JWARP  Vol.11 No.8 , August 2019
The Loading Capacity of the Elands River: A Case Study of the Waterval Boven Wastewater Treatment Works, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa
Abstract: Nutrient loads into water resources continues to be a major problem in Southern Africa. This has resulted in significant compromises in the ecological integrity of freshwater resources. The study aimed to assess the pollution load into the Elands River in terms of nitrates and orthophosphates. These variables were compared against the Crocodile Catchment Interim Resource Quality Objectives to determine compliances or non-compliance of the Waterval Boven wastewater treatment plant. Generally upstream nitrate levels did not exceed the ideal limit of 0.5 mg·l-1 as indicated in the 2015 to 2016 samples where values ranged between 0.32 mg·l -1 and 0.27 mg·l-1, respectively. Similarly, observed upstream orthophosphates levels were below the ideal limit of 0.03 mg·l-1. However, downstream values of both nutrients exceeded the respective set limits. The nutrient load contribution from the sewage plant was characterised by a simple point-source model. Patterns of the loads into the river were demonstrated on a load duration curve based on the river which equalled or exceed 0.18 m3/s upstream and 1.31 m3/s downstream at 90% of the time. However, the flows were regarded as significantly low to deal with uncontrolled pollution loads. Most of the observed loads fell below the ideal limit of 0.05 mg·l-1 for nitrates both upstream and downstream of the sewage plant. For orthophosphates, most of the upstream loads were below the tolerable limit of 0.1 mg·l-1 whilst the downstream loads were exceeding the tolerable limits. The higher loads downstream in the river were attributed to the sewage discharge from the Waterval Boven wastewater treatment plant and the low river flows. Hence it could be concluded that river water quality should be interpreted based on the river flow regime in a given season.
Cite this paper: Dlamini, S. , Gyedu-Ababio, T. and Slaughter, A. (2019) The Loading Capacity of the Elands River: A Case Study of the Waterval Boven Wastewater Treatment Works, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 11, 1049-1063. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2019.118062.

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