Siemens sends drinking water treatment equipment to victims of SE Asia tsunami

Jan. 18, 2005
Through Australian USFilter unit, German firm is sending seven Memcor systems capable of delivering 184,800 gpd of potable water to Thailand. Arch Chemicals also is working with Water Relief Network to provide sanitizing products to affected areas. Read here about other donations from GE, Zenon Environmental, ITT Industries, Pall Corp., Flowserve, Trojan Technologies, Pure-O-Tech, WaterChef and Air Water Corp. Links also offered to disaster relief organizations accepting contributions...

SCHAUMBURG, IL, Jan. 17, 2005 (Staff & Wire Reports) -- USFilter, a Siemens company, is providing drinking water treatment units to regions of Southeast Asia ravaged by the recent tsunami. USFilter's Memcor group, working with Siemens Thailand office and Loxley Public Company, its distributor in Thailand, plans to contribute seven treatment units, which utilize the company's membrane and disinfection technology. The units are capable of converting raw water into water fit for drinking and other potable uses. Each has a capacity to produce 100 cubic meters (26,400 gallons) of clean water a day.

USFilter is building six of the units on a fast-track schedule at its Memcor manufacturing plant in Windsor, Australia. According to plant manager Bruce Biltoft, the first of the units is scheduled for shipment to Thailand by Jan. 25. All should be shipped by Feb. 8. The seventh unit is already located in Thailand where it was being prepared as a demonstration unit prior to the tsunami. As soon as it's tested and commissioned, it will be re-located to the disaster area.

"Siemens is providing extensive aid to the victims of the catastrophic tsunamis in Asia," said Siemens CEO Heinrich v. Pierer. "In addition to launching employee donation drives throughout the world, Siemens is focusing on providing local disaster relief. The company is using its local presence in the affected countries to quickly deliver targeted aid. This way, help is reaching the places where it is needed the most."

The company has provided over 1 million euros [US$1.3 million] -- a figure that will be increased as needed. In addition, as of Jan. 11, Siemens employees contributed 341,267.39 euros [US$444,496.43] to Siemens Caring Hands in Germany, with more than 3,350 donors participating. In Thailand, employees also donated over 1 million baht [US$25,967.14].

Once the water treatment units are in Thailand, Siemens and Loxley will fit them out with ancillary components -- such as covers or piping -- that may be required depending on where the units will be deployed. At this moment, the companies are working in parallel to have all necessary components available so that final assembly, installation, and operation of the units can occur as rapidly as possible, Biltoft said.

USFilter's Memcor group is a world-leader in developing membrane technology for both drinking water and wastewater treatment. The units being built for disaster relief are stand-alone, transportable units, containing membrane barriers, which filter out even the smallest microscopic contaminants. They will be coupled with disinfection technology from USFilter's Wallace & Tiernan group.

For updates on USFilter's efforts to provide assistance to victims of the tsunami, see: Or see "Disaster relief" at the Siemens homepage:

Arch Chemicals providing sanitizing products to help tsunami relief efforts
On Jan. 14, Arch Chemicals also reported it was working with the global Water Relief Network to provide Arch's HTH® chlorine-based water sanitizing products to help the survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. These sanitizing chemicals are used to sanitize drinking water as well as food-preparation surfaces and equipment. The network is a partnership of the global chlorine industry, the American Red Cross and other international relief agencies.

In addition, Arch's granular calcium hypochlorite product is the sanitizing agent in millions of drinking water treatment sachets that a major, global consumer products company is donating to aid the disaster relief effort. These sachets can be used in small containers to purify water for drinking and washing. Arch also is encouraging employees to donate to any nonprofit disaster-relief agencies that are aiding the tsunami relief effort by promising to match the total employee donation, up to $10,000, through an Arch corporate donation to the American Red Cross.

Arch's facility in Charleston, Tenn., is one of several plants worldwide that produce HTH and other brands of water-treatment products. These products are used to sanitize water in swimming pools and spas, drinking water and water used in commercial operations such as food and beverage processing facilities.

Arch has a long heritage of providing water sanitizing chemicals for those stricken by disasters, whether they involve natural events such as hurricanes and floods or man-made disasters such as wars. Drinking water sanitizing products are critical in preventing the outbreak of life-threatening, waterborne diseases. These primarily involve diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and even hepatitis A and E. All of these diseases are caused by bacteria or viruses in contaminated drinking water or food, in sewage and among people who lack clean water to wash their hands.

