December 2008

But this mass movement of people to the 'quiet' resorts will again put pressure on the environment. Every person will generate up to 200 litres of wastewater per day, and if just 10% of the entire population of 44 million people spend just one day away from the rat race, this is 880 million litres of sewage the visitors will leave behind. We again appeal to all holidaymakers - Please take care of our water supplies, use water sparingly, and ask their hosts how they are treating the waste.

We love your business, and we love our environment. We need both to survive.

Report Back 

We are pleased to report that the Hibberdene Spar / Wimpy have contacted us through their attorney, and expect to see some progress in this regard.

Despite the many newsletters sent out over the years, we do not often get lawyers letters. We started our reply with sincere thanks. It appears that those we write about, some do care after all.

Engen Tugela 1Stops on the N3 (DBN / JHB) route and at the Newcastle Riverside 1Stop have not responded to our claims, and presume they believe in quite diplomacy. Therefore, we have printed thousands of flyers, to be distributed at the Mooi River, and Tugela toll roads informing caring motorists to stop only at the Shell Ultra City in Escort. But then, we suggest many people already know, because this Ultracity has twice as many peak time visitors (and capable of treating 250 000 litres of sewage a day) as the Tugela Engen 1Stop.

So, when you really need to go -

Go well - Go Shell

Professionalism  vs Politics

The very sad story about the suspension (and subsequent resignation) of CSIR water specialist Anthony Turton has made international news. His well researched article on the state of South Africa's water upset the "god fathers", who told him to clear out his desk, just days before he was to present his findings in a key note address. However, the report was made available, and was freely circulated weeks prior to his suspension (for full details follow this link here).

Turton proved that South Africa had run out of excess water, and this meant that the dilution of pollutants would make water we drink unfit for human consumption.  The crisis situation can only be averted if we have above average rainfall, he said. - (and maybe we should now pray .... Dear Lord, is this what we have been reduced to - begging for more rain? - Ed)

ps A little secret. Durban and Pietermaritzburg metropoles have been in a "precarious water deficit for the past four years," and face water restrictions (Tony Carnie - The Mercury)  

Water  Quality

We dug up this article from the archives, and quote: 


Held in Indaba Room No. 1, Ground Floor Conference Centre, Chamber House, 190 Stanger Street, Durban on

1 August 2007 at 15H00

The package plant producer in question had also informed that the City’s non-compliance in terms of daily discharges was also of a concern and this reason could not be used for singling out the operation of package plants. Mr. Fennemore (Durban Metro) pointed out that the statistical deviance in terms of non-compliance on the City’s daily discharges were small in comparison to the statistical deviance measured at many of these package plants."

We take note that, while the package plant industry can be blamed for most things, they cannot be blamed for the massive pollution affecting just about every watercourse in South Africa (or cholera in Limpopo).  It simply does not add up, and Chris Fennemore has made these "Pee's in the ocean", a scapegoat for the authorities water crimes, in general.

Our pollution appears to be from a much bigger source -  the mega litre a day systems that the municipality owns, possibly?

A while ago, we found a program called the Water Quality Management System, in which all participating municipalities submit the results of their plants, for both wastewater and drinking water.  This program is the brain child of the Department of Water Affairs, who pays a private company, eManti, to develop and maintain it. (a public funded project !! - Ed)

The data is, however, accessible only to those municipalities that participate and Water Affairs, requiring a code to enter the site (see here ).  We have made several attempts to access this information, contacting

Grant Mackintosh - eManti email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and

Allestair Wensley - Senior Specialist Engineer:

Water Services Planning and Information

Telephone: 012-3368767

Cellphone: 082-8085642 

Fax: 012-3366609 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

And our normal contacts within eThekwini, including Water Chief - Neil MacLeod. In every case we have been either fobbed off or ignored.

Does the data collected by eManti reveal the sorry  state of our water care infrastructure? 

We think so - we have seen some of the results!  

Why is this public funded program hidden from the public?

Embarrassment, maybe?

There is the "Promotion of Access to information Act" (PAIA) which allows anyone a constitutional right to information. We know this and so does DWAF, eManti and Durban Metro. This is the next obvious route, so why are the authorities making it so difficult? Shame, perhaps? Ed.

Clear Edge v Biobox

There has been a claim that Clear Edge - CE(based in Durban) is simply rebranded as Biobox - BB (based in Pretoria), but according to Biobox manager, David Light, this is not true.  David did offer a tour of Biobox systems a while ago, and we took him up on that a month ago, but without him.

This is what we found:

1.     Biobox use the same tanks as Clear Edge (but then so do most suppliers)

2.     Biobox uses the same media as Clear Edge (but then so do several other suppliers)

3.     Biobox use pumps and venturis as Clear Edge (but then several other suppliers also use this method of aeration)

4.     Biobox use the same design as Clear Edge - unique to Clear Edge.

5.     Pump brackets are also unique, along with tank connections and those clarifiers. Even the little mistakes Clear Edge made, are seen on the Biobox.

There is little doubt, the parents of Clear Edge are the same as Biobox, and to hide the high failure rates of the Clear edge system, rebranding has occurred - all in our opinion - of course.

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck then it has got to be a duck.

Does it swim like a duck? We couldn't tell.

And when questions are asked, it appears there is a great deal of ducking and diving. Ed.

  Germ Killers

Oxymorons (or simply morons)

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

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

This month's Oxymoron

Sanitary Landfill

(also known as a rubbish dump)

This month's Spell Checker

eManti comes up as - symantic

Fennemore - phenomena

Water Wings

This one did it's rounds a while ago, but as I am now safely on the ground from a flight from Cape Town, it did jar a thought. Apparently, quite true.

On arriving at home, the owner finds hole in his roof and fresh sewage splattered around his living room. He phones up British Airways and requests they visit his property, as he thinks they are responsible.  Well, BA were finally persuaded to take a look, and as soon as they saw the mess, agreed to compensate. 

The house was in the flight path of incoming jet airliners, and what happened was a leak had occurred in the planes conservancy  tank, and at high altitude froze on the side of the plane.  As the plane descended, a chunk of frozen sewage melted and fell off, going through the roof of the chap's house.

As many flights occurred during the day, why did BA admit liability?

All BA airlines use logo printed and embossed toilet paper ! 

Have a safe festive season,


Steve - Wastewater Watch