Condoms, aborted babies damaging sewage treatment plants at Lavender Hill

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Engineers at the Mudor Waste Water Treatment Plant have disclosed that foreign materials including condoms, sanitary pads, and remains of aborted babies are damaging their machines.

Though the plant is to process liquid waste, faecal matter collected is gaining notoriety for containing other solid waste materials, which are damaging the machines.

The plant is currently being operated by Sewerage Systems Ghana Limited (SSGL) at Lavender Hill, near James Town in Accra.

SSGL is a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies which collects and treats faecal matter generated within the nation’s capital.

According to Head of Processing and Engineering at Sewage Systems Limited, Eric Amofa-Sarkodie, “we see aborted babies, we see sanitary pads, condoms, even blankets. All of these things find their way into our plant because people drop them there.”

During a tour of the facility by the Local Government Minister, Dan Botwe, on Friday, Mr. Amofa-Sarkodie told JoyNews that “it costs us as much as GH¢25,000 to transport the solid waste away from the treatment plant.”

The company is urging households to avoid discarding these solid materials into sewage channels to curtail the trend of damages caused to the treatment plants.

Lavender Hill (Accra) is a venue located at Jamestown in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana where the Accra Metropolitan Assembly disposes liquid waste.

Famously known as Accra’s most eyesore sight, Lavender Hill, was reconstructed at the cost of US$45milllion and is expected to generate over 150 tonnes of faecal septage which will be converted into energy and also generate 7.5MW.

Lavender Hill has been in existence for more than 100 years now. It is reported that more than about 200 cesspit trucks discharged liquid waste daily into Lavender Hill.

The new Lavender Hill Faecal Treatment Plant, which was inaugurated by President John Mahama on Friday, has a maximum treatment capacity of 2,400 cubic meters daily; and is expected to serve over two million people daily.

The project has an expected life span of 20 years, can also be used as an organic fertilizer, and will further create direct employment for some 250 people.

The plant has the capacity to treat 2,000 cubic meters of liquid waste from about 200 cesspit trucks daily and is also stocked with a well-equipped laboratory, in addition to a machine for odour control.

“This project is one of its kind in the sub-region region and our aim is to replicate it in other parts of the country, especially the regional capitals. We are also looking at district capitals that have bigger population sizes so that we can effectively handle the liquid waste all over the country,” President Mahama said.

The new Lavender Hill was constructed by Nanjing Wonders Environmental Protection Company Limited, a Chinese construction firm, for Sewerage Systems Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Jospong Group of Companies.

Construction of the new plant began in September 2014. The ultimate objective of the plant is to give Ghanaians, especially residents of James town and Korle Gonno, a more decent and environmentally acceptable standard facility.

Disposal of liquid sewerage has been a major problem in larger cities in Ghana, especially in the capital. In fact, a survey carried out by the Ghana Statistical Service in 2002 showed that about 38percent of the population dispose of their liquid waste directly onto the streets.

The survey further reveals that 21percent dispose of their wastewater into street gutters, and another 35percent on their compound, and the remaining one percent in other places not named.

Statistics from the Greater Accra Liquid Waste Association also indicate that as many as 400 cesspit operators discharge liquid waste into the ocean daily at peak periods.

It is important to note that the Adjei Kotoku Septage Treatment Plant, which commenced in 2012, has been completed and will enhance liquid waste management for Ga West District and its environs. The plant has a maximum treatment capacity of 100 cubic meters daily.

The wastewater treatment plant at the Accra Compost and Recycling Plant was also completed and is expected to treat 1,500 cubic meters of liquid waste from about 90 cesspit emptiers daily.