Initially established by the U.S. Chlorine Chemistry Council, the Water Relief Network has grown to encompass the World Chlorine Council, Euro Chlor and the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers as well as numerous relief agencies. The network typically supplies chlorine-based water sanitizing products, PVC pipe and instructional help so communities in undeveloped regions can establish their own safe, reliable drinking water systems.

Based in Norwalk, Conn., Arch Chemicals Inc. ( is a global specialty chemicals company with more than $1 billion in annual sales. Arch and its subsidiaries have leadership positions in treatment and performance products, and they serve leading customers in these markets with forward-looking solutions to meet their chemical needs. Together with its subsidiaries, Arch has approximately 2,800 employees worldwide and manufacturing and customer-support facilities in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Other water industry commitments
On Jan. 12, GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies announced it was sending a second 52-foot Mobile Water treatment unit as well as the resources of more than 50 GE engineers, scientists and project managers to provide safe drinking water to Indonesian families affected by the recent tsunami. GE is working with the Indonesian government and relief agencies to coordinate the water distribution.

Another mobile unit was sent, according to earlier reports, through the auspices of Assist International (, a relief organization based in Scotts Valley, Calif. The units, each of which includes a filtration and reverse osmosis system, are being expedited from GE's Mobile Water facility in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Indonesia. The exact date for producing water is undetermined but GE has committed all available resources to enable fresh water production as soon as possible in the weeks ahead.

The mobile trailers are designed to purify water at a rate of up to 600 gallons per minute. Total units on reserve for the relief effort will produce a combined capacity of nearly 864,000 gallons of purified water per day. This will help approximately 220,000 people per day. GE Energy has donated a mobile fleet of generators and engineers to power the mobile units.

Beyond the emergency relief efforts, the mobile water technology will be used at the government's discretion to provide clean water for drinking, sanitation and other uses. GE Infrastructure's offices in the United States, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Thailand and India are coordinating GE's fresh water relief efforts.

GE is also donating three water purification systems to the Thai Red Cross. Together the two are working to deliver 66,000 gallons of potable water per day that will aid an estimated 5,000 people in the three largest Thai Red Cross shelter centers located in the Pang Nga, Phuket and Kao Lak regions.

In addition to this commitment, GE has mobilized its staff to assist in the region where possible and made financial commitments as well. "The GE family has pledged more than $10 million in cash, products and services to the relief efforts following the earthquake and tsunami in South Asia," reads a statement at the corporate website. "This includes an overwhelming outpouring from employees, who as of Jan. 6 have donated nearly $2.4 million, every dollar of which will be matched by the GE Foundation." Previously, the foundation also pledged $1 million to the Red Cross and $100,000 to UNICEF toward disaster relief efforts.

On Jan. 6, Canada's Zenon Environmental reported it had teamed up with Eureka Forbes, a leading water company in India, and the Christian relief organization World Vision to send an initial shipment of 54 Homespring water filtration units for South Asia tsunami disaster recovery efforts. The systems, which are now en route to Chennai, India, and Sri Lanka, will provide safe drinking water for up to 350,000 tsunami victims. Incorporating Zenon's ZeeWeed ultrafiltration membranes, each unit can produce up to 7,000 gpd of potable water. The Oakville, Ontario, company's larger water purification systems, which the Canadian Army has used for years, will be deployed by Canada's Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART).

In addition, working through Oxfam and Red Cross/Red Crescent, ITT Industries -- with a variety of pump and water treatment equipment companies in its Fluid Technology unit -- said Jan. 5 that it was preparing 60 portable ST1 water treatment systems for delivery to the disaster area. Combined, they're capable of treating more than 100,000 gph. The units are diesel powered -- enabling them to operate in many areas without electricity -- and simple to operate and maintain, as well as providing the level of treatment necessary to combat waterborne diseases such as cholera and giardiasis. ITT also has mobilized staff at its companies in the region to provide their expertise and is donating $500,000 toward the general relief effort.

