Sub committee Members:
To maintain and improve the infrastructure of Nature's Valley with special emphasis on the rectification of ground water pollution.
To improve the quality of roads.
To prepare a plan for the rectification of pollution problems.
To prepare a plan for the upgrading and repair to Nature's Valley roads.
Waste water is difficult to manage in such an environment and where properties are in low lying areas, such as Forest Drive, the problem becomes even more difficult.
The tarred roads in Nature's Valley are being eroded and broken away by a number of factors like passing vehicles driving off the road and chipping away on the verges as well as the roads becoming water logged and breaking up when it rains.
CopyRightę2003-2008 Prepared maintained by C.P.S. 1 - 081109 NatVals
THE SETTING:- Sewage disposal options for Nature’s Valley
Basically Nature's Valley does not flush like other towns because of what surrounds us:
National Park, steep mountain slopes covered in pristine indigenous forest and fynbos, the lagoon, a beautiful beach and the sea. Having all this beauty so close and surrounding us, means that our township has no room in the Valley for a 'sewerage farm' like most other towns.
And to pump it out of the Valley, will require a pipeline through pristine forest, three pump stations going up the mountain, each with an emergency holding reservoir, power lines to these, also access/service routes.
Then there is the high capital and running costs of a system which must cater for more than 2000 people in season and less that a tenth of that for most of the year.
Before we consider this route, we (and SANParks whose permission would be required), must surely ask: "Is there no other solution? Does the need justify the means?" So, we must look at alternatives.
Septic tank / soak away systems have been the standard system in NV for many years. They may seem dated, but it is recorded on the Internet that 60 million people in the United States depend on them.
Two-thirds of the Valley has deep sand and a water table deep enough below the surface for soakaways to operate well at virtually no running cost, especially if you stick to a few simple rules.
Rules such as not killing the organisms that do the work down there with Jik , cigarette stubs, or other poison.
Some owners even get away with a system designed for a little cottage with one bathroom long after they had doubled the number of bedrooms and trebled the bathrooms.
But the question was whether “sepsoaks” pollute the environment. Some people are concerned about this; others say that our vegetation and the subsurface environment can cope with what is, after all, strictly household effluent only.
There are no industries, even upstream of us. But we need to base our decisions on fact.
Ongoing sampling by the municipality of bore holes drilled towards the lagoon end of town in 1998, contradicts the notion that this system leads to a build-up of groundwater pollution.
At our request nine additional sampling wells were recently installed to cover the rest of NV, so. we shall soon have analytical data for the full length of NV on which to base decisions.
Next, conservancy tanks. They present us with an option in areas where soakaways cannot work due to clay and/or a high water table.
In such areas they have played an essential role to stop sewage-polluted water from entering the storm water drain and from there, the lagoon.
But many have been installed in areas where new evidence may show they are not essential.
Conservancy tanks are unfortunately costly, unpleasant and the municipality is hard pressed to service them during peak periods. During season outside contractors are reported to have charged RI 800 per tanker per hour to help out.
Yes, we can benefit from new technology. Much of the necessary basic biological, chemical, engineering, and earth science expertise to identify and evaluate options, are available amongst NV owners.
We have added to our knowledge from relevant reports, visits to installations, the Internet, equipment suppliers and by studying local conditions. Space does not allow a review of the results here, but a five-page summary is available from your NVRA office for those who are interested in more detail.
Outside specialist consultants have played an important part and will do so in future, but owners have the benefit of an intimate knowledge of local conditions to contribute. With this in mind, a Joint Steering Committee was set up between the Bitou Municipality and ourselves to find the best way to dispose of our sewage.
The committee has been meeting at regular intervals since the beginning of 2004.
A good working relationship has been established and appreciable progress has been made.
Our objective is to arrive at firm recommendations by November 2004.
We do not want to pre-empt the outcome, except to say that the recommendation may include a combination of various sub-options and that impact studies as well as the implementation cost are likely to dictate that implementation will take place in phases spread over two or more financial years, commencing in 2005-2006.
Look for more information in the next Newsletter and at the AGM.