Project Plan and Duration
The proposed plan and duration will be guided by the Department of Water and Sanitation.
A two-pronged approach
According to statistics released on the Statista website, in 2019 66% of South Africans live in urban areas. Many of the communities making up this portion of the population will be able to be monitored for SARS-CoV-2 infection by sampling at urban wastewater treatment works. There is, however, a large percentage of the South African population that are not serviced by such infrastructure – namely informal settlements and rural communities.
The project plan will employ a two pronged approach – sampling at wastewater treatment works that service an urban population, and sampling at points which are not wastewater treatment works but represent a specified community.
Urban community monitoring
The WWTW’s listed in Table 2-2 and Table 2-3 for the Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality and City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality will be targeted in the initial stages of the project. Preliminary results will be presented to the Department of Water and Sanitation, thereafter samples from the rest of the WWTWs will be taken and analysed.
Rural and Informal Settlement Monitoring
A variety of sampling points in the Vaal River Catchment area that are not serviced by a wastewater treatment plant will be selected to be monitored. These sites would include the following:
- Groundwater resources (boreholes) in informal and rural settlement catchments;
- Selected surface water resources (rivers and streams);
- Package wastewater treatment plants servicing rural clinics;
- Package wastewater treatment plants servicing outlying communities, where such systems are installed; and
- Package wastewater treatment plants servicing border posts and other remote sites of strategic national importance.
Sampling type and frequency
Sampling will, wherever possible, be a 24 hour composite sample. This is consistent with the KWR method which was used in the proof of concept study that was conducted by the A-4-A team. A 24 hour composite sample will provide the best indication of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 being shed from the target population, as it takes into account a full 24 hour time-step flow / volume cycle, eliminating the risk of excluding important data that would otherwise be missed when using ‘grab sampling’ methods.
Where a composite sample is not possible (certain rural sampling), grab samples will be used in conjunction with a mechanical element generating a relative composite sample, from which to draw the sample from. Where this is the case stringent protocols will be employed to ensure the samples are consistently taken at the most appropriate time to ensure the best possible result.
In order to develop trends of COVID-19 infections for target areas, samples will be taken at the same time on a weekly basis (7 days) at each of the specified sampling sites for the duration of the project. Flow measurement data will also be used to compare the volume of flow measured to the viral load sampled and tested. This flow data will be retrieved from existing flowmeters and / or new flowmeters per section 2.2.5 above
Duration of the project
Based on global epidemiological data, the COVID-19 virus tends to have additional waves of infection after the initial wave in an area. Because the pandemic is only 8 or 9 months old, there is no data to inform on how the rest of the pandemic will play out. With this in mind, it is recommended that the initial project be a minimum of 12 months, and continue indefinitely into the future as the new normal. It is also unknown what possible mutations of the virus and / or new viruses are yet to come. By commencing with this project, South Africa as a whole will be able to start at Day Zero for any future outbreaks.
The project will be rolled out as follows:
23 x auto samplers are on hand available for immediate deployment, with installation expected to take 5-7 working days
A further 15 x auto samplers will be available within 2 weeks from project start, available for installation within 3-4 working days
Thereafter 20 x auto samplers will be available each week to support the current proposed scope as well as nation-wide implementation
The repairs and / or commissioning and calibration of flowmeters follows a similar and parallel timeline to the auto samplers above
The laboratory testing capacity will be scaled up in a systematic and logical manner to support the on-site sampling
Other labs form part of our intended roll-out, with the 10% additional testing being destined for facilities within the ambit of the NICD, amongst others
Sampling at ALL WWTW will be every 3rd day, with rural and outlying areas also every 3rd day
Project management will be done according to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) principles and PRINCE2. The project manager will be responsible for the following activities:
Project scope definition for each work stream
Communication at project management and client level
Project Implementation Plan
Inception Report Compilation
Project cost and quality control
Measurement and verifications of the metering and billing data
Risk Monitoring and management between the contractor and key stakeholders
The project manager shall report to the Client’s Project Management Unit.
Monitoring, measurement and reporting
Progress reporting will be done on monthly basis and the client will be informed of the progress.
Tight control will be kept on the sampling protocols and the retention of the custodial chain of evidence central to any credible forensic investigation. Where dashboards are under development by other teams, close coordination will be established to service their needs. This is not a competitive effort given the humanitarian nature of the pandemic, so cooperation will be encouraged and enforced. Weekly reports will be generated for the Command Council (or Cabinet) in a format determined by them, and this will be channelled through DWS as the principal client, in a manner determined by them.
The various processes mentioned generate data that is available for analysis via online platforms:
Flowmeters: all flow data available and can be refined into daily / weekly / other time period analysis for flow trends and / or total volume analyses
Auto-Samplers: samplers communicate their status on a permanent basis
Track + Trace: full documentation of the entire process from sampler installation, flowmeter installation + calibration to sample retrieval and analysis
IMQS: sophisticated GIS platform indicating water + sewer networks as well as hydraulic modelling and projected flow rates
Initially a hybrid of the above systems will be used to accurately monitor the quality of results throughout the network being monitored, while a parallel process is put in place to submit all data received through to a central dashboard for high-level analysis and decision-making.
All data recorded above will be securely backed up and stored for future use, independent of the associated systems and can be retrieved for future and immediate use at any time.