South Africa faces ‘human waste tsunami’ from poor water treatment


Half of the sewage treatment plants in South Africa do not treat sewage properly and in many cases do not treat it at all, writes Steve Kretzman for GroundUp. This is according to the long-awaited Green Drop 2022 report.

An official description of the initiative reads: “The goal of the Green Drop program is to create a paradigm shift in the approach to wastewater operations, management and regulation. It promotes regulation based on incentives; setting excellence as the benchmark for sanitation services.”

Anthony Turton of the University of the Free State’s Center for Environmental Management says it represents “a tsunami of human waste flooding our rivers and dams, relentlessly, for more than a decade.”

The number of critical treatment works listed in the last report in 2013 was 248. The latest Green Drop report, published on March 30, 2022, reveals that wastewater compliance has dropped in the intervening years. Of 850 municipal wastewater treatment works, 334 (39%) are in critical condition, scoring 30% or less.

“This decline is in both treatment and sewage collection,” the report said. It’s not just that sewage treatment plants fail to properly treat wastewater before releasing it into the environment, much of it spills into the environment before it even gets to treatment plants.

The average Green Drop score across all provinces was 50%, indicating that about half of our raw sewage and industrial waste is not treated to already inadequate standards, according to scientists in the fields of chemistry and epidemiology. The average score in 2013 was 61%.

The release of the report came after sewage samples in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Western Cape provinces detected higher and sustained levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

It is the failing Springbok sewage treatment plant in the Northern Cape, one of 334 in the country that has achieved a Green Drop score of 30% or less.

Source link


Comments are closed.