When looking clinically and in a balanced way at drinking water filters, considering costs, replacement intervals, filter capability, filter recycling and the filter’s effect on our carbon footprint, how many drinking water filters would make the cut?
And importantly, do any water filters tick all the boxes and stand out as a best of breed product?
Title: Transcript of Interview with Jonathan Heck, Kyasol Green Building Solutions
Presented by: Emmanuel van der Meulen
Guest Speaker: Jonathan Heck
Date: 6th June 2017
Number of Speakers: 2
File Duration: 31:42
Transcriptionist: Jacqui Jonk
Links are at the end of the transcript.
Transcript Break Down:
00:04 Introduction to Radio Live Green Smart.
00:56 What is rainwater harvesting?
02:25 Introduction to Kyasol Green Building Solutions
04:10 What is rainwater harvesting used for?
05:02 Is rainwater harvested as is safe for human consumption or does it need to be filtered?
07:17 How do you start harvesting rainwater?
09:22 What are the advantages/disadvantages of underground and above ground tanks?
11:25 Can you retrofit underground tanks?
13:14 Underground tanks require pumping, but require electricity, how does that play out?
16:36 What filters have you been referring to and what are they used for?
18:20 Can you give us some examples of where rainwater harvesting was implemented by yourself and by your company?
19:30 Do we harvest rainwater for other uses besides domestic?
20:13 What if the tanks are empty?
25:10 Can I switch from rainwater to municipal water manually for my tanks?
27:06 Summary of above vs underground tanks.
29:35 Ways to monitor the tank levels?
31:09 Wrap Up
Emmanuel: Welcome to Radio Live Green Smart and our discussion on rainwater harvesting. I’m Emmanuel your host. Radio Live Green Smart is a forum to discuss green living, eco-conscious living; that’s the main crux. And then importantly to discuss where you see disrespect for the environment first hand bring, that disrespect to us and we will assist to find a way of addressing the disrespect. Use the contact us to report disrespect and please be clear with the information that you provide. Top
Tonight, we will be talking about rainwater harvesting which is the accumulation of rainwater for reuse at the residence rather than letting the rainwater runoff. Rainwater is collected from the roof and redirected via gravity to an underground reservoir or via downpipes from the roof directly from the gutters to a reservoir. Rainwater is used for various uses, in particular garden irrigation, flushing of toilets and for the washing machine. With further filtration of rainwater, it is safe to drink. Rainwater harvesting is one of the simplest and oldest methods of self-supply of water for households. Tonight, we have Jonathan Heck of Kyasol Building Solutions who will cover the topic in-depth from his point of view. Welcome Jonathan. Top
Jonathan: Hi Emmanuel, thanks for having me.
Emmanuel: [uh,uh] You’re welcome Jonathan and would you please introduce yourself and your company, Kyasol Green Building Solutions?
Jonathan: Ok Emmanuel, Kyasol is basically, as you mentioned a green building solutions provider, we can touch a bit later on what divisions we take care of. At Kyasol I am the technical director and also a founding partner and my main responsibility is the water sector, mainly the rainwater harvesting, storm water management and waste water treatment.
Emmanuel: Ok, interesting and how did it start? How did Kyasol start and your passion for this [um] topic start?
Jonathan: Actually it’s quite interesting, my background is electrical engineering so [um], the other founding partner at Kyasol, I used to work for him and we worked on an automation level, building automation, industrial automation with a main aim of saving energy. And with one of our visits to Germany we came across this interesting rainwater concept with underground tanks and with South Africa not really leading the industry we need to look to our neighbours, like Australia, Germany and Europe for innovative solutions and we came across this concept [um] with a few discussions back and forward we then started importing the products and in 2010 we became the partner locally for that. So, the rainwater section started off by coming across something at an expo just by accident not really, South Africa didn’t have a need for it but soon developed a need for it when we started just maybe a year or two afterwards. Top
Emmanuel: Thank you Jonathan, the next interesting topic for me is what is rainwater harvesting and what is the water used for from your vantage point what is it being used for?
Jonathan: Well as you say, rainwater collected off roofs and surfaces, ideally roofs cause there’s less contaminants there and then that rainwater can be used as is without further disinfection or treatment in areas such as irrigation, cleaning of cars, washing and cleaning indoors and outdoors flushing toilets, even laundry, everything basically, except hygienic and consumption like cooking and drinking but you can also filter it to a further extent and replace that. Top
Emmanuel: Does that mean that rainwater, as it is harvested it’s not safe for [consump] for human consumption, but with filtration it is?
Jonathan: Yeah, for sure, look on the roof there could be contaminants like bird droppings or dead animals or maybe carbon from car exhausts that came down with the rain, even metal and paint contaminants. So all of those small contaminants, which is not something that can make the water fall over but [it,it] it’s maybe not something that is hygienically healthy if you wash for instance your eyes or your face or use it in your cooking or your consumption so yeah you could install filters, sediment filters and disinfectants methods like UV or ozone to get that water to that extent, it’s definitely possible it’s just a question of whether it’s feasible to do it.
Emmanuel: Ok, when you say feasible, in other words is it cost effective to go to that extra extent when there’s enough other uses for the rainwater?
