Ndlambe undertaking full EIA for additional SWRO plant as it seeks more funding

The EIA is estimated to take a year including public participation.

Ndlambe Municipality is seeking funding for an additional 3 megalitre (ML) seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant and to this end says it has started a full environmental impact assessment (EIA) for Port Alfred.

The municipality announced this in a “media statement” this afternoon that was sent out to various organisations and shared on social media groups.

“As soon as the full EIA is completed a business plan will be submitted for funding to the department of water and sanitation,” municipal manager Rolly Dumezweni said in the statement.

“Also looking at feasibility for the Fish River desalination plant for long term intervention with the department of water and sanitation (DWS). This will be within the business plan that will be submitted after the EIA for the Port Alfred addition[al] SWRO plant. The EIA is estimated to take a year including public participation.”

Dumezweni said the current project for a 2ML SWRO plant was on track for completion at the end of May.

“It will take approximately one week after completion to get water pumping through the whole system. Thus, by the beginning of June, we can reasonably expect the water production to be the same as it is presently because the RO plant water production will take the place of the Sarel Hayward temporary solution,” he said.

However, the municipality has admitted uncertainty about production for the 3ML wastewater reclamation RO plant, which will depend on effluent from the sewage treatment plant in Centenary Park.

“While there is not enough water to feed the wastewater [sewage] plant, the reclamation plant will also provide less yield which will be confirmed once the plant starts operating. As part of the interventions, the municipality is in process of refurbishment of all pump stations to ensure that sewage is reaching [the] wastewater treatment plant.”

The municipality restated its position that ongoing severe drought conditions in the Eastern Cape continue to have a major impact, with Port Alfred worst affected in Ndlambe.

“We are presently pumping a combined average of 2.6ML per day from the central belt boreholes, east bank dune pumps; Nel borehole and Sarel Hayward Dam temporary solution. Approximately 1.6ML of the available water is presently coming from the temporary Sarel Hayward solution; however, calculations have been done indicating that only 18 days of water remains from this source,” Dumezweni said.

In normal conditions the Port Alfred water treatment plant used to be fed by water from the Kowie River weir that was also feeding Sarel Hayward Dam. But the Kowie River weir has reached day zero and the municipality started to pump from the Sarel Hayward Dam until the dam reached the last abstraction point.

1.1 SHORT TERM INTERVENTIONS

Henie Nel Boreholes – Equipping and pipe laying for 3 x boreholes and the average yield is 0.462ML/day.

Sarel Hayward Dam temporary Solution – Installed submersible pump feed the last abstraction point and the average yield is 1.8 ML/day.

Fish Farm borehole – Equipping and pipe laying for 1x borehole, currently under construction and is anticipated to be completed by the 21st May 2021.

Water Trucks – Water tankers are placed in strategic areas with the plan to cart water from other areas such as Kenton-on-Sea and Cannon Rocks.

Water Tanks – Regularly hired water trucks to cart water and filling water tanks that placed in strategic areas to ensure that every community is getting water.

Lushington River – Surplus water from this water is redirected to Port Alfred as a short tem solution.

1.2 MEDIUM TERM INTERVENTIONS

Implementation of 5ML RO plant project which entails 2ML seawater Reverse osmosis plant and 3ML Reclamation Reverse osmosis plant in order to augment additional water for the community of Port Alfred and Bathurst area.

The 2ML Sea Water Reverse Osmosis plant is on track for completion at the end of May. It will take approximately one week after completion to get water pumping through the whole system. Thus, by the beginning of June, we can reasonably expect the water production to be the same as it is presently because the RO plant water production will take the place of the Sarel Hayward temporary solution.

The 3ML reclamation reverse osmosis plant will depend on the effluent from the waste water treatment plant. While there is not enough water to feed the waste water plant, the reclamation plant will also provide less yield which will be confirmed once the plant starts operating. As part of the interventions, the municipality is in process of refurbishment of all pumps stations to ensure that sewerage is reaching waste water treatment plant.

1.3 LONG TERM INTERVENTIONS

The municipality is busy with full EIA for Port Alfred so that we apply for funding of additional 3ML seawater RO plant. As soon as the full EIA is completed a business plan will be submitted for funding to the Department of water and sanitation. Also looking at feasibility for the fish river desalination plant for long term intervention with the department of water and sanitation. This will be within the business plan that will be submitted after the EIA for the Port Alfred addition sea water RO plant. The EIA is estimated to take a year including public participation.

1.4 SUMMARY

Various water schedules have been implemented to accommodate as many people as possible. However, due to the present extremely low levels of water, it has been decided to open water to all areas from 6am to 10am daily, as alternating water to various areas has been ineffective. Bear in mind that it may take some time for water to reach some areas, and that high lying areas will sadly not have water availability. To mitigate this, the installed water tanks will continue to be filled on a regular basis, with water being carted from Cannon Rocks and Kenton-on-Sea on a daily basis.

At present, a portion of pipeline is being laid from boreholes at the Fish Farm east of Port Alfred, joining the line from the central belt boreholes to augment additional water.

BATHURST WATER SITUATION

The Bathurst water treatment plant normally gets water from Golden Ridge Dam which is has also reached day zero. Through interventions made by the Ndlambe municipality, the water treatment plant is now getting water from the Lushington River.

2.1 SHORT TERM SOLUTION

When the municipality realised that Golden Ridge Dam is running dry, an intervention of connecting 3x boreholes from Nel farm was implemented to feed the Bathurst water treatment plant while the medium term solution was underway to abstract water from the Lushington River.

Lushington River Project- The project was aimed to feed Bathurst water treatment plant to ensure that the community of Bathurst is getting water. After the completion of the short term intervention (Henie Nel Boreholes), the water was opened every second day from 6am-10am due to insufficient water. The Lushington River Project was completed on April 1 2021, yielding an average of 0.5ML/day and now the community of Bathurst is getting water every day.

The emergency RO plant will also cater water for Bathurst communities.

Bathurst community is no longer in need of water trucks as was required before. Instead, surplus water from this source is redirected to Port Alfred.

  1. WATER PRODUCTION FROM WATER SOURCES
PORT ALFRED SOURCES PRODUCTION (ML/DAY) REQUIRED DEMAND(ML/DAY) SHORT FALL (ML/DAY)
Sarel Hayward Dam          1.6  
Central Belt Boreholes     0.4  
East Bank Dunes                0.1  
Henie Nel Boreholes/

Lushington River               0.5

 
Total 2.6 6.3 3.7
BATHURST WATER SOURCE PRODUCTION (ML/DAY) REQUIRED DEMAND(ML/DAY) SHORT FALL (ML/DAY)
Lushington River 0.5 0.43

 

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