Product Quality

Management Approach

The most significant impact of Umgeni Water’s business is provision of water that does not impact negatively on consumer health over a lifetime of consumption.  Water quality is managed through a rigorous management system which covers the entire operational area and includes carefully planned monitoring programmes, auditing, compliance reporting, water quality risk assessments - conducted using a source-tap-source approach - and the implementation of Water Safety Plans.

Water quality monitoring programmes are reviewed annually for all operational sites and sampling and analysis are undertaken in accordance with Umgeni Water’s ISO 9001 certified monitoring programme and SANAS 17025 accredited laboratory methods, respectively.  An emergency response protocol which includes various alert level triggers has been developed, is reviewed and updated each year and is in force. Water quality performance data, information and reports are disseminated regularly to all stakeholders.

Umgeni Water is committed and steadfast in supporting municipalities to ensure that all systems can be progressively improved toward joint Blue Drop Certification.

Potable Water Quality Performance

Umgeni Water’s bulk Water Treatment Works and iLembe Rural Schemes are required to comply with South African National Standards SANS 241: 2011 which required quality to be evaluated and reported against four risk categories:

(1) Acute Health 1 – Microbiological, 
(2) Chemical Health,
(3) Aesthetic, and
(4) Operational

Figure 8.1: Potable water quality compliance with SANS 241 standard.

Overall, for the reporting period, Umgeni Water provided excellent drinking water quality to customers. The detailed potable water quality compliance per water treatment works is shown in Table 8.1 followed by explanation for variance areas and solutions to address these.

Table 8.1: 2013/2014 Potable Water Quality Compliance with SANS 241:2011 per Water Treatment Works (WTW)

Water Treatment Works Treated
Volume % Acute Health 1
Operational Aesthetic
Durban Heights 562 43% 100 100 99.98 100
Wiggins 270 20% 100 100 100 100
Midmar 267 20% 100 100 99.91 99.94
DV Harris 88 7% 100 100 99.87 100
Hazelmere 52 4% 100 100 98.58 100
Amanzimtoti 21 2% 100 100 99.53 100
Mvoti 19 1% 99.05 100 95.86 99.84
Mzinto 13 1% 100 100 98.28 98.22
Mtwalume 10 1% 100 100 99.32 100
Maphumulo 6 0.5% 100 100 99.73 100
Maphephethwa 2.9 0.2% 100 100 92.96 100
Ixopo 2.4 0.2% 100 100 100 99.72
Ngcebo 0.6 0.05% 100 100 98.03 99.42
Mhlabatshane 0.5 0.04% 100 100 94.92 100
iLembe small schemes and boreholes1 6 0.5% 97.98 99.25 83.85 94.61

1 Estimate

Key to classification of the performance of drinking water supply systems according to SANS 241: 2011:

  Population up to 100 000 Proportion of samples compliant Population > 100 000 Proportion of samples compliant
  Excellent Good Unacceptable Excellent Good Unacceptable
Microbiological Health ≥97% ≥95% <95% ≥99% ≥97% <97%
Chemical Health ≥95% ≥93% ≥93% ≥97% ≥95% <95%
Operational ≥93% ≥90% <90% ≥95% ≥93% <93%
Aesthetic ≥93% ≥90% <90% ≥95% ≥93% <93%

Bulk Water Treatment Works

All fourteen (14) water treatment works complied with the SANS:241 standard.  Notably, excellent performance was recorded for all water treatment works against the SANS 241:2011 Acute Health 1 - Microbiological category.

The iLembe small schemes and boreholes

Umgeni Water operates fourteen (14) small water treatment works and ten (10) borehole schemes.

Overall these schemes were compliant with three of four categories:
Acute Health 1 Micro 97.98%,
Chemical Health 99.25%,
Aesthetic 94.61%.


Non-compliant with Operational 83.85%

Reason and Action Plan

Non-compliances were due to: poor performance of process units; overdosing of coagulant; failure of disinfection units; poor raw water quality following heavy rain events and inadequate process monitoring as the WTWs are unmanned during the night. 

The Lower Thukela BWSS is being implemented and will replace some of the small unsustainable schemes, whilst other schemes will be upgraded.  In the interim, necessary optimisation continues to be undertaken where failures occur.

Blue Drop Certification and Drinking Water Quality Management Excellence

Umgeni Water received nine Blue Drop certifications for drinking water quality management excellence, together with the relevant Water Services Authoritiesin 2012.

Assessments are conducted every two years. In January 2014, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) conducted a detailed blue drop assessment for all Umgeni Water systems, twenty-nine (29) in total, together with the relevant Water Services Authorities. The results of the assessments will be released in 2014/2015.

The prior year nine Blue Drop certifications comprise:

1. eThekwini Main (Midmar, DV Harris, Durban Heights, Wiggins, Maphephethwa, Amanzimtoti and Hazelmere WTW) with eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality   6. Howick, Camperdown and Mshwati (Midmar and DV Harris WTW) with uMgungundlovu District Municipality
2. Msunduzi (Midmar and DV Harris WTW) with Msunduzi Local
  7. Dolphin Coast (Hazelmere WTW) with iLembe District Municipality and Sembcorp SIZA Water
3. Ixopo (Ixopo WTW) with Sisonke District Municipality   8. Groutville (Hazelmere WTW) with iLembe District Municipality
4. Mathulini, Mthwalume and Qoloqolo (Mthwalume WTW) with Ugu District Municipality   9. Ndwedwe (Hazelmere WTW) with iLembe District Municipality
5. Mzinto and Pennington to Scottburgh (Mzinto WTW) with Ugu District Municipality      

Wastewater Quality Performance

The performance of the wastewater treatment works is assessed against the relevant licence or General Authorisation General Limits prescribed by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).

