THE Lebowakgomo Waste Water Treatment Plant in Limpopo is receiving a R16 million refurbishment that is expected to double its capacity and alleviate water shortage in the Lepelle-Nkumpi Municipality. In addition, the Capricorn District Municipality (CDM) is installing mechanical screens that will automatically remove dirt from the water, thus improving the turnaround time
These were just some of the announcement made by CDM mayor John Mpe during his State of the District Address at Ga-Rafiri, Zebediela last week.
According to Daniel Hlongwani, a Water Quality technician, responsible for water and waste operations in the district municipality, the Lebowakgomo water treatment plant was operating at half its capacity for years, causing it to overload.
It is currently running on six mega litres of waste even though it is designed to carry three mega litres, he said.
Hlogwani says the intervention, which started in the current financial year, was designed to find a permanent solution to the problem that has affected thousands of residents of Lepelle-Nkumpi Municipality for years.
Lebowakgomo Township has about 35 000 people. He says some of its surrounding areas are not receiving safe piped drinking water because of the overloaded plant.
“The population in the township around has exceeded the design capacity that is meant to carry about half the load that comes from Lebowakgomo and the surrounding arrears and so causing a lot of blockages. We are receiving up to six mega litres per day, which means that the plant’s design has to be double,” said Hlongwani.
He added that lack of funding was the main cause of the water problem which affected several villages especially in the Ga-Mphahlele and Zebediela areas.
In a move to alleviate sanitation problems in these rural areas, Hlongwani said other interventions are being implemented
“We are now in the process of installing mechanical screens that removes dirt on time intervals so that it gets rid of it at a regular basis and to ensure that the health of our personnel is kept because this system ensures that nobody has to always clean manually,” he said.
During his SODA, Mpe announced that R21 million has been set aside for sanitation projects in Lepelle-Nkumpi for the 2018/2019 year. The plant is meant to clean and purify water going into the Tudumo River, which is ultimately the source of the Olifants River.
This will be done in three phases with the aim of improving the health and hygiene of the communities, he says.
“When the water comes in from the township households in the latrines it travels up to what
we call the Head of Works which then is engaged in a biological process that eat up the dirt from
the slush plant process that activate bacteria,” explained Hlongwane.
“The reactor, which like the slush plant has stirrers that enhance oxygen which kills the bacteria, is the last phase where we pour chlorine for the water to get clearer and get disinfected.”
He said that 12 kilograms of chlorine were poured into the water on the final phase before the water flows to the Tudumo River.
Lepelle Nkumpi Municipality previously had a budget of 16 million to activate the repairs and refurbishment programme of existing infrastructure that was initiated in order for the LWWTP to be able to operate at its full design capacity of three mega litres per day.