Brakpan Dam steadily becoming clear

After some initial setbacks, the Watermaster machine is making headway at the Brakpan Dam and the water surface recently became visible. The hyacinth is placed on the banks of the dam and then removed by contractors. Brandon Pretorius is the ward councillor for the area.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel for the Brakpan Dam as progress is steadily being made to deal with the water hyacinth infestation.

The water surface recently became visible after being completed covered in the invasive weed for months.

Brandon Pretorius, DA ward councillor for the area, is optimistic about the development and hopes the hyacinth will finally be brought under control.

The hyacinth has been flourishing at the dam for several months.

In January, approximately 20 per cent of the surface of the dam was covered in hyacinth and the infestation became worse by the day.

Concerned residents feared that if the problem was not tackled soon, it would only be a matter of time before the plant carpeted the entire dam.

At this time, the quarry, which is adjacent to the dam, had been completely covered by the water plant for several months.

Two months later, fears became a reality and the entire dam was covered.

The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality then deployed the Watermaster machine to the dam to remove the hyacinth.

WATCH: Watermaster gets to work

The operation suffered a setback, however, when one of the machine’s stabilisers had to be repaired.

This halted the process for two weeks and any progress made was lost.

The machine finally got back to work at the end of May and the results are now being seen.

“Even though it doesn’t run 24 hours a day, they are pulling out thousands of plants every day,” said Pretorius.

He told the Herald that he has approached the municipality to extend the working hours of the machine’s three operators.

“I think if we can get work done over the weekends, it will make a tremendous difference and hopefully speed up the process,” he said.

“We are extremely fortunate to have the Watermaster; I know there are problems with hyacinth in Germiston, Benoni and Springs, and council only has one machine.”

Pretorius is impressed with the contractors who have been tasked with removing the hyacinth from the park.

Truckloads of the plant are being removed on a daily basis and transported to a facility in Brakpan North where the organic material will be made into compost.

The hyacinth is transported by contractors to a facility in Brakpan North where it will be made into compost. An excavator is used to load the water weeds into trucks.

“Not only are they taking it away, but they are creating more space on the banks of the dam so that more hyacinth can be removed,” he said.

“It’s quite efficient and as the one truck leaves, the next one arrives.”

Pretorius explained that he has been kept in the dark regarding how long it will take for the hyacinth to be completely removed.

“I have asked for a time frame for completion, but have received no word,” he said.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take, and while it is frustrating, we just need to give it some time.”

The Herald has requested this information from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.

Also read:

Hyacinth puts the choke on Brakpan Dam

Where’s the dam?

Lugfoto’s wys enormiteit van die hiasinte probleem op die Jan Smutsdam

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Stacy Slatter
News Editor

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