FilmTec membranes aided water purification post-Katrina

Mobile water purification units from Dow Chemical unit provided water in time of need. The Navy deployed two of RO units, run by the Bureau of Reclamations, to purify water from the ocean inlet and pump it to communities in need...

MIDLAND, MI, Jan. 5, 2006 -- Following Hurricane Katrina, flooded areas were faced with a wide range of shortages -- food, housing and transportation services were scarce to nonexistent. In response, the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research turned to mobile desalination units that use innovative technology from The Dow Chemical Company to help convert undrinkable saltwater from the Mississippi Sound to healthy freshwater suitable for human consumption.

In Biloxi, Miss., Hurricane Katrina caused a 30-foot storm surge, the highest ever recorded in the United States. The storm damaged municipal water supplies leaving very little clean drinking water. The shortage of one of life's most basic and necessary elements created a crisis that affected those most in need -- patients and medical staff in hospitals.

"In healthcare, purified water is vital to providing a clean and safe environment for our patients," said Tim Mitchell, CEO of Biloxi Regional Medical Center. "The treated water that was provided to Biloxi Regional Medical Center was a huge step to ensure clean water was provided to our patients in the quickest and safest way possible."

The Navy deployed two of these units, run by the Bureau of Reclamations, to purify water from the ocean inlet and pump it to communities in need. Each unit contains FILMTEC™ reverse osmosis (RO) membranes from Dow. The units desalinated the water from the sound to better-than-EPA drinking water standards, and then pumped the fresh, potable water to the six story, 153-bed, Biloxi Regional Medical Center one block away.

"Due to some quick thinking by the Office of Naval Research, these mobile units were put in place to provide water to those incapable of getting it themselves," said Ian Barbour, general manager, Dow Liquid Separations and CEO of FilmTec Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company. "We are extremely proud to be a part of the Expeditionary Unit Water Purification Program. The unique, compact and versatile design of the FILMTEC RO membranes is a perfect fit for units like these."

The membranes from Dow are industry standard polymer composite membranes that separate dissolved impurities from water. The unique, high productivity of FILMTEC membranes coupled with the high efficiency designs (patent pending) enables these units to be compact and portable, so they can be deployed quickly, and capable of producing as much as 125,000 gallons of valuable water per day. Not only did the units provide water for patients and staff helping to ease the suffering caused by one of the greatest natural disasters in U.S. history, they met the Center's high water quality standards.

Dow ( or is a leader in science and technology, providing innovative chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services to many essential consumer markets. With annual sales of $40 billion, Dow serves customers in 175 countries and a wide range of markets that are vital to human progress: food, transportation, health and medicine, personal and home care, and building and construction, among others. Committed to the principles of sustainable development, Dow and its 43,000 employees seek to balance economic, environmental and social responsibilities.


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