Hipox™ removes MTBE, restores South Tahoe water

Aug. 8, 2002
Key responsible oil companies have agreed to pay the South Tahoe Public Utility District $28 million toward the cleanup of drinking water wells contaminated with the gasoline additive MTBE.

Pleasant Hill, Calif., Aug. 8, 2002 -- Key responsible oil companies have agreed to pay the South Tahoe Public Utility District $28 million toward meeting the cost of cleaning up drinking water wells contaminated with the gasoline additive MTBE.

The funding pool for such cleanup at South Tahoe is now more than $69 million. Applied Process Technology, Inc. (Applied) is leading the restoration of contaminated drinking water at South Tahoe.

Applied's HiPOx™ drinking water treatment system commenced operation at one of the District's wells on June 26, 2002; Because of this new treatment regimen, the previously unusable well now provides clean drinking water to the South Lake Tahoe public and to surrounding communities.

The HiPOx system's successful treatment of MTBE-contaminated groundwater at the District's well represents an important milestone in the process of restoring South Lake Tahoe's pristine drinking water supply. What started as an environmental crisis became an economic crisis when the District was forced to shutdown over one third of its 34 wells in a one-year period due to MTBE contamination.

This caused approximately $50 million in damage to South Lake Tahoe's drinking water supplies, a disaster that rivals the City of Santa Monica's $200 million MTBE crisis.

The District's Manager of Water Operations Rick Hydrick stated, "We chose Applied's HiPOx water treatment technology because rigorous testing demonstrated it could completely destroy the MTBE concentrations found at the contaminated site."

With regard to the HiPOx's performance thus far, Hydrick stated, "We couldn't be happier. We were confident the system would meet the District's high standards to deliver the cleanest drinking water possible, and that is exactly what the HiPOx system is doing."

Terry Applebury, Applied's President and CEO, says the HiPOx technology sets a new standard for treatment of MTBE-contaminated drinking water. "HiPOx is designed to tackle the most stubborn, man-made chemical contaminants in drinking water, without generating hazardous by-products. HiPOx has been demonstrated at over 100 sites, destroying contaminants such as MTBE to the regulated levels or to non-detect levels, if desired."


District project manager Nick Zaninovich says that once the water from the first contaminated well is treated and the well itself gets flushed and rehabilitated, the District could then move the portable HiPOx system to other wells to restore additional drinking water. "South Tahoe lost a lot of its drinking water supply to MTBE contamination. But we're going to be able to use this water again," he said.

"MTBE cannot withstand the HiPOx technology," stated Applebury. "And for that matter, neither can TBA."

TBA, or t-butyl alcohol, is a natural degradation product of MTBE and is usually present in MTBE-contaminated groundwater or forms in the water over time. TBA has recently become an environmental concern because it is even more difficult to treat than MTBE when standard treatment methods are used.

"MTBE is pervasive," says Applebury, "and since its contamination of water has been detected in all fifty states, TBA will be everywhere, too. Fortunately, HiPOx effectively removes both of these harmful chemicals and will enable the restoration of our nation's precious drinking water supplies."

South Tahoe's 800 gallons-per-minute (gpm) HiPOx system is the first advanced oxidation system approved and permitted by the California's Department of Health Services (DHS) to eliminate MTBE contamination in drinking water to non-detect levels.

The proprietary and patented HiPOx advanced oxidation technology mixes hydrogen peroxide and ozone to form hydroxyl radicals, an aggressive oxidant that reacts chemically with MTBE, TBA and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), converting them into benign carbon dioxide and water. The carbon dioxide is vented off while the cleansed water is returned to the drinking water system for distribution.

For more information regarding Applied Process Technology, Inc.'s HiPOx water treatment technology, the HiPOx installation at South Tahoe Public Utility District, or for general information, please visit Applied Process Technology's website at www.aptwater.com.

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