Water security is a top priority, directly impacting on South Africa’s ability to maintain and grow its economy and meet infrastructure targets. WASA talks to James Preston, marketing manager, SBS® Tanks, about recent projects and the company’s constant quest for quality.

When it comes to water storage, what are some of the key issues?

JP  The present state of South African infrastructure is not keeping pace with urban and industrial expansion, and the recent drought conditions experienced nationally, Cape Town being a case in point, have forced a change in how water supply needs to be managed in the future. That includes a major change in consumer behaviour.

However, aside from the drought, there are many interventions required in the municipal space to replace, supplement or install new tank systems alongside conventional concrete reservoirs. Here, we’ve completed a number of projects for local municipalities, some of them in remote rural areas, and have made a lasting and positive impact for communities in the process.

A past example is a turnkey project in the Eastern Cape for the Joe Qcabi District Municipality. SBS supplied and commissioned 16 reservoir storage tanks for rural villages in Ugie, Maclear and Mount Fletcher. These ST 10/03 tank models have a design capacity of 100 kℓ and each tank serves the requirements of 500 to 1 000 users.

What makes SBS unique?

As a company, SBS Water Systems is a pioneer in developing specialised systems, introducing Zincalume® tanks to the South African market in 1998. Since then, we’ve invested extensively in research and development to roll out new services that include our rainwater harvesting solutions. Recent projects here include installations for schools and hospitals. We’ve also installed a rainwater system at our Pinetown head office and manufacturing facility, which provides us with the bulk of our water requirements during Durban’s drier months and service interruptions.

What really sets the company apart from its peers is the ability to go beyond simply supplying a liquid storage solution. We engage on all project levels and also provide a contracting, as well as a design and build service, to ensure a world-
class installation.

Has SBS been part of Cape Town’s Day Zero interventions?

Yes, we’ve been involved in one of Cape Town’s major drought alleviation projects. SBS Tanks formed an integral partnership with Quality Filtration Systems and Osmoflo for an emergency desalination plant. Initiated by the city, the plant will address the water crisis in the residential and commercial areas surrounding the V&A Waterfront, which is a popular tourist destination attracting more than 23 million visitors annually.

What’s the scope for the V&A desalination plant?

This landmark project involves a fully containerised seawater reverse osmosis (RO) and multimedia filtration plant. This is made up of seven containers that will be able to deliver 2 MLD of water. With over 20 years’ experience and thousands of tank installations around the world, SBS Tanks was the perfect choice for the high-quality water storage needs of the plant. Three different tanks were required to provide a massive 436 000 ℓ of water for the various stages of the RO and filtration process.

The project is a prime example of swift operations, with the seven containers being shipped from Dubai to Cape Town in less than a month. Thereafter, the set-up at the V&A was achieved in under eight weeks.

This is a truly unifying venture. Collaboration is the key for a project of this scale to be successfully rolled out. The urgency of the situation in the Cape shows how much can be achieved when powerful companies pull together.

Are there future opportunities in Cape Town?

In April 2018, Cape Town’s overall dam storage levels were sitting at just over 20%. Level 6B restrictions are in place, which means that consumers are limited to 50 ℓ or less per day. These strict measures are intended to avoid Day Zero, when dam levels reach the point where water supply from bulk mains ceases indefinitely. The hope is that Cape Town will have a good winter rainfall season, but the immediate reality is that unless alternative solutions are adopted, like tapping into the region’s aquifers and going the desalination route, the situation will not improve over the medium term. That presents major opportunities for more SBS systems.

SBS has a total commitment to quality. Please expand on recent SABS developments.

When it comes to meeting sound occupational health and safety standards, SBS Tanks is ticking all the right boxes and making its mark as an industry leader in water storage. We’ve been SABS ISO 9001: 2015 accredited for the past five
years and have now attained OHSAS 18001.

What’s the significance of OHSAS 18001?

OHSAS 18001 is an international standard that indicates a company’s adherence to stringent health and safety procedures. After a four-month audit of SBS Tanks’ entire operation – from steel delivery at the factory to final in-field tank commissioning – SABS KwaZulu-Natal made the official handover of the OHSAS 18001 certificate and flag on 28 February 2018 at our Pinetown head office.

As testimony to our achievement, Jai Gansan, lead auditor: KZN, SABS, said that we went above and beyond in achieving our 18001 certification. We really appreciate this feedback and accolade. Our OHSAS 18001 certification gives SBS Tanks the competitive edge and is testament to our dedication and commitment in terms of employee health and safety, as well as that of our customers and other stakeholders.

At SBS Tanks, we’re excited about future developments and stand ready to assist the industry and government with their water storage requirements. Quality is guaranteed.