Most SA sewage works sub-standard

2011-06-30 22:40

Cape Town - Less than half of South Africa's 821 sewage works are treating the billions of litres of effluent they receive each day to safe and acceptable standards, according to the latest Green Drop Report.

The report - a measure of the state of waste water treatment plants in all nine provinces - was released by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Thursday.

While it awards Green Drop status to 40 plants - up from 33 in 2009 - it warns that another 460 plants (56%) are either in a “critical state” or delivering a "very poor performance".

The latest report examines waste water treatment at 821 plants in 156 municipalities - the previous (2009) report examined 444 plants in 98 municipalities - and says this is "100% coverage of all systems".

It is understood the report does not cover treatment works owned by public works, such as those at prisons, and other private operators.

Many of the poorly performing plants are located in the country’s poorer provinces, including the Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape and Limpopo.

"The Western Cape, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, are producing the high-performing waste water systems; Eastern Cape, followed by Free State, Northern Cape and Limpopo, are producing the bulk of the systems that are in critical and poor-performing positions."

The report's findings imply that millions of litres of untreated or inadequately treated sewage are being illegally discharged into rivers and streams each day, mainly by small town municipalities.

High risk increasing

In a national overview, the document describes the overall "risk trend" of the 821 treatment plants as "neutral to negative".

It says that compared to 2008, the number of "critical risk" waste water treatment plants has increased from 129 to 137; and the number of "high risk" plants from 264 to 284.

At the other end of the scale, the number of plants previously deemed low risk" has dropped - from 196 in 2008, to 138 now.

The report says municipal waste water treatment service performance around the country varies from "excellent" to "unacceptable".

"Analysis of the Green Drop results indicates a fairly good national score of 71%. However, this value might be skewed, as a few excellent provincial scores would balance out the lower provincial performers."

The number of plants achieving a Green Drop score of more than 50% has decreased proportionally, from 49% in 2009, to 44%.

"This trend can possibly be explained by considering that 377 'first time' systems were assessed and many of these achieved low Green Drop scores."

Half in Gauteng

The 821 sewage plants around the country treat a total flow of about 5,258bn litres of waste water a day, almost half of it in Gauteng.

"Analysis of the operational flows indicates that Gauteng manages the bulk of the national load (49%), followed by the Western Cape (17%) and KwaZulu-Natal (14%).

"The balance of the provinces receive and treat the remaining 20% of waste water generated in South Africa."

The report says that of the 821 plants, a total of 40 - those awarded Green Drop status - were in an "excellent situation", 78 were "good”, and 243 delivered an "average performance".

However, a total of 143 delivered a "very poor performance"; and 317 were in a "critical state".

The report's release comes at the end of a three-day municipal water quality conference in Cape Town.

The names of the municipalities awarded Green Drop status will be announced at an awards dinner in Cape Town later on Thursday.

  • ???? - 2011-06-30 22:53

    Im not surprised that the western cape is the leader,because the largest sewerage plant in south africa is called Parliament,situated in cape town of course.

      Mike - 2011-07-01 08:34

      And the Capital of South Africa is Pretoria - or Tswane if you like! Pray, tell us about the goings on in your ANC head office. How well it is run etc, etc . . .??? Don't chicken out because you can't give a positive answer - because if you don't then it shows which chicken you were hatched out under!

      KomboKitten - 2011-07-01 08:56

      what a stupid comment

      Mike - 2011-07-01 11:31

      @KomboKItten - why judge others on your low sub-zero standards?

