Raw sewage befouls Blesbokspruit, Strubenville, Springs – http://bit.ly/pjNANd…
A staggering stench envelops Strubenvale and surroundings. Natural science expert Matthew Havinga and Springs businessman Bert Pretorius want to tackle the problem, writes journalist Ernest Wolmarans. These sewage problems do not stand alone: by 2010, only three percent of all the SA ‘s once so efficient, sparkling-clean municipal sewage plants were still operational, noted Farmers Weekly.
Plans for calcium-hypo-chlorite use slammed by Hanenga
Accompanying Bert Pretorius, owner of a hospitality establishment, and Matthew Havinga, a professional natural scientist with an honours degree in microbiology to the Ancor Works Sewage Treatment Plant yielded interesting results, noted Wolmarans. “The two men showed this newspaper how ‘semi-clean’ sewage water is being discharged into the surrounding environment. “ The municipal workers have ‘issues with the pumps and filters’ forcing them to discharge into the environment: the remaining equipment cannot cope with the overload,” explained Havinga, a resident on the waterfront of the Blesbokspruit. This crucial fresh-water stream has become seriously befouled by the sewage discharge.
“Imagine what it’s like to wake up with the strong smell of sewage in your nostrils every morning,” continues Havinga in frustration. “Something must be done and it must be done quickly,” he adds. Pretorius agrees: the Blesbokspruit runs past his establishment, the name of which he asked be withheld for fear of affecting his business further. “I have big clients, having used my facilities for years, that are now thinking twice before making their next reservation – all because of this smell,” he explains.
Two daily cans of sanitiser sprayed in each hotel room just to keep the stench away
He adds that staff are forced to use up to two cans of air sanitiser a day per room to help control the smell that has gripped the establishment for more than a month.Wanda Hending, spokeswoman for the state-owned East Rand Water ‘company’ which runs this plant, confirmed the ‘technical difficulties:’ “We now are taking emergency measures to replaceand repair faulty bio-filters – the absence of which creates an overflow that the remaining equipment cannot handle. The discharged water is not raw sewage as it has been subjected to the first phase of the process,” explains Henning. “The authorities (Dept Water Affairs) visited the plant last Tuesday and gave the go-ahead to treat the overflowing water with calcium hypo-chlorite, which, she says, ‘will not affect plant or animal life in the sensitive ecological systems of the Ramsar-protected Blesbokspruit, while diminishing the resultant smell.” A worker at the plant also confirmed that ‘three of the plant’s bio-filters malfunctioned in quick succession.’ Once the new, custom-built filter, expected to be installed by Friday, is installed ‘there will no longer be a need for the overflow and all water will go through the regular treatment process,” he said. The worker admitted that the water being discharged – into the Blesbokspruit – ‘was not 100 percent clean.’ He also believed that the newly added calcium hypo-chlorite now finding its way into overflow water from the plant, would help to reduce excess bacteria.
Havenga: Is calcium hypo-chlorite really good for the environment?
However – natural-scientist Mr Havinga slammed the management of Erwat after hearing of these plans. He challenged their use of calcium hypo-chlorite: “If calcium hypo-chlorite is indeed good for the environment, why is government not treating all the sewage water with it on a constant basis? I believe that this whole thing boils down to a lack of vision and management of maintenance, funding and back-up equipment. I’d love to see Erwat’s operating permit so that I can point out all the areas where they aren’t delivering,” he said.
Calcium clogs up filters: so calcium hypochlorite should also contain anti-scaling agents
Calcium hypochlorite is not very easily solluble in water, but is nevertheless used for the disinfection of drinking water – but mainly swimming pool water. The calcium tends to clog up filters so products have to contain descaling agents. It is mainly used as a sanitizer in outdoor swimming pools in combination with a cyanuric acid stabilizer, which reduces the rapid evaporation of chlorine from ultraviolet radiation. Calcium hypochlorite is an ingredient in bleaching powder, used for bleaching cotton and linen. It is also used in bathroom cleaners, household disinfectant sprays, moss and algae removers, and weedkillers. Note: ‘It is also used to make chloroform, used to anaesthise patients during surgery. Calcium hypochlorite can be very dangerous: it must be stored in a cool dry place and well away from any organic material: it is known to undergo self-heating and rapid decomposition and this releases very toxic chlorine gas… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_hypochlorite
Only 3 percent of SA sewage works still operational by 2010
(Chris Burgess: Friday, 19 February 2010 in Farmer’s Weekly)
“The startling revelation that only 3% of the country’s sewage works are operational, makes it only onto page 10 of an Afrikaans daily newspaper, while the English press never get around to actually covering it.
- In the North West, as exasperated farmers in Swartruggens and Sannieshof can attest to, there are apparently no fully functional sewage works.
- In the Free State, 99% don’t work.
This befouling of the fresh-water resources should be a national crisis
In a country as critically water stressed as South Africa, this should amount to nothing less than a national crisis. There should be a flurry of ministerial activity, as departmental heads roll, and anxious engineers are shuttled to and fro across the country, as they frantically try to stem the rising tide of preventable pollution. Instead, the department of water affairs’ official response is that they have, indeed, “commissioned a report on the state of sewage works, but are still putting the finishing touches to it.”
Polluted water kills hundreds of babies in small-town municipalities
“Meanwhile, livestock carcasses, infected with tapeworm, are turned away at abattoirs after animals drink water with faecal counts way off the charts, polluted water kills hundreds of babies in small-town municipalities, and irrigation farmers wait nervously for their export markets to slam unceremoniously shut.
The bottom line is that no one of consequence seems to be particularly interested in the art of moving turds from point A to point B in such a way that they don’t end up where they don’t belong, like in a river. An essential engineering pursuit first perfected by the Romans thousands of years ago, but not deemed important here in South Africa, as we pursue some very dubious other priorities.
Like replacing the some 7,374 police firearms that have gone missing over the past three years. Arms that almost certainly all end up in the hands of criminals, who definitely don’t take them out to the shooting range. Instead, they end up being thrust into your face as your house gets ransacked. After all, have you ever heard of burglars using hunting rifles? So amazingly, a fair whack of violent crime could simply be avoided if police would just hang on to their weapons…
ANC plans to take away all the weapons from the citizens
The official response? The minister of police, without the slightest hint of irony, announces that he would like, eventually, to see no-one in the country armed, except the police… Meanwhile, nothing is ever said about how this haemorrhaging of police weapons will be stopped, or what action will be taken against police officers who lose their weapons.
Instead, private citizens, punch-drunk by the criminal onslaught, are threatened with lengthy jail sentences if the new firearm legislation isn’t followed to the letter…. This is a summary, the entire article is on Farmer’s Weekly.
Calcium clogs up some filters: so calcium hypochlorite should also contain anti-scaling agents
Calcium hypochlorite is not easily solluble in water, but is nevertheless used for the disinfection of drinking water or swimming pool water. It is mainly used as a sanitizer in outdoor swimming pools in combination with a cyanuric acid stabilizer, which reduces the loss of chlorine due to ultraviolet radiation. The calcium content hardens the water and tends to clog up some filters; hence, some products containing calcium hypochlorite also contain anti-scaling agents. Calcium hypochlorite is also an ingredient in bleaching powder, used for bleaching cotton and linen. It is also used in bathroom cleaners, household disinfectant sprays, moss and algae removers, and weedkillers. It is also used to make chloroform. Calcium hypochlorite is best kept in a cool dry place away from any organic material. It is known to undergo self heating and rapid decomposition accompanied by the release of toxic chlorine gas – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_hypochlorite