Expert questions plan of action to remediate the lake

There is apparently a new option available to rehabilitate the Boksburg Lake, which has been met with criticism.

An expert in the rehabilitation of lakes, Rod Genricks, has voiced his reservations about the metro’s adopted option to use an aeration system to restore the quality of the Boksburg Lake water.

Genricks, director of Eco Tabs Gauteng, along with former member of the Boksburg Lake Forum Derek Fox have grave misgivings about the viability of the proposed option to improve the current state of the lake.

They have also questioned the way the service provider, SRK Consulting, assessed the state of Boksburg Lake.

Fox claims that the aeration of the water was previously done in the Boksburg Lake, but it failed to yield positive results.

For that reason, he finds it difficult to understand as to why the metro decided to adopt the same option that proved to be a complete failure and waste of taxpayers’ money in the past.

  • No guarantees

“Clearly there is no guarantee in regard to the aerators providing the solution. It is noted that the aerator solution is a costly solution requiring constant electricity and maintenance. It’s further noted that the aerators effectively aerate the water but do not oxygenate the water,” said Genricks.

“Aerators pump in air, which in reality only consists out of about eight per cent oxygen. By the time it is pumped in, only about one per cent of oxygen will be circulating. How will this solve the issue?

“In the project description of SRK Consulting, it speaks of the transfer of oxygen from the atmosphere to the top layer of the lake to ensure a surface layer of varying depth which keeps nature in equilibrium. Anybody who understands the environment will know this is just nonsense.”

Genricks years ago offered a solution to the lake, by using Eco Tabs, which he said would have cost the metro around R7-million.

According to him, this will allow the lake’s toxic water to be properly treated, quickly. His plan of action has never been accepted or discussed by the metro.

“There are means and ways of dealing with toxic and polluted water. Chlorine is also not the answer, because it doesn’t deal with the E-coli problem, and neither are aerators.

  • Case studies

Genricks said he can present five case studies, including Bruma, Rietvlei Dam, Brakpan Dam and Hartbeespoort Dam, where aerators have failed.

“It will fail in Boksburg again,” said Genricks, who has spearheaded numerous projects where a toxic or severely polluted body of water has undergone a successful remediation process.

“Has the metro undertaken appropriate reference checks of aeration solutions? It is noted that the study records an additional solution, namely the filtering out of the suspended solids (SS) in the event the aeration solution does not resolve the SS levels and nutrient loadings.

“I fear this additional solution is going to cost taxpayers far more than the proposed R55-m.

“Has the metro even considered alternative options and or solutions to the aeration and possible filtering out methods recorded in the project description undertaken by SRK Consulting?”

  • Assessments 

Genricks said he has also done a study into the condition of the lake, which took him only an afternoon using sonar equipment.

“My question is, has the actual sludge in Boksburg lake been measured? My findings show the sludge is on average about 5m to 7m of varying densities, leaving only about 1m of water.

“Also, the proposed weir that they want to build will not work. Firstly, where they want to build is not in a shallow part of 2m. The water is far deeper, Secondly, if you study the depths of the lake, you will find sludge needs to flow uphill to pass the weir.”

In his assessment, this proposed plan of action shouldn’t even be costing nearly so much money.

“You have to wonder, has the total rehabilitation of the lake therefore been based on a principle that has been proven to be a total failure and if so for what purpose”

ALSO READ: Boksburg Lake: it is time for residents to take matters into their own

Hope for saving the lake fades 

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  AUTHOR
Fanie Mthupha
Journalist

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