Q&A WITH RIGHT AQUA - THE WHYS AND WHEREFORES OF DRINKING WATER TANK CLEANING

The following is an interview with the Director/General Manager of Right Aqua, Mr. Lalith Wasntha, published in the October 2018 edition of the OSL Magazine .

What is the necessity for cleaning tanks?

Sri Lanka being a tropical country does not mean we need to clean our water tanks more often, but we do need to clean them regularly.

If you ask anyone, it is very hard to find a person who has cleaned their drinking water tanks regularly. This aspect has been neglected by most in the urban areas where pipe-borne water is used. 

“Seeing is believing!” Is a famous quote and so apt! Please do have a look at your Underground/Overhead Drinking Water tank and… definitely, you’ll feel so sorry!! In any uncleaned tank bottom, a thick layer of sludge accumulation may be visible. Quite apart from that, we have found brushes, broom, sticks and rubber slippers in water tanks, which were left over by the labourers who cleaned the tanks before. Some tanks were inundated with cockroaches. (See the picture overleaf of a bucket of cockroaches removed from a tank sump in Colombo)

Before we introduced our system, the only people in the drinking water tank cleaning business were building watchers and local plumbers who used to either do the job or hire casual labourers to enter the tank, empty the water, scrub it manually and wash it again. Crude and primitive tools like brooms, sticks, buckets, bleaching powder and detergents were used for cleaning. This had only the psychological effect on consumers of having cleaned their tanks, not realising that the same people may in fact have ended up contaminating their drinking water tanks. 

In most cases, filthy men stinking of alcohol, dressed almost in tatters and chewing tobacco getting inside a drinking water tank. The guy inside the tank, chewing tobacco while scrubbing the tank with a broom, literally spat in the tank which he was cleaning!!

This ghastly sight itself was enough to trigger an immediate need to develop and start a professional and scientific system to provide our fellow citizens with a fool-proof and perfect system to provide them their basic necessity of life – WATER, in its safest and cleanest form.

“We have provided sufficient water and it is distributed properly” is one of the most common responses of senior bureaucrats responsible for water supply. To provide drinking water on a 24x7 basis, the authorities will have to lay hundreds of kilometres of new pipelines across the city or town, also hundreds of sumps and overhead tanks for the proper water storage is one of the important needs to achieve this dream.

 

Add to this the rapid urbanisation and steady increase in population, coupled with vertical growth in urban areas and these are some issues to solve which needs a very firm and elaborate planned and concerted execution effort to achieve the 24X7 water supply dream!

 

The drinking water at the point of supply at the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) level is excellent and as per the required standards. All problems relating to contamination of this drinking water starts after this water leaves the WTP’s.

The pipelines which form a complex distribution network across the city are the chief source of contamination of our drinking water, many times due to conditions well beyond the control and management of the authorities. Corrosion of pipelines at the joints, improper repair and maintenance, lack of access to leaking pipes, old and corroded pipelines sometimes running along sewage pipelines or near open gutters, rampant pilferage at various points where drinking water pipelines run near slums, which do not have legitimate sources of drinking water, are some of the major causes of contamination of our drinking water which finally reaches our drinking water tank in homes and apartments. Even after reaching the drinking water tank, the contamination continues to take place due to poor designing and improper sealing etc. If the Water sump lids are below the ground level, rainy water seeping through cannot be avoided, if proper sealing of the lids is not done either in water sumps or overhead . Having understood the problems relating to the drinking water supply in our country and the challenges faced by the administration, scientific cleaning and disinfection techniques which are also cost effective, fast and safe.

Hence, we at  RIGHT AQUA,  along with  TANCLEAN™  thought of initiating ACTION with a pioneering effort, by introducing the unique Six Stage  TANCLEAN™  Process for the first NOVEMBER 2018 83 time in Sri Lanka.  The health of your family is the paramount reason we perform these services. All of our procedures and patented processes are designed with this philosophy in mind.

What special aptitudes does Right Aqua have in this field?

RIGHT AQUA along with TANCLEAN™  had recognised the basic need to solve this problem for the benefit of the citizens in the country. Under normal conditions, it is very easy to blame the System/ Administration/Government Machinery and everybody else (other than our own self) for any public utility-related problem, without first understanding one’s own accountability and duty as an individual and as a responsible citizen of our country. Unfortunately, unsuspecting and innocent children are the first victims of such callous and irresponsible attitudes of us so-called “learned adults”!

It is disheartening to know that an average citizen would not hesitate for even a fraction of a second before spitting on the road! The same citizen going to Singapore would not even dare dream of doing such a thing!! We Sri Lankans are so conscious about cleanliness in our homes that we sweep and wipe our floors clean almost on a daily basis – although no-one eats anything from this floor!! But the very tank on the building from which the drinking water comes is not even considered worthy of cleaning for years together!!!

“RIGHT AQUA”   in search of a scientific solution for people of this country  more as a service to them, with the concept of  “CLEAN WATER FOR HEALTHY LIFE”  successfully negotiated to be the  FRANCHISEE  in Sri Lanka for TANCLEAN of India, which is the world’s largest drinking water tank-cleaning service provider.  Today, the TANCLEAN™ network covers more than 140 cities and towns in almost twenty three states in India and few countries in Asia. Since commencement of the TANCLEAN™ business 17 years ago, over 10 million tanks have been cleaned in India as well as in other countries.  We are assisted by a committed team of professionals who take care of the total support system built for the benefit and the development of the network.

TANCLEAN™ was recognised with the SANKALP AWARD 2009 instituted by Intellicap and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation as the “Best Social Enterprise in Healthcare”, it is also the recipient of the “Best Franchiser Award” three times in a row from 2005 to 2007 in service-based franchise opportunity, and also The Best Essential Services Award on a National platform besides several other recognition and awards.

TANCLEAN™  is a Safe Scientific Concept to clean and disinfect drinking water storage tanks that involves a 6-stage cleaning process using state-of-the-art imported equipment and proprietary anti-bacterial agents that are safe, effective and eco-friendly. As compared to conventional tank cleaning,  TANCLEAN™  ensures faster cleaning for even the most neglected tanks. The entire process takes just about 120 minutes of cleaning time for an average capacity of up to 50,000 litres, which keeps the tanks safe and healthy for the next 180 days. We clean all types of concrete tanks, plastic tanks, elevated storage reservoirs, fabricated steel tanks / fibre tanks of any kind. 

Who are your clients? Who are your potential clients?

It is about one and half years we have been in this service in Sri Lanka and we have clients of all categories starting with Individual Homes, Apartment Complexes, Office complexes, Industries, Hotels, Hospitals, Educational  Institutions and many more. Our aim is to get in to Government Sector and Municipal Bodies as well.  Basically our potential clients are ALL THE USERS OF PIPE BORNE WATER WHO USE WATER FROM STORAGE TANKS.

How far does your service network extend?

At present as a startup, we have canvassed business in the Western Province and are planning to spread in to all the other provinces in the country near future.

What plans do you have for expansion in the future?

At present, we are experiencing substantial growth in sales, as a result of a well-planned awareness campaign through social media and other media streams. The potential for business is mainly through awareness among the community, hence we will continue doing so in the future as well. The idea of appointing sub-agents or franchisees in other provinces to handle the operations will also be looked at in the near future. To make a healthy nation is the determination of our company. 


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