Extensive research into sewage purification processes has enabled Johannesburg to produce environmentally high quality effluent from wastewater treatment plants, thus successfully controlling the largest point source contribution to surface water pollution in the Johannesburg metropolitan area. However, a variety of other point and diffuse sources require attention in order to protect the country's single most important resource.

Case studies involving pollution from sanitary sewers, zoological gardens, informal settlements and mine dumps are discussed. The effect of more stringent effluent control on the quality of rivers receiving sewage effluent is also discussed.

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