By Zine George
Plans are afoot to give Buffalo City’s ailing Umzonyana Water Treatment Works a R320-million facelift.
BCM spokesman Sam Ngwenya confirmed yesterday that mayor Xola Pakati will today do the sod-turning of the milestone project, which, once finished, will help eliminate water cuts in the near future.
This is the same plant where a breakdown was responsible for last April’s sporadic water cuts which forced local schools to send pupils home and factories such as Mercedes-Benz SA and Nestlé South Africa to shut operations for days.
This was after a pipe reconnecting the main holding, or balance, dam to the treatment works broke.
A massive siphon that draws water from the holding dam down a pipe and fills the treatment works, lost pressure and stopped functioning.
There was no water for days after the metro’s 22 reservoirs which supply water directly to people, took too long to fill up.
The water supply system services more than 500000 people located in the metro’s coastal and midlands districts.
These include East London and Mdantsane, with a smaller proportion residing in Ncerha villages, Kayser’s Beach and Winterstrand.
Ngwenya said the project would be divided into three phases and entails the completion of the raw water inlet works, fencing, upgrade of the pump station and construction of additional sludge lagoons.
Phase one of the project, which will cost R23.3-million, includes:
- The construction of new flocculent and chlorine storage and dosing facilities;
- Construction of pipework; and valves in the intake tower;
- Construction of the concrete chamber and stilling basin; as well as
- Construction of a new 4km security fence around the plant and premises at Umzonyana Dam.
Ngwenya said part two of phase one of the Reeston project will include augmentation of Buffalo River raw water abstraction system at a cost of R60-million.
“Tenders are currently being evaluated for this phase. Total estimated cost of all phases to be completed over the 2016-17 to 2020 financial years is estimated in excess of R300-million,” he added.
The city has budgeted R420-million to upgrade wastewater treatment works in the current financial year.
These include upgrading the Umzonyana wastewater works in Reeston, the Zwelitsha wastewater works and the Eastern Beach sewers.