June - July 2008

Once again, we have had some really energetic response, indicating that despite living in a very materialistic world, there is still abundant conscience.

As 2008 is the year marked for sanitation, the hope that enough effort will be made to provide better sewage solutions, preventing water pollution and building a world platform. As a comparison, 2007 was the year of Aids, and thanks to the beet root and herbs mentality, we still have Aids. Maybe we will also have sanitation in 2009.

We have had no response from Eskom, on our report that they are knowingly using sewage treatment systems which have a high failure rate. Troy Govender (Eskom Environmental) has still not responded as he had promised and therefore suggest he simply does not care.

We, therefore, nominate Troy as the second candidate for 'Polluter of the Year', in the annual Fish Kill award.

Congratulations !!

Blue Flag Beaches

Despite all the hot air about Durban's Blue Flag status, it appears the eThekwini council has missed the boat for the 2010 soccer frenzy. It is now too late to regain our Blue Flags. We have allowed Mad Mike to trash our clean record of clear beaches, clean toilets and pollution free water. The idea that test results show high purity in samples analyzed at the councils in-house laboratory, and yet fail the independent tests done by Alison Kelly of Blue Flag International speaks for itself. (see .... below)

eThekwini Metro and Package Plants

Way back in late 2001, eThekwini Metro were approached by two package Plant suppliers who felt that regulation was needed on the supply and installation within the greater Durban area. All suppliers would need to be on an official Metro approved list, and any product that was not approved by eThekwini Metro would be rejected. The guideline policy was written by at least one of the suppliers, and as the author/s, both Lilliput and Clear Edge were automatically on the approved list. Any other supplier would need to run a full test before they would get approval. This suited both Lilliput and Clear Edge as they did not need to prove compliancy, and this shut the door on any other system, including Scarab and Siyageza.

Scarab was finally approved in April 2003, and managed to install only one small system when all three suppliers were slapped with a moratorium in June 2003. Many systems had failed and the Department of Water Affairs (DWAF) stepped in. All systems would now require compliancy tests, and would not be re-approved until DWAF was pleased. Mark Ross - Lilliput - claimed that sewage had changed in 5 years and this is why his systems failed. Mat Carlisle - Clear Edge - claimed that the start up period could be extended for up to 2 years and suggested that he be allowed to discharge untreated effluent until then.

The moratorium was 'lifted' in September 2005, but with such restrictions that many potential buyers found it too costly, opting for the cheaper soak-away route.

As Durban was not the only area where failed systems were creating a problem, the Buffalo (Eastern Cape) Metro looked at Durban for guidance, and quickly adopted the same harsh conditions, with Joburg following soon thereafter.

Durban's Sanitation unit were highly embarrassed at the failure rate on systems they had approved, opening up the possibility of claims against the council. After all, the owners were not qualified to judge which was a good system prior to purchase, and were guided by the authorities who should have known better. But in this case the two approved and listed suppliers had a high failure rate. This is not just my view. Mike Sutcliffe, the eThekwini city manager wrote,

"It is indeed correct that a considerable number of the private sewage package plants are not meeting the General Limit Value (GLV) criteria laid down by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry."

Developers have opted to go the soak away route instead, which requires no engineer, no deposit, no monthly tests, no guarantee of compliancy, no maintenance. A "qualified" plumber / environmentalist could approve any site suitable for soakaways, for a few dollars more.

But, who cares? We just bury our wastewater, in the hope that we will never need to extract it for survival purposes.

Head in the sand syndrome ! 

Patents, Patents Pending and Lies 

It appears that nothing is sacred in salesmanship, the water treatment industry included.

We first reported that Lilliput / or their agents had claimed SABS approval. Simply not true. Then they claimed Durban Metro approval in a new website. Simply not true. Now we report that the product has a patent. Simply not true. On the website http://www.boschfontein.co.za/project.html Lillput has claimed it has been patented. What the wording should be is patent pending, which is only vaguely related. It appears that Lilliput have renewed their patent pending application every year, at a cost of just R 150.

The following High Court case in which Lilliput attempted to sue an associate refers. The judge said (item 42)

"If it had been a protectable interest, one would assume that would by now have been patented".

Full judgment report is on the following link.


Lilliput lost the case, with costs. One wonders what else they say is simply not true. Ed

We are aware of only one package plant that has a patent, Biolytics. And we would like to explore this system next month.

Germ Killers

We use a number of products in our homes which kill nasty germs, and we have a right to protect our health and that of our families. Many manufactures use chlorine as a base for their disinfectants, which is a cheap ingredient.

What we object to is the labeling of the product as being safe for septic tanks at the same time as killing all known germs.

You simply cannot have both !

We now list all the products that claim this, updated every month.

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 


(& why would anyone want them in our bodies)

This month's Spell Checker

Unilever comes out as - unlived.

We have often said that our (SA) wastewater treatment products are world class. A recent case is a UK firm being totally outclassed, purely on the final effluent requirements that we demand here. We will look into this next time, and why SA products are perceived as rejects, overseas.


Steve - Wastewater Watch