Waste Water Treatment Works

Judy Bell has compiled this article after receiving the latest Report from Umgeni Water:

Have a look at the latest compliance results for Howick WWTW – really poor!  This has to be related to all the extra sewage being received before the Works has been upgraded properly.  Too much development and too little consideration of the consequences…

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Test Site Site Code   Sample Date Lab test Date E. coli
Bridge B1   11-Apr   4880
Upstream of York Rd pump station UR8   11-Apr   131
Downstream WWTW outlet – Fish jump Falls S1   09-Apr 10-Apr 476
Bridge B1   05-Apr 05-Apr 11200
Upstream of York Rd pump station UR8   05-Apr 05-Apr 12

One aerator is missing?  Pardon?  It should have been replaced by the next day!


The impact on Albert Falls is noticeable and apparently there are on-going efforts to improve Howick WWTW and sewer reticulation issues?  However, there is no need to take action as there is no direct use.  The quality of the water below the dam is not considered for the river health or the downstream users. 


Isn’t it amazing that the following is noticed at Darvill:


But in the Trade Effluent section, no notifications were issued, as all effluent is discharged to sewer to Darvill, where it is “suitably treated”.  But Darvill has problems with aluminium, storm dam overflowing and contaminating the outgoing effluent – not disinfected properly; ammonia problems remain and pre-thickener issues!  So what is suitable?


I wonder how people downstream without access to potable water will survive!  It also takes 10 km for the river to assimilate the pollution WITHOUT any further inputs.  This is not possible at this rate.

We have to find a better way to deal with our wastes than to use water to transfer them to a poorly functioning WWTW for treatment, if it does not leak along the way.  This is a societal issue that needs to be managed in an holistic manner, not in compartments as at present.

Penny Rees adds: “Don’t forget the bridge pump station is supposed to be upgraded as part of the WWTW upgrade – and still we wait while Amber Ridge, Amber Lee and other developments continue to be built – all their sewage will go through Bridge pump station en route to the WWTW!”

Doug Burden, Manager of DUCT comments: “We have been warning Umgeni Water and uMngeni Municipality about this happening for ages. we simply cannot have more development without appropriate upgrade in infruastructure.  I don’t even want to think what the situation be if the planned Khayalisha development takes place and the system has to cope with all thatserage too?”

To get the monthly Umgeni Water reports – they are a mine of information – Contact Kim Hodgson to put you on the mailing list – Kim.Hodgson@umgeni.co.za


About Nikki Brighton

I live in Howick, between the river and the hills. I enjoy pre-dawn walks in the streets with my dog, sitting on the veranda with crochet and tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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One Response to Waste Water Treatment Works

  1. Caroline Conway-Physick says:

    Very dissapointing to see the lack of concern and the high degree of human health risk some of these sampling results reflect. The irratic nature of these sampling results shows systems that cannot cope with supply. This is potentially due to poor maintenance and management of these facilities. World heath limits and countries such as Australia, set E. Coli limits at 100 cfu/ 100ml although 1000cfu is accepted where potential human contact is considered low risk. Anything higher is unacceptable. Having now worked with such “brown issues” in australia for some time, i can say that the solutions are readily available how takes financial and technical capacity as well as care of the holistic environment. The blatant lack of duty of care is of serious concern and the municipality should be called to task on the issues. Well done to all concerned for keeping up the passion and care of the environmental. Best wishes to all Caroline

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