SAVE the VAAL is deeply concerned about the ongoing spillages of raw or partially treated sewage into Vaal Dam from the Metsimaholo waste water treatment plant at Deneysville.

It is common knowledge that the sewage plant is dysfunctional and has been disposing of raw sewage by diverting sewage through trenches dug across farmland until it finally reaches the Vaal Dam or river.

This is not only a serious health risk to residents of Refengkgotso because sewage is running between houses but also an environmental criminal act”, said Malcolm Plant, Chairman of SAVE. In addition, it could represent a threat to Gauteng tap water because this water is abstracted from Vaal Dam. At the very least, it will increase costs of treatment which will mean increased costs of water to consumers.

The raw sewerage has also contaminated farm dams between the sewerage plant and the Vaal Dam and has also filled large natural depressions in the ground alongside occupied houses in Refengkgotso.

The Vaal Dam is very low at present at 38% of its capacity. It begs the question of how much of this water is contaminated by sewage – not only from the Metsimaholo water treatment plant but also other dysfunctional facilities such as Standerton.

In 2016, the Department of Water and Sanitation allocated about R120 million to refurbish the Deneysville treatment plant. This was part of an emergency repair programme for 26 waste water treatment plants whose effluent is pumped into the Vaal River system. What happened to these funds and why was the work not completed?” asks Plant. This programme was billed as “Phse I of a refurbishment programme – but there was no further action.

The Department of Water and Sanitation (Free State and Gauteng) as well as Rand Water and the Metsimaholo Municipal Manager were informed. SAVE did not receive any response from the Municipal Manager but the Department of Water and Sanitation has sent representatives to Deneysville to review the situation. However, for the past three weeks, there have been no answers as to what action plan and timelines are in place to resolve this issue speedily.

It is not unreasonable that the citizens of Gauteng and the Free State and specifically the residents of Refengkgotso and Deneysville expect all the authorities who are accountable for water and sanitation to intervene as a matter of extreme urgency to ensure that the Deneysville treatment plant is fully operational a with sufficient capacity and to ensure that this plant ceases its ongoing pollution of a precious water resource.

SAVE the VAAL has instructed its lawyer to take up this matter.

For further information:
Contact Maureen Stewart – 082-5705058