Feb. 1, 2008

PepsiCo announces drive in sustainable water practices

PepsiCo, U.S. parent company of Pepsi, Frito-Lay and Tropicana, announced a major new grant by the PepsiCo Foundation to the Earth Institute at Columbia University, one of the world’s premier institutions dedicated to global sustainable development.

In addition, the company announced a partnership with H2O Africa, a foundation focused on clean water initiatives in Africa. Both moves are targeted to drive sustainable water practices as part of PepsiCo’s ongoing commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Earth Institute initiative involves identifying a series of high-impact, community-based activities and practical solutions across water, agriculture and climate focused on improving water access, increasing water productivity and recommending innovative methods to deliver “more crop per drop,” among other goals.

The institute, directed by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, will receive $6 million over a three-year period for projects in India, Brazil, China and Africa based on annual progress in these markets.

The PepsiCo partnership with H2O Africa, a charitable organization founded by actor Matt Damon, involves on-the-ground clean water projects in Niger, Mali, Senegal and other countries in Africa. H2O Africa will receive $2.5 million over a year.

Lanxess halts ion exchange resin production in USA

Bayer-spinoff Lanxess AG will cease production of ion exchange resins and related products at its U.S. subsidiary Lanxess Sybron Chemicals Inc. in Birmingham, New Jersey, USA, effective May 2, cutting about 90 jobs.

It plans to meet customers’ needs with ion exchange production sites in Leverkusen and Bitterfeld, Germany, and a planned new facility in the state of Gujarat, India. The U.S. facility will continue to serve NAFTA customers as a sales, technical service, laboratory and warehousing facility for LEWATIT® and IONAC® resins. Lanxess also announced a €50 million expansion at its Jhagadia, India, facility, where rubber chemicals production is being relocated from Thane, India. Start-up of the facility will coincide with launch of a new ion exchange plant there to supply products for ultra-pure water for the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries and for industrial water treatment. Both moves will make it Lanxess’ largest facility in India.

Veolia’s announced projects include three in North America

The Oklahoma City Water Utility Trust approved a four-year contract extension with Veolia Water North America-West LLC to continue managing the U.S. city’s four municipal treatment facilities. Along with wastewater operations, Veolia Water manages its biosolids reuse program and the Industrial Pretreatment Program (IPP), which monitors waste of over 272 permitted companies.

N.A. Water Systems, a Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies (VWS) company, announced successful full-scale demonstration of its OPUS™ technology for produced water desalination at Chevron U.S.A. Inc.’s oil production field in San Ardo, California. This project, the first such facility that uses this technology (which includes degasification, chemical softening, media filtration, ion exchange softening, cartridge filtration and RO), enables Chevron to expand its current steam-enhanced production into an idled, developed portion of the field.

Another VWS company John Meunier Inc. will commercialize in Canada the Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) technology – an attached growth biological wastewater treatment that’s less expensive than conventional biological treatment – from AnoxKaldnes, acquired by Veolia in August 2007.

In other news, Sweden’s ABS Group signed a three-year global framework agreement with VWS to be a preferred supplier of pumps, mixers and service offerings to VWS operations worldwide.

VWS also launched a new website focused on pharmaceutical water and wastewater – – to highlight its expertise in delivering solutions to this market.

BioteQ signs agreement with Molymet for sulphate removal plant

Vancouver, Canada’s BioteQ Environmental Technologies Inc., a leader in the treatment of metal and sulphate contaminated water, has signed a construction and operating agreement with Molibdenos y Metales S.A. (Molymet) to build and operate a Sulf-IX™ water treatment plant to remove sulphate, replacing an existing reverse osmosis (RO) process at Molymet’s Nos refinery near Santiago, Chile.

The plant, to be built in three stages to allow gradual replacement of existing technology, is expected to have a capital cost of $8 million, based on preliminary engineering by BioteQ. Capital costs will be shared by BioteQ and Molymet, based on construction design reports for each stage, with BioteQ responsible for the majority.

BioteQ will operate the plant and charge fees for the volume of water treated based on its share of the net savings achieved compared to the existing RO plant.

In other news, the company appointed Dr. David Kratochvil, formerly vice president of projects, to be president and COO. He holds a doctorate in chemical engineering from McGill University in Montreal, specializing in biotechnology and water treatment.

Field Notes

MEXICO: Mexico City mayor Marcelo Ebrard unveiled new pumps as an initial investment on a $1.2 billion spending plan to refurbish nearly 100 miles of aging sewer tunnels not fully inspected in 15 years. Worry over flooding in event of a drainage piping failure prompted the city to spend $56 million for four new pumping stations to increase its capacity to process 40,000 lps of sewage. It’s the biggest such investment in three decades.

USA: Aquatech International, of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, was awarded a 2008 ThinkGlobal/Commercial News USA Exporter of the Year award from ThinkGlobal Inc., publisher of