IN QUOTES | Drinking water not affected by Vaal River pollution, says water & sanitation department

13 October 2020 - 14:30
Drinking water quality has not been compromised by pollution and sewage spills in the Vaal River, according to the department of water and sanitation. File photo.
Drinking water quality has not been compromised by pollution and sewage spills in the Vaal River, according to the department of water and sanitation. File photo.
Image: inus12345 / 123RF Stock Photo

The quality of drinking water has not been compromised by Vaal River pollution and sewage spills, the department of water and sanitation said on Monday.

Acting director-general Trevor Balzer addressed the media to provide an update on the Emfuleni Water Project.

The project has long been under public scrutiny. Earlier this year, activists told TimesLIVE the department has failed to address the issue, and has allowed raw sewage to spill into the Vaal River system for more than 10 years.

Last week the department said it had identified 26 municipalities directly polluting the Vaal River system.

Here are five important quotes from Balzer's address:

Blockages

“We have the intervention project which is dealing with the sewer blockages in terms of the 44 pump stations in the area. Many of those stations were dysfunctional and some had to be unblocked.”

Water quality not affected

“We're doing upgrades to increase capacity and to take on increased flows which were developed over a few years. There is no affect on quality for drinking water. Drinking water is not impacted by the pollution.”

Sewer spillage

“We must be concerned about the river water quality because as sewers flow below the Vaal Dam and lower down, it affects other users downstream. We have to pick up that water and purify it at additional cost.”

Why the delay? 

“We haven't invested in some of the infrastructure required to meet the urban development taking place, and within the Sedibeng district in particular. We have to speed up that process. We will find a mechanism to secure funding through commercial loans and development funding institutions such as the new development bank.”

Effect of power outages 

“When we have a power outage and those 44 pump stations shut down, we have difficulty operating. Part of the intervention will be the purchase of generators which we will install at the pump stations to make sure we are less affected by planned and unplanned outages."


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