Jonathan: Yeah, look with filters there’s obviously maintenance involved so [um] there’s frequent replacing of filters that’s required depending on the contamination of filters. There’s also a power consumption factor to it [uh] ozone and UV both use power to disinfect the water, although very small. You need to consider the fact that you are getting rainwater for free, [um] now you need to spend maintenance and electricity on it.
Jonathan: So, I would say of you not in an area that’s not water scarce then maybe use it on order to save on drinking water supply, but if you in an area where there’s very little resources then obviously cost of treatment and maintenance is not a question, you go to the full extent.
Emmanuel: Ok, so I get what you saying it’s horses for courses?
Jonathan: Yes, for sure. Top
Emmanuel: Thank you. Ok so now the question or the angle that I am coming to now is how do we start, how do we decide how and where to harvest how does one figure out that you want to start and any information you want to give listeners about that topic?
Jonathan: Yes, obviously the main thing is identifying whether it’s possible or feasible. Mainly the roof area, if you have a large roof area the more you can collect. [um] obviously location is also important, if it is desert area, every drop counts so you can still do it but um but if you start looking at a feasibility point of view then maybe good rainfall areas, big roof spaces are ideal. As a first prize, you would want to collect off the roof, less contaminants on the roof, you could also collect water from the surfaces. The surfaces also have exposure to oil fumes, chemicals, [um] excessive silt from gardens and that type of thing so it requires more filters to put in place in order for your storage tank not to build up over time and require more maintenance.
Emmanuel: So, does that mean water is collected from the downpipes if it’s from the roof?
Jonathan: Yes, yeah so it’s obviously important that your roof has a downpipe and a gutter structure, if you have something like a thatch roof its obviously more difficult to do that so via your gutters down the pipe into either an above ground storage tank or underground storage tanks. Top
Emmanuel: Yeah, that’s very interesting, now can you tell us about, now that you’ve mentioned above and underground what are the advantages or disadvantages of either the above or underground tanks?
Jonathan: Ok, I’ll start with the above ground tanks first [um] the above ground tanks are quite simple to put in place so you can imagine standing next to the building and a down pipe coming down the wall, you can basically put your tank under the down pipe just with a screen filter at the top of the tank so very [straightforwardly] and [inexpensibly] you could collect that water. The downside to above ground tanks is it’s not always possible to put it where your big collection points are. So, in the front of house you don’t want this tank due to aesthetics and maybe space reasons and that type of thing, so it becomes difficult to collect the maximum amount of roof area with above ground tanks and you need to be close to the downpipe as it works with gravity. S,o you can just imagine having 6/7 tanks around the house at each downpipe, it can become quite a problem and quite ugly as well. If we look at the underground section, the underground tank obviously cost a little bit more to put in place as you need to excavate to put the tank underground so the main advantage here is that you can bring your downpipes to the underground network and then gravity helps it flow to the lowest point of your property and you can collect the whole roof in 1 reservoir you have 1 filter point and 1 pumping point whereas if you have multiple above ground tanks you have multiple filter points and multiple pumping points so you can see there’s pros and cons on each concept. Top
Emmanuel: Yeah, now so [so] would you be able to retrofit underground tanks, the property is already built and I now want to harvest rainwater would that be a consideration at all or is it just not cost effective to do it after the event, and I am thinking about the downpipes, the collection and then the placing of the tanks etc. is that something people would be interested in?
Jonathan: Yeah, I would say a general thumb suck…
Jonathan is lost for a few seconds due to technical error.
Jonathan: I will just repeat that, I would say about 30% of existing houses has the possibility to do underground tanks the other 70% is more difficult due to paving around the house, well established gardens and features that need to be lifted and then it’s not feasible at all or maybe even practical.
Emmanuel: Ok, so from that I gather that the majority of rainwater harvesting with underground is done from the design of the house from [from] the architect, from that point. Is that usually the case?
Jonathan: Yeah, definitely more cost effective when you look at the holistic project so that when you design it in and the building takes place this type of thing is allowed for. Obviously as you know everything that’s retrofit comes with a price tag because you need to make it work. Top
Emmanuel: I understand. Jonathan then going to the next topic [um] if I formulate the question like this: when do we install underground and when above ground taking into account that the underground tanks require pumping the water, the above ground tanks don’t necessarily require pumping and now we have free water but we require electricity to pump what is your comment and so on. How does that play out?
Jonathan: Ok I’m just going to touch on the design and then I’ll go to the pumping topic.
Emmanuel: Thank You.
Jonathan: On the design, obviously if you build a new house and you could get your roofs to fall to central positions, strategic positions then above ground makes more sense. You can hide it through screen walls but then you have to plan it like that. Generally speaking, people don’t plan it like that, it’s more about the aesthetics of the roof then practicality of the roof which is a mindset thing I believe. If your roof is not ideally orientated to take most of your water to 1 point then you would need to go underground to get that structure around the house to a central point. [um] considering the fact that you need to pump water to the tanks, if you above ground you have gravity on an above ground level you can fill a bucket or you can maybe drip irrigate or do a simple run off but if you going to plumb into an irrigation system or into a plumbing system like a toilet or washing machine, you need pressure. So, whether you above ground or underground with the storage you need to pump in order to have that pressure on your irrigation system so I wouldn’t say that is a deal breaker, the pumping side of it seeing that you have free water that came off the roof you could spend a bit of money on pumping the water to the points that you need it.
