Acquisition, new tech lifts global clean water effort

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HOUSTON, TX, Sept. 2, 2009 -- A global company based here has expanded its ability to help produce re-useable water for people in drought or poverty conditions around the world. Headworks Inc., producer of water treatment products and technologies, announced it acquired the business of Hydroxyl Services Inc. of Canada, and is integrating those resources into its Headworks Bio group that produces systems to turn wastewater into useful water needed in the U.S. and Europe as well as in South America, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Agencies estimate that some 1.1 billion people or one-sixth of world population are without clean water, and some 2.6 billion are without sanitation. Worldwide water shortages are expected by 2050, according to the World Water Council. By 2030, nearly half the world's people will be living in regions of acute water shortage, the United Nations said.

"A major cause of health and economic problems is lack of desease-free water for washing, irrigation and commercial use in many parts of the world, and Headworks has the technology to help solve these problems," Michele LaNoue, its chief executive, said. Hydroxyl engineers and scientists will be added immediately to Headworks Bio staff to accelerate work on re-useable water systems, LaNoue said. She said the company was increasing its presence in many regions of the world.

Hydroxyl is a leading provider of moving bed bioreactor (MBBR) and integrated fix-film activated sludge (IFAS) technologies for the wastewater industry. The process uses small but highly efficient polyethylene modules to attract and grow bacteria cultures that help produce re-useable water. It often doubles the flow capacity of treatment plants. Both companies have extensive experience among municipal, industrial and marine applications using this technology.

MBBR has proven to be a successful, sustainable and economically attractive solution and ranks as a substantial potential market product, a report from Frost & Sullivan said. It is ideally suited for upgrade and expansion of existing plants... and meets new stringent environmental legislation on the discharge of wastewater implemented in developed nations, the report added. MBBR installations are at food plants, paper mills, mines, municipalities and aboard cruise ships. Among Hydroxyl clients are ship builders and cruise lines such as STX Europe, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and BC Ferries.

Headworks Bio also delivers the technology in compact, modular systems that increase capacity and efficiency in existing or new plants. It is ideal for decentralized systems and real estate projects, the company said.

"The real issue for Headworks is to help nations, states, cities and villages generate clean water, "LaNoue said. "We are determined to make a positive difference in this enormous worldwide problem."

LaNoue, a lawyer, is a graduate of Texas A&M University and the University of Houston law school. Headworks was founded in 1994 and has some 20 engineers and other representatives who serve more than 50 countries.

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