According to The Citizen, water quality and supply has become a South African national crisis. This is, in part, due to the disintegration of the country’s mining regulatory system. Tainted water supplies, which have become affected by unregulated wastewater disposal from mines, are becoming a major threat to people’s health. Due to the government’s inability to regulate environmental laws, mines have become increasingly lacklustrein their approach to disposing of their wastewater, leading to widespread water source contamination. A simple solution exists to solve this crisis: reinforcing environmental law in order for mines, and other industries, to safely dispose of wastewater using effective water treatment solutions.
Due to the unique operation of mines, the pollution caused by these projects can have disastrous effects on the people and wildlife that rely on the water sources that are being contaminated. Minerals processing, causes pollution that occurs from the use of chemical agents which are then leaked into nearby bodies of water and can be highly toxic to humans as well as to fauna and flora. When polluted water is not being treated, and is being recklessly dumped, larger health concerns will become a national health crisis.
How Many Mines Are Contributing to the Crisis?
The Mail & Guardian has reported that 118 mines across South Africa are polluting rivers, a large bulk of these mines are also operating without water permits. These mines are contributing to the rising concerns of a health crisis due to the unregulated, undocumentedand irresponsible disposal of contaminated water.
Water Treatment Solutions
During this crisis, the government should be enforcing regulations and promoting water treatment solutions as a way to control the contamination of local water resources. WEC Projects offers a diverse range of industrial and mine water treatment solutions for industrial and mining clients in Africa. These solutions assist mines to treat their wastewater to regulatory requirements cost effectively and to minimise the impact on local resources and to minimise the environmental footprint.
Using technologies such as oxidation, clarification, filtration, ion exchange, membrane technology, activated carbon absorption and treatment of brine concentrates, mines can quickly become compliant with environmental regulations, and the country can safeguard its precious water supply.