The Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DWS), Ms Lindiwe Sisulu on Thursday, 06 August, commended the successful upgrading of the dysfunctional Randfontein Wastewater Treatment Works as an example that should be replicated in all municipalities to address wastewater infrastructure challenges.
Minister Sisulu was speaking during a handover of the refurbished treatment works, which had an been in a state of disrepair and decay, to the West Rand Local Municipality
The treatment works was technically non-operational and the effluent being discharged was not compliant with DWS specifications. The treatment works had also been experiencing mechanical breakdowns due to ageing equipment.
Minister Sisulu said with the establishment of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission, the department was able to get sufficient funds to make sure that it was able to repair and refurbish crumbling wastewater infrastructure in every municipality.
She said the biggest problem for the Department was the aging wastewater infrastructure that affected the provision of clean water.
Minister Sisulu appealed to the municipality to have a dedicated person to ensure that there was oversight at the treatment.
DWS's Gauteng Provincial Head, Sibusiso Mthembu, said inlet works and grit remover at the treatment works were insufficient in size to handle the flow that the treatment plant encounters during periods of heavy rains.
"The treatment plant therefore encountered frequent flooding during rainy seasons, as well as solids being transported to the Primary Settling Tanks (PST). Both the inlet channels and flumes were blocked with hardened fat received from non-compliant effluent release by industries," said Mthembu.
He said treatment works served a population of approximately 90 000, which is estimated to grow at a rate of 1.5% for the next couple of years and that using this growth rate it was estimated that the population would have grown to 104 526 by the year 2027.