And Del­mas dumps on Bronkhorstspruit

Mail & Guardian - - News -

Waste from homes around the Bronkhorstspruit Dam is ei­ther treated on site and then re­leased into the dam, or it is sent to a so-called pack­age sta­tion. This re­moves the solid sewage and then pumps the still un­treated liq­uid waste over the moun­tains to the waste­water treat­ment plant in Bronkhorstspruit. The plant there uses a chemical and me­chan­i­cal process to sep­a­rate and make the waste safe for use as fer­tiliser and for re­lease into the nearby river. But the plant is not work­ing. An ex­pe­ri­enced wa­ter tech­ni­cian, who has been into the plant and who also does not want to be named, says it is blocked with com­pacted hu­man waste. With­out main­te­nance, the ma­chines that break down the waste have them­selves bro­ken down. Waste­water now flows over the solid waste that has caused the plant to seize up — but, from the out­side, it looks as if it is work­ing, ac­cord­ing to the tech­ni­cian. “About 95% of that plant’s ca­pac­ity is now just solid waste. It would take a jack­ham­mer to break it apart now.”

It is the same at the pack­age sta­tion next to the Bronkhorstspruit Dam. Over­grown and di­lap­i­dated, it stands silent. The tell-tale signs of waste sur­round the plant — mud and green growth, fed by the nu­tri­ent-rich sewage that spills out of a rusted grate in the mid­dle of the sta­tion.

Some­one who has seen the plant try­ing to op­er­ate says, be­cause of the block­ages at the main waste­water plant in Bronkhorstspruit, the waste can­not be pumped there. In­stead, it is spilling out of the plant, flow­ing down the hill and into the dam.

Bronkhorstspruit is do­ing to peo­ple down­river what Del­mas is do­ing to it. —

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