Durban – Umgeni Water will spend R450 million to upgrade the main Pietermaritzburg wastewater treatment works to reduce sewage contamination levels in Durban’s main water storage dam.
Umgeni chief executive Cyril Gamede said the Darvill treatment facility at Pietermaritzburg was designed to handle about 60 million litres of wastewater a day.
However, during the rainy season, this volume could rise to about 200 m/l a day and Darvill could not cope with the extra volume, sometimes leading to overflows of untreated sewage into the Msunduzi River.
Earlier this week, officials warned that the recent heavy rains had caused several sewage overflows around Pietermaritzburg and warned people not to swim in the Duzi or Umgeni Rivers for the next few days because of high levels of the sewage bacteria E.coli.
Darvill used to be run by the municipality, but Umgeni took over the operation in 1992, mainly because it was seen as the single biggest potential source of pollution to the Umgeni River catchment.
Located about seven kilometres east of the city centre, Darvill collects and treats all the domestic and industrial wastewater from Pietermaritzburg.
Treated water is poured back into the Msunduzi River, which then flows into the Umgeni River and Inanda Dam, the main fresh water source for the Durban area.
Presenting Umgeni’s latest annual report on Thursday, Gamede said the Darvill treatment works would be upgraded in phases, at a pace designed to keep water tariffs affordable for Pietermaritzburg residents.
He said the water utility had aside R450m to redesign and upgrade the facility over the next four to five years.
According to the Umgeni annual report, the problem of overflows was also exacerbated by the declining quality of industrial wastewater. – The Mercury
Please recycle grey water. When you recycle your grey water for irrigation purposes you send as little as 5% instead of the consumed 70% of grey water to the sewage treatment plants. With less water to be treated at the sewage treatment plants the better the water can be treated and unnecessary sewage spills into the rivers prevented. Added bonuses when recycling your grey water; you save money on your water account, your garden is irrigated at all times (throughout the year, not just during the rainy season) and you don’t have to change your lifestyle at all. Everyone and everything benefit. Harvesting rain water can also help prevent floods.