South Africa: ERWAT to spearhead the Vaal river clean up

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A section of the polluted Vaal River. (Picture: www.fse.org.za)

The South African Department of Water and Sanitation has appointed East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT) to spearhead the cleaning exercise of the polluted Vaal river.

South Africa Water and Sanitation Minister, Gugile Nkwinti announced that an Implementation Protocol was signed in March 2019 by the water department and six other entities including, COGTA in Gauteng, Emfuleni Local Municipality, South African National Defense Force (SANDF), Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) and the East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT).

“ERWAT will ensure that all wastewater treatment infrastructure is resuscitated to an operational state and that pollution in the Vaal River is stopped,” he said.

The Vaal River, which is a major water resource in the country, has been in crisis mode for some time with reports of the water being poisonous and causing fish to die.

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Untreated sewerage from three water treatment plants has continued to flow into the Vaal River, causing blocked drains and flowing into the local community’s homes and streets.

The South African Department of Water and Sanitation has set aside US$25 million for the resuscitation of all wastewater treatment infrastructures in the Vaal Triangle.

Minister Nkwinti indicated that 250 youth and community members will be trained in plumbing, carpentry, brick-laying, paving and agriculture.

“SANDF will also train 2 000 youth and community members for different functions around the pump stations and wastewater treatment plants until and beyond the completion of the project, that is projected for March 2020,” he said.

He highlighted that more than 120 000 households living in the Southern part of the area will benefit from Module 6 of the Sebokeng Wastewater Treatment Works upon completion in May 2019. Construction of Module 7 of the project is expected to begin by July 2019.