Sewage works 'disaster waiting to happen'
Johannesburg - South Africa's sewage works are a disaster waiting to happen, trade union Uasa said on Friday.
"The shocking state of the country’s waste water treatment plants [are] in need of an urgent high level intervention," Uasa spokesperson Andre Venter said in a statement.
The absence of intervention is "gradually feeding the disaster which is slowly but surely creeping up on us", he said.
Venter was reacting to the latest Green Drop Report released by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Thursday.
The report measured the state of wastewater treatment plants in all nine provinces.
It indicated that less than half of South Africa's 821 sewage works were treating billions of litres of effluent they receive each day to safe and acceptable standards.
While it awards Green Drop status to 40 plants - up from 33 in 2009 - it warned that another 460 plants (56%) were either in "critical state" or delivering a "very poor performance".
Venter said some of the problems stemmed from a lack of human capacity and infrastructure. The current financial and managerial situation was also an issue for concern.
"Citizens all over the world are not keen to pay for sewage removal."
On the positive side, Venter commended the department for "a tremendous amount of good work" that was being done.
He cited an example of the department's innovative plan to reward municipalities that effectively manage their water treatment plants.
Of the 821 plants, a total of 40 - those awarded Green Drop status - were in an "excellent situation".
Seventy-eight were "good”, and 243 delivered an "average performance".