AMERICAS

The Dow Chemical Company signed a licensing option and evaluation agreement with South Carolina-based ZDD, Incorporated on July 31, 2006, giving Dow exclusive rights to elect an exclusive license to ZDD, Incorporated’s Zero Discharge Desalination (ZDD) process technology for desalination of seawater.

Dow signs exclusive ZDD licensing agreement

The Dow Chemical Company signed a licensing option and evaluation agreement with South Carolina-based ZDD, Incorporated on July 31, 2006, giving Dow exclusive rights to elect an exclusive license to ZDD, Incorporated’s Zero Discharge Desalination (ZDD) process technology for desalination of seawater.

The patent-pending ZDD process technology uses a unique combination of reverse osmosis or nanofiltration membranes and electrodialysis cells that enables water treatment facilities to recover potentially saleable salts and greater amounts of pure filtered water. It also minimizes or eliminates the production of concentrated brine, the disposal of which represents a substantial cost associated with water treatment in coastal and, in particular, inland locations.

As part of the ZDD process, brine streams containing sparingly soluble salts are treated with electrodialysis to separate the anions and cations of the salts into two separate streams. These ions are then paired with appropriate cations and anions to form salts that are more soluble in the two streams. Additional pure water is recovered through this process from the separated brine streams and ultimately the concentrates are remixed and the insoluble salts that precipitate are separated and potentially sold.

Dow recently acquired Zhejiang Omex Environmental Engineering Ltd. in China, giving it access to ultrafiltration (UF), membrane bioreactor (MBR) membranes, and electrodeionization (EDI) technologies. The company is planning a major expansion of its Filmtec membrane production capabilities in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Survey finds 16.7% increase in California water charges

The Black & Veatch division of Enterprise Management Solutions (EMS) completed its 2006 California Water Charge Survey that included 453 cities and water districts in California in its comparison of water rates and connection fees for residential customers.

The survey analyzed trends in rates, rate structures, connection fees, and other items. The study noted that trends of increasing water rates and connection fees could be attributed to an aging infrastructure and rising construction costs, according to Ann R. Bui, senior consultant with Black & Veatch.

The study found that the average residential monthly charge, for 1,500 cubic feet of water a month, increased from US$ 30.33 in 2003 to $36.39 in 2006. This is a 16.7 percent increase during the three-year period. The study also concluded that “many of the water facilities and transmission lines currently in place were designed decades ago and are not adequate for today’s water demands,” said Bui. “As a result, cities and other water purveyors find an increasing need to replace and/or expand facilities.”

Rising construction costs, as a result of price increases for raw materials and labor shortages in the construction industry, are passed on to water customers in the form of higher connect charges and fees, Bui added. The survey, the only one of its scope on California water charges, is provided free to government agencies and news media and is available at $25 a copy to other interested parties. To obtain a copy of the survey, contact Ann Bui via email at bui@bv.com.

Guyana installs customer service system

Guyana: Guyana Water will implement HiAffinity, a tailored customer billing and management solution from DST International (DSTi).

The public utility provides water and sewerage services to customers throughout Guyana. The utility’s 145,000 residential and commercial customers are expected to benefit from a higher level of customer service and a new bill design that is clearer and easier to understand. The new system will streamline processing times and provide a more intuitive customer interface. HiAffinity will make it possible for customers to receive their water bills and requests for new payment arrangements at precise times of year and in a timely manner. The system will standardize billing arrangements, cash collections and debt recovery, which will improve Guyana Water’s cash flow position.

MDS installs high-speed wireless network for PRASA

Microwave Data Systems (MDS) of Rochester, New York, together with full-service partner, Intracom Inc., will provide a high-speed, wireless infrastructure for the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA).

PRASA is a government-owned, public corporation in charge of Puerto Rico’s water aqueduct and sewer services. MDS provides industrial, wireless, networking solutions with applications in the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), automation, telecommunications, public safety, and online transactional markets.

“The authority will be using MDS Five Series radios to enable enhanced security at various water treatment plant facilities throughout the island,” noted Miguel Aponte, president of Intracom Inc. “The radios will transport video and data from water treatment facilities and regional offices to the agency’s network. It will also provide a platform for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), telemetry, as well as other applications,” he said.

The MDS FIVE Series radios are spectrum and data rate scalable, enabling utilities to trade-off system gain with spectral efficiency and channel availability for optimal network connectivity. The radios are typically used for backhaul and to extend IP networks. In addition, the MDS Wireless Systems Group is providing system design and equipment integration for the project.

Field Notes

Canada: The Groupe LaPerriére & Verreault Inc. (GL&V) of Montreal completed its acquisition of Austin-based Enviroquip for US$ 22 million. Enviroquip produces water and wastewater treatment equipment mainly for the municipal market.

In addition to aeration, filter underdrain, aerobic digestion, belt filter press and clarifier systems, Enviroquip holds the exclusive US municipal market license for the Submerged Membrane Unit developed by the Japanese multinational company Kubota.

Richard Verreault, President and Chief Operating Officer of GL&V, indicated that the Enviroquip acquisition brings a significant strategic value since it enables Eimco Water Technologies to establish its presence in a market segment experiencing faster growth than the wastewater treatment industry as a whole, and where there are considerable barriers to entry due to numerous existing patents and to the considerably long period of time for acquiring market share. This acquisition is the fourth completed by GL&V’s Water Treatment Group, Eimco Water Technologies, within the past fourteen months.

USA: Earth Tech Inc., a business unit of Tyco International Ltd., and a global provider of consulting, engineering and construction services, assumed control of the Sturgeon Bay Utilities’ water and wastewater treatment systems, which serve more than 10,000 residents in the City of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and in surrounding townships.

The locally-owned and operated Sturgeon Bay Utilities awarded a 10-year contract to Earth Tech to provide operating services to the resort town, which is located about an hour northeast of Green Bay. The company will also be responsible for water distribution and wastewater collection within the Utilities’ service area. Earth Tech currently operates water and wastewater treatment facilities in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and China.

USA: The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), based in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, will release research funding totalling nearly US$ 1.5 million for three new research initiatives to target challenges in the areas of stormwater BMPs, nutrient removal, and strategic asset management.

WERF solicited pre-proposals for the following research challenges:

  • Linking Stormwater BMP Systems Performance to Receiving Water Protection to Improve BMP Selection and Design (RFPP No. 06-SW-1), which will attempt to link BMP control effectiveness for specific pollutants and flow to receiving water loadings, impacts, and water quality objectives to improve selection and design of BMP systems.
  • Strategic Asset Management Communication and Implementation (RFPP No. 06-SAM-1CO), which will develop guidance and decision support tools for communicating and implementing a strategic asset management program for wastewater facilities and estimating assets performance and their residual economic life.
  • Efficient, Cost-Effective Nutrient Removal from Wastewater (RFPP No. 06-NUTR-1), an initiative to provide data on nutrient removal so that treatment facilities can select sustainable, cost-effective methods and technologies to meet permit limits.

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