‘No toxic dam danger’

2011-11-09 00:00

HIBISCUS Coast Municipality has denied that its Oatlands landfill site in Ramsgate is “a disaster waiting to happen” after high levels of contamination were found in in the stormwater and leachate dams.

Yandisa Mhlamvu, waste management officer for the landfill site, told a media briefing, held yesterday especially to allay residents’ fears, that the municipality is treating both dams in isolation.

The municipality has contracted Ngcolosi Consulting Engineers to reduce the level of the leachate dam.

“Currently we have temporary pump system to cascade the water into the landfill site to keep the levels low. Ngcolosi Consulting has been contracted to put in a permanent pump, which is also part of the long-term solution.”

A senior civil engineer with Ngcolosi, William Tarume, said the project would be completed in the next six to eight weeks.

“Physical work on the site will start next week. We do not have a final cost of the project, but we have a rough estimate of between R700 000 and R800 000 at the moment.”

Mhlamvu said the pump was not installed during the construction of the leachate dam in 2009 due to financial constraints.

“The pump was to be added at the next phase of the project, which we are at now.” She pointed out that the leachate dam cannot be completely drained. “The dam has to have some water in it to protect the surface material of the dam from exposure”

She said treatment on the stormwater contamination dam started with 62 kilograms of chlorine added on Friday. The water will be tested today to see if the level of pollution has decreased to acceptable and legal levels for controlled releases to be made.

The departments of Water Affairs and Forestry and Agriculture will also have to okay the release. Mhlamvu said the municipality is confident that the treatment will be successful, but it has an alternative treatment if it the chlorine does not kill the bacteria. “We have other options for waste water treatment like membrane technology to make use of.”

Acting director for operations Mandla Mabece said the municipality wants to be totally transparent.

“We have nothing to hide and we want our end user to know that everything is under control.

“We are taking the situation very seriously. We do not want to compromise the quality of life of our residents or the tourists who visit us.”

• witness@feveronline.co.za

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