SA Defense Force Sends in Reinforcements to curb Vaal River Sewerage Spill

  • Untreated waste from two large sewerage plants has been making its way into the Vaal river, causing blocked drains and flowing into the local community’s homes and streets.
  • The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) has deployed an extra 100 troops to find solutions to the environmental disaster.
  • The Emfuleni Local Municipality failed to refurbish water treatment facilities and repair damaged infrastructure, which caused raw sewage to flow into people’s homes.
  • The municipality has since been placed under administration and the mayor, Jacob Khawe, resigned on Thursday amid widespread allegations of mismanagement and corruption.

The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) specialised engineers has deployed an extra 100 troops to find solutions to the contamination of the Vaal River. Untreated waste form two large sewerage plants has been making its way into the river, causing blocked drains and flowing into the local community’s homes and streets.

The initial 200 troops who arrived in November have made progress but more are needed. “The engineers have so far managed to clean all the water pumps which were meant to be cleaned by now, and we are pleased with the progress.The engineers are working closely with other suppliers in the area and I will be visiting them on Thursday to brief them on the progress and immediate plans for other projects in the pipeline,” according to SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi.

Read: Day Zero Looming in Gauteng, South Africa

Mafi added that the defence force wanted to accomplish its mission by December 2019 and said it would do everything necessary to make sure that the process was completed by the deadline date. “We have also deployed troops who are guarding all our workspaces as precautionary measures, so that we are not set back on our mission,” Mafi said.

The Emfuleni Local Municipality failed to refurbish water treatment facilities and repair damaged infrastructure, which caused raw sewage to flow into people’s homes. The situation prompted the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to establish an inquiry to determine whether the spillage amounted to an infringement of basic human rights.

The municipality has since been placed under administration and the mayor, Jacob Khawe, resigned on Thursday amid widespread allegations of mismanagement and corruption.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

This type of disaster can significantly reduce water supply levels. Start doing your bit. Residents can start saving water at home by showering instead of bathing. Better still fit a low flow shower head to your shower. An average bath uses between 80-150 litres of water while showering using a low flow shower head for five minutes will use between 30 and 80 litres of water. Companies like Hansgrohe offer a wide range of high quality low flow shower heads.

In terms of the expected new water by-law amendments in the country, the maximum flow rate from any shower head may not exceed 10 litres per minute.  The Hansgrohe EcoSmart ranges have flow rates as low as 6 litres per minute without comprising on the experience.

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