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Harties Sewage Spills - Worst Level Ever
Sewerage spills in Hartbeespoort are now at the worst levels ever.
There is very little inflow into the Rietfontein works currently, since the Xanadu pumpstation next to the R511 has been out of operation for 2 weeks now. During this period raw sewage has flowed continuously into the dam at Xanadu Pumpstation.
Raw sewage is flowing in the streets at Sunway.
Sewage is flowing in the dirt road below the Sunway sewerage works.
Sewage is flowing into the dam upstream of Venice Village pumpstation as anyone who recently walked in the field between Melody and Ifafi will tell you. This blockage of the main sewer system causes sewer manhole overflows in various locations.
Our information is that there is one mixer pump still operating at the Rietfontein sewage plant. From the sound of it the ball bearings in this last working mixer pump is on the way out. The problems are either mechanical or electrical and shows a severe lack of maintenance in the plant.
The officials demonstrated yesterday that the plant has chlorine and that chlorine treatment takes place. We understand from locals that the solids may be burned and the remaining effluent treated with chlorine. This has to be verified. If true, it is a serious matter. In this way an air pollution problem may also be created. Due to the lack of proper treatment the end product released into the river is not acceptable. Water monsters show that the ecoli count in the river system after the works is again very high.
The new concrete tank supposed to protect the works from flash floods during storms remains incomplete. There are questions about the design of this tank as well in terms of screening, de-gritting and the practical operation of the regulation valve (to be installed) between this tank and the intake works.
The two pump stations supplying the Rietfontein works, namely Xanadu and Ifafi are switched manually and the automatic control system seems to be out of operation. The whole design of these two pumpstations needs to be looked at in terms of the technology implemented. A variable speed drive system may perhaps be more appropriate to better regulate the flow of sewerage into the Rietfontein treatment works.
Currently the Department of Water Affairs is the responsible institution as part of the administration of Madibeng, since the Water Act requires DWA to take over wherever the Local Authority fails to manage water and sanitation properly. An official from DWA at the Madibeng Council offices currently holds this responsibility.
Previously there were two main actions to upgrade the Hartbeespoort sewer system, namely the R 10m project of DWA to upgrade the pump stations, as well as the refurbishment of the Rietfontein works after intervention of the parliamentary commitee on water and sanitation during the end of 2014. It seems as if the normalisation achieved by these two projects has now been lost and we are back to square one.
We as Hartbeespoort community ask the reponsible authorities to implement a workable maintenance plan together with any future new normalisation actions to prevent gains achieved during upgrading projects to go to waste as soon as the projects close. The existing sewage network maintenance plan clearly does not work.