Small Wastewater Treatment Works Suppliers Association (SEWPACKSA) past chairman Karl Juncker has highlighted the significant accomplishments of the association since its inception in 2010.

Speaking at the SEWPACKSA AGM held recently, Juncker said that the association’s membership is representative of the majority of the suppliers in the industry. The executive committee (EXCO) also comprises the main role players in the industry. “One of the most significant achievements of SEWPACKSA since its inception is the constitution that was created by Advocate Este Becker. The document has a strong legal standing and is a very important strategic document for SEWPACKSA. The association is also representative of a communal voice that consists of suppliers and other representatives standing together. These aspects give SEWPACKSA a lot of credibility. Members of SEWPACKSA are required to sign and agree to the code of conduct and are thus committed to delivering products and services of a certain standard and quality,” stated Juncker.

Newly elected chairman, Mark Ross, is a well-known person in the package plant industry. Speaking at the AGM also, Ross said: “With the immense effort and dedication that the founding EXCO members put into the establishment of SEWPACKSA, the resultant sound foundation and visionary way forward should be a ‘must join’ message for all associated with the industry, no matter how far removed a particular potential member may feel. The industry has been historically fragmented, with each supplier operating in isolation and, thus, lone voices in the multiple authority driven minefield of conflicting legislation and guidelines. A cohesive ‘single’ approach is in fact welcomed by such authorities. SEWPACKSA is also formulating sound industry standards and will be available to assist suppliers that may fall short of such standards, on a mentoring basis.

SEWPACKSA’s strategic goals

Ross provided an insight into the overall objectives of SEWPACKSA’s strategic plan announced at the AGM. “The finalisation and implementation of the Matrix of Minimum Deliverables is an integral part of the plan. While the Matrix of Minimum Deliverables has already been finely tuned, it is by nature a moving picture, with continual changes to legislation, circumstances and thought processes, so it will consequently remain a working document that will mutate on an ongoing basis,” explained Ross.

SEWPACKSA has this year introduced a policy and procedure for handling of complaints regarding member compliance to its standards of quality. Ross said that the complaints procedure and enforcement of standards may sound a tad draconian; however, it is more of a negotiated directive tool for the betterment of the broader industry. The interaction between suppliers and end users is encouraged, and it is not inconceivable that end users who operate their own treatment plants could be considered potential members, as plant operators.

The alignment (both technical and administrative) and establishment of a formal working relationship between the suppliers (SEWPACKSA) and the industry stakeholders is possibly the most important goal of SEWPACKSA; to have a sound common front within the industry and to be the negotiating voice heard by all stakeholders.

One of the association’s areas of focus is the continual promotion and development of SEWPACKSA among the members and throughout the industry, as well as pursuing increased support from clients, consultants, engineers, institutes and associations. Ross stated that the broader the industry mix, the more influential and successful SEWPACKSA would become in achieving its desired outcomes. “This inclusive approach will result in all parties participating in debate and decision-making. Promoting the association, at all levels of industry interest is thus imperative,” Ross said.

The development of further input and involvement of members, which will include the training of requirements, assistance to meet standards/process regulation, interaction and monitoring are other important goals. “These endeavours are to be one of the successful outcomes. The current EXCO cannot function in isolation to the membership and extended stakeholders. With sound management of the association, all the desired outcomes will be achieved and expanded on over time,” reiterated Ross.

SEWPACKSA and WISA

Commenting on the importance of the relationship between SEWPACKSA and the WISA Small Wastewater Treatment Works division (SWWTW), Ross said. “Fortuitously, there is a cross-pollination of committee members on both the SEWPACKSA EXCO and the WISA SWWTW division, thus a very close working relationship exists. The blueprints of both organisations, while having many very close overlapping aspirations, are complemented by the strengths that each brings to the table.”

As SEWPACKSA continues to grow and set the high standards for the industry, this is an association that is undoubtedly setting the trends in the wastewater treatment industry.