Sewage crisis to be tackled

2008-10-28 00:00

With raw sewage spillages in some parts of the province raising health concerns, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa)’s Coastwatch Marine Impacts and Initiative is seeking to work with municipalities and other relevant stakeholders to resolve the crisis.

Wessa, whose initiative is funded by the department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs (DAEA), held an International Association for Impact Assessment South Africa meeting at Cedara College on Monday to discuss waste and water concerns. The meeting was attended by municipal officials, members of the public, environmental practitioners, engineers and developers.

The organisation’s Environmental Co-ordinator for KZN, Di Dold, said the organisation believes that raw sewage spillages into communities, rivers, estuaries and beaches have reached crisis point and could lead to outbreaks of disease unless action is taken.

Dold said that they are also tasked by the DAEA to develop and implement regulations, monitor and assess impacts from land derived waste discharged to sea.

“If this waste is allowed to flow through settlements, where children play, where people obtain water, disease will spread rapidly and further exacerbate the plight of poorer communities,” said Dold.

Dave Render of the Rhodes University’s Environmental Biotechnology Institute presented the High Rate Algal Ponds system for wastewater treatment. This involves disinfecting sewage using treatments such as anaerobic digester, facultative and high rate algal ponds, so that no pathogens such as E. coli and parasites are detectable.

thandom@witness.co.za

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