The Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, David Mahlobo has heaped praises of Johannesburg Water and the management of Northern Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) for doing a diligent job in keeping it clean and functioning optimally.Mahlobo said this on Sunday during a site visit to the plant. He noted that it’s easy to understand why sector partners envy Northern WWTW because it is best in the continent and the best plant he has seen thus far. Cleanliness, operating and maintenance standard it is kept in are but some of the stand out things that caught the eye of the Deputy Minister. Mahlobo added that this is a standard that should be followed by others. “Asset management philosophy should be non-negotiable and it is easy to see why the Northern Waste Water Treatment Works is the envy of the sanitation industry in the African continent”, he remarked. The site visit by Mahlobo is one of many he has conducted in the last few months, inspecting the state of water infrastructure with an aim of escalating matters for intervention.
Gauteng Provincial Head, Sibusiso Mthembu echoed Mahlobo’s sentiments and added that the plant is over 90% compliant.However, he noted some of the biggest challenges that water infrastructure continue to face, including effluent discharged into the river system as a result of negligent by the industry and households. “The biggest challenge is the dumping into Juskei River and streams by those households that are not connected to the sewer system in communities such as Diepsloot, Cosmo City, Alexandra and other areas whereby the waste ends up at the Hartbeespoort Dam”, said Mthembu. The Northern WWTW receives wastewater from at least half the of the Johannesburg area and is designed to treat 450 mega litres per day, and was downgraded to a capacity of 405 mega litres per day. This massive plant comprises of five units, the first of these dates back to 1960 and the fifth was commissioned in the year 2009. The plant is fully automated to send warning signals to the plant operators if there is a glitch in the system. The officials from Johannesburg Water noted the following:
- R1.7 Billion is required to improve effluent compliance
- Preventive/predictive maintenance implemented to sustain effluent compliance.
- The wastewater treatment plant operates for 24/7 and 365 days, it does not recognise holidays and vacations but experiences changes in flow patterns and maintenance workloads.