George Municipality manages and maintains a water and sewer infrastructure consisting of 116 sewer pump stations and 28 water pumpstations. Ongoing loadshedding implemented by ESKOM over the past few years has raised concerns with regard to maintaining the supply of potable water and sewer services.
The public often forget that during loadshedding the municipal sewer pumpstations and water treatment works are put under immense pressure and traditional storage capacities are not adequate to compensate for extended loadshedding. In a bid to ensure the provision of adequate potable (drinking) water and to reduce water pollution, 13 large-scale generators have been installed at our most critical installations including high risk identified sewer pumpstations as well as at the Old and New Water Treatment Works that treats raw water received from the Garden Route Dam into potable (drinking) water.
The tender process for the purchase and installation of two (2) 1100kVA generators to be installed at the Garden Route Dam raw water pumpstation have recently closed and are being evaluated. This installation will mean that during loadshedding or any other power outage, raw water can continue to be pumped to the Water Treatment Works for processing for drinking water supply.
Executive Mayor Ald Van Wyk noted that these generators need to be constantly re-fuelled with diesel as the municipality attempts to keep operations going under conditions where Eskom is unable to provide electricity for up to eight hours per day. A recent Energy Summit hosted provided insight into the state of Eskom. “I was recently privileged to attend an Energy Summit where the Eskom CEO, Andre de Ruyter spoke about the power station fleet that had been operated at maximum capacity for too long. This means that maintenance needs to be undertaken to avoid complete breakdowns. New generating capacity will have to be built over the next 15 years,” said Ald Van Wyk.
The purchase and installation costs of such large-scale generators is high, and these are not just ordered off the shelf. To date the municipality has installed generators at our sewer pump stations at a cost of approximately R13 million. The generators are diesel operated and have weather and vandal proof covers for protection. All of the backup generation is equipped with anti-vandalism and anti-theft devices and each is linked to the municipal telemetry and SCADA system for remote monitoring purposes.