Table 8.2: Wastewater compliance per treatment works

WWTW Volume (Ml/d) Volume % 2011 2012 2013 2014
Darvill 69 91% 80.5% 86.0% 87.0% 78%
Howick 5.9 8% 83.1% 92.0% 82.7% 87%
Ixopo 0.44 0.6% 95.4% 83.2% 88.1% 95%
Lynnfield Park 0.16 0.2% - - - 66%
Albert Falls North 0.01 - 77.1% 69.7% 72.2% 89%
Albert Falls South 0.01 - 54.0% N/A1 N/A1 83%

For 2013/2014, the overall effluent compliance was 81.4%
Umgeni Water set an achievable target of ≥ 85% compliance for wastewater for 2013/2014.

2 of 4 WWTW  ≥  85% compliant:
Darvill WWTW: 78%.  
Howick WWTW: 87%.  
Ixopo WWTW: 95%. 
Lynnfield Park WWTW: 66%


2 of 4 WWTW < 85% compliant. 
Darvill WWTW: 7% below target.
Lynnfield Park WWTW: 19% below target

Reasons for gap to address full compliance and action plans

Darvill WWTW: Non compliances were due to: overloading of the aerobic treatment process, poor processing of septic sewage from a storm event, equipment failures, trade effluent related problems, problems with the primary settling tanks, sludge bulking and inadequate chlorination.

Darvill WWTW: The overall Darvill plant upgrade remains critical in order to achieve sustainable final effluent compliance.

Practical Municipal support for Trade Effluent enforcement needs to be obtained.

All equipment failures and critical issues dealt with.

ongoing optimisation until the upgrade is complete.

Lynnfield Park WWTW (Umgeni Water acquired this works in June 2014):
The process is overloaded due to only one of two reactors being operational. Suspended solids is non-compliant due to intermittent solids carryover. Chlorination is problematic due to blockages in the dosing system. Umgeni Water will develop a plan of action to improve water quality for this system over the next 12-month period.  Proper operational procedures will be formulated and implemented. A future plant upgrade is needed in order to meet development needs in the area.

Green Drop Certification Preparedness

Umgeni Water initiatives in the year included completion of internal process audits for all wastewater treatment works, identifying optimal water quality monitoring programmes for each site, developing multi-year training plans to address the skills gap to meet the requirements of the Water Services Act, Regulation 17, registration of superintendents and process controllers and overall preparedness to facilitate DWS assessments.

In 2014, DWS released the 2013 Green Drop scorecard which contained results from the full Green Drop Assessment for the period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012. Of the three Umgeni Water WWTW systems assessed, Green Drop status was awarded to Ixopo WWTW for the first time since the inception of the Green Drop Certification Programme (Figure 8.5). A significant

improvement in the Green Score was noted for Ixopo WWTW which improved from 64.6% (2011) to 91.79% (2013).This was largely attributed to an improvement in effluent quality compliance which contributes to 30% of the overall Green Drop Score.

Poor effluent compliance is a high risk area at both Howick WWTW and Darvill WWTW with the latter faced with a further challenge of the operational flow exceeding the design capacity of the works. Short and long term action and plans are in place to improve the water quality.

Support to Municipalities

Umgeni Water is supporting vulnerable customers implement projects to improve product quality. In the year seven (7) projects (R7.6m spend) were implemented. These comprise:

  • Two (2) projects for Msunduzi LM (R3.1m);
  • Two (2) projects for Umgungundlovu DM (R0.5m);
  • Three (3) projects for Ugu DM (R4.03m).

In addition, four (4) projects are in progress for Umgungundlovu District Municipality.

Other vulnerable municipalities were assisted with possible solutions which require capital investment.  Business plans were developed to assist with funding applications.

Annual statistics for 2013-2014

Annual statistics for 2012-2013

Product compliance

Umgeni Water is equipped with a modern state-of-the-art laboratory with specialist technical expertise in the fields of Chemistry, Microbiology and Hydrobiology. Water and wastewater sampling and testing is undertaken by a team of highly-skilled scientists and technicians and covers an average of 12 000 analyses on a monthly basis. The importance and relevance of physical, chemical and microbiological testing cannot be overemphasised. Test results are used in all water-related matters ranging from quality compliance to infrastructure development, process optimisation and research and development. Laboratory results are the single most important parameter used to deem any treated water fit for human consumption. Some of the more specific functions of the laboratory are to:

  • ensure compliance of the treated water with the South African National Standard, SANS 241
  • monitor the quality of raw water in rivers and dams
  • ensure compliance of wastewater discharge with legal standards provide early warning alerts when water quality problems are detected.

Over and above its core business activities, the laboratory has developed and implemented a marketing strategy by providing specialised analytical services on a commercial basis. This has been a huge success, and showed steady growth over the past ten years, with an average annual revenue of R4 m. The laboratory has developed considerably over the past two decades and is well-recognised as the first water-testing facility in the country to achieve accreditation status in terms of the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) code of practice.

Potable Water Quality Compliance

The quality of potable water is paramount to Umgeni Water’s business. Umgeni Water ensures it provides water of suitable quality that will not impact negatively on consumer health over a lifetime of consumption. This was ensured in the past year, as in previous years through relevant water quality monitoring, assessment and compliance programmes covering its entire bulk water supply business. The SANS 241: 2006 Drinking Water specification was used to assess compliance for the organisation’s twelve waterworks.

Water Quality Management Excellence at Umgeni Water

THE most significant impact of Umgeni Water’s business is provision of water that does not impact negatively on consumer health over a lifetime of consumption. Water quality is managed through a rigorous management system which covers the entire operational area and includes carefully planned monitoring programmes, auditing, compliance reporting, water quality risk assessments– conducted using a catchment to consumer approach – and the implementation of Water Safety Plans.

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