Emmanuel: Understood, yeah, I understand. So, I gather now that to have above ground and to have all your drainage to a single point means you will have to design your house like that whereas with underground the design can follow the original plan and then all you need to cater for is how you get from the different places around the property to get the water to the underground tank. Did I understand you?
Jonathan: Yes you 100% correct, the building stages you obviously put in a water supply around the house, you obviously put a sewage system around the house so whilst these trenches are open you just put the additional piping in to bring the rain water to a central point so yeah it is carefully planned but practically possible. Top
Emmanuel: Understood. Earlier on you mentioned filters, [uh] what filters are you referring to and what are the filters used for?
Jonathan: Well as a first step seeing water come off the roof you need to screen filter so we just call this our screen filter or our sediment filter. This is generally a stainless-steel screen either in the underground tank or on the man hole inlet of the above ground tank and this is just to prevent leaves or dead animals or solid particles to settle in the tank. If these particles enter your tank, it’s not a problem as such but it could start water falling over quicker through some rotten material or excessive build up as it needs frequent cleaning so we do a filter before we go to the tank to prevent sediments from settling into the tank. From that stage, you need to decide what you want to do with the water. If you want it to just go to the irrigation then no other filters are required depending on your irrigation points if you have small drippers or pop up sprinklers then you’ll obviously have to put something in place there but if you going to go back into the building for toilets we recommend a fine micron filter and this filter makes sure that all the dissolved dust or carbon in the water that’s not visually seen is encaptured so as not to affect the plumbing internally which is more difficult to maintain. Top
Emmanuel: I understand, Jonathan if we take it a step further where all, can you give us some examples of where rainwater harvesting was implemented by yourself and by your company?
Jonathan: Well typically residential buildings either retrofit on existing residential buildings and then a lot of the new buildings of the state that’s going up in and around Gauteng and South Africa, regions like Cape Town, Durban, Joberg and Pretoria. We have also done commercial buildings, office space, office developments where we use the water for urinals and toilet flushing. We’ve done service stations around the country also for urinals, toilet flushing and irrigation and in warehousing or logistics where there’s big roofs but not much internal consumption but then there’s washing of vehicles and this type of thing where we use rainwater to supplement. [um] I did the municipal water, all the recovered water for those washing bays. Top
Emmanuel: So that means that we don’t only harvest rainwater for domestic purposes or for residential but offices, industrial, everywhere?
Jonathan: Yes, that’s correct, if you look at it, let’s use an office for an example. If you look at it there’s no washing and showering that happens at the office so where’s the water going to? It’s either coffee machines or handwashing or toilet flushing so a lot of the water used in an office environment is actually flushed down the drain and this is drinking water that we flush down the drain so replacing this with rainwater makes perfect sense. Top
Emmanuel: I am beginning to see the bigger picture [um] that it’s not just for residents and so on. Now in terms of water when the rain out of the rainy season obviously the tanks will not last until the next rainy season, now what happens then if I’ve plumbed irrigation and the toilets into the rainwater tank but now the tank is empty?
Jonathan: Ok, yeah no, interesting question. If you in an area with good rainfall you could design a system to carry you through the dry season and there’s factors like is there frequent rain? Do you have enough roof space and is it feasible to do? I mean to design a storage that could last you 2/4 months in terms of the initial capital outlay and what you are benefiting and if that tank would ever be full is the question. So, we don’t go through the winter season, we try to harvest as much as we can in the rainy season and supplement using less from the grid so that also the infrastructure, the local dams and local facilities also have enough capacity for the dry periods. [um] in the situation that your tank is empty you have two options there. Either municipal switch over, so this is a direct switch over so if the tank is empty you allow municipal pressure to directly flow to the building, that is your first option. Your other option is to top your tank up with municipal water, so let’s say for instance you keep your tank at a 30% level so it means the whole dry season you’ll always have 30% in your tank topped up by a municipal supply if there’s no rainwater.
Emmanuel: So, what then happens if I understand you, is the water it keeps on filling let’s say as you mentioned to 30% of the tanks capacity and it then keeps on servicing the irrigation, the toilets etc from the tank as 1 option or alternatively when the tank doesn’t have water it will just bypass the tank and pump straight into the house or where its used for the irrigation?
Jonathan: Yes, that’s correct, but I just want to touch on something [uh] some positives and negatives around that. Let’s take the first one as an example. Let’s say [we] the tank is empty and we switch over to municipal supply on demand which means you stop pumping rainwater and the municipal supply goes directly to the building. Now the advantage there is that you don’t require a pump to pump water as municipal water already arrives at pressure so there’s no need to pump to get the pressure so you can basically switch directly over. The negative with this is, if there’s a water outage, let’s say there’s maintenance on a pipe somewhere then you without water so this brings me to the second possibility, instead of switching direct on demand to municipal when the tank is empty, you use the municipal to top up the tank to that 30% level in this example. The negative aspect is that you will always pump to your toilets and irrigation there’s never a straight municipal feed, there’s always a pumping feed so there’s always power consumption on the pump. The advantage though is that you always have reserve supply so if there’s a burst pipe or whatever the case may be you always have reserve in your tank to continue operating.
