UPDATE: GE Mobile Water units to help over 220,000 tsunami victims

Major donation of two 52-foot water purification systems were being airlifted from Dubai, U.A.E., to Indonesia. Systems can deliver at least 832,000 gallons of potable water per day. You can read also about earlier contributions pledged from Pall Corp., Flowserve, Pure-O-Tech, Zenon Environmental, ITT Industries, Siemens/USFilter, Trojan Technologies, WaterChef and Air Water Corp. Links are also provided for related relief organizations...

TREVOSE, PA, Jan. 12, 2005 -- GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies announced it was sending a second 52-foot mobile water treatment unit and 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.

"A key ingredient for recovery by the regions impacted by the tsunami is access to clean, safe water. At GE, we are in a position where our technology can help start the recovery process, and we're extremely willing to help," said Bryan Rishforth, general manager of GE's Water & Process Technologies. "The mobile nature of GE's water technology and filtration equipment together with the intellectual and logistical resources unique to GE, gives the Indonesian government the flexibility to provide purified water where it is needed most."

It was reported earlier that one of the Mobile Water units was being sent in coordination with GE with Assist International, a relief organizatin based in Scotts Valley, Calif. Both tractor trailer-mounted packaged processing 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. "GE is doing what we can to minimize the physical and emotional toll caused by unsanitary water. The logistics of sitting the filtration units in the devastated region is a very complex process so our priority is getting one unit operating first. Then, we can immediately deploy the second unit to double capacity," Rishforth explains. 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.

"Right now, GE's project engineers are on the ground in South Asia preparing for the arrival of the units. They will help support and oversee that the victims have access to fresh water from now until the government and its resources can sustain operations independently," said Rishforth. 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.

Led by Water & Process Technologies, GE Energy, GE Healthcare and GE Corporate collaborated within 48 hours of the tsunami to initiate a company-wide relief effort and continue to work across 16 time zones and four continents. Additionally, GE employees from around the world are involved in the relief effort following the tsunami in South Asia. GE's response can be organized into a number of key areas: employee giving, equipment donations, local volunteering and contributions.

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.

GE Water & Process Technologies (www.gewater.com), the integration of GE Betz and GE Osmonics, is a leading global supplier of water, wastewater and process systems solutions. The GE Infrastructure unit delivers customer value by improving performance and product quality and by reducing operating costs and extending equipment life in a broad range of products and services. These products and services are used to optimize total water/process system performance, safeguard customer assets from corrosion, fouling and scaling, and protect the environment through water and energy conservation.

Assist International (www.assistinternational.org) is involved in relief efforts across the region as well as ongoing humanitarian projects. A non-profit humanitarian organization based in Scotts Valley, Calif., it networks resources from the business world, service clubs, doctor and hospital groups, corporations and individuals with human needs throughout the world. It's a nonsectarian, nonpolitical organization dedicated to relieving human suffering in developing nations by providing medical equipment and supplies, medical education and other relief supplies.

Other water industry commitments
Pall Corp., with headquarters in East Hills, N.Y., 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.

Meanwhile, the North County Times 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, according to company CEO Can Sirin. 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.

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).

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.

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.

Also, Germany's Siemens, parent company of USFilter, said it would mobilize its companies in the region to assist as well as match employee contributions, for more than EUR1 million [US$1.35 million] as of Jan. 3. USFilter's Karole Colangelo said, working with Siemens in Thailand, the company will be providing seven membrane water treatment systems to affected areas in Asia.

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.

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: www.waterforpeople.org.

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

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.

###

More in Environmental