Press statement: POLLUTING GAUTENG DRINKING WATER

Press statement from SAVE THE VAAL

 

Date:  9 July 2015

 

POLLUTING GAUTENG DRINKING WATER

 

 

The Metsimaholo Local Council in Denysville has been caught on video opening pipes to spew raw sewage into the Vaal Dam a short distance from the Rand Water inlet pipe through which water is pumped for treatment before being used in taps in large parts of Gauteng.

The video , which can be viewed on  You-Tube, clearly shows the intentional pumping of untreated sewage into the Vaal River and Vaal Dam. by the Metsimaholo Local Municipality  on the 7th July 2015. It can be viewed by following these links:

https://youtu.be/MY1c5q-kK4Y

https://youtu.be/Ur7djXgI9Dw

and pollution that took place on the 20th May 2014

https://youtu.be/VGTMpxNylnY

 

This follows  a major media expose  of Metsimaholo’s activities in attempting to lay a new pipe 1 km away from the Rand Water inlet pipe. Department of Water and Sanitation stopped the new pipeline (which is almost complete) on the basis that the authorisations had not been applied for nor received.

 

This situation is of grave concern to SAVE the VAAL whose interest is the preventing pollution of the Vaal River from the Vaal Dam  and the Vaal River through to Parys.

 

This situation mirrors what is happening countrywide.  Local Councils have neither the skills, the money nor the will to upgrade poorly maintained waste water works and waste water reticulation systems, evidenced by e-coli accounts in many rivers and dams.  In so doing, they are breaking numerous laws including the Constitutional right to clean water.


 

The ultimate responsibility for water quality in our dams and rivers rests with the Department of Water and Sanitation.  Firm action is required against local councils who are responsible for pollution.

 

Despite several Court Orders against the Emfuleni Local Council for ongoing pollution ofo the Vaal River between Vereeniging and the Vaal Barrage, pollution levels remain high, further impacted  by loadshedding.

 

The problem lies in the fact that there is continued development both at  the Vaal Dam, Vereeniging and Vanderbijl Park, yet nothing has been done to upgrade the waste water works which are running well over capacities.   There is also a lack of skills and critical supplies such as chlorine (a key ingredient in the treatment process) at many works including Metsimaholo and the Emfuleni waste water works

.

 

The impact of this pollution extends beyond the environmental aspects (which are unacceptable).   There is also a danger to human and animal health and agriculture.  In the latter case, exports are being placed at risk and this is of deep concern to farmers.