Children play in discharge effluent near Phalaborwa
Water quality in the lower Olifants is severely compromised due to effluent from the Phalaborwa mining complex and the municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTW) in Phalaborwa (Mopani District) and cessation of flows in the Selati River upstream of Phalaborwa. This impacts on water quality and aquatic biodiversity – impacts which are projected to worsen under climate change scenarios. AWARD, in collaboration with the Water Group, developed a turnaround plan for the three plants: Lulekani, Namakgale and Phalaborwa. Work began in September 2017 with skills and risk assessments and process audits of the plants. With all three WWTW scoring under 25% in Green Drop compliance, the results confirmed the need for urgent intervention. Achievements include:
  • Three Risk Abatement Plans for the three wastewater plants were supported by the Mayor and senior office bearers at a feedback session for the Ba-Phalaborwa Local Municipal Council.
  • Accredited certificates were presented to the 20 wastewater treatment process controllers trained through the project, providing these key staff with an opportunity to be recognised by the Mayor. They have also been registered with DWS.
  • Incident management protocols have been developed.
  • The executive committee of the Water & Sanitation Forum requested assistance with setting up a public-private partnership model to implement the turnaround plans for wastewater management in Mopani District Municipality.