THE MINISTER of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, Mr Mahama Ayariga, has given operators of the sewage disposal point in Accra, popularly referred to as ‘Lavender Hill’, six months to cease operations.
He gave the order in reaction to a court ruling that asked the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to close down the site by the end of the year.
He challenged the AMA to generate funds to enable it to complete the construction of the FK Slamson and Mudor sewage treatment plants in Accra.
He said the ministry would ensure that matters that concerned the environment were treated with the seriousness required through policy direction, technical assistance and leadership.
Mr Ayariga said this when he visited the Lavender Hill, FK Slamson sewage treatment site and the Mudor faecal waste treatment plant to familiarise himself with operations at the three sites last Wednesday.
The minister and his entourage were taken round the sites by a Special Assistant in the office of the AMA Chief Executive, Mr Robert Ansah, and the Project Manager in charge of the Accra Sewage Treatment Plant, Mr Stephen Ackon.
The minister was accompanied by the Executive Director of EPA, Mr Daniel S. Amlalo.
FK Slamson site
At the FK Slamson treatment facility, Mr Ackon explained that the site could handle 50 sewage trucks a day and that any additions had to be sent to the ‘Lavender Hill’.
He said untreated human waste was put into receptacles from where it is pumped into digesters. “At this point, the sediments are separated from the liquid. The liquid, is recycled and used for polymers, which is a chemical compound, while the solid leftover is converted to compost for soil conditioning,” he said.
He said the treatment plant, which was undergoing expansion, would be completed within eight weeks if there were adequate funds.
Mudor Treatment site
The Project Manager of the Accra Treatment Plant said the Mudor Waste Treatment Plant was built about a decade ago. He said the plant treated liquid waste using trickling filters and settling tanks procedure, following which the treated liquid effluent is discharged into the Korle Lagoon.
According to Mr Ackon, the Mudor facility had the capacity to contain 16,000 cubic metres of liquid but it was yet to achieve its full capacity.
At the Lavender Hill, near Korle-Gonno, it came to light that in spite of court directives to the AMA to stop discharging human waste at the site, sewage trucks carrying full loads of excreta were still dumping the untreated waste into the sea.
In response to a question from the minister regarding the directive from the court, Mr Ansah said the AMA had asked for a short respite to enable documents it had sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be examined.
He said the document contained plans that were backed by finance and would be implemented as soon as it was released so that the lavender Hill facility could be closed down.
He said the Lavender Hill took in about 120 sewage trucks on a daily basis and that for each truck, the AMA charged a fee of GH¢ 25.
At the end of the tour, the minister expressed dissatisfaction at the management of the treatment plants and urged the AMA to commit itself to improving conditions at the various sites.