  • Kees Jonas - 2011-06-30 22:53

    Sedert ek in 2004 in Australie kom bly het was ek al betrokke by 6 nuwe riool aanlegte. Van die projek verdagerings word in Afrikaans gehou omdat hier baie Suid Afrikaanse ingenieurs is. Die meeste van hierdie mense is nie weg oor BEE nie maar slegs oor misdaad. Ek is baie jammer dat ek nie die geleentheid kon kry om te help om SA op te bou nie

      Liberty - 2011-07-01 01:49

      @Kees ek is bly om te sien dat die Ausies ten minste ons talent en gooie werkmanskap waardeer. SA besig om so vinning te verval. Ek hoop julle skree darem nog vir die bokke

      Alibaba - 2011-07-01 07:08

      Kees. Jy het die geleentheid. Kom net terug.

      Mike - 2011-07-01 08:36

      @Alibaba - hoekom moet hy terug kom - gee 5 goeie redes!

  • Bill - 2011-06-30 23:10

    Well I have always said the country is in the sh*t...this just substantiates it further...!

      Creeky - 2011-07-01 06:47

      With news like this, we can all have a SH!TTY DAY!!!

  • Kaizer - 2011-06-30 23:11

    This is good news to see especially most of our water resources are over polluted by non responsible citizines like these fools commented here!

  • cocopops - 2011-06-30 23:16

    Manne, ons land is in die ---!!!!!!

  • Lydon - 2011-06-30 23:42

    Big surprise that the Western Cape, once again, is in the lead.

      Curveball - 2011-07-01 07:19

      Its because the biggest producer of effluent, Julias Malema, resides in Jhb.

      johan - 2011-07-01 07:33


  • frankm - 2011-06-30 23:50

    Once again, this sounds like a load of krap

  • SteynaPriest - 2011-07-01 00:22

    Which municipalities sewerage works were OK? Can u publish such a list for us public?

      George - 2011-11-30 08:47


  • OZNOB - 2011-07-01 00:30

    AND i was wondering who was creating such a stink now i realise that we are all in the sh1t due to the country being improperly run

  • fraserm - 2011-07-01 01:24

    Last years Green Drop report already told us we were in deep sh*t. This one tells us the same and the next report will say the same again!! We comment because this is our country and we genuinly do give a sh*t what happens to it. Probably something to do with the sh*t quality of municipal leadership and their sh*t attitude to the sh*t they allowing.

      Frungy - 2011-07-01 02:46

      Don't worry fraserm, soon the new information bill will be passed and this will all be "classified". Yay! No more bad news (//sarcasm alert!!//)

  • dave_23 - 2011-07-01 03:03

    So where can we get this report? How can you publish an article like this without indicating where to download the report so we can check our local sewage plants? Honestly, in this day and age, the FIRST thing to think is "where can we download it".

      Observer - 2011-07-01 08:54

      I don't think News24 think that far. To actually follow up on an article...who ever heard of such a thing???

  • jaWat - 2011-07-01 06:42

    They should apply the same LAW to these municipalities as the one with the Potholes case. If they don't fix up and deliver send them to jail.

  • BigD - 2011-07-01 06:46

    After the last report why was nothing done. It has got worse but nothing is published about the lack of action taken for the MMC, Directors, managers etc. They should have been fired after the last report.The anc's actions to fix the problems by putting qualified people in these positions is missing. The biggest problem is the effects of this mess been let out in rivers etc does put a strain on the fragile health care which cannot cope as it is.

      AJ - 2011-07-01 07:31

      "Fired"?? - I'm afraid that's considered hate-speech these days...

  • Brieuse - 2011-07-01 07:00

    The sites I've seen don't receive the chlorine to treat the water. "No Money"

      Mike - 2011-07-01 08:39

      It figures - no money - because the money was used to buy the BMW's!

  • shiela - 2011-07-01 07:04

    Daar is a drol in die drink water

      Mike - 2011-07-01 08:39

      Ja - stop die pa'tie!!

  • juan.coetzee - 2011-07-01 07:30

    We can only hope that enterprising attorneys, like the sterling gentlemen at Lawyers for the protection of the constitution, can maybe force something through in the courts due to the massive health risk this poses.

  • Dewald - 2011-07-01 07:38

    Please check out for the Water Affairs Green Drop website. (Reports were only made available last night so they are not available online yet) You should also keep in mind that these scores and ratings are based on a wide range of criteria that is used to assess the entire wastewater collection and treatment system in a municipality - it is not simply to say that these plants are polluting the environment, some of the issues could be with not having the correct documentation in place, etc. At least we in the water sector now know where we stand - we have a baseline and there can be focussed intervention where needed before things get any worse Also check out (from your PC or phone) for details on our tap water

      Andrea Naude - 2011-07-01 07:47

      Thanks for this Dewald. At least one sensible comment. Now we know where to get info.

  • Susannomore - 2011-07-01 07:41

    It would be interesting if we could get a list of what water is safe, where. I am sure that this could save lives.

  • allan.clean - 2011-07-01 07:45

    Lets Face it, its appartheids fault, the bladdy agents never left enough money for 100 years maintenance

  • Vernon - 2011-07-01 07:47

    The headline told me that this story STINKS!

      TheUgly - 2011-07-01 12:31

      Come on, your better than this comment.

  • Stanley Black - 2011-07-01 07:48

    As a South African this is an issue that I feel is not given the attention it should. It need everyday South Africans to formulate opinions on it and for those opinions to be debated and commented on as a society. is somewhere you can do all that, go check it our submitting and commenting is easy and requires no registration.

  • Deema - 2011-07-01 07:51

    Moqhaka Municipality in the Free state did not even submit supporting documents for the Green Drop Analysis.

  • Wow! - 2011-07-01 08:14

    Everything managed by this ANC crowd is SUBSTANDARD

  • Caz - 2011-07-01 08:18

    I am really so tired of this Country not dealing with its Sh!t. Its about time we get a leader that is used to dealing with this. Malema just adds to it!!!

  • DORK VADER - 2011-07-01 08:21

    Come on 24 the correct spelling is... sewerage... not sewage... no wonder the country is in the kuck

  • Mike - 2011-07-01 08:30

    This of course since 1994 - what else do you expect from this bunch of ANC-led maniacs? Everything is "not my job".

  • Mark Edwards - 2011-07-01 08:31

    This stinks

  • the_truth - 2011-07-01 08:31

    Old news, why re-iterate..

      Mike - 2011-07-01 11:34

      If you don't re-iterate - in the end I will ask you to test drink the water! And then?

  • BMFree - 2011-07-01 08:52

    Just read all the stories on cosat suporting all these stupid ideas of nationilisation. They cant even run sewege works how do they propose to run banks and mines?

  • Agent - 2011-07-01 08:54

    Same as the current GOVT. SUSTANDARD

  • York Hunt - 2011-07-01 10:12

    I KNOW that Affirmative Action, incompetence and corruption has directly resulted in this water treatment problem.

  • Ned North - 2011-07-01 10:30

    Currently our water sector is the most disorganised. People who know and trained in the field have been either retired, frustrated out or just there. People whose education and background are not related to the water services engineering industry are taking decisions in issues which they are clueless on its implications....More so the centralised process in projects initiation and approval, disregarding the water authorities in the country, is acting exactly similar to the centralised services on home affair, where all actions taken are late and some times out of context. Having mentioned that municipality inability to recoup water rates due to politicians’ interference with the process, resulted in the municipalities relying only on cross-subsidy to balance books and grants to build infrastructure. This allowed ineptness to manifest itself around the industry....

  • Infinite - 2011-07-01 10:31

    there is a solutoin called the sludge buster mail for more info watch this space

  • TheUgly - 2011-07-01 12:30

    It's already starting. No maintenance due to corruption. For each R1 these fu&kers steal it costs us (the tax payer) R10. Eventually nothing will work. Nice job ANC. Guess you get what you vote for. Ps. this has been an issue for ages AND NOTHING IS STILL BEING DONE!

  • ZACKIE - 2011-07-01 15:27

    anc govt turns everything into sh1t

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