Scientific Services

The water quality testing, carried out at the organisation’s SANAS-accredited laboratory by the Scientific Service Unit, is divided into four categories, namely physical, chemical, microbiological and operational as per SANS 241: 2015 requirements.

River monitoring is conducted through the assessment of using biomonitoring and bioaccumulation. Lepelle Northern Water appoint the competent service provider to conduct the biomonitoring to the river during dry and wet season which Lepelle Northern Water abstract water from such as Olifants, Spekboom, Steelpoort river and others. Biomonitoring involves the use of organisms to assess environmental contamination, such as of surrounding air or water by observing or measuring the effects the environment has on its resident organisms, pollution may be suspected or inferred. The   reports are presented at the regional meetings for implementation and used as a as a baseline for the bio-monitoring survey and will be utilised as stipulated in the water license.

Accreditation: ISO 17025

In 2018/19 the organisation’s Central laboratory underwent surveillance audits by the accreditation body, South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) and accreditation was re-instated in the chemistry laboratory and 4 new additional methods were added on the accreditation schedule.


The matrix tested for at the laboratories includes potable, borehole, river and effluent water for microbiological, chemical and physical parameters. Quality management systems is currently improved to comply with the new version of ISO 17025: 2017.

Convenience sample collection services are available on arrangement.

For any inquiries contact Scientific Services Unit


Water Quality

Overall Water Quality Performance

LNW strives to supply water that complies with SANS 241 drinking water standard. Average water quality compliance levels are depicted in Figure 9-1 below. The minimum requirement is 98% for microbiological and 95% for Chemical Non-Health Aesthetic, Chemical Chronic Health and Operational compliance. LNW was able to comply in some instances exceeded the quality targets.

Microbiology Compliance

The bar charts below depict the water quality performance for microbiological, chemical chronic health, chemical non-health and operational compliance in each of the plants operated by LNW and reported on the Integrated Regulatory Information System.

>97% >95 <97% >90 <95% <90
Excellent Good Acceptable Alert

Challenges and plans towards full Microbiological compliance


In general the microbiological compliance for the organisation has improved compared to previous years. Olifantspoort Scheme and sub scheme (Fetakgomo, Capricorn) experienced microbiological challenges due to pipe bursts.


>97% >95 <97% >90 <95% <90
Excellent Good Acceptable Alert
Chemical Non Health Compliance

The overall Non-Health Compliance of water provided by LNW are in an excellent state, this was achieved at a high chemical cost to produce water that is aesthetically appealing.

Chemical Chronic Health Compliance

For Overall Water Quality visit:

Environmental Sustainability

ISO 14001 Certification

ISO 14001 2015 is the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS). Lepelle Northern Water is certified of ISO14001: 2015 for 24 Schemes. An Environmental Management System helps LNW to identify, manage, control and monitor environmental issues in a holistic manner. The livelihood of all South Africans is dependent upon the environment within which they live, and they have a right to live in a healthy and safe environment. Lepelle Northern Water s operations impact on the environment both positively and negatively. One of the biggest benefits of implementing an EMS is the recognition that comes with being among those businesses that care enough to reduce their environmental footprint. This bring better relationships with customers, the public, and the community at large for your company, but it also brings other benefits.

Along with the good public image, ISO 14001: 2015 certification assist   LNW to save money through the implementation of an environmental management system. This is achieved through reducing incidents that can result in liability costs, being able to obtain insurance at a more reasonable cost, and conserving input materials and energy through reduction efforts. Projects conducted by Lepelle Northern Water  through the initiatives of ISO 14001: 2015  which are  Waste Management,  biomonitoring , Removal of alien   plants ,energy initiatives,  water saving and paper  saving.


Waste Management

LNW implement hazardous and sludge  management for the benefit of the Environment to reduce the negative impacts and comply  with  National  Environmental  Management: Waste Act   59 of 2008 legislations. Biological and  chemical hazardous waste  is segregated and collected by competent service provider who disposes it in an environmentally friendly manner while sludge  management is also collected by  service provider and collect the quarterly sampling  to assess it and conduct the classification on the sludge  and then dispose  according the  results from the laboratory.


Alien Plants

Alien Plants are invasive because they spread and displace our natural trees and plants. Invasive alien plant species (IAP) are species which spread outside their natural distribution threaten biological diversity. Alien plants are known to be a threat to water security as they consume hundreds of litres of water per day. Lepelle Northern Water has created programme to manage alien species on the selected   schemes that is affected by alien schemes. The aim of the programme is to bring alien species such as wattle under control in such way that it contributes to the conservation of the natural resources.



Biomonitoring is the project used to assess the status of the rivers where water is abstracted for all LNW schemes. The competent service provider is appointed to collect the sample for dry and wet season to determine the status of the river which LNW abstract water from.


Water supply augmentation/Water availability

Limpopo Province is a drought prone province which faces challenges of drought from time to time and this impacted on water supplies for irrigation activities, mining and domestic use. LNW exploration of ground water sources continued during the period under review, this led to DWS issuing a 1.5 Ml/day Water Use License for boreholes in Mogalakwena area to increase water supply.  

A study has been conducted and feasibility report is available, where different approaches/ technologies were explored for wastewater reclamation that is best suited for the Polokwane area. The intention of the study was to avail information for the LNW and/ or WSA to consider when implementing projects geared towards Polokwane water intervention programme or in establishing the regional wastewater treatment works.

The project implemented in conjunction with Tshwane University of Technology to explore the performance of various coagulants in treating moderate to high turbidity water was conclude in 2018/19, LNW is implementing the recommendations.

LNW is pursuing new knowledge on innovative solutions in the water sector to assist mitigating water quality challenges. The current collaborative work done with academic institutions and LNW personnel registered for masters’ degrees are also beneficial to the organisation knowledge hub.

SANAS Accredited laboratory

For any enquiries please contact Scientific Services Unit:

Convenience sample collection services is available on arrangements.

South African National Accreditation System
  • Total coliforms (MPN/100ml)
  • E. coli( MPN/100ml)
  • Faecal Coliforms (MPN/100ml)
  • Heterotrophic plate Count (cfu/ml)
  • Conductivity @25®C (Ms/m)
  • Dissolved solids cal(mg/l)
  • pH@25®C(pH units )
  • Turbidity NTU
  • Color mg/l/Pt-co
  • Ammonia(mg/l)
  • Aluminium (mg/l
  • Calcium(mg/l
  • Fluorides (mg/l)
  • Iron(µg/l)
  • Chromium(µg/l)
  • Magnesium (mg/l)
  • Lead (µg/l)
  • Nitrate and Nitrite(mg/l)
  • Sulphate as SO4(mg/l)
  • Total Alkalinity (mg/l)
  • Total Hardness(mg/l)
  • Zinc(mg/l)
  • Total organic carbon (mg/l)