JW spends R100 million a year treating bodily waste

TREATMENT: A section of Joburg Water's multi-million sewrage treatment works in Driefontein.


Water from the toilet is mostly treated and recycled back into local rivers while the faeces is converted into compost to be used as fertiliser for local vegetable farms.

Spokesperson for Joburg Water (JW), Eleanor Mavimbela revealed on 10 March during a media tour of the Driefontein Sewer Works that the Driefontein utility ejects 34 million litres of water back into the Crocodile River every day. The fecal matter is processed and recycled, which costs Joburg Water more than R100 million a year.

Mavimbela also revealed that the 41-year-old Driefontein Sewerage Works has an annual operations budget of more than R100 million.

“Most of the expenses are incurred in maintaining our machinery, buying chemicals, training staff members and upgrading our processes to meet international standards,” said Mavimbela.

She announced that the bio-reactor, which operates on a 24/7 basis, received a capacity upgrade to the value of R300 million.

Mavimbela said it was criminal for any municipality to neglect treatment of sewerage by dumping raw excrement and not following proper procedures. “People think JW is about supplying tap water, but we are engaged in complex environmental processes designed to maintain and manage sewerage,” said Mavimbela.

She also appealed to residents to desist from the habit of throwing objects into sewerage pipes.

“[In one instance] we found a sheep’s carcass and a back cover of a TV set in the sewer,” said Mavimbela.

Also read Face the facts: Human excrement used to fertilise vegetables


Mswazie Dube

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