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Sewage plant suppliers form association to improve standards

Local suppliers of wastewater treatment package plants have joined forces to create a self-regulatory association aimed at improving quality and standards within the sector.

The association, named Sewpacksa, was proposed by the Water Institute of South Africa (WISA) to tackle the negative perceptions surrounding small wastewater treatment works in the country.

It came against the backdrop of the release earlier this year by the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs (DWA) of the 'Green Drop Report', which portrayed the industry in a negative light.

Sewpacksa reported that the demand for sewage package plants in unserviced or underserviced municipal areas and remote locations was everincreasing, but the supply and management of these plants had been largely unregulated.

One of the association’s first tasks would be to adopt common guidelines and develop an accreditation framework for suppliers, as package plant failures were most commonly ascribed to poor design and construction, insufficient or no maintenance and mechanical breakdown.

Sewpacksa executive committee chairperson and WEC Projects MD Karl Juncker explained that there was a perceived low entry barrier to the supply industry, which had resulted in doubts relating to the reliability and effectiveness of package plants.

“We will set out the standards and regulations for the package plant industry within the context of existing water management laws and management, which will offer municipalities and end-users greater peace of mind when it comes to the quality of package plants”, he said.

Another priority for the association is the adoption of a ‘Green Droplet’ certification process in conjunction with the DWA’s current initiative.

Juncker pointed out that the association intended on working closely with the DWA, the WISA, the various municipalities and other stakeholders.

Chris Fennemore, who represented the water and sanitation department of the eThekwini municipality, said that the creation of such an association would go a long way to provide assurance to water service authorities of the suitability and reliability of wastewater package plants.

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