The Mayoral Committee last week expressed support for the City’s Water and Waste Directorate to enter into a multi-year professional engineering consultancy services contract. Council approval of this contract is the next key step in upgrading the Macassar Wastewater Treatment Works, supporting sustainable development in a growing catchment.

The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee has provided in-principle support for the appointment of Zutari (Pty) Ltd to provide professional engineering consultancy services for a 32 million litres a day (Ml/d) capacity extension and associated infrastructure refurbishment at the Macassar WWTW. The next step in the journey for the Macassar WWTW upgrade is to obtain Council’s formal approval, and this is an agenda item for the full Council meeting this Wednesday, 29 September.

As stipulated by the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), Council approval is required where a contract imposes financial obligations on the municipality beyond the three financial years covered in the annual budget for that financial year 2021/22.

What to know about the Macassar WWTW upgrade:

The professional engineering services appointment for the major capital upgrade is anticipated to start in October/November 2021, subject to Council’s approval of the multi-year contract at their next meeting.

Construction activities are anticipated to start in the 2023/24 financial year.

The upgrade is expected to be completed in 2027. WWTW upgrades are technically complex projects, and due to their complexity and magnitude inherently have long implementation timelines. Inflow cannot be stopped or diverted while construction work is under way, and the existing infrastructure must continue to operate and produce a compliant treated effluent during the upgrade process.

The capacity extension will increase the plant’s treatment capacity from the current 34 million litres per day to approximately 70 million litres per day, at a value of approximately R900 million.

Its current size serves approximately 250 000 people and will be doubled to approximately 500 000 people or more.

This large-scale upgrade was planned to be implemented sooner but was impacted by delays that occurred within the Zandvliet WWTW and Potsdam WWTW upgrade projects. These delays were caused by, inter alia, protracted tender appeals from unsuccessful bidders, and a lengthy land claim determination process. Constrained municipal finances limit the number of upgrades of this magnitude that can occur simultaneously.

‘While delays to important capital investment projects are always frustrating, the City must work within the parameters of the MFMA. Mayco’s support of the contract is a welcome development in this process, with the next step being Council consideration. Should Council grant approval, the upgrade work can proceed through its project lifecycle as planned.

‘The upgrade will restore and increase the capacity on site to improve the quality of the treated effluent being discharged from the plant. Currently the Macassar WWTW is designed to process 34Ml/day but can only at present process approximately 28Ml/day. Its design capacity has been reduced due to a failed process unit, which will be repaired as part of the upgrade. While the average inflow rate at Macassar is 27 Ml/D, wastewater has become a lot stronger/full of contaminants than was expected when the plant was originally designed, and the nutrient load contained in the inflow exceeds treatment capacity. Although it will be a number of years before capacity constraints are resolved, stakeholders are assured that the City’s Water and Sanitation Department is making every effort to bring forward completion dates as far as possible. Over the next three years, almost 50% of the City’s R25 billion capital expenditure plan will be invested in water and sanitation infrastructure.

‘This investment into Macassar forms part of a wide city plan to upgrade WWTWs, which are a very important function in treating wastewater that comes into the plant from households, businesses and industries. The City is projecting a minimum R8 billion investment for major WWTWs upgrades over the next 10 years.

‘We want to thank our staff for their commitment and determination to see the Macassar Wastewater Treatment Works upgrade project become a reality that benefits residents and businesses in the catchment area. We look forward to celebrating more milestones at Macassar WWTW,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, Alderman Xanthea Limberg.

Source: City Of Cape Town