On Jan. 7, Pall Corp., with headquarters in East Hills, N.Y., announced it had donated a water filtration system capable of providing safe drinking water to 60,000 people a day for the tsunami relief efforts. The system will replace a water treatment system that was destroyed in the Aceh province of Sumatra, Indonesia. The reverse osmosis system, which utilizes the company's proprietary Disc TubeTM Modules, converts very poor quality water into potable water in a single step. Since it does not require any pretreatment, drinking water is immediately available. Pall also provided technical training to Technisches Hilfswerk, the German governmental disaster relief organization, which will operate the mobile system. The system, valued at US$750,000, was made available from Pall's operations in Hamburg, Germany.

Flowserve Corp., of the Dallas area, on behalf of its 14,000 employees around the world, announced Jan. 6 that it would donate up to $150,000 to the Red Cross for earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Southeast Asia. Flowserve chose this organization based on its global reach and disaster expertise. Flowserve made an initial donation of $50,000 to the Red Cross and is currently conducting a fundraising drive that will match dollar-for-dollar the first $50,000 donated by its employees.

Another Canadian company, Trojan Technologies, of London, Ontario, also committed to sending product to the region -- although because of the nature of its ultraviolet disinfection equipment, it may wait until later when more basic infrastructure is in place and it's more useful. On Jan. 5, Martha Nelsen, Trojan vice president of marketing and corporate communications, said, "We've been in touch with a number of nonprofit organizations and don't want to send equipment there just to have it sit there and not get used or just be in the way. But we've been very active working behind the scenes to provide some support." She noted Trojan's corporate parent, Danaher also has contributed to the Red Cross and is committing other of its companies such as water testing and analytical instrumentation maker Hach Company, of Loveland, Colo., to provide additional equipment toward the relief effort.

Smaller firms WaterChef Inc. and Air Water Corp. were donating equipment as well -- respectively, two PureSafe water treatment stations that treat up to 15,000 gpd and 20 AirWater Machines that extract water from humidity in the air. Air Water president Michael J. Zwebner also donated $25,000. The WaterChef units were purchased by an Indian family living in New York for relief efforts, the company reported Jan. 4. It was reported a week later that individual WaterChef shareholders also purchased an additional three PureSafe Water Station units, with a market value of $230,000, for the tsunami disaster relief effort in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, it was reported Jan. 7 that Escondido, Calif., based Pure-O-Tech Inc. -- which manufactures a portable ozone disinfection system called the Enviro-Wash -- happened to have a unit in Chennai, India, the day the tsunami struck Dec. 26. The city was among those whose coastal fishing villages were devastated by the tsunami. The ozone unit, which can provide the daily potable water needs for about 5,000 people, was being used at Anna University in Chennai to demonstrate Pure-O-Tech's technology as a possible solution to India's shortage of reliable sources of safe drinking water in rural areas. Now, company R&D vice president Ben St. Onge is being sent, thanks to the contribution of the California law firm of Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps, to India to find additional areas where the systems can be set up. Employees at the firm raised $5,000, which was matched by the firm for the effort.

Emergency relief organizations
The American Water Works Association has been pointing other donors toward Water For People (WFP). Although it does have long term programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America, WFP, a Denver-based independent organization initially affiliated with the AWWA and supported by various organizations and companies in the water industry, pointed out that it's not an emergency relief organization. Instead, WFP agreed to serve as a liaison between the North American water industry and international relief organizations. In addition, it's currently accepting donations for long-term water and sanitation development projects in the 13 affected countries. For more information, call 800-926-7337 or visit its website:

If you would care to assist in the humanitarian response to the disaster, also feel free to contact the following:
-- UNICEF: or call 1-800-4UNICEF (86-4233).
-- American Red Cross: or 1-800-HELP-NOW (435-7669)
-- Americares: or call AmeriCares directly at 1-800-486-HELP (4357)
-- CARE: or 1-800-422-7385
-- Oxfam: or 1-800-77-OXFAM (69326)
-- Save the Children: or 1-800-728-3843
-- Doctors Without Borders:
-- The Network for Good:
-- Catholic Relief Services:
-- World Vision:

You can specify to direct your donations to South Asia Earthquake/Tsunami Relief Effort, but remember that a number of other areas of the world also may continue to need assistance as resources are redirected to this region.

For other reports on this topic, see: Tsunami Disaster Relief


The above article was culled from items posted to PRNewswire, BusinessWire, MarketWire as well as personal interviews and various other sources.


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