Acid mine water treatment accelerated

2012-05-17 07:25

kalahari.com

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Cape Town - Water engineers are poised to up the treatment rate of overflowing acid mine drainage (AMD) in the Witwatersrand's western basin, an official said on Wednesday.

"The first train is operational at the western basin, treating 10 megalitres a day," water affairs chief operations officer Trevor Balzer said in Cape Town.

"By early next week, the second train will be operational, which will take us to the full 24 megalitres of discharge from the basin."

A "train" is a series of tanks with mixers, used for sludge removal in the treatment operation.

Balzer said at a media briefing at Parliament, ahead of debate in the National Assembly on the department's budget, water affairs would continue to monitor the situation "to see how we draw down the water level and that [the] decant stops".

In her speech written for delivery in the House, water affairs Minister Edna Molewa said she was happy to announce that the short-term solution for the western basin - treating the AMD - was in place.

However, she warned that the long-term solution for the entire Witwatersrand, which also includes the central and eastern basins, would require a lot of money.

"[It] will clearly need a lot of money and we need to be creative in how we approach the funding requirement in this regard."

Molewa said she had instructed her department, in partnership with the department of mineral resources, to "explore the possibility of testing potential solutions in the open market to deal with AMD, but without compromising prescribed government procurement processes".

Earlier, she warned that, left unmanaged, the 200 million litres a day overflow of AMD "may pollute surface and groundwater resources in the area and place severe risks on the security of water supply from the Vaal River system".
- SAPA
Read more on:    edna molewa  |  johannesburg  |  environment
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