As a result of the Emalahleni Bucket Eradication Project in Dordrecht, the amount of sewage emanating from the town had increased in recent years, with more waterborne sewerage being planned in the near future. This necessitated the upgrading of the current waste water treatment works (WWTW) from 1 Ml/d capacity to a future 2,8 Ml/d capacity.
This project, which is owned by the Chris Hani District Municipality, consisted of initial upgrades to the WWTW, comprising a new inlet works, a new chlorination building with a chlorine contact tank, as well as a treated sewage effluent storage pond to cater for future irrigation purposes. Fencing was also erected to secure the entire facility.
The WWTW system, prior to the upgrades, consisted of a conventional oxidation pond system. The provided upgrades meant that more advanced technologies were now combined with conventional components and this necessitated an adequate interface. The outlet works, where chlorine disinfection is administered, remains a sophisticated technology and additional care was taken to train the WSP’s staff to operate the plant. The chlorination approach was also kept as simplistic as possible. As part of this project, the condition of the existing ponds was also improved with some necessary maintenance work, increasing their life expectancy.
Dordrecht used four sewage pump stations to pump sewage to the head of the WWTW. These pump stations frequently overflowed due to pump failure and load shedding. The construction of sewage overflow ponds was not permitted as part of this project due to the local environmentally-sensitive areas. Backup generators were, however, permitted to prevent pump stations overflowing during load shedding. An environmental management programme was enforced at all times during the project.
An Institutional and Social Development (ISD) consultant was appointed to ensure collaboration with the community. A Project Steering Committee (PSC) was set up and monthly meetings were held to discuss the impact on the community and provide feedback from the community to the professional team. Training and skill development was performed on the PSC in administrative and leadership aspects, such as financial management, conflict resolution and convening meetings. They were also invited to attend site inspections of the works during construction and also went on a tour after the works was completed.
All labour was sourced from the local community, with interaction handled skillfully throughout the project with the assistance of a social facilitator. This led to a great amount of community support for the project from the onset.
The upgrades to Dordrecht WWTW were a necessity to allow for the future development of the town. It is the first step to ensuring that basic services can be provided to a neglected community. New and old technologies were used conjunctively to provide a design that could suit the local needs and capabilities. Active involvement of the community and environmental control officer ensure that neither the community nor the environment was neglected due to the implementation of the project. In conjunction with future phases, this project has formed the basis of increased service delivery for Dordrecht.
The Dordrecht Waste Water Treatment Works Upgrade was awarded top honours in the ‘Technical Excellence’ category at the South African Institute of Civil Engineering (SAICE) Eastern Cape branch awards in 2015.