Avoiding Sludge with Aquarius Technologies’ Pokorsky

A day before flying to Dallas for WEFTEC.06, Tom Pokorsky was pressure washing construction dust from the floor of the new warehouse in Port Washington, WI, for Aquarius Technologies...

A day before flying to Dallas for WEFTEC.06, Tom Pokorsky was pressure washing construction dust from the floor of the new warehouse in Port Washington, WI, for Aquarius Technologies, a startup company launched in May specializing in a “sludgeless” biological treatment and an advanced oxidation process for industrial and other wastewater streams.

Six months before that, the former Water & Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association chairman was cruising along as president of the ITT Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) division of ITT Inc., a business he’d help grow to $350 million in sales. He had started at it as a regional sales engineer in 1979 when it was Water Pollution Control Corp. - or Sanitaire. By 1985, he was part of the management team that bought out the then $5 million company. And, in 1999, when it was sold to ITT at about $40 million in sales, he had become president and CEO. Early this year, Pokorsky chose to go his own way rather than assume other duties at the company.

Shortly afterward, he was contacted by a headhunter for L Capital Partners, a New York venture capital firm whose managing partner is an Israeli citizen working with an Israeli technology development firm funded by the government there. The founder of that firm, Dr. Efim Monosov (who is now Aquarius’ chief technology officer), is a Russian émigré to Israel with a doctorate from the University of St. Petersburg who developed the two patent-pending and patented wastewater treatment technologies.

The first, a multistage activated biological process (MSABPTM) offers a sludgeless solution for reduction of biodegradable, organic pollutants via microbes on a fixed film media that consume sludge-forming constituents before they can coalesce. The second, an electro-catalytic (ELCATTM) process, also is chemical-free and sludgeless, but is for treatment of pollutants such as textile dyes, detergents, cyanides, pesticides, herbicides, hydrocarbons, phenols and endocrine disrupters.

After traveling to Israel to view systems running on this technology for as much as three years, Pokorsky decide to accept an invitation to head Aquarius with a capital infusion from L Capital. He brought on board several experienced executives and, at WEFTEC, hosted a distributors meeting with 70 potential representatives. He also announced its first sales, a 50,000-gpd system for a California boys’ ranch and a 3-mgd system for a privately run South Carolina wastewater utility.

Click here to read: "Q&A: An Interview with Aquarius Technology's Tom Pokorsky" in full.

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