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Concern over wastewater systems in the Cape, R720 million needed for repairs

Cape Flats Waste Water Plant. Picture: Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Flats Waste Water Plant. Picture: Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 11, 2022

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Cape Town - The reinstatement of the Green Drop reporting initiative by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has been welcomed by the provincial government.

The release of the 2022 Western Cape Green Drop report offered an analysis of the province’s state of wastewater infrastructure and management.

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The report showed that while numerous municipalities in the Western Cape (including the City of Cape Town) were recognised for their good wastewater systems, R720 million was needed to return old and dysfunctional wastewater plants to their original design.

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell commended all 25 municipalities in the province that participated in the programme.

He especially commended those that received Green Drop certificates where their wastewater systems achieved at least 90% in the report’s criteria, which included capacity management, environmental management, financial management, technical management, effluent and sludge compliance.

Certificates were awarded to four wastewater systems in the City of Cape Town, three wastewater systems in Witzenberg, two wastewater systems in Bitou, one wastewater system in Drakenstein, one wastewater system in Saldanha Bay and one wastewater system in Mossel Bay.

However, Bredell said the report also revealed cause for concern, particularly around the increased pressure on water infrastructure, increased wastewater systems in poor states and an increase in systems in “critical state” in the province.

This was evident in seven under-performing Western Cape municipalities that received Green Drop scores below 31% in the report. These were Beaufort West, Hessequa, Matzikama, Swellendam, Langeberg, Prince Albert, and Kannaland.

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Bredell said his Department would work closely with the DWS to support and guide these struggling entities to address wastewater collection and treatment shortcomings identified in the report.

Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu said the results of this report served as a scientifically calculated indicator that there was a mammoth task ahead of them.

Water and sanitation Mayco member Zahid Badroodien said the City’s awards and certificates from this report showed its commitment to improving good practices in its wastewater treatment systems holistically.

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He said it was being achieved through combined efforts of ongoing investment in infrastructure and efforts by teams to ensure wastewater was treated optimally before it was released into waterways.

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Cape Argus

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