Emmanuel: Yes, for instance we’ve just been notified that we will be without water over a 2-day period, so if we were using, [um] the keeping water in the tank [uh] we won’t be without water for that period otherwise we would be that’s how the pros and cons would be as how you refer to it?
Jonathan: Yes, effectively you creating a rainwater harvesting system and a water back up system in 1. Top
Emmanuel: I understand, oh, that’s very interesting. Jonathan assuming now the rainwater has run out and now I need municipal water is this something that I have to walk out and manually switch, when I realise there’s no water over from [um] the one medium to the other medium? Is it manual or how does that work?
Jonathan: Yeah, well there’s a couple of options [um] obviously if you go old school and put a tank under a downpipe when its empty its empty, that’s a very feasible or cheap way of harvesting water. But as soon as you start looking at it in a professional manner and you start plumbing up toilets and laundry and irrigation, a lot of things around the house you need a more professional solution so obviously as soon as the tank is empty you need water to run to the toilets, you can’t in the middle of the night at 11 o clock go outside and switch over to municipal manually in order to fill the toilet so [um] again different strokes for different folks, if this is what you want to do then for sure but we do have an option of an automatic switch over device so basically what happens is if the tank is empty the pump switches off and there’s no constant pressure from the pump. In case of a power outage when there’s no power to pump it will switch over to municipal supply so even during power outages, pump failures or empty tanks you will have the backup supply of the municipal and that automatically happens that’s an automatic switch over. Top
Emmanuel: Yeah, that makes it very convenient. [um] Jonathan so is there anything else that you would like to tell us about the that we haven’t covered now anything else anything further that you would like to tell us about rainwater harvesting?
Jonathan: Yeah, the one thing that crosses my mind now thinking about it just back to the above ground and underground we know that obviously the above ground is a little bit cheaper to implement. Underground is more practical in terms of collecting from the roof. Advantages for the underground tank is obviously aesthetics you save space in the garden, also your water when stored underground you can keep it for longer periods because there’s no sunlight, no temperature or not high temperature and therefore very little growth or very slow growth so that’s one advantage I want to add above vs underground. And then something else that I just want to touch on as well is, we talked about making the system professional and have an automatic switch over, we also have automatic filters where the filters backwash themselves so there’s no need for you to go and clean the filters yourself. It’s on a schedule and rinses once a week or once every 2 weeks depending on how bad your contamination is and that’s a self-cleaning automatic solution.
Emmanuel: Yeah, it certainly sounds as if rainwater harvesting has caught up with all the conveniences that we need.
Jonathan: Yeah, no definitely these days it’s the norm you need to create time for family and create time for work and if you live on a farm and you have time to clean the filters and switch over water supplies then for sure but if you live in the cities and there are high demands you don’t have time for these things.
Emmanuel: Yeah, so it becomes part of the household and it just flows either from municipal or from the tank itself.
Jonathan: Yeah, that’s the intention, yes. Top
Emmanuel: Very interesting. Jonathan if that is the end of it then thank you very [very] much, unless you have some last-minute thoughts?
Jonathan: On that last topic on making it convenient, there’s also other tools that you can implement on this tank or this concept and it’s something like level monitoring in the tank. A lot of times the tank is outside or underground or not seen every day so you would want to know what the level is so there are simple devices that could give you like a gauge or display that shows you the level, but there’s also automation components. Just if I can touch quickly on the automation stuff so you monitor the level of the tank and then you can create graphs where you can see how frequently does it rain? How much did the tank increase in terms of percentage of approximate litre value? You can also then see from your graphs if your filters are actually clean or is your pump actually pumping and you can also set schedules or priorities so if your tank increased by x % you could run the toilets or the irrigation I mean, in drier seasons you could reduce the irrigation cycles and it just gives you a little more flexibility and control through that, through a tool like that. Top
Emmauel: Definitely and that makes it even more convenient. [um] thank you Jonathan. So that concludes our discussion with Jonathan Heck of Kyasol Green Building Solutions. Please note that where we interview or run adverts, the content is not necessarily endorsed by Radio Live Green Smart. I am Emmanuel your host and over to the music. Top
End of Transcript Top
Title: Transcript of Interview with Jerome Davis, Eco Pools
Presented by: Emmanuel van der Meulen
Guest Speaker: Jerome Davis
Date: 31st May 2017
Number of Speakers: 2
File Duration: 28:54
Transcriptionist: Jacqui Jonk
Links are at the end of the transcript.
00:01 Introduction to Eco Pools
02:35 What is aquaculture?
02:54 What is the difference between Eco Pools and Conventional Pools?
07:01 Does an Eco Pool also address leaking?
09:31 How to maintain an Eco Pool?
10:58 Would avid gardeners enjoy Eco Pools?
11:12 If there are plants in the pool, how do I swim in it?
11:54 What sort of relationship exists between the plant and clear water divide?
13:45 Can we use our existing pool pump for the Eco Pool or do you have a specific pump for Eco Pools?
14:42 Could I run the Eco Pool pump off a solar panel?
15:56 What about mosquitoes when one has an Eco Pool?
18:52 Waste water treatment and using your pool as a water storage facility.
