Human Rights Commission insists Tshwane, Department of Water and Sanitation regularly test Bronkhorstspruit water quality
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Pretoria - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will insist that the City of Tshwane and the Department of Water and Sanitation regularly test the quality of the water supplied to Bronkhorstspruit residents.
This is according to the SAHRC’s manager in Gauteng, Buang Jones, who yesterday visited the Bronkhorstspruit Water Treatment Plant that was shut down on Friday and Saturday owing to the poor quality of water it was processing.
The acting divisional head for bulk water and wastewater services for the City, David Ntsowe, told the commissioners that the shutdown of the plant was inevitable because the rain resulted in a high concentration of sediment in the dam, which resulted in a lot of dirty water in the plant.
This was because heavy rains cause a lot of streams that bring water into the dam, while the rain itself also unsettles the sediment. In addition, the plant infrastructure is old and does not have the technology to settle the sediment during heavy rains.
Ntsowe said: “We get water from the dam to the plant through pumping. However, when the sediment is at such a high concentration because of the streams of water and the fact that the sediment that is in the dam is already suspended, a high concentration of this dirty water comes into the plant.
“The plant in its capacity can handle anything (sediment) between seven and 15 nephelometric turbidity units (measure the turbidity of a fluid or the presence of suspended particles in water” but that number shot to 70, which can get worse depending on the intensity of the rains. The pest control team once reported numbers in excess of 3 000 nephelometric turbidity units.”
He said situations such as that experienced last week forced them to shut down operations as they would otherwise be supplying residents with water that did not meet the minimum requirements for potable water laid down by SA National Standard 241.
“It is required that we achieve at least ... 95% compliance with that standard. Under normal conditions we go as far as 98%, but when we got to just 70% we had to shut down the pump and, by extension, the plant.”
The director of regulations, compliance and enforcement at the Department of Water and Sanitation, Donald Mabada, and commissioner Ben Sibanyoni said it was clear that the plant needed a complete refurbishment to cope with its load and possibly exceed the 54 million litres of water it supplies daily.