With the commissioning of the new Preekstoel bio-filtration plant on Tuesday 19 August 2014, the Greater Hermanus bulk water supply system is now fully operational. Work on this project commenced in 2010, with new plant and infrastructure being commissioned in stages from early 2013 onwards.
Referred to by Mayor Nicolette Botha-Guthrie as Overstrand’s “flagship capital works project”, the Preekstoel bio-filtration plant is the first full-scale plant of its kind in South Africa and has been specifically designed to remove the high iron and manganese content from groundwater by means of a natural process.
Generally acknowledged as being much more environmentally friendly, this type of water-treatment technology requires fewer chemicals, saves on electricity and reduces water loss in the treatment process, earning Overstrand an award for innovation as one of the Western Cape’s greenest municipalities in 2013.
At a total cost of R87 million, of which R20,6 million were contributed by the Department of Water and Sanitation through its Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG) programme, the project involved groundbreaking work by the project team, comprised of Overstrand Municipality’s technical staff, consulting engineers Aurecon, groundwater specialists Umvoto Africa, environmental specialists SRK, refurbishment contractor Inenzo Water, civil contractor Inyanga Projects and mechanical-electrical contractor Paterson Candy International. In addition to the main contractors, 16 local sub-contractors also had a hand in executing the project while 67 temporary jobs were created for local people during the construction phase.
The Greater Hermanus bulk water supply system was commissioned to reduce dependence on surface water sources and to counter the possible effects of climate change. Through the refurbishment of existing civil infrastructure and mechanical and electrical equipment and by adding new infrastructure, capacity has now been increased from 24 to 38 Mℓ/day.
This, according to the Mayor, means that in the interest of ongoing socio-economic development, “the future water requirements of the growing Greater Hermanus area, in other words all the communities from Fisherhaven to Voëlklip totalling more than 18 000 households, have now been catered for by developing additional groundwater sources and commissioning a state-of-the-art water treatment plant that is more than deserving of its Blue Drop-status”.
In his address, a representative from the Western Cape Department of Water and Sanitation, Mr Simpiwe Mashicila, congratulated Overstrand Municipality on being one of the top performing municipalities in terms of both the Blue and Green Drop Programmes at provincial and national level, achieving 96.82% (Blue Drop 2012) and 88.8% (Green Drop 2011) overall.
Present at the commissioning were the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Ald Pieter Scholtz, several Councillors, the Municipal Manager Mr Coenie Groenewald, representatives from the Department of Water and Sanitation, and the Deputy Director Infrastructure and Planning Hanré Blignaut and several municipal officials.