July 11 saw Hennops Blue Horizon and Fresh pay a visit to the outlet of Olifantsfontein Wwtw. This is a report issued to the Department of Water Affairs by Willem Snyman from Fresh: ‘Regarding the section 19 directive issued to ERWAT at Olifantsfontein on 28/5/2018 ref 16/2/7/A210/N11/x1 due to non-compliance.
Following up on the repeated ongoing complaints by the public over the quality of effluent from the Olifantsfontein Wwtw that have been made recently and published widely on social media. Due to the categorical denial by ERWAT of any pollution saying ‘it’s impossible’, a fact finding meeting was held yesterday to ascertain the truth.
Called by Save the Hennops Shane Gouldie, with NGO’s Hennops Blue Horizon and FRESH, as well as City of Ekurhuleni Councillor Derek Thomson, Graham Gershbach MPL and Gert Visser Cclr Ward 65 present.
We walked to the outlet of the Wwtw and were shocked at the huge volume of foam present there as well as the strong odour.
Clearly this effluent is not clean as is being claimed by ERWAT, which they say is being independently tested, and it still looks the same as two months ago.
The kilometer long sludge filled trench has at least been closed but in a very haphazard way with liquid still oozing out, and no restoration of the bank.
There are still many unanswered questions remaining here.
Why was this trench dug? With eyewitness reports of it often filling up with sludge and overflowing into the stream, why do they deny any involvement in the river regularly turning black?
How can their effluent be tested as clean when it is obviously so filthy, and how can they deny any part in the constant foaming of the river when there is so much foam present at their outlet? ERWAT ascribes this to turbulence.
These are unresolved problems going on for a decade now.
It is unclear why this 100 mega-litre plant, with a monthly budget of ten million, cannot achieve compliance standards. Comparatively the 70 mega-litre Sunderland Ridge Plant, that is also under standard, only operates at three million a month. Huge amounts of tax money is spent while our fountain rivers are being polluted and no accountability taken. Such devastating destruction when there are much cheaper and more effective alternatives of bio-remediation available.
We would also like to call on the DWA to raise the standards of treatment works to prevent chemicals like anti-retrovirals affecting the endocrine system of the animals in the Rietvlei Dam, a source of drinking water for Centurion. Also for the removal of heavy metals and hormones. These pollutants can be treated by polishing plants and wetlands at outlets and will save our delicate aquatic ecosystems.
As custodians of our rivers we plead with the DWA that these longstanding sources of pollution be stopped immediately, to save the last endangered life in the Hennops. This river flows through densely populated areas as well as protected nature reserves, and is of great historical and cultural heritage value.’