“Tap water is safe to drink in Mogale City. Remember, as Gauteng we are leading in terms of safe drinking water,” said Gauteng MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, in Krugersdorp on Tuesday, 26 February 2013.

The MEC was in Krugersdorp on an awareness campaign on Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) and mining pollution in the West Rand. She assured community members of Mogale City in the West Rand, historically predominantly a mining area, that their tap water is of a drinkable standard and therefore safe to drink.

The MEC emphasised that the release of contaminated mining water into the rivers had been affecting quality in both surface and ground water since mining started in the region. Even though the majority of the mines in the area have since closed down, they had left behind the legacy of AMD.

According to the MEC, the problem became more acute when the mining activities stopped as responsibility for dealing with the issue was not accepted by any of the parties involved. “The reality is that we cannot wish away the mining sector. As government, we want the mining industry to grow the economy through creating jobs to our people, but they should put plans in place to manage AMD,” she said.

The MEC said high-level government intervention was initiated in 2010and an immediate and short term intervention by the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) aimed to neutralise untreated water decanting from the Western Basin and to pump and treat water from voids in the West, Central and Eastern Basins.

“A High Density Sludge (HDS) technology and chemical reagent combination has been selected to neutralise the pumped water in the Western, Central and Eastern basins, but the process will not remove all dissolved salts, heavy metals and radioactive contaminants.

“The contract to build a new HDS treatment plant in the Germiston area has been awarded,” saidMayathula-Khoza.The MEC said more interventions by national government were planned in the West Rand.