UPDATE: WEF contributes $25,000 to aid Asian tsunami relief effort

The Water Environment Federation's Board of Trustees approved a $25,000 special contribution to Water for People, an international nonprofit organization that focuses on long-term development programs to improve water quality in impoverished areas around the world. The donation supports WFP's efforts toward rebuilding needs of water and sanitation infrastructure in areas devastated by the Dec. 26 tsunami. Links also offered to disaster relief organizations accepting contributions...

ALEXANDRIA, VA, Jan. 19, 2005 (Staff & Wire Reports) -- The Water Environment Federation's (WEF) Board of Trustees approved a $25,000 special contribution to Water for People (WFP), an international nonprofit development organization that focuses on long-term programs to improve water quality in impoverished areas around the world. The donation will support the organization's efforts to respond to calls for assistance in the long-term rebuilding of water and sanitation infrastructures in areas of Southeast Asia and India devastated by the Dec. 26 tsunami.

As widely reported, international experts are concerned that more people will suffer from disease outbreaks related to the lack of clean water and sanitation than from the initial destruction of the catastrophe. "Members of the global community of water professionals such as WEF, are responding to these reports in large numbers", said WEF President Lynn Orphan. "The Federation supports Water for People's efforts to help facilitate communications, volunteer efforts and in-kind cash donations for the victims as well as its commitment to aid in the long-term rebuilding of water infrastructures in the affected regions." WEF is also encouraging its membership to lend individual support to WFP by making similar gift contributions to the organization.

In addition to the contribution, a group of international water quality non-governmental organizations and professionals, including WEF and WFP, have been collaborating to share expertise and minimize duplication of efforts in response to the crisis. Individuals, businesses, utilities and organizations from the drinking water and sanitation community have come forward to offer volunteer assistance, donations of equipment, supplies and financial support.

"The rebuilding needs of those areas devastated by the tsunami are enormous and require the support of our entire community," added WEF Executive Director Bill Bertera. "The water sector working together and coordinating activities will have a positive outcome in this effort and will set a precedent for meeting future water-related and public health challenges."

Other collaborating organizations include: the American Water Works Association, Water Quality Association, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, National Association of Water Companies, Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies and the International Water Association.

To view current information about the crisis, volunteer opportunities or to donate to WFP's long-term efforts, visit www.waterforpeople.org or email WFP's Tsunami Response coordinator at tsunami@waterforpeople.org.

Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (www.wef.org) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with members from varied disciplines who work toward the WEF vision of preservation and enhancement of the global water environment. The WEF network includes water quality professionals from 76 Member Associations in 30 countries.

WaterHealth Int'l to provide water treatment systems in India, Sri Lanka
WaterHealth International (www.waterhealth.com), of Lake Forest, Calif., plans to place 50 emergency relief systems in Sri Lanka through a cooperative effort between the International Finance Corp. (www.ifc.org), the Sri Lanka Red Cross (www.ifrc.org), and donations received via Global Giving (www.globalgiving.com/871). The IFC, a member of the World Bank, is matching the chamber's funding up to US$250,000. Through these efforts, WHI will be providing safe drinking water to meet the short term needs of up to 100,000 displaced Sri Lankans -- with added benefit that these systems can also be used to provide long term solutions.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce is installing the small scale WHI's Waterworks units. The systems harness ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that cause a wide range of diseases, while a series of other modular components remove silt, tastes, odors and certain chemicals. WaterHealth trains local populations in how to maintain the systems and in methods to prevent recontamination. The result is a purification system that even after relief efforts end will provide safe drinking water to local populations.

WaterHealth is also placing three community water systems for tsunami relief in Tamil Nadu, India. These systems have been purchased by Applied Materials and will be situated in shelters and temporary camps to meet the immediate needs of nearly 20,000 displaced people in Tamil Nadu. When the emergency subsides, each system will be moved to a new settlement and upgraded to provide a sustainable, affordable supply of safe drinking water for communities as they are rebuilt. To contribute directly to relief projects in Tamil Nadu, please refer to: www.globalgiving.com/872.

Siemens sends USFilter Memcor equipment to Thailand
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.

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.

Additional 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 (www.assistinternational.org), 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.

And Wisconsin Pharmacal, a small company in Jackson, Wis., and one of the world's leading producers of iodine-based water purification tablets donated more than 10,000 bottles of EPA-approved Potable Aqua water purification tablets to relief organizations aiding victims affected by the Asian earthquake and tsunami disaster. It stated it also would match any tablets purchased specifically for donation to tsunami relief efforts.

Emergency relief organization contacts
If you would care to offer more assistance toward the humanitarian response to the disaster, 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.

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

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