20:35 Can a conventional pool easily be converted into an Eco Pool?
21:25 Do you service the whole of South Africa?
24:05 What are the costs for an Eco Pool?
26:07 Waste Water Treatment System Described.
28:22 Wrap Up
The water business for many [many] years, before we started Eco Pools [uh] I started in about 1983 working on fish farms and I’ve been in aquaculture for a long time [uh] I got my PhD in bio-engineering in 2003 and in about 2006 we started, well I started Eco Pools with a partner of mine. [um] and that was just a way that I could apply my bio-engineering qualification and all those years of aqua culture experience to something which is actually a tangible difference immediately, you know aquaculture is a bit of [uh] factory farming. There’s no difference between factory farming chickens and factory farming fish and my heart really wasn’t in it for all those years and this was an opportunity to really make a tangible difference to water situations and to people and how they perceive clean rather than sterile and its an important distinction to make. [uh] so we started about 10 years ago a pool that someone was struggling with, she hated the chlorine, it was leaking [uh] she didn’t want to do anything with it she wanted to fill it up with sand and because I had been designing filtration systems for commercial aquaculture which demanded a very high-water quality it seemed like the logical thing to apply the same principals to a swimming pool as we were applying to large marine and fresh water hatcheries. And it [oh] worked ok you know it worked well if I look back all those years ago. [uh] we doing things very differently now to when we started, but it worked well enough you know and [uh] she was happy with it. Her next door neighbour took one look at it and said it was wonderful [inaudible].
Emmanuel: Yeah, certainly very interesting and the very last question I am going to ask is what you described now about your first project if you can do that with our pool but I will get to that in a moment.Top
Jerome: Laughs and says ok. Top
Emmanuel: Yeah, the word that you were using just now, did you say aquaponics? In other words, water culture?
Jerome: Yes, aquaculture is farming aquatic organisms.
Emmanuel: I understand.
Jerome: So yeah whether its fish or oysters or whatever. Top
Emmanuel: Now what I am interested in is how Eco Pools are different to conventional pools and you were talking now [now] about leaking is [is] that something that the Eco Pools also addresses or is that just something that you also do? If you can just give us a little bit of background in comparing the 2?
Jerome: Ok [ok] well that is a good question, I think I’ll answer that question first and then go back to what the difference is. You know the wonderful thing about an Eco Pool is that it’s a living entity, it’s not a dead sterile body of water that if a frog falls in it dies you know. It’s a living body of water that accepts the frog and makes more frogs [um] so the difference is essentially that the pool is sterile and [uh] eco pools are not they’re alive they are full of life you not trying to kill everything so really the difference is in the whole approach. I always explain it in this way and I explain it from a water chemistry perspective that’s really the route that we have gone lately so you get to the route of the water chemistry because it’s all about getting that organic chemistry right. So, you know water is a universal solvent, if 2 hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom make the water molecule and it’s a highly polar molecule in other words it’s got a highly negative and a highly positive pole to it and whenever anything drops into the water it rips whatever other molecule to pieces and that’s why it becomes a universal solvent, it just dissolves everything and at the same time when all those hydrogen molecules line up on the surface of the water everything is attracted to it so it attracts dust and pollen and leaves and even a plastic bag floating above will be drawn down onto the surface through hydrostatic forces and then it dissolves and so the nutrient content of water continuously increases. [uh] so a normal swimming pool will have a very high nutrient content cause the waters constantly dissolving everything around. Then the algae loves to grow in a high nutrient environments, sunlight, water and nutrients is what algae and all plants need to grow and so in a conventional pool what you do is poison the algae starting to grow and it will go away for a while and then you have to poison it again and as the years go by your nutrients keep on climbing so it becomes harder and harder to balance the water chemistry. So, what we do as opposed to that constant killing is we say ok life wants to grow in water, why don’t we choose what life we want to grow in it and so we choose the right microbial environment, we choose the right levels for plants to grow in and we create an environment where the plants are out competing the algae because the plants are sucking up all the nutrients and there’s nothing left for the algae.
Emmanuel: Oh. So sorry to interrupt what you are saying is [um] where in the other way, in a conventional pool to remove the algae, whereas here, we saying let’s use it productively in feeding what we want to feed?
Jerome: Not really.
Emmanuel: Oh, ok.
Jerome: What we do is we setting up a competition, nature is highly competitive, things compete with each other all the time so what we do is we tipping the scales so we say we are going to use plants that are more efficient at using the nutrients than the algae is and therefore the algae doesn’t stand a chance.
Emmanuel: Ok, got you. So that [leads me] brings me to the next question. Top
Jerome: Oh, sorry I didn’t answer your question about the leaking.
Emmanuel: Oh, yes. Yes [yes, yes] please.
Jerome: Ok, so when we convert a pool that’s always been a chemical pool, what chemicals do is they make everything brittle, they constantly eating away at the sides of the pool, they constantly eating away at the pipes etc. as soon as you get rid of that highly corrosive chemical environment the water becomes very soft and nurturing. So, the process of getting towards the leak stops. In addition to that if there is a very fine crack in the concrete what happens is that little animals, bacteria and fungi and things like that start to grow in those little cracks and pools can selfheal, they can actually start to heal themselves.
