Wastewater Collection, Treatment & Disposal Facilities – Bill Alexander

Pro-Action Committee Report 2021 – Len Swimmer
December 9, 2021
Financial Statements 2019
December 21, 2021

Wastewater Collection, Treatment & Disposal Facilities – Bill Alexander


I took over the oversight of the Waste Water Treatment and Disposal Facilities from Oliver Rissik in May of this year. I wish to thank Oliver for the excellent work he has done looking after this portfolio for several years.

The wastewater infrastructure consists of gravity sewers, pump stations and
the wastewater treatment works. The condition and operation of each of these aspects will be considered in this report.



    1. a)  The sewer system is generally in good condition.
    2. b)  On average between 6-8 blockages are reported daily. The target is that blockages are dealt within 4 hours and always at least on the same day. This target is normally met.
    3. c)  Approximately 80% of all blockages are caused by human behaviour such as dumping rubbish into sewer manholes, particularly in areas where cast iron manhole covers have been stolen. It is proposed that a public awareness campaign be launched next year to try and bring this statistic down.
    4. d)  The Kranshoek sewer system is currently being upgraded.

e)  Areas where capacity problems occur are the Kurland informal
settlement, Kwanokuthula, Wittedrif and Green Valley. Budget allocation should be prioritised for upgrading these areas.


  1. a)  The Municipality operates a total of about 70 sewage pump sites of which 30 can be classified as major pump stations. The maintenance of these is critical to prevent spillages, particularly in the low-lying beach areas.
  2. b)  The maintenance of the mechanical and electrical equipment for the stations is generally well managed and a preventive maintenance plan is in place. However, like everything else it is under budgeted.
  3. c)  Approximately 90% of the pump stations have emergency generators to deal with power outages, and all the ones near the beaches are properly equipped.
  4. d)  Some of the pump stations have aging fibre cement rising mains and attention will have to be given to these before they start failing. The Kwanokuthula and Piesang Valley rising mains have been identified for urgent attention.
  5. e)  Planning should begin for replacing the existing 4 pump stations serving Piesang Valley with a single large station located near Brackenridge.



Bitou operates two wastewater treatment works (WWTW), namely the Kurland and

the Gansevlei WWTWs. It should be noted that in a Daily Maverick article earlier this year it was 6

Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association: Newsletter Volume 24 – December 2021

found that Bitou is the only town in the country that operates 2 or more plants that consistently produce effluent that is within the specified standards. This is a remarkable achievement and indicates that the plants are well maintained and operated. However, the challenge lies in ensuring that sufficient resources are budgeted to ensure that this can be maintained into the future.


Kurland WWTW

  1. a)  This plant serves the Crags area.
  2. b)  It currently has a design capacity of 500m3/d.
  3. c)  Plans have been drawn up to double this capacity to 1000m3/d and this should come on linein 2023.


Gansevlei WWTW

This is Bitou’s main plant and is located near Old Nicks just off the N2. It has a capacity of 6200m3/d. An assessment of its capacity to treat the sewage generated within Bitou was done earlier in the year and the full report on the findings is attached as an Annexure to this report on our website.

The main findings of the report are summarised below:

  1. a)  The frequency with which data is collected on the influent and effluent is more than required by the Department of Water and Sanitation which is commendable. However, the data is very variable, probably because the sampling is done by hand. If the data is to be optimised and made more meaningful two automatic samplers will have to be purchased. It is important that this be done as soon as possible to ensure that when a consultant is appointed to design the upgrading and extension of the plant they will know what the incoming load is so that they can design accordingly.
  2. b)  The data does indicate that the plant is reaching full capacity during the peak festive season and planning should begin now to upgrade it over the next 4 to 6 years. This process should start with the appointment of a consultant.
  3. c)  The condition of the mechanical and electrical equipment must be assessed so planned plant redundancy can be practised.
  4. d)  The facilities for the treatment and disposal of the waste biosolids on the plant need to be upgraded.



The following management plans are currently being considered by the Council.

  1. a)  The Water Services Development Plan
  2. b)  Water Master Plan



The wastewater collection, treatment and disposal infrastructure is currently well managed and operates satisfactorily. However as with all infrastructure it must be maintained and replaced when it is reaching the end of its life. The rule of thumb for facilities of this nature is that approximately 8% of the capital value of the infrastructure should be spent every year on maintenance and replacing aging equipment. This target is currently not being met in Bitou and unless serious attention is paid to this aspect the infrastructure will fail and we will find ourselves in the same position as most of the towns in the country.

In this regard the list below presents the most pressing identified needs not covered by the current budget proposals.

Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association: Newsletter Volume 24 – December 2021

a)  Automatic samplers for the Gansevlei WWTW

b)  Planning for the upgrading of the Gansevlei WWTW

c)  MCC board upgrades on the Gansevlei WWTW

d)  Upgrading of sewers in the Kwanokuthula, Wittedrif and Kurland areas.

e)  Replacement of the Piesang Valley and Kwanokuthula rising mains.

f)  Planning of a new pump station serving Piesang Valley.