Members of the SBS Tanks team celebrate their Chamber Award. Picture: Supplied.

Members of the SBS Tanks team celebrate their Chamber Award. Picture: Supplied.

Storing, capturing and reusing water is an imperative, alongside conventional reservoir containment systems, for sustained 24/7 supply – areas comprehensively covered by SBS Tanks’ turnkey solutions.

Water security has been high on the agenda for several decades, but the recent extended drought periods experienced in more arid regions worldwide have made this issue a number one priority. The fact is that water is a finite resource. Although inevitably replenished over time, it needs to be managed more intelligently as rainfall patterns become more intermittent.

“Let’s draw some comparisons. When the power goes out, we can always light a candle, but when there are severe water shortages, our economy is heavily impacted since most industries depend on this resource to function. Without proactive measures in place, either from a public or private perspective, this means that investor confidence is affected,” says Delayne Gray, managing director, SBS Tanks. “Plus, as a country, we have a constitutional obligation to ensure the right of every citizen to potable water and sanitation services.”

Social responsibility

SBS lives these values on a daily basis, investing approximately R700 000 during 2016 for two social responsibility projects in the Free State towns of Lindley and Petrus Steyn. SBS partnered with South African organisation Gift of the Givers. “We plan to revisit the sites one year later and find out first hand from community members how our water tanks have made a difference in their lives,” says Martin Barnard, sales and marketing manager, SBS Tanks.

An industry pioneer

An early adopter in this field, SBS Tanks recognised the need, back in the 1990s, for utility-supplied and contingency standby potable retaining systems, with the development of a proprietary range of long-lasting, corrosion-resistant modular tanks for all sectors. These extend from the municipal segment to general industry including the mining sector – for human settlement projects in terms of the Mining Charter, plus raw and process water requirements for minerals beneficiation. The insurance market is also a rapidly expanding area for water tank fire-fighting backup systems, plus rainwater harvesting is now a huge growth area for SBS. “Rainwater harvesting meets our sustainability objectives, plus there are real financial implications as South African municipalities respond with escalating tariffs for overconsumption and/or misuse. Reuse of grey water is also receiving far greater emphasis,” says Barnard. SBS’s research and development team is currently in the final pilot testing stage for a large-scale rainwater harvesting tank designed for industrial and commercial applications. There is also a smaller-scale one in the pipeline for building and domestic use.

Export programme keeps growing

SBS Tanks has a long-term vision for local and international expansion. Success to date is underscored by industry awards. These include Exporter of the Year 2016 in the Medium Category, awarded by the Durban Chamber of Commerce. This follows previous exporter awards from the chamber in the categories of Emerging Market and Small. The export map covers most continents to date and, in August 2016, SBS established its first foothold in the USA with the opening of a distribution outlet in Houston, Texas. This provides a base of expansion for both the North American and Latin American markets, with a recent dealership agreement concluded for Mexico. “As a Proudly South African company, we are making our contribution to positive GDP growth,” says Gray.

SBS construction advantages: design and build

There is a reason why SBS is gaining ground and it comes down to product innovation and service. SBS offers a turnkey solution, with tank construction carried out in-house or by approved contractors. SBS units are either off-the-shelf standard models or custom-designed. Then there are the significant savings achieved in construction time and cost when compared to concrete reservoir structures: in fact,
similarly sized concrete structures are estimated to be five times more expensive than their steel tank counterparts.

The key to successful establishment is in the construction of the concrete ring beam that supports the tank.

SBS provides technical advice and design guidance for consulting and municipal engineers in this area. “We regard every tank sale as an individual project and we assign a dedicated project manager. We also carry out process simulations during the design phase to maximise the efficiencies and downstream utilisation objectives,
which translate into monetary savings
for our clients.”

Theewaterskloof Municipality

Recent public sector projects include the installation of a 2.2 Mℓ tank (ST 31-06 model) at Riviersonderend for Theewaterskloof Municipality, based in Caledon, Western Cape. The town’s single, ageing concrete reservoir could no longer cope with the increased demand and the municipality required a 2 Mℓ storage capacity expansion. It chose SBS’s bolted steel panel tank for two reasons: the speed of erection and the cost of the structure.

SBS was appointed as the supplier and main contractor. From the awarding of the tender on 12 May 2016, SBS was allocated 14 weeks to complete the project, which included a weather contingency allowance. Due to time constraints, on-site civil work had to run concurrently with tank manufacturing. Technical requirements on-site required the top water levels of the old and the new tank to match.

The ST31-06 2.2 Mℓ tank was installed using proprietary SBS lifting equipment and some manual labour. The marathon build was completed within a record 13 days, with seven days’ worth of rain interruption halting work in-between.

The town of Riviersonderend suffered no downtime in supply during the entire installation, except for a scheduled four-hour break in service, during which the new reservoir was tied in to the existing infrastructure.

As an environmental consideration, SBS suggested that the new reservoir be powder-  coated green to match the existing concrete reservoir and the surrounding landscape, which was adopted by the municipality.

Mining sector

Riviersonderend is a prime example of how SBS can add value to community water projects. This includes supporting the social and labour plan (SLP) objectives of South African mining houses in terms of the Mining Charter. SLP projects require a 30% community subcontractor allocation.

A recent SLP example, completed in Q2 2015, is an SBS project for Wesizwe Platinum. This entailed the installation of a 1.5 Mℓ tank (model 27-06) for agricultural purposes. SBS provided project supervision and training for community members. The end result has made a lasting and sustainable difference.

“Don’t let it be a grudge buy. South Africans need to be educated about responsible usage and how water scarcity impacts on socio-economic development,” concludes Gray.

SBS Tanks benefits

  • Modular designs promote ease of transport and erection.
  • Capacities can be incrementally increased to meet future requirements.
  • SBS manufactures its own 1 000 g/m2 liners. Good-quality liners are critical for the long-term integrity of
    tank systems.
  • SBS provides turnkey solutions and in-house project management and design teams.
  • Tanks are constructed using SBS’s unique jacking system, which minimises the need to work
    at height.
  • Low maintenance over their lifetime, which can typically exceed 65 years.
  • A range of colour options are available to blend in or stand out.
  • Manufactured in accordance with SABS ISO 9001.