November 2008

As we draw closer to the end (of the year - that is ) we tend to look back at what has been achieved.  Education will always be a long term thing, but it is the little  cherries  throughout the journey that make the success that much more rewarding.  We took on the task of not so much adding something to the industry, but rather taking something away.

Ignorance & Arrogance.

Knowledge replaces ignorance, but to replace arrogance, one would need to replace the infected person. 

The 3rd nomination of polluter of the year, Barry Sitharam, of Engen, has not responded to our claim that the new treatment systems on the N3 have failed.  He either does not care what we say, or is hoping for "quiet diplomacy".

There have been occasions where a package plant has not been installed, because of what we reported, or claimed.  At least one supplier has complained that what we wrote has damaged the industry.  Johan Jones, from Engen, suggested Scarab would not be considered for any new systems for the petro giant, based on what the Wastewater Watch wrote about their disastrous Clear Edge systems. 

It is obviously clear that, had Scarab felt threatened about Johan's comments, they would have found a way to influence the Wastewater  Watch.  Not so!

Finally, did the Petro giant achieve water compliance when installing the new systems, despite all the knowledge now out there?  Not so! 

That is not ignorance, but arrogance.

As an update -  at the beginning of November, the South bound Engen 1Stop had untreated sewage reaching the dam, and the smell of human waste was quite pronounced.

We also contacted Wimpy, whose hamburger outlets do contribute to the pollution, but to date have not responded.

It appears, Wimpy are beginning to get linked with other failed systems. (See Hibberdene Spar - again!)

Sewage Grinders

The problems associated with pumping raw sewage, which contains many foreign objects, are well known. Apart from the normal stuff, pumping equipment has to deal with costly items including wallets, gold rings, coins, empty plastic "rim block" toilet cleaners, tennis balls, underwear (mainly ladies stuff), sardine fish heads, teaspoons, pens, beer cans, blankets, babies and the rare pet hamster - who was 'buried' in the family 'cemetery.

. . . . . And Sand

What has become popular is the grinder. (aka - sewage macerators.) This machine is designed to cut up anything that passes by, so that the solid portions are much smaller, and therefore easier to pump. And this makes a lot of sense.

Why then did Mike Sutcliffe - Durban Metro manager - ban them in the Hillcrest area in 2005?

I don't know for certain, and I understand Mad Mike doesn't know either. I will, however, suggest that the equipment was removed because the smaller particles could not be screened out and removed at the sewage treatment facilities, allowing the unbiodegradable portions of sewage to go throughout the process, choking up the facilities, and causing biological failure. 

We have been informed that these grinders will "cut anything". .

"Ok, how about a teaspoon? "

"Well, maybe not. But it has a reverse gear on it, to clear any uncuttable objects".

Sand, or correctly termed as 'grit', is the most destructive component of sewage. It eats up pumps, chokes up treatment facilities and cuts grooves into pipelines. It is also unbiodegrable.

A nightmare for any authority !

The cutting blades on grinders are super sharp, finely meshed and manufactured from high grade steel. Should the cutting edges become blunt or dull, the shearing action is no longer efficient, causing more wear, until the machine jams.

Sand is the biggest killer of sharp objects - try cutting a brick with a pair of scissors!

The replacement blades are not cheap, and this adds to a more costly, and inefficient  service. (We are getting that already from DM, and without the help of grinders)

Can we suggest a simple solution - or 2.

Communities, in problematic areas, should be encouraged to tour a sewer treatment facility, to observe the abuse. Attendance is assured with an offer a free coke and a sticky bun (in other words - a free lunch). Let them rake out the solids, just for the experience, and then give them the T shirt.

Wherever possible, all households should have septic tanks      (AND NOT A SOAKAWAY! ) installed, and the outlet be connected to the municipal sewerage system .  In this way, any household abuse is paid for by the householder, who would need to consult with a plumber. The saving would be enormous, blockage would become a thing of the past, the treatment facilities would perform better and the environment and surrounding ecosystems survive a little longer.

Does all this make sense? We think so.

Will it even be discussed? We think not - simply because it does make sense. Ed

And Hibberdene Spar Again

This system never quite loses it's flavour.

A new taxi rank was designed and built next door to Hibberdene Spar, and the ablution facilities was to discharge via a large French drain. But, as the ground water was no more than a foot below the surface, this method of disposal was hurriedly abandoned.

A pedestrian bridge was then built linking the taxi rank and the Spar building, allowing not only access of passengers to the shopping centre, but these people would also have access to the toilets to spend a penny (actually R2.00).

The fact that the system has never worked, it now has to deal with additional load, which passes straight through the plant, and into our stream.

As a reminder, Spar lease the property from Chase Properties who are the owners. Another lessee in the complex is - Wimpy.

It would surely be better for the taxi rank patrons to use the bush for their ablutions, as the "product" is going to the same place, and hence a saving of R2.00.

The penny hasn't dropped yet. Ed

Inanda's  Damn Water

This damn (excuse the pun) was built in 1989, and at the time was mooted as Durban's lifeline water supply. We reported years ago, that the water from Inanda was so polluted it was considered unfit for human consumption.  At the time, we also reported that this water would be made available to the booming towns of Scottburgh and Park Rynie, whose water supplies had become critical. Umgeni Water had agreed to design and supply a new pipeline from Durban to the water scarce South Coast area, and that the water from Inanda would be 'offered'.

The latest news is that the dam has traces of mercury, and that all swimming and fishing has been banned until such time as the water quality has been proven. 

As understood, the pipeline is now complete, awaiting final clearance for testing and commissioning.  

Mmmmm......  Delicious. 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

This month's Oxymoron

Civil Servant

This month's Spell Checker

"Sutcliffe" still shows up blank - even at the office

Name changing

Should any politician get tired, or embarrassed with the lack of pace of political changes, they tend to look at the simplest things (small minds they say). Package plants (PP) became.

Privately Owned Low Volume Domestic Sewage Treatment Systems. (POLVDSTS's)

eThekwini felt that the name of a street had been there long enough, and renamed it - (don't laugh - it does exist. Ed) -

"Problem Mkize Street" (PMS),

This is not just a Durban thing, but it is now spread throughout South Africa, designed to please the ruling (or maybe unruly) party. And always anti colonial reasons given.

A new and more sinister colonization is happening right now, as China tempts the continent to buy into their scheme. And when the new rulers claim ownership, we can suggest new names.  Durban, in it's filthy state of degradation, will be renamed -

Hu Flung Dung City

And the new rulers would keep our manager, Mad Mike, but he would remain a . . .  

French (drain)  Poo-dle

And a last note from an old associate, Ben (sent in by Barbs - with thanks)

To my friends who enjoy a glass of wine.....

and those who don't.

As Ben Franklin said: In wine there is   wisdom,

in beer there is freedom,

in water there is bacteria. 


Steve - Wastewater Watch