South Africa's Wastewater Treatment Plants In 'Dismal' State

The first detailed report on the state of wastewater treatment in South Africa in nine years was released recently. It paints a dismal picture, write Kevin Winter and Kirsty Carden for The Conversation.

The report reveals an alarming and unacceptable state of wastewater treatment works in the country. More than a third - 334 wastewater treatment works (39%) out a total of 955 systems - are classified as critical. Additionally, some municipalities are increasingly incapable of addressing issues of wastewater management.

Winter and Carden elaborate: "The implications of poor quality effluent being discharged into the environment are dire. The more polluted the water sources are, the more expensive and difficult it is to treat the water for drinking (and other) purposes."

The reports comes shortly after wastewater samples in the provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and the Western Cape detected sustained higher levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The tracing prompted experts to raise the alarm of a potential fifth wave of Covid-19 for the nation.



The Zandvliet waste treatment facility in Cape Town (file photo).

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