George Municipality received a Budget Facility for Infrastructure Funding (BFI) grant to the value of R1.107 billion (AUD 91.5 million) from the National Treasury in the 2021/22 financial year. The BFI project with its various components has shown significant progress and expenditure to date in the 2022/23 financial year.
The full BFI project is to be completed by 2024. George Municipality provides water services to over 212,120 residents from 62,722 households (STATSSA 2017) across 28 wards including the coastal areas of Kleinkrantz, Wilderness, Victoria Bay, Herold’s Bay and Gwaing in the city of George area. The objectives of the project are to ensure adequate potable water supply to meet the demand of the current population and to provide security for future development, both social and economic, and to reduce pollution of certain main water courses.
The project consists of 12 components, some of which will be executed in more than one construction phase.
Component 1 and 2
The 20 Ml/d extension to the New Water Treatment Works (New WTW) is component 2 of the 12.
The first contract, valued at R263 million (AUD 21.75 million), has been awarded for the civil engineering works and construction has commenced on site. The tender for the mechanical, electrical and instrumentation (MEI) works was awarded R217 million (AUD 17.95 million). Component 2 is the largest single component of the BFI project.
Extension to the New Water Treatment Works
Construction on the 600m long, 900mm diameter, clear water HDPE pipeline commenced towards the end of 2022 and is currently nearing completion. The forestry permit was issued in early January 2023 and the remaining construction through the sensitive indigenous forest can now proceed.
New Water Treatment Works clear water pipeline construction.
The dewatering facility for the water treatment process residuals is also progressing well and the concrete wall of the first of three tanks was cast at the end of January 2023. This forms part of component 2 of the BFI project and will eliminate the residuals from being discharged to the sewer system and therefore reduce the load on the sewage conveyance system and pump stations, as well as reduce the load on the wastewater treatment processes and the main sludge dewatering facility.
The refurbishment of the existing Sludge Discharge System Phase 1 and 2 will take place at the Eden, Meul and Schaapkop Pump stations. Construction of the first phase is progressing well at the Meul and Eden Pump Stations
Meul Pump station Inlet Works
The upgrading and refurbishment of the Meul Sewage pump station is underway and certain components have been completed, including a standby generator and new motor control centre panels. This is also the case for the new Motor Control Centre at the Eden Sewage pump station. Civil construction on the Meul Sewage Pump station is progressing well with challenging conditions having to be managed with regular flooding of the works occurring during high rainfall events. Phase 1 of the Schaapkop Sewage Pump station implementation was delayed, and the design process is underway to incorporate both phases 1 and 2 to be implemented as a single project.
The upgrading of the Garden Route Dam Outlet and Supply project includes the replacement of the existing 600 mm diameter raw water pipeline from the intake tower at the Garden Route Dam to the raw water pump stations, with a new 800 mm diameter stainless steel pipeline to accommodate a higher flowrate by the future raw water flow requirements. The project is currently in the procurement stage, with construction tenders closing mid-February 2023, and construction potentially commencing in May 2023.
2 x 1250 kVA generators will be installed at the Garden Route Dam raw water pump station. This will mean that during load shedding or any other power outage, raw water can continue to be pumped uninterrupted to the Water Treatment Works for processing for drinking water supply. The construction contract has been awarded and construction is progressing well. The delivery of the generators to the site is expected by mid-February 2023, with the full operation of the generators scheduled for the end of June 2023.
An additional 30 mega litre raw water storage balancing dam will be constructed, that includes a 340m long 800mm diameter raw water pipeline, to secure sufficient raw water storage capacity to supply the 20Ml/day extension to the Water Treatment Works. The new raw water dam will supplement the existing storage dams that provide raw water to the two water treatment plants.
The rehabilitation of the Old Water Treatment Works, located at 9th Avenue Denneoord will allow for the refurbishment of the 25 Ml/d treatment plant which is currently rated at only 20.5 Ml/ per day. Construction is under way at the Old WTW and some condition assessments of the existing infrastructure necessitated design changes at the start of the contract, causing unforeseen delays. The air extraction from the filter galleries was completed and the emergency chlorine scrubbers have been ordered. Both shipments of DMI65® filter media arrived in 2022.
Old Water Treatment Works uses 580 tonnes of DMI65® water filtration media
A temporary package water treatment plant was installed and commissioned in mid-December 2022 to facilitate scheduled plant shutdowns to enable work to proceed uninterrupted. This temporary plant also increased the volume of potable water available to meet the peak holiday season demand.
Temporary Water Treatment Plant Old Water Works uses DMI65® water filtration media
Refurbishment of the Kaaimans River Pump station equipment will include the installation of 6 new submersible vortex impeller pumps in the sump, a strainer system and 6 new high lift centrifugal pumps and includes the replacement of the electrical control equipment. The Kaaimans Pump station discharges into the Garden Route Dam and contributes significantly to the George raw water resource requirements. The project is currently in the procurement phase, with tenders closing in February 2023, and it is anticipated that construction will commence in May 2023.
Component 9 and 10
The new 14,5 Ml Pacaltsdorp West Reservoir; 3 Ml Pacaltsdorp East Reservoir, 300 kl Tower and pump station will address the inadequate emergency and balancing storage in this suburb. The designs are in process, to be followed by the procurement of a contractor for the construction of the works.
Residual tank construction.
Component 11 and 12
A new pump station and control valves will be provided at the existing Thembalethu West reservoir and tower; a new 8 Ml Thembalethu East Reservoir, 1000 kl tower and pump station will provide adequate potable water storage and increase security of potable water supply to Thembalethu as well as provide capacity to meet future development water demands.
It is well-known that there is widespread concern about the state of water and wastewater infrastructure in South Africa and that significant amounts of funding will be required to rehabilitate this infrastructure within municipalities. The George management team recognised that the capital expenditure required for such a project would be significant and place enormous strain on the municipality’s financial resources. The initiative was taken to approach National Treasury to search for a solution. This approach culminated in the application being launched and in being awarded the BFI facility, George has become the flag-bearer among non-metro municipalities to lead the restoration of water treatment as well as wastewater facilities in the country.