The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is set to take legal action against the Dikgatlong Municipality following the spillage of raw sewage in the town.
THE DEPARTMENT of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is set to take legal action against the Dikgatlong Municipality following the spillage of raw sewage in the town.
This comes in the wake of a warning by the department to local authorities that perpetrators of water pollution will be charged in terms of the National Water Act.
The department said in a statement yesterday that “it will not stand idle and do nothing while the country’s water resources are being deliberately polluted”.
Department spokesperson Ratau Sputnik stated that the DWS was hands on to pursue the perpetrators of water pollution and ensure that they not only complied with the prescripts of the National Water Act (NWA), but were also brought to book in cases of further non-compliance.
“DWS is presently pursuing two pollution-related cases, one in the Northern Cape and the other in Mpumalanga.”
He added that in the Northern Cape, a long-standing case of water pollution in Barkly West was “on the radar of the department”.
“A directive was issued on October 16, 2018 instructing Ms Itumeleng Levonia, in her capacity as the acting municipal manager of Dikgatlong Local Municipality, in terms of the NWA, to do the following: Stop controlled discharge of untreated effluent; provide the department with an action plan on how the municipality is going to address issues relating to the discharge of untreated effluent; appoint an independent environmental consultant to compile and submit a rehabilitation plan for departmental approval, for the areas affected by the continuous spillage of raw sewage; and implement all recommendations contained in the rehabilitation plan and rehabilitate the areas affected by sewage spillage.”
“Should Dikgatlong Municipality fail to comply with the issued directive the Department of Water and Sanitation may take the necessary actions in terms of Section 53(2) of the NWA.”
According to Sputnik, there was no written response received by the department from the municipal manager, but there were verbal conversations and commitments.
“The pump stations were repaired and sewage spillages stopped from pump stations,” he stated.
Sputnik added that since these repairs, there had been recurring spillages that were stopped and repaired.
“However, there was no action plan received and no environmental consultant appointed. The affected areas were not rehabilitated in full and there was only partial rehabilitation of these affected areas.
“The actions taken by the municipality were to stop the spillages and repair the infrastructure. These actions were not sufficient, however, and the department intends to proceed with legal action as allowed for by the act.”
In Mpumalanga, the department ordered that a site visit be conducted on the Klein Olifants which has allegedly been turned into a biological hazard.
“The departmental team did find that there was enough evidence of pollution and concluded that there were overflows in the system. Some of the industries contributing towards this pollution were identified during the investigation and DWS is to take appropriate actions once the culprits have been clearly identified.”
It stated that administrative action might also be taken against the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality if it is found to have connected or authorised connection of the industrial effluent without taking necessary measures to ensure that pollution to water resources did not take place.