February 2009

February 2009

As it is still new, it will need some blending, tweaking, add-ons and refreshments. But, all in good time!

 Report Back

It is becoming more apparent that the reports on the industry, not only by us, is beginning to gain ground.  The developers, estate managers, environmental agents, NGO's, and government are no longer turning a blind eye to false promises of slick salesmen. The cholera outbreak, which is "not a crisis", has everyone in a panic. Hotels, hostels, hospitals, schools, clinics and mines are urgently recalculating their risks.

A KZN hotel, looking at onsite sewage treatment, took good advice and opted not to go with a supplier we have featured here. Whether the advice came from us or not, the hotel simply could not take the chance.

The clinic on the South Coast, featured last month, has opted to remove a failed plant with something more reliable.  (On this note, we do have access to the old system, and will investigate why it failed.  Our report will be available in the next edition of the WwW, or on the website. Ed) 

 WISA Conference

Water Institute of South Africa (WISA) will hold a conference on the small sewage treatment systems this month. Venue is the Gateway Centre, Umhlanga from 19 - 20 February

As we are in the industry, we have been invited to attend the 2-day event. While I know there must be some benefit in listening - (at a delagate cost of R2900 each) - to the professionals talk, these conferences have not always resulted in real, hard action. These "workshops" are a often nothing more than talkshows. However, some of the guest speakers are legends, including Dr. Mark Graham (Ground-truth) and Dave Noziac (Waterscience). Should these people have the time to spend with us lesser informed, then there might be some merit in attending, provided, of course, these real leaders are not too diluted with the false ones. (see Pretty Flamingos)  

 Kamfers Dam  and the Pretty Flamingos

This is a particularly interesting report, and as requested by the Save the Flamingo Team, we promised to give it some of our attention.

Kamfers Dam, just north of Kimberly, made international news several years ago. An island was designed and built in the middle of the dam, providing the lesser flamingos with an artificial breeding ground. It must be noted that there are only nine breeding sites in the world, four of these in Africa, and Kamfers Dam is the only one in South Africa.  One of the very few instances of man benefiting nature.

Then the developers moved in - after all, with all that publicity, it appears everyone wants to be close to the fame. Northgate, a massive housing and commercial project, is planned for the immediate area. Phase one will include 630 apartments and a 'shopping mall' and the wastewater from here will be treated with a package plant - a Lilliput system.  The balance of the sewage from the phased development will be treated by the upgraded Kimberly municipal system.

Gary Brown - Dikubu Environmental Services have been advising on the sewer side, and as understood, put forward Lilliput's proposal.

The plant would need to treat as much as 500 000 litres of sewage per day, and the treated effluent is to be pumped 20 kms to a natural pristine pan.  The developers objective is to entice flamingos to nest there as well. And this appears to be a nice magnanimous gesture.

What Gary Brown excludes to mention, is the failure rates of the systems he takes great pride in promoting.  Also not mentioned, is that when a system fails, and the original suppliers are nowhere to be found, he asks opposition suppliers for help.

Let's look at the worse case scenario. 500 000 litres of untreated sewage gets pumped to a pristine pan, 20 kilometres away, where no-one gives a hoot. Gary should know that when untreated sewage is kept in a pipeline too long, it goes septic (frot), and becomes really frot when it is warmed up. This is a serious problem, because when it reaches the other side, the liquid is offensive, even to the dead. Add a little chlorine to this, and the chemical cocktail will kill even the dead. 

The Northgate Phase 1 project, in our opinion, is seriously flawed and must be reconsidered as the potential for disaster is very real. Gary's environmental professionalism, and therefore his integrity has to be questioned.  We feel he would need to withdraw his report on this project, before it is too late. 

Two types of enviro-consultant have emerged in the last few years - the environmental professional (EP) and the professional environmentalist (PE). The difference being the part of their job which is prioritised first . The PE will use his extensive environmental knowledge to get the project passed without concern or consideration for the environment. An eco-mercenary. This is not only unethical, but also dangerous. 

We, therefore, nominate Gary Brown for "Polluter of the Year" , in the annual FishKill Awards. 

And to the developers, please leave the dam(b) birds alone. Ed 

We did ask Gary for comment, but has not yet responded.  Oh, and before we are plagued with legal threats, all the above information is based on our opinion. Ed

Note : Gary Brown is due to do a presentation at the Wisa conference (see above) and one wonders which of our leaders we should be listening to. Ed

  Germ Killers

Oxymorons (or simply morons)

The list of germ killers below that claim to be safe for septic tanks.

Active ingredient
1. Jik
Sodium Hypochlorite
Reckett Benckiser
2. Harpic toilet cleaner
Benzalkonium Chloride
Reckett Benckiser
3. Jeyes Bleach
Sodium Hydroxide
Adcock Ingram
4. Domestos
Sodium Hypochlorite

Try Plaxo. This software allows you to change your contact details, address or occupation without losing touch.

It's brilliant and it's free. Link below. 


And No.  We do not get commissions. Ed

 New products - Eco-Loo

Eco-Loo by Lifewise Products

We found this item in which we see potential as a water saver. As understood, the water used to wash your hands, is used to flush the loo.  The concept is great.

Visit their website (link below) and tell us what you think.


 Mozzies and Myths

After last months report on malaria, this found it's way into our mailbox, from Jackie in Australia

Jackie wrote,

"According to the “Mosquitoes” chapter in Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, by Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904), mosquitoes are seen as reincarnations of the dead, condemned by the errors of their former lives to the condition of Jiki-ketsu-gaki, or "blood-drinking pretas".[41]

The Babylonian Talmud (Gittin 56b) asserts that the Roman Emperor Titus was punished by God for having destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem by having a mosquito fly into Titus' nose, picking at his brain, ceaselessly buzzing, driving him crazy and eventually causing his death. No such account appears in any Roman source. Titus died prematurely from unclear causes after only two years in power.

According to Islamic legends Nimrod was punished by Allah by mosquitoes. A mosquito entered his head and the humming sound disturbed him so much that he ordered one of his guards to hit his head with a stick. After few days, the guard became wary and hit him hard on the head, causing it to split, and the mosquito escaped."

In jest, we did mention the similarity between mosquitoes and politicians, both preferring polluted water and both-blood sucking parasites.

Myths? Perhaps not.


Steve - Wastewater Watch