Across South Africa and for all industries and communities, the need for intensive water security planning and implementation has been reinforced by the recent extended droughts across most of the country. This requires a change in consumption behavior when it comes to conventional water management, and highlights the need to introduce supplementary measures like rainwater harvesting and storage tanks, as backups that reduce the demand on dams and reservoirs.
“In addition to potable water requirements, for municipal clients, our solutions also include effluent, leachate and water treatment storage,” says James Preston, Marketing Manager for
SBS Tanks. The SBS range extends from 12 kℓ to 3 300 kℓ and the units are relatively fast to build. “As an indication of the turnaround time, our largest tank takes around 12 to 15 weeks to manufacture.”
One of SBS’s distinctive design features is the internal PVC liner, which meets stringent Australian drinking water standards, acknowledged as an industry benchmark worldwide. The PVC material specified by SBS is 1 000 g/m2 and is unique to the South African market.
“These liners carry a 10-year ‘no leak’ warranty and if damaged can be easily repaired,” says Preston, adding that SBS’s tanks meet strict ISO 9001: 2015 SABS approval standards.
With the majority of the materials sourced locally by SBS’s tanks, all fabrication takes place at its Pinetown factory in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Zincalume is a specialised coating system, which exhibits exceptional anti-corrosive characteristics, and we specify this for all our tanks,” Preston explains. This coating comprises an aluminum, zinc and silicon composition.
The tank structure, if used and maintained in accordance with SBS requirements, has a life expectancy of more than 60 years.
Water for Joe Qgabi District
SBS is a leading solutions provider to municipalities across South Africa. A recent example is a turnkey project in the Eastern Cape for the Joe Qgabi District Municipality. Here, SBS supplied and commissioned 16 reservoir storage tanks for rural villages in Ugie, Maclear and Mount Fletcher.
These ST10/03 tank models have a design capacity of 100 kℓ and each tank serves the requirements of 500 to 1 000 users. “The modular nature of SBS’s products makes transportation and rapid installation in remote locations a reality,” explains Mava Gwagwa, SBS’s New Business and Key Accounts Director for the municipal market.
SBS’s scope included all project phases, from site excavation to the construction of the steel reinforced concrete ring beams on which each tank sits, plus the pipework and mains connections. “Wherever possible, we used local labour to level the ground for the platforms, which were excavated by hand, as well as for the in-situ casting of the ring beams.”
The project commenced in October 2016 with a request by Joe Qgabi District to accelerate the completion date, where practical. “These tanks replaced older concrete reservoir systems that were mostly in very poor condition,” says Gwagwa. “Many villages were relying on other sources, such as wells or boreholes yielding substandard water quality.”
By 16 December 2016, all the SBS tanks were in place and most were already connected to the municipal bulk water mains. “This made a huge difference for those communities, especially since the number of people generally rises over the holiday season as family members return home, placing additional pressure on supply.”
Final works were commissioned in February. In March 2017, SBS officially handed over the project to dignitaries from Joe Qgabi District Municipality. Thanks to this initiative, the municipality can now pump in clean, potable water.
Another turnkey example, completed in 2016, entailed the commissioning of a 2.2 Mℓ (ST31/06 model) at Riviersonderend for the Western Cape’s Theewaterskloof Municipality. Here, SBS’s tank ties in and serves as a backup to an older concrete reservoir, which could no longer cope with rising demand.
“Theewaterskloof Municipality specified SBS’s bolted steel panel tank route for two reasons: the speed of erection and the cost of the structure,” says Gwagwa.
From the time the tender was awarded on 12 May 2016, SBS had 14 weeks to complete the project, which included a weather contingency allowance. “Due to the time constraints, on-site civil works had to run concurrently while the tank was being manufactured back in Pinetown,” Gwagwa continues.
Once on-site, it took just under two weeks for SBS to assemble and connect the tank to the infrastructure grid. “There was a scheduled four-hour interruption in water services during the final leg as we completed the interconnection to the concrete reservoir.”
SBS supports its ongoing project activities with a comprehensive research and development programme. One prototype that has transitioned to the commercial production stage is SBS’s new rainwater harvesting tank.
To prove its benefits, SBS installed a rainwater tank at its Pinetown facility in October 2016. “We calculated the size of the tank based on the 1 046 m2 roof surface area of our fabrication shop and determined that a 156 kℓ storage capacity was adequate,” says Preston.
Based on Durban’s average seasonal rainfall, SBS expects to capture around 907 000 ℓ per annum, which will then be used as potable and general-purpose water throughout the cycle. The tank has an installed purification system and SBS uses this water for most of its potable requirements.
“We’re receiving strong interest from the market and have already sold a number of these tanks, all purpose-built for the client’s specific harvesting flows.”
School and hospital projects
When situations like water rationing or reticulation failures occur, no one can face the risk of being without water, and a core business area for SBS is the installation of standby tanks.
Recent SBS municipal projects include a hospital in Stanger, northern KwaZulu-Natal. SBS is also currently installing five backup tanks at two schools in Pinetown. “The legal requirement is that if a school doesn’t have water within three hours, it has to be temporarily closed, which causes major disruptions,” says Preston.
Alongside South African opportunities, SBS is aggressively building its export base, and has successfully penetrated key global regions that include the USA. “Prime opportunities in Africa include the DRC, Kenya and Malawi, and our intention is to establish local distributors that will help grow our continental footprint where there is a pressing need for potable water storage solutions.