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Water Today Title April 21, 2024
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Ontario family-owned business Make-Way Environmental Technologies is dedicated to wastewater issues with proven technologies

“Make-Way focuses on the possible environmental effects of wastewater sources. Our mission is “Protecting the Environment” through products and solutions which safely, efficiently and affordably manage waste waters.” --Roddy Bolivar, Stormwater Solutions Lead, Make-Way Environmental Technologies

Interview with Roddy Bolivar, P. Eng

By Suzanne Forcese

WT: Please introduce yourself to our viewers and give us an overview of Make- Way Environmental Technologies.

Bolivar: As the Stormwater Solutions Lead at Make-Way (based on my 30 years’ experience in drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater management), I focus on stormwater management solutions for municipal and private customers. 

I help customers address their needs related to managing all the “waste” water on their land. 

That includes the water in septic systems, greywater systems and stormwater systems.

Make-Way is a small family-owned business established over 20 years ago. Bert Knip, the owner, is involved directly in all aspects of the business. All our customers know they can call Bert and get answers quickly. 

WT: What is greywater and how can it be managed?

Bolivar:  Greywater is wastewater from non-toilet plumbing systems such as hand basins, washing machines, showers and baths. 

Greywater management includes alternative ways to a sewer or in rural environments a septic bed to dispose of that water and including potential for reuse like for lawn watering. 

Some also characterize sump pump water and rooftop collected rainwater as sources of water which can serve a purpose instead of simply disposing.

WT: What is Make-Way's strategy for greywater management?

Bolivar: For us, that is the German made Graf Water line of products which we import and sell across eastern Canada. 

The Graf EcoBloc can be used as an underground tank simply as a disposal location for greywater to soak into the ground. 

The Graf Rainwater Systems can collect any source of water – greywater, sump water, roof water – and repurpose it to as a minimum irrigation.

The Graf website states:

Each day, GRAF customers save over 175 million litresof drinking water globally.

This corresponds to the capacity of 61 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Water should be used responsibly. Drinking water does not need to be used everywhere in the household.

GRAF products enable you to use rainwater for watering your garden, cleaning your toilet and in your washing machine. For private households, the savings potential is around 50%, while for commercial properties, this figure can be up to 85%. In this way, groundwater resources can be preserved and the energy use for drinking water treatment can be reduced, all with little effort.

WT: Who is best suited for the Graf Systems?

Bolivar: Graf Water stormwater, greywater and rainwater systems meet the needs of individual home owners and small commercial owners. The stormwater systems also meet the needs of municipalities looking for flood risk reduction solutions.

WT: Please give us an overview of the Storm Water Management systems you provide for your clients. What are the advantages?

Bolivar: The Graf Water EcoBloc replaces stormwater storage in surface ponds with underground storage. The main advantage of underground storage is reclaiming the use of the area above the stormwater tank especially in areas where land costs are high. 

The Lego-like blocks can be assembled in any size and shape to fit the site's needs. The product has a high “voids ratio” providing the most efficient use of the underground space. 

They can be stacked resulting in a small footprint and easier excavation and installation. 

EcoBloc comes in three strengths and with the maximum strength block can be placed under heavy traffic surfaces. Originally manufactured over 15 years ago, the EcoBloc and family of products have evolved to meet any stormwater requirements.

WT: How do the Rainwater Harvesting Systems work? Why are they superior to any other method? What are the applications?

Bolivar: The Graf Water rainwater harvesting systems are a full family of products custom developed to harvest and reuse rainwater. The family of products includes the storage tank, a range of filters, a range of lids, a range of pumps, and a range of electronic controllers. 

Rainwater falling on the roof and into rain gutters is directed to the underground tank. A filter ensures the water in the tank stays clean. From the tank, the water is pumped for reuse most often for landscape watering or domestic uses such as a wash hose or sink.

Building codes in some jurisdictions allow the rainwater to be brought back into the home for use in toilet flushing, clothes washing and other internal non-potable uses. 

Capturing the rainwater from the roof can also be used as a stormwater management and flood protection strategy by reducing the volume of water going to sewers.

 WT: Make-Way also has a solution for wastewater. Tell us about the technology.

Bolivar: Our System O)) septic system solutions meet the needs of individual homeowners and small commercial owners.

System O)) is a unique “combined treatment and dispersal” technology.

Wastewater is both treated and disposed of in the System O)) pipe. This results in a very small footprint for a home or commercial wastewater management system.

WT: What is the importance of the right sand bed?

Bolivar: The treated water from a System O)) system must still be put back into the ground like any other septic system. Our testing has proven that the sand in a septic bed is particularly important to the long-term lifetime of a septic bed. 

We have a province-wide network of suppliers of the right system sand. 

Less system sand is needed than in a conventional septic bed so system sand can, in most cases, reduce the cost of septic system.

WT: As a wastewater treatment describe how it is environmentally friendly.

Bolivar: System O)) is an “advanced” treatment technology treating wastewater to a higher quality than a conventional septic system.

 By treating the wastewater before it is put back into the environment, System O)) (and other certified advanced treatment technologies) protects groundwater and surface water from contamination.

WT: Are there other advantages of this system?

Bolivar: One of the most important and impactful features of a septic system is the footprint. System O)), in the right configuration, can have the smallest area of any system in Ontario. 

We maintain all our systems providing owners with assurance directly from the manufacturer. 

For septic installers, the system is easy to install, and we provide on-site supervision to new installers.

WT: What sorts of educational materials do you provide for your clients?

Bolivar: A range of materials for owners and installers and designers is available on our website. We consistently and regularly deliver information and training to owners' groups like the Federation of Ontario Cottage Owners Association, municipal approval officials, and septic system designers.

While our product eventually ends up with property owners, our clients are septic system installers who are industry experts.

We do promote, through memberships in associations and working with municipal officials, good practices in owning a septic bed. 


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