BITOU Local Municipality shared its know-how in the treatment of wastewater with five other municipalities at a workshop sponsored by WIN-SA and Saice.
WIN-SA is the Water Information Network of South African and Saice is the South African Institution for Civil Engineering. The information-sharing workshop, one in a series of lessons by WIN-SA, was attended by 31 process controllers from the six municipalities.
It took place at the Gansvlei Wastewater Treatment Plant on 23 March, and was one of the first workshops in the country to be held at a wastewater treatment plant. It fell under the WIN-SA project, “Good practices in wastewater treatment”.
According to Natasha Rush of Sarah Slabbert, the workshop was practical with a strong focus on operations and process control. It included hints and tips and a WRC literature pack with loads of information was handed out.
The WRC, or Water Research Commission, is a national government initiative that falls under the Department of Science and Technology.
Municipalities in South Africa face many challenges in providing effective water services to residents, especially with regard to the treatment of wastewater. The WIN-SA lesson series aims to capture the innovative work of people tackling real water services and water resources issues.
Bitou was selected by WIN-SA as an example of good practice in the field. The idea behind the workshop was for the municipality to share its experiences with other local governments, specialists and the Department of Water Affairs.
It is agreed that municipalities can overcome challenges by learning from each other and by exchanging ideas and practical lessons.
Certain aspects of wastewater treatment were addressed in the WIN-SA lesson, to demonstrate how Bitou Municipality manages each of them:
To maximise the output from this lesson, Ronald Tarentaal, Bitou’s superintendent: water and sewer, shared the municipality’s experiences with WIN-SA’s support at another learning event hosted by Tlokwe Municipality on 6 April.
The workshop in Bitou was sponsored by WIN-SA and Saice. WIN-SA was represented by Ditshego Magoro and Saice by Willie Potgieter. The participating municipalities were: Bitou, George, Knysna, Hessequa, Mossel Bay and Tlokwe.
Executive Mayor Lulama Mvimbi and the municipal manager, Lonwabo Ngoqo, opened the workshop, with the mayor applauding staff who worked very hard in managing the town’s sewerage and keeping the wastewater treatment plant neat and clean.
He also encouraged the guests to come back and explore the beauty of Plettenberg Bay.
Among the presenters at the workshop were: Dr Sarah Slabbert, the facilitator; Dr Marlene van der Merwe-Botha from the Watergroup; and Zanele Mupariwa, from the Deparment of Water Affairs.
Van der Merwe-Botha gave an overview of the wastewater treatment process, with specific reference to the Gansvlei plant. She also took the delegates through the criteria for Green Drop certification. Mupariwa spoke about the cumulative risk ratio of municipalities in the Western Cape with regard to wastewater treatment.
The Bitou wastewater management team, Pikkie Lombard, Tarentaal and Etienne de Waal, facilitated three practical activities: sludge evaluation, biological phosphate removal control, and aerobic bacteria control. Participants were divided into three groups and each group rotated through the three activities.
There was a follow-up workshop in Tlokwe on 6 April, where the Bitou wastewater management team shared their best practice with municipalities in North West. Pikkie Lombard, the manager: water quality control; Tarentaal; and Etienne de Waal, the scientific officer in charge of the laboratory, made up the local team at the Tlokwe workshop.
Kemp Steyn, of Hessequa Municipality, and MJ Mokae, of Tlokwe Municipality, were selected in a draw to go to the third Municipal Water Quality Conference in Cape Town from 28 to 30 June. The conference is hosted by the Water Institute of Southern Africa, and WIN-SA will sponsor their registration fees.
WIN-SA is a network of organisations focusing on improving knowledge sharing in the water and sanitation sector, targeting decision makers in the government and non-government water services sector.Last published 30 March 2016