Emmanuel: Ok, so water even to what a pool consists of will heal that material?
Jerome: The [the the cracks] damage that has been done by the chemicals will be undone by the [by the] natural life that wants to grow where there is a natural flow of water.
Emmanuel: Yeah and even to the extent [even to the extent] of repairing the crack or am I not understanding?
Jerome: Yes, absolutely, to the extent of repairing the crack, if the crack is small enough.
Emmanuel: Yeah of course.
Jerome: Where it’s a big crack you have to make it narrower, but often you know a leak in the pool is not a big crack, it’s a fine hairline crack of water seeping through.
Emmanuel: I understand, yeah. Now it sounds as if this is almost magic, but it makes sense in terms of that it’s nature doing its job at fixing things.
Jerome: Yes, absolutely you know, I think it’s a big lesson that humans need to learn and that we are slowly learning, we need to get out of the way. We need to stop fighting nature and observe it very carefully and see how it works and work with it (Emmanuel agrees in the background) and see exactly the principles that are used.
Emmanuel: Very interesting. Top
Emmanuel: Now in terms of maintenance, is an Eco Pool maintenance wise as much work as a conventional pool or less, or more, or the same more or less?
Jerome: It is a very different maintenance activity, so where as a chemical pool is about balancing the chemicals, you know having the pH exactly correct and you know bombing the water every once in a while, what a natural pool becomes is a gardening exercise where you have to feed the plants back. You have to vacuum the bottom from time to time, but you don’t need a creepy crawly going all the time so it becomes less in its intensity and more in its pleasure you know. But if you don’t like cutting plants then it is a pain you know because you have to keep on cutting those plants back or they start to take over. Plants can get really big and kind of compete with each other so you want to keep it well trimmed and neat and you have to empty leaf baskets cause you like to keep the surface clean.
Jerome: But on the balance, I would say it’s a lot less maintenance especially once the pool has settled in you know, it needs a settling in period. Top
Emmanuel: And my wife being an avid gardener, she would enjoy this?
Jerome: Oh man, I love the opportunity, when I can spend time at my pool at home, I love it.
Emmanuel: Yes Top
Emmanuel: Ok, Jerome, what I’m not clear on is where are these plants? Are they in the swimming pool themselves? How do I swim in the pool then?
Jerome: Right, Ok, so the pool is always divided into different sections one section has the plants in it and the other section is open water. So the pool is divided either with a wall in the pool, sometimes when we do conversions we build a wall through the middle of the pool or around the edges of the pool so that the plants are in one section and there’s always an open swimming section that’s got no plants. Top
Emmanuel: Ok, understood. And [uh, uh] the comparison between the part where you have plants and where the clear water is, what [what] sort of relationship do you need there?
Jerome: In terms of space?
Emmanuel: Size yeah.
Jerome: Well it all depends on the technology that we employ, so over the years we have developed a variety of different technologies, some more intensive than others. [uh] and by intensifying it I mean that we put in more specialised technologies in the form of different mineral gravels to filter the water through which improves the way it works [um] different ways of pumping there’s just things we have evolved over time so, it ranges from about 30% of the [of the] total surface being planted to about 50% of the total surface being planted.
Emmanuel: I understand, right I just want to sneak in a question on our pool at home. It’s a rock pool and it takes up all the space but at the terrace, just a little bit higher there is the space relationship that you are mentioning to know [uh] referring to now. Can these 2 different [um] parts of the pool be at different levels.
Jerome: Yes absolutely.
Emmanuel: Oh, nice.
Jerome: So, you can put the plants at the higher terrace and let the water flow back into the pool or you can have a lower terrace and have the water flow down into the eco zone. Top
Emmanuel: Ok so, and can we just use the existing pool pump or do you, as part of what you do, let’s call it a conversion do you then also bring in different types of pumps?
Jerome: Yes, we definitely bring in a different type of pump, because you know your conventional pump, we have to run the pumps 24 hours a day.
Emmanuel: Understood, yeah.
Jerome: Cause you’ve got to keep everything alive and if you did that with your conventional pool pump it would cost a fortune in electricity.
Jerome: So, we change the pump and we generally using about 95 watts you know as opposed to your conventional pool pump which is like 1000 watts. So, we’re reducing electricity consumption dramatically by bringing in our commercial pumps even if they are running for longer it’s about a 60-70% saving on electricity over all. Top
Emmanuel: That’s excellent, I suppose if I take it a step further I could say why don’t we run that pump with a solar panel?
Jerome: Yes, you can absolutely, we have done a couple of those but you know the investment in alternating current, I mean in direct current is high you know. You have to buy the panels, the pumps are much more expensive, with the current electricity prices it only really makes sense when there aren’t any electricity points.
Emmanuel: Ok, so [so] what you saying is from a solar voltaic panel to your inverter to your pump is just making it too expensive?
Jerome: It seems to be at the moment you know. There are a couple of clients who [who, who] want to be off the grid and for them we have devised a whole set up but for the average client you know when we only running 95 watts if you look at the cost, it’s very low. Top
Emmanuel: I understand 100%, thank you so far, now the other interesting question, or I think it’s interesting. What about the mosquitoes in [in] an Eco Pool are they going to be part of the pool?
Jerome: No, you know mosquitoes are very vulnerable because they are one of the few insects that do not have gills so they depend on hanging down from the meniscus and breathing through a little tube, that’s why the choose very protective environments. An ideal environment for a mosquito is like in a tin can or a tyre or the bottom of your gutter, somewhere where there’s very little space for anything else. Preferably an environment where there’s no oxygen in the water. But with an Eco Pool, you develop an entire eco system in there and so there are plenty of predators, there is dragon fly larvae and diving beetles and may flies and all sorts of predators looking for a vulnerable little mosquito head upside down on the meniscus to eat so they get taken out very quickly. Even if they appear, they are around for a couple of days and then they gone.
Emmanuel: Ok, interesting. I have to say when you started introducing the Eco Pool and your first project, it’s exactly where we are. I have thought le’ts close the pool up and make parking and my wife has said no chance and we were both very excited when we uncovered Eco Pools.
Jerome: Well let me tell you in the Western Cape we are suffering from this terrible drought, and one of the exciting things that you can use your pool for is a water store, so you can let the water from your roof drain directly into the pool and we have developed a technology called eco islands which is based on the papyrus beds on the Okavango swamps. They float on the pools surface, they tied to the edges so that they can float up and down with the level of the water so they purify your water. The roof water can flow into your pool they circulate it through the eco island and then you can pump that water back up and use it in your home you know, it’s drinkable. So instead of closing your pool up in a drought, actually what you should be doing is converting it into a natural system. You can then drink that water rather than this disgusting, chlorinated poison. You can’t drink your pool water. Top
Emmanuel: No, I understand. Well I think there would be a proportion issue? Ok, our pool is very small, it’s more a splash pool than anything else so the water collecting on the roof and flowing into that will fill it chop [chop] and then t will just over flow [flow over] ok but I understand what you are saying. Is this also part of your waste water treatment?
Jerome: It can be, if you don’t use the water for drinking in the house then you can take all your grey water, put it through our treatment system, our waste water treatment system which is based on very similar principles to the pool filtration [um] by the time it leaves the system it is no longer grey, it no longer smells and is perfect to use.
Jerome: And you can use your pool as a store, you know the whole system can be circulated. Reduce your [your] consumption from the grid enormously with that system.
Emmanuel: Yeah, this certainly sounds interesting. And I just had another thought, seeing as the pool is small. We could always pump water out of the pool and store it somewhere else?
Jerome: Yes, yes, absolutely you can. But I mean if your pool is very small, you know, I would use the grey water and pump it directly to a tank and use the roof water just for the pool. Top
Emmanuel: I understand, ok [ok]. Well thank you so far, now the other question that I am curious about, and it sounds like I don’t have to ask the question, seeing as how we’ve discussed it so far so a conventional pool or in our case a rock pool can easily be converted into an Eco Pool?
Jerome: Yeah, yeah. Look it’s never as easy as building a new pool because the conversion has compromise around, but yes absolutely. About half our business is conversions and we’ve developed over the years so many different ways of doing it that you know however the budget allows or [inaudible] it’s a relatively simple thing.
Emmanuel: I understand. Top
Emmanuel: Jerome but now do you service the whole of South Africa or just a particular area?
Jerome: We have offices in Cape Town and we have offices in Johannesburg, [um] our Johannesburg offices service the whole of Gauteng and up to Hoedspruit, Limpopo and Mpumalanga and we also have a [a] what we call a guided construction where we sell the design including the drawing to people who are just too far away to make financial [inaudible].
Emmanuel: Like a do it yourself?
Jerome: That’s it. And we sell them the pumps that they need and the plants and whatever they need we can get it all up to them and they build it themselves using our design.
Emmanuel: Very interesting. We’ll definitely have to invite you back for some more information, [um] so far it sounds very [very] interesting Jerome. Is there anything else that you, we drawing to a close now very shortly? Is there anything else that you want to share further that we might have missed so far?
Jerome: [Shew] you know if you do something every day there’s so much to talk about. I think just to focus people’s ideas about what it is that they are doing when they are installing a new system and I think the biggest benefit of having an Eco Pool is the quality of the swim. When you get into living water it changes the way that you feel and that can’t compare to anything else so that I think is the ultimate reward and as well I think the ally to that is the aesthetic value of having something beautiful and natural as opposed to dead and rather plain and the value of that is 12 months a year. You know a swimming pool that you using a couple of months a year and the rest of the time it’s something that you have to service, this ugly blue hole, where as if it’s an Eco Pool it’s a water feature and every day you are getting value out of it and it’s increasing the predator count in your garden so you’ll have less mosquitoes actually if you’ve got an Eco Pool. [inaudible] so it makes it a quality difference that really can’t be quantified, besides all the practical benefits that you get from it. Top
Emmanuel: Ok, certainly sounds interesting. What I didn’t ask [ok] so we going to give your website address in a moment so people can contact you via the website address and therefore ask for a quote and so forth, but can we just for a moment stop and look at costs [um] ok so we’ve touched on all the benefits but it sounds like our pool conversion will cost R 1 000 000 [uh] from all the benefits we going to get (chuckles in the background) but I suppose it’s a practical thing but can you give us more or less, not saying a price or anything but how does it compare what sort of price range are we looking at for a conversion of an average pool or a small pool etc. just to give our listeners an idea?
Jerome: Well using eco island to convert a pool, probably an average size pool [you know] would cost about R 50 000 to start.
Emmanuel: Sorry, I didn’t catch that amount just say that again?
Jerome: About 50 000.
Emmanuel: I see, ok [ok].
Jerome: Yes, for an average size pool, you know for a smaller pool it would be a bit less, for a bigger pool it would be a bit more and it ranges up you know, if you want waterfalls and rock features and beautiful lily pads and all sorts of things then it can cost much more.
Jerome: I mean we’ve done very fancy installations of [inaudible]. But that’s obviously not for everyone.
Emmanuel: Yeah, I certainly saw some very interesting pools on your website which I can see and fully understand it will be pricey.
Emmanuel: Ok, so if there’s nothing else, I am going to close up [uh] anything else? Last call? Top
Jerome: [um] I just wanted to describe our waste water treatment just a little bit.
Emmanuel: Ok, please do.
Jerome: Yes, because it’s so pertinent in the Western Cape at the moment and you know about 30% of our water usage is flushing the toilet and to use drinking water for that is crazy. The problem with conventional grey water systems is that you have to use the water immediately, you can’t just store it.
Jerome: It goes off.
Jerome: It doesn’t smell and you can put it back into your toilet again and it can just sit there forever and it’s a wetland based system but as opposed to most wetland based systems it cannot block. That’s the whole key of our technology, it’s impossible for the system to block. And that’s the big problem with grey water wetlands is that eventually the microbial population gets thick and it blocks and so that’s the real benefit and [and] I’m telling you it should be law, you shouldn’t be able to flush your toilet with drinking water.
Emmanuel: Certainly, yeah, I understand. So just on that note, Radio Live Green Smart started as a result of us building a green home [um] and we basically catch the rain water and we use that for the washing machine, the toilets and for garden irrigation so I understand what you are meaning. Ok, anything else Jerome?
Jerome: [uh, no] no just the website [uh] details and if you ever wanted to do this again I’m always available.
Emmanuel: Ok, please [uh] give our listeners your website address.
Jerome: Should I do it now?
Emmanuel: Yes, please.
Jerome: So, it’s www.ecopoolsonline.com
Emmanuel: Thank you, so all the contact details are there so we don’t have to give out contact details now.
Emmanuel: Ok, right listeners, so that was Dr. Jerome Davis, founder of Eco Pools. Thank you very much for all your very interesting information.
Jerome: Sure, it’s a pleasure.
Emmanuel: Ok, I’ll just repeat the website its www.ecopoolsonline.com and then further please note where we interview or run adverts the content is not necessarily endorsed by Radio Live Green Smart. I’m Emmanuel, your host, and over to the music. Top
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Title: Transcript of Anchor Read Advert Midrand Boreholes
Presented by: Emmanuel van der Meulen
Date: 3 May 2017
Number of Speakers: 1
File Duration: 04:58
Transcriptionist: Jacqui Jonk
Links are at the end of the transcript.
Emmanuel: Hello and welcome, to Radio Live Green Smart and to our short borehole presentation and advert. Radio Live Green Smart is a forum to discuss green living, eco-friendly living and importantly a forum to discuss where we see disrespect for the environment first hand. Bring such disrespect to us, we’ll assist to expose such [inaudible error] environmental disrespect. Use the contact us to send the details of the respect, please make sure to provide comprehensive information. Top
Introduction to boreholes: boreholes has an initial cost, the cos t covers the drilling, the encasing, the pump and piping. Boreholes are governed by [inaudible error] bylaws of the area. It’s important to research the bylaws before sinking a borehole. A large portion of water is used for garden irrigation. That means irrigating the garden at the office or at home, therefore boreholes are well suited for domestic and office use. There are direct monthly water savings which easily covers the initial cost multiple times in a short period. This is the cost of the initial outlay to sink a borehole. There are also indirect costs, like the pumping of the water to our dwelling, be it domestic or the office, all the way from the service provider. Combining all these aspects [it’s not] it’s easy to see that a borehole contributes to reducing our [to reducing to our to reducing our] carbon footprint.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of having a borehole[s]. Self-sufficiency: the water that a borehole produces is sitting dormant in the ground, making use of it means that we simply utilising an unused ground water resource. Furthermore, we save money: by drilling a borehole we tap into the water supply and cut out a large percentage of water costs. Taking it a step further by opting for filtration: we have a steady supply of drinking water. Taking the borehole, a step further: [another step further] in the short term having access to a borehole saves money and also in the long term it adds value to the property. Top
Midrand Boreholes, that’s the company, specialises in the drilling and casing of water producing boreholes. They say: we also drill holes for exploration, monitoring and investigation purposes, during which detailed logs and samples are kept for further analysis. Further they say: our drillers and their driller systems are well informed and highly experienced in addition to being passionate about their work. They say: water is life and to please contact us on 082 262 0580, Ill repeat that, 082 262 0580 or email us on [email protected] (the Midrand Boreholes is one word).
That was a short introduction to boreholes, please note where we interview or provide such adverts the content is not necessarily endorsed by Radio Live Green Smart, and now over to the music. Top
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