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Scarab v Durban Metro

The art of passing off sewage packaged plants. . .

 that won't perform as promised . . . copied from the Wastewater Watch


Wastewater recycling and Day Zero

There has been recent negative reports that Western Cape, and in particular, Cape Town has put a spanner in the works for new developments. Some say the holdup is water, as "Day Zero" looms just about every year. Onsite wastewater recycling packaged treatment plants would definitely relieve pressure on clean water supplies.  But, before I go on, let me tell you a story . . .


Durban's Packaged Treatment Plants

Once upon a time, in the early 2000's, the Durban / Pinetown / Hillcrest area of KZN experienced a major surge in housing estates and rural developments. Neil Macleod (retired Head of eThekweni Sewage) was under pressure to allow the construction to start, without providing services, like on-site sewer disposal. It was the developer's responsibility to find a solution. Packaged treatment plants!!  Now, there were only two local suppliers on the approved list, at that stage, both were accepted by Neil, and hence many projects were given the green light.

It was only in about 2004, cracks started appearing. One upmarket Hillcrest development, Le Domaine had one of these sewage treatment systems installed that was so bad, it leaked from just about every joint, and sewage had filled the bund area. It was held together with self-tapping screws and cable ties. The flies and mosquitos were in their millions, and the odour you could cut with a knife.

A video was taken and presented to Sandra (Durban Metro), and an in-depth, in house investigation revealed a total of 66 installations, mainly from these two suppliers, had failed. McLeod,  embarrassed by this fiasco, immediately implemented a moratorium, and all pending developments stopped. Durban metro had people living on expensive properties and the sewage was untreated, creating a serious health risk in the "well-to-do" areas. It had become Neil MaCleod's responsibility to fix this and since the Hillcrest sewage works was already overloaded, he couldn't. The two suppliers couldn't either.

Cape's stance on developments, maybe in line with good governance, and quite justifiable, based on the above.  Make no mistake,  there are some really great designs out there, but not all live up to their promises.

Lesson - if you prescribe something for others to buy, make sure it works.

Sewage treatment snake oil salesment

And you may ask where these two snake-oil salesmen are now?

Well, they are both still in business.

Are they passing off the same stuff?

I honestly don't know the contents, but it still comes in the same bottle, with the same label.  However, the good news is that both have claimed design patents, which, hopefully will deter others from making the same mistakes. Perhaps not.....

And what happened to Neil Macleod?  He was nominated for the annual Fish-kill Award and later 'retired'  from Durban Metro.  Ironically, he's now in the toilet business.


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