Local system ‘exceeds special standards in key indices’

31st March 2006

Scarab Technologies technical director Steve Nicol recently commissioned the company’s latest sewage system for a clinic on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast. They were selected to supply the treatment plant from a variety of other suppliers, who had already installed systems in the area. Scarab and its associate company, Unipump, also provided the pre- digestion civilworks (septic tank and concrete bases) interconnecting pipework, and pump sump.

Scarab Technologies has been in- cluded in the Top Technology 100 (TT- 100) awards for 2004 and 2005. Business Day and DaVinci honour only 100 South African companies each year, and Scarab competed against the likes of Bell Equipment (eathmoving), De Beers (diamonds), Eskom Enterprises (electricity) and Altron (Netstar Vehicle Tracking). Steve and Gordon Nicol have been involved in sewage since 1982, originally in the pumping sphere. For the past ten years, efforts were directed towards developing and producing preengineered treatment systems, commonly known as package treatment plants (PTP). The PTP industry is fairly young and early offerings to the market were snapped up eagerly by desperate clients. The defects and shortcomings of these plants were very slow to be realised, resulting in an ecological crisis, to which Durban regulating authorities responded with a blanket clampdown, in June 2003. At that stage, Scarab only had one small system in that area, which had been tested by Umgeni Water and the final effluent was found to be of consistantly high quality, and “exceeding special standards in key indices”. Gordon Nicol believes that sewage treatment should be as uncomplicated as possible and be based on natural laws and that efforts should aspire to assist nature to the utmost. Some suppliers have suggested that domestic wastewater can be treated in eight hours, and this is so, clinically. However, one needs to take into account power outages, temporary overloads, and cold weather, all of which affects the time taken to treat sewage (retention period). Many systems fail because they are not built big enough, and systems are readily supplied to developers based on price alone.

In its ultimate quest to be truly environment friendly, Scarab and associate EcoTec pioneered Ozone disinfection for package plants, and every system, including the singlehouse system, offers Ozone as a standard feature. Ozone was chosen as it is some 3 000 times more effective than chlorine, cannot be overdosed, is environment friendly and not only removes all pathogens, but parasitic worm eggs as well (hook, tape and Ascaris). Recent developments in the market are very encouraging, with enquiries and responses coming in from all over the world, and Scarab is now the brand specified in tenders. Scarab’s big challenge now is gearing up to meet the expected demand. Agents have already been appointed in Cape Town, East London, Port Elizebeth, Plettenberg Bay, Johannesberg, and Kwazulu-Natal. Its export agent in Mozambique, who is also active in Peru and Panama, indicated that he would like to manufacture outside South Africa.