June 2009

June 2009

WSE quoted, "septic tanks posed a threat to the surrounding environment "  

It'd been a long road, but we are nearly there.  We will tackle Durban Metro on this issue in due course. (also see tail piece). 

 Report Back

Hibberdene Spar.

We have, again, good reason to include Hibberdene Spar in our newsletter.  The Lilliput system, costing nearly R600 000, and spending years polluting the environment, has been shut down!

We would like to thank Chase Properties, Spar, Wimpy and all those in the centre for correcting a very painful and costly mistake. Although the Wastewater Watch did have some influence in the final decision, we believe the owners felt compassion for the environment and public health and safety when they came to this decision.

Thank-you Spar 

PS  All may not be lost. Lilliput have a lifetime design guarantee on their systems.  Now may be the ideal opportunity to submit a claim.

We await response from Engen on their failed systems on the N3. The last we heard from Samantha was 17th April, as below.

Hi Steve

I see there was quite a bit of discussion last year about Engen Tugela 1-Stop which was never responded to.

I am in the process to chatting to Engen about this and would like to send through a response to you.

Would you be open to this?



  Samantha Walt

Managing Director Cape Town

Magna Carta (Pty) Ltd

Tel :         2721 417 5763

Fax:         086 668 2577

The Blue / Green Drop accreditation process adopted by the Department of Water (and environmental affairs) has finally released results to the public.

Blue Drop is for drinking water standards, and

Green Drop is for Wastewater standards. 

While most water departments achieved Blue drop status, only 30 wastewater systems managed the Green drop standards.

 Package Plants 

We have been quite critical on some issues of sewage treatment. One package plant supplier complained that this negativity was bringing the industry into disrepute and, in some cases cast their products and services in bad light. Their reputations are at stake.

We feel that it is time to explain why we have taken this issue so seriously. 

We started this newsletter after the 2003 Durban Metro moratorium, because we wanted the public to know more. I recall Mark Ross from Lilliput requested from Durban Metro that information offered to the public should be restricted, as the public already knew too much, and most information was being manipulated to paint a gloomy picture.  Rather than keep the public ill-informed or even misinformed, we felt that the whole saga needed to be exposed, and those suppliers that were protected, and even supported, could no longer hide from the public.  We were very fortunate to have been included in the moratorium process, because it gave us some very privileged and intimate information.

If our subject had been lawnmowers, roofing tiles, or the new president, it would not have mattered if there was a dud on the market.  But, as we are in the water industry, the public really needs to know what is good and what is not. Water is our life and our environment.  

So why do we place so much attention on package plants? Why do we not leave it up to our town councils to do their job, and to make sure our sewage water is treated properly?

Wastewater is always going to be a grudge duty for our public services. It is a messy job that is problematic, very costly and has become an embarrassment. The skills required for municipal wastewater treatment are either underestimated, or ignored, resulting in pollution never seen before.  The infrastructure, generally, is unmaintained (sometimes unmanned), obsolete and overloaded, where much needed funds have been spent on slick train-sets and 1st world football pitches.  It is time for the authorities to off load their responsibility for wastewater treatment, officially.

The only alternative is package plants.  Some will service communities, suburbs, neibourhoods, blocks of flats, housing / golfing estates . . . 

Even as far as one per household.  

With on site systems in place, so that no sewage leaves the property, sewer lines can be abandoned, and pumpstations shut down.  The existing sewer works would still be used for city sewage and industrial wastewater, but as the flow (load) is greatly reduced, these large facilities would produce a far better quality final effluent, than we are seeing now.

Then, there is water recycling & saving.  Durban Metro are nearing completion of a R 880 000 million program on replacement of aged clean water pipes within the city, which, as reported, will save up to 10% water. Package plants will save up to 40%.

This will happen.  There is no other option.

Why has it not already happened?

In the case of Durban Metro, no one really knows. But, as there are about 660 000 households in Durban, and based on the success rate of existing systems, we would have a potential of 650 000 failures.

This is why we have taken a prominent stand on what the market place is offering.  We need to get this right, before we have a million systems to fix.

And, finally, there is the politics of it all. 

 Job creation.

Should Durban adopt a "One house  - one Plant" policy, this would create an additional 5000 short term jobs and about 1000 permanent ones. 

Maybe Jacob Zuma will achieve his promised 500 000 jobs by year end.  

  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

 Water - Time Capsules

While we include photos of the present, we sometimes manage to get into the future as well.  In this case, this is the Port Shepstone golf course when global warming increases sea levels. 

Actually, it is not a time warp thing. The adjacent estuary choked up and the water backed up, flooding the golf course.



The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry  (DWAF) has now become the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs (DWEA) and wonder where the forests went.

We were asked to investigate the new registration policy for package treatment plants, and duly went off to the local DWAF office to get the latest documents

- 81 pages long -

This department no longer handles forestry, because there are no trees left.  They have all been chopped down for application forms.


Steve - Wastewater Watch