On Wednesday 15th June 2022 at 2.30pm, our Chairman Dawie van Wyk and Vice Lindsay Burrow attended a meeting at Ndlambe Municipality. PARRA welcomed the chance to meet and interact with Director Vithi and the Infrastructure Consultant.
A number of issues were discussed and timelines, where possible, were given.
Firstly the water issues were discussed:
- Sarel Hayward Dam Water:
The status of the five pumps at Sarel Hayward Dam (SHD) Pump Station No1: The two submersibles were both working, but as their flow rate is high and they are used alternatively to pump water into the SHD. Pump Station No2: Of the four pumps at Pumps Station No2 two were out for repair and the other two are working (alternatively) to pump water into Port Alfred Balancing Dam or Nemato Water Treatment Work (NWTW). The Balancing Dam is about 75% full which is more than a week’s supply of water to Port Alfred. No answers were given on the status of three pumps that are out of commission.
- Borehole Water:
Port Alfred is sourcing water from the following boreholes: Hennie Nell’s boreholes, one of the two recently drilled boreholes at Mansfield Dam and three of the five new boreholes drilled east of the R 67 on Grovehill Farm. The Central Belt and Fischkraal boreholes have been switched off, firstly to let the water table recover and secondly there are some problems with one of the Central Belt Boreholes pumps that needs to be fixed. Only the Central Belt Boreholes have had accurate pump out tests done and have had sustainable flow rates given. Regulated water testing according to SANS 241 was done. This SANS 241 testing and pump out tests and sustainability should be done on all borehole water supplied and to date has not been done on the Hennie Nell, Mansfield’s Dam and the 5 New Grovehill boreholes. Quotations have been requested.
- RO Plants Water:
The QFS 2 ML RO plant is producing on average 1.75 ML per day. The NuGround 1 ML RO Plant is producing 1 ML of water per day.
- The QFS 3 ML Used Water RO Plant:
The refurbishment by QFS of the sewage plant that will get water from Pond No 2 is virtually complete and will be commissioned shortly. This will stop any sewage flowing into the Kowie River from the Sewage Ponds. This will also enable QFS to start commissioning the 3 ML used RO Plant even if the inflow is less than the design parameters. (A number of sewage issues are being addressed to increase the flow of sewage into the Sewage Works).
- East Beach Dunes:
Work has commenced in rehabilitating the boreholes and Pumps Stations on the East Beach Dunes.
- Riverside and Rosehill Mall:
The lack of water remains an unresolved issue. The type of pump required is not made any more and an alternative solution is being sourced. No time frame was given.
- Water Summary:
The above water sources are producing about 5.8 ML of water per day which is still short of the required 6.8 ML per day. The Director is aware of the Festive Season demand of > 8.5 ML per day and plans are being made to help resolve this demand. Bulk meters are going to be installed at critical points to measure water flow to help identify where the large losses of water occur as indicated in the AG’s report.
The next issue discussed was the Telemetry:
Most of the Telemetry is non-functional. The Fick bothers with Spectrum will do a full audit on the key points that need telemetry. The fixing and upgrading of the telemetry will be put out on an open tender as soon as possible.
The next issue that was discussed was the total lack of scheduled and planned maintenance of both water and sewage pumps and motors:
Currently the pumps run until they break down and then solutions are sought to fix or replace the pump. It is essential to do a full audit on the status of all the pumps and motors and then draw up a schedule of preventative servicing and maintenance. The foreman are going to have a workshop within a week on how to do this and then start with maintenance the programme.
The 21 sewage pumps stations are also being audited and the same protocols will be put in place.
The final item discussed was the constant sewage spills especially into the Kowie River which is the backbone of Port Alfred’s tourism industry:
So much sewage is being lost that there is barely 1 ML per day reporting to the Sewage Plant.
- There are a number of areas where constant sewage spills are reported. These areas must be prioritised and solutions to ongoing sewage spills must be identified. The areas are: Station Hill (SPCA), Wharf Street, Bekker Street, Sunningdale Pump Station, in front of the Museum, Medolino, West Main next to Putt Bridge and Biscay Road.
- The audit of the 21 Pumps Stations must be discussed with roll players and non-functioning pumps stations prioritised and be fixed. The ongoing saga of Eskom and the service provider responsible for installing the refurbished pumps in the sewage stations in Nemato that flow into the Kowie River needs to be resolved urgently.
- Biscay Road and Main Street are permanent sewers. Landlords have no control of what their tenants shove down the toilets resulting in blocked sewers. PARRA has offered to convene a meeting of all parties concerned. Fat traps in some establishments preparing food are non-existent and are not cleaned regularly leading to blocked drains together with hair from the hair dressing salons. The legality of many of the tenants in these areas needs to be investigated.
- PARRA sent Director Vithi a reporting format for Water Sources, Pump Stations and Sewage Pump Stations etc. that should be populated monthly and made available to PARRA.
- The booking and control of the “honey suckers”. Could the Municipality ensure that a register is kept of all call outs and the times and dates requested and the time and date pumped out and the signature of driver and tenant is recorded. Some residents are waiting weeks whilst others are getting the service the same day. (This was not discussed in our meeting).
PARRA appreciated the time given to us to discuss all the issues relating to water and sewage in Port Alfred. We hope this combined effort will go a long way in educating our residents and ratepayers about all the issues being addressed by the Department of Infrastructure.