Ricochet News

Chris Hani District Municipality addressing sewage flow into Great Fish River

Jun 27, 2019
Chris Hani District Municipality addressing sewage flow into Great Fish River

Cradock - The Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) on Thursday said that it has been experiencing challenges with its Wastewater Treatment Works situated in the town of Cradock, under Inxuba Yethemba Municipality.

This comes after the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape accused the municipality and the Inxuba Yethemba Municipality of allowing raw sewage to flow into the Great Fish River. As a result, the Department of Water and Sanitation confirmed that it was taking legal action against the Inxuba Yethemba Municipality.

"The plant is servicing the sewerage that comes from the surrounding townships, town and industrial areas.  The effluent that comes in is being pumped by various pump-stations that collect and pump sewer to the works," said Dr Bhekisisa Mthembu, Acting Municipal Manager at Chris Hani District Municipality.

"Cradock Wastewater Treatment Works which has a design capacity of approximately 4.2 Ml (Mega litres) a day is currently operating beyond its capacity due to population growth and new connections that were not part of the treatment process."

Dr Mthembu said that in 2017, the district developed a Plant Upgrade Plan to increase the capacity of the plant given that its last upgrade was more than 20 years ago. 

"The estimated cost of the plan was R17 million, where the screening, aerators (aeration system), settling tanks and disinfection points were identified for urgent attention. The plant aerators are frequently overloaded posing stress to the bearings and gearboxes of the system," he described.   

"The district had a Package Plant which was used as a pilot to relieve some of influent into the treatment works. The Package Plant was proposed to the Department of Water and Sanitation as an alternative to treat some of the influent but this was not approved.

"CHDM refurbished the aerators about a year ago using a local contractor and these operated for a short while as the aeration system requires an upgrade to operate at the desired capacity. Currently, there is a contractor on site for repairs of the aeration system and pumps as well as the settling system which is a short term solution. 

"The contractor will also be responsible for the application of enzymes and bacteria to the plant to assist with the breakdown of Ammonia, Nitrates, Nitrites, Phosphates and Chemical Oxygen Demand.

"The application of enzymes will be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that the plant discharges final effluent that complies with required limits."

Chris Hani District Municipality apologises to Inxuba Yethemba Community

Dr Mthembu added that the district plans to change the aeration system to a system that will handle high influent and to accommodate the Cradock aging sewer bulk network that continuously experience spillages.

"Other major contributing factors of these spillages include foreign objects in sewer mains e.g. bricks, sand, rags, rubble etc. As mitigation, we will intensify our education and awareness campaigns in this regard to discourage the practise of dumping foreign objects that is causing blockage in the system," he explained.

"There is also a dedicated team in the area that mainly deals with sewer outfalls and responsible for cleaning of sieves and unblocking of manholes.

 "The Cradock Waste Water Treatment works and sewer bulk will be addressed in the coming Financial Year as a long term strategy. An amount of R4.9 million has been budgeted in this regard to deal with these challenges in a phased approach.

"We extend our sincere apology to the Inxuba Yethemba Community for all the inconvenience this has caused and would like to assure them that the matter is receiving the priority it deserves." 

Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.

For great savings on life’s little pleasures visit Bargain Buys!  Know somebody who is getting married, Wedding and Function can assist.  Have kids, then you need to visit Kids Connection. Enjoy food and travel, then visit Home Food and Travel. Need assistance with an online presence, visit Agency One.