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Court intervenes in fixing the broken Vaal wastewater treatment delay

Neelam Rahim |

2-minute read
07 July 2023 | 20:29 CAT

Image: Joburg ETC

There are serious concerns over the state of our rivers, especially for people living along the Vaal River. The Gauteng High Court has stepped in to Address Vaal Wastewater Treatment Works After Years of Sewage Spills. The unabated flow of raw sewage into the Vaal River has been ruled as a violation of environmental acts by the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, prompting the Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu to take action.

While the call for the broken sewage works has been going on for years, Wit’s Water Expert Professor Mike Muller argues that ten years of backlog cannot be fixed quickly.

Prof Muller said the Emfuleni Local Municipality, which is largely responsible, has been deteriorating over years of municipal mismanagement and poor maintenance of the services.

Emfuleni’s wastewater system comprises three treatment plants — Leeuwkuil, Rietspruit and Sebokeng — each plant has its system of pump stations (44 in all) and a network spanning more than 1 000km. The Sebokeng and Rietspruit plants discharge what should be treated effluent into the Rietspruit, while the Leeuwkuil plant discharges into the Vaal River at Vanderbijlpark.

According to NGO Save the Vaal Environment (Save), the Emfuleni Local Municipality’s wastewater treatment system collapse resulted in around 170 million litres of raw or partially treated wastewater entering the Vaal River daily.

In collaboration with the River Property and Safety Association, Save celebrated the court order as a significant victory after years of legal battles and pressure on authorities. The organisation stressed the importance of transparent and honest communication to foster understanding and address the challenges encountered during refurbishment and expansion projects.

Listen to the full interview on Your World Today with Moulana Ahmed Waja.



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