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Drakenstein municipality breaks ground on R1.4bn upgrade project

2nd November 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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The Drakenstein municipality has started the upgrade and refurbishment of the Paarl Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW), in the Western Cape, as part of the first phase of the new R1.4-billion Budget Facility for Infrastructure (BFI) project.

The project will help the municipality to ensure the suitable treatment of wastewater and assist in preserving the Berg river, as well as enable the municipality to promote green energy through biogas energy generation at the WWTW at a later stage.

This followed the National Treasury’s award of the R1.4-billion BFI grant to the Drakenstein municipality late last year for wastewater and sanitation upgrades and rehabilitation in the Paarl/Wellington area.

The upgrade and refurbishment of the Paarl WWTW form part of the first phase of the project, which will span over a period of three financial years. Another phase, for which construction work has already started, includes the construction of the Southern Paarl Bulk Sewer which ensures sustainability and resilience.

The scope of work for the BFI project’s first phase at the WWTW includes demolishing unused infrastructure; constructing a new raw sewage lifting station and inlet works; establishing a new primary sludge screening and pumpstation; adding three primary settling tanks; refurbishing existing primary settling tanks; erecting a new administrative building; upgrading the disinfection area, electrical network, and control and instrumentation; enhancing general civil works such as roads, stormwater and fencing; and cleaning maturation ponds.

“The BFI project aims to address the refurbishment of aging and dilapidated infrastructure, as well as capacity upgrades to treatment streams to meet current and future demands,” said Drakenstein municipality water and wastewater services manager André Kowalewski.

Kowalewski noted that there was a need for sustainable water and sanitation infrastructure development to meet the growing demand in the area, highlighting that the municipality granted 136 building plan approvals to the value of about R121.5-million in September 2023 alone. Of these approved building plans, 87.5% comprised new residential buildings, as well as additions and alterations to existing buildings.

The project will ensure increased bulk sewer capacity to unlock future developments, which include social and private residential housing, commercial hubs and industrial opportunities.

“When this project is completed, it is going to have so many benefits. The water security will be improved in this municipality and the water quality will be excellent,” added Department of Water and Sanitation provincial head Ntombizanele Bila-Mupariwa.

The benefits include improved sewage treatment processes, as well as reduced energy demand, and operation and maintenance costs, at the Paarl WWTW; improved quality of effluent released into the Berg river and compliance with prescribed effluent quality standards.

The project will unlock significant economic and socioeconomic benefits, such as job opportunities and public and private sector investment; enable an increased tax base and revenue generation; and open sustainable opportunities, such as green energy, which will reduce the high electricity demand at the Paarl WWTW.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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