‘System is for sewage – nothing else’

2016-04-12 06:00
Ward 69 committee members visited the Wildevoëlvlei Wastewater Treatment Works to have their questions regarding waste management in the area answered.

Ward 69 committee members visited the Wildevoëlvlei Wastewater Treatment Works to have their questions regarding waste management in the area answered.

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Residents have been cautioned not to dispose of items other than sewage in the sewerage system, and to ensure there is no stormwater egress.

This follows a recent site visit and tour by ward 69 committee members to the Wildevoëlvlei wastewater treatment works. The visit aimed to inform committee members as to how the treatment plant operates and to answer questions regarding waste management in the area, explains subcouncil 19 chairperson Felicity Purchase.

The biggest challenge faced by the treatment plant is people who dispose of items other than sewage and block the system, Purchase says. “People throw everything from motor parts to carcasses down sewerage pipes. Even if sand gets in it can damage the machinery. Rags and sanitary towels catch on the turbines. Cotton buds and condoms are too small to be stopped by the filters and have to be fished out manually.”

The waste is treated through microbes, and the system is aerated to remove these as they cannot survive in oxygen. The sludge, or solid waste, is disposed of at a site in Durbanville, where it is used as a type of compost, Purchase explains.

Items, such as condoms and sanitary towels, removed during the process are disposed of as medical waste at Vissershok.

The water waste then stands in maturation pools for ten days, with ultraviolet lights used to kill any E.coli bacteria. Once the water is safe, it is discharged into the vlei and ultimately into the sea, she explains.

Another challenge facing the treatment works is stormwater egress. “Stormwater does not need treatment, but when it enters the sewerage system, it is also put through treatment, which is costly,” she says.

Inspections will be carried out at residences to ensure there is no stormwater egress, Purchase warns.

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