Posted on: November 22, 2010 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Sewage and waste water treatment specialists meet in East London in November 2010 to discuss breakdown of smaller South African water works.

The waste conference on 23 to 25 November in East London, at the Regent Hotel, is themed on ‘Strengthening our Community of Practice’

Dr Valerie Naidoo, Water Use and Waste Management research manager at the Water Research Commission, said the agenda includes the Green Drop environmental impact audit system, social and institutional challenges, packaged plants, sustainability, and wastewater treatment works.

Water Institute of SA, WISA, and the Dutch Embassy will launch a ‘water portal’ as well as a water contest for students and small businesses.

Water treatment processes

Small waste water works run three or four of the required treatment process phases; preliminary, primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Water treatment laws

The National Water Act, 36 of 1998, requires government, via the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, to ensure that water is protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable and equitable manner, for the benefit of all persons.

Water Services Authorities are responsible for collection, treatment and discharge of waste water, according to set criteria, Dr Naidoo explained.

Process controllers are required to be registered according to Revised Regulation 17 of the Water Services Act, 108 of 1997, and Regulation 2834 under the Water Act and 1985 Requirements. Process Controllers are licensed according to the relevant waste water treatment works class.

Each waste water treatment works must have a site specific Operator’s Manual to guide process controllers.

WRC procedural guides

The Water Research Commission had produced various simplified reports to serve as guidelines for inspection of wastewater treatment works by Process Controllers and Inspectors.

Water Services Authorities could also use WRC reports on nanotechnology, meaning the use of microscopic textured materials, smaller scale packaged plants, and chemicals application.

Smaller plaints failed

Government said that that several specialists were working on the problem, monitored by labour organisations.

Environmental impacts of domestic sewage are acute in recently developed and rural areas, and have become a matter of international concern.

“Smaller waste water treatment plants are prone to failure due to lack of capacity to attenuate variations in load or flow”, said Dr Naidoo. Several interventions have been made to assist the Water Services Authorities to deal with this problem.

The Department of Water affairs is taking legal action and issuing directives against non compliant municipalities.

PHOTO; The number of Blue Flag beaches are shrinking due to sewage impacts. Local authorities should all be able to achieve Green Drop status, but many do not, due to having disinvested in water works maintenance for several years.

* Visit for information on the conference.


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