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Sludge removal services at wastewater plants

CITY OF CAPE TOWN 

26 JANUARY 2021

MEDIA RELEASE

Sludge removal services at wastewater plants to commence this week

The two contracts for the removal and disposal of sludge at Wastewater Treatment Works, including the Potsdam facility, have been signed, following the conclusion of an appeals process. Work to tackle the backlog of sludge stockpiled at a number of facilities will begin as soon as possible, before the end of the week. Once the work commences, residents might experience some foul smells for a few days as the sludge starts being removed. Read more below:

The City is pleased to advise that tenders have been awarded and contracts concluded for the removal and disposal of sludge from Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) across the city, following an appeals process which delayed this service being rendered. Work to address the backlog will begin as soon as soon as possible.

Sludge, which is a by-product of the wastewater treatment process, needed to be stockpiled at these facilities because the tender for its removal and disposal was appealed, and therefore could not be awarded until the appeals process had concluded.

Section 62 of the Municipal Systems Act confers a right to any bidder to challenge and appeal the decision of a municipality. This means that the contract cannot be implemented during the appeal period. The appeal must be dealt with by an impartial and independent party who will either confirm, revoke or vary the procurement award decision. The bidder (appellant) if not satisfied with the appeal ruling may approach a court of law to challenge that. 

The tender value is approximately R200 million over three financial years.

The City’s tender evaluations and awards are done in an open and transparent manner and accessible to members of the public and interested parties.

‘The City sincerely regrets the discomfort caused to residents as a result of the appeals against the awarding of the contract. I want to apologise to our residents for this discomfort, and assure them that the City has done absolutely everything in its power to move this tender along in the shortest possible timeframe, however the City is bound by the provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and the Supply Chain Management Regulations. It is a regulatory-heavy environment and the City is compelled to adhere to the national legislation. Appeal processes are provided for and must be followed,’ said Alderman Dan Plato, the City’s Executive Mayor.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste Alderman Xanthea Limberg said work to tackle the backlog of sludge stockpiled at a number of facilities will begin as soon as possible, before the end of the week.

‘Once the work commences, residents might experience some foul smells for a few days as the sludge starts being removed. During this time, we ask residents to please bear with us as every effort will be made to clear the backlog as soon as possible, and to ensure the normal daily service resumes.   

‘While the stockpiling of sludge at the WwTW has been a problem warranting priority attention, it is important to understand that it was a procurement challenge, as opposed to a process operation matter. It is unrelated to the Potsdam WwTW plant’s effective treatment of wastewater. The WwTW is operating within its design capacity and has been producing good quality effluent consistently since problems with the mechanical dewatering installation were resolved early in 2020.

‘Unfortunately, Potsdam’s stockpile smells as it is one of the plants that produces primary sludge. We have not reduced primary sludge productionspecifically to ensure treated effluent quality remains unaffected. The sludge currently stockpiled on site at Potsdam are stored in such a manner as to minimise the effect on the environment. Sludge cake is stockpiled in a clay-lined pond to avoid contamination of groundwater, and cannot overflow into the environment or reach the Diep River,’ said Alderman Limberg.

End

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape TownMedia enquiries: Alderman Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400 1299 or Cell: 073 271 2054, Email: Xanthea.Limberg@capetown.gov.za (please always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za)