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INFRASTRUCTURE: City To Spend R415m On Solid Waste


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THE City of Cape Town plans to spend R415 million to further develop its infrastructure for solid waste management in the coming financial year.

Part of the plan is to replace 25 vehicles, which includes 20 compactor trucks, in its refuse removal fleet at a cost of R40 million.

These trucks have a limited life span as the wear and tear is much higher due to the continuous stop and start during the waste collection process, as well as Cape Town’s hilly topography,” says Clive Justus, mayoral committee member for utility services.

The average age of the City’s compactor fleet is nine years. The City has 165 compactor vehicles, servicing the metropole from Atlantis on the West Coast to Gordon’s Bay in the east and down to Simon’s Town in the south. Some disposal equipment is 16 years and older, whilst the municipality’s vehicle replacement plan provides for replenishment every seven years.

Cape Town’s 3.2 million residents currently generate a massive 4 600 tons of rubbish per day. With the current growth in waste generation, this will translate into a mountain of 1.8 million tons of rubbish in the next year; all to be collected, transported, minimised and disposed of over an area covering 2 487 square kilometres.”

One way of extending the life span of these specialised vehicles is to shorten the distances to disposal sites. The City is therefore building two integrated waste transfer stations in Kraaifontein and Bellville which will reduce the distance between collection and disposal. On completion, these stations will be able to process 3 840 tons of refuse per day,” says Justus.

The City also employs 21 community-based contractors to provide an integrated refuse collection and cleaning service in all informal areas. A dedicated contract monitoring unit has been established to oversee these contractors. Additionally, the City has outsourced almost 25% of formal residential areas to private contractors, where a separate collection of recyclables (Think Twice project) is provided additional to the refuse collection service.

The largest chunk of the Solid Waste capital budget is earmarked for the development of landfill infrastructure and integrated transfer stations. The current sites at Vissershok, Bellville South and Coastal Park are almost filled to capacity. But the City is pro-actively addressing this challenge by implementing the Integrated Waste Management Strategy and by producing an Integrated Waste Management By-law,” says Justus.

In all the City proposes to spend R786 million in the next financial year to upgrade the city’s water and sanitation infrastructure.

The City needs to avoid another Eskom crisis by upgrading before it is too late. We are developing new infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing metropolis,” says Justus.

It would cost approximately R23 billion to replace Cape Town’s water distribution infrastructure. Being the oldest South African city, we have to constantly replace aging infrastructure. From as soon as 30 years after installation, some poorly manufactured and installed water mains may already need replacement. The backlog of water mains replacement would become unmanageable if infrastructural replacement is not accelerated now.”

We are systematically replacing these ageing water pipes. Over the past three years we have succeeded in accelerating the pipe replacements from 7.4 kilometre per annum to the current 30 km. We hope to complete 40 km of pipeline by the end of this month.”

This only amounts to a 0,5% replacement of the metropole’s total network. The international norm is 1% of the total network,” he says.

Plans are also afoot to commence with a R56 million sewer replacement programme from July. The City’s sewer network consists of some 8000 km of pipelines. In 2008 alone the City cleared over 86 000 blocked sewers. It can cost anything from R200 to thousands of rand to unblock one sewer.

The City is currently busy with a R280 million upgrade of the Potsdam wastewater treatment plant and a new R190 million installation at Fisantekraal. On completion, these plants will be able to treat wastewater for about 140 000 homes in Cape Town.

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