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Untreated sewage flows into SA rivers daily - report

By unknown | Apr 30, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE shocking state of South Africa's sewage plants, which treat billions of litres of waste water each day, was revealed in the long-awaited Green Drop Report - officially released by Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica yesterday.

Among its findings are that "the bulk of the plants can be described as poor to non-functional".

According to the document - which includes a "first order assessment" of municipal treatment plants, conducted between August 2008 and July last year - nearly half of the 852 waste water treatment plants around the country were not in a state to be assessed.

Of the 449 that were, only 203 scored "better than 50percent in measurement against the stringent criteria set".

A scant 32 treatment plants - about 3,8percent of the total - received so-called Green Drop status, seen as broadly complying with international standards.

The majority of the plants that won the award are located in or around Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. Free State and Limpopo had the worst provincial results.

The report's findings imply that hundreds of millions of litres of untreated or inadequately-treated sewage is being illegally discharged into rivers and streams each day, mainly by small town municipalities.

Referring to the 403 treatment works not assessed, the document notes that municipal officials at these plants were "not sufficiently confident in their levels of competence to be subjected to assessments".

On municipalities not complying with the required standards, the report says low-scoring authorities should be put under "close surveillance". - Sapa


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