Underfunded ERWAT turns the City of Ekurhuleni’s Rivers into Sewer Channels

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Ekurhuleni, is alarmed at the high levels of sewerage and effluent being pumped into our rivers.Of the 19 Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP) in Ekurhuleni, 12 of them are operating at maximum capacity or beyond capacity.

The obvious result is that the balance of sewerage cannot be processed at all and is being pumped straight back out into our rivers. This is not going to change unless Ekurhuleni recognises and prioritises the urgency of this upgrade. Our sewer systems, much like our ailing infrastructure is in urgent need of an upgrade.

Our rapidly densifying communities and towns are not going to be habitable if these upgrades are not prioritised. We simply cannot keep absorbing the overwhelming numbers into our cities and towns without improving the capacity of our sewer systems. It is completely unsustainable.

The ERWAT Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP) are meant to be assessed quarterly as a measure of their competency and analyse the water quality flowing into rivers throughout the Metro. The last Green Drop Audit by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) was in 2012/2013.

Three sites were audited:
Esther Park 90%
Olifantsfontein 90%
Rynfield 70%

The internal inspections measure capacity and the health of a river, with the findings ranging from:
Critical Risk
High risk
Medium risk

Clearly, these measures are an indication of a serious health hazard.

It’s time for the ANC government to act. A clean environment is not an additional ‘nice-to-have’. It is not a trivial ‘accessory’ to the essential requirements of urban infrastructure. Leaving this unattended will see more people become exposed to health risks, which will in turn place a greater burden on healthcare.

Released by: Cllr Jill Humphreys – DA member of Environment and Waste Management Oversight in Ekurhuleni and Derek Thomson DA Spokesperson for Water, Sanitation and Energy Oversight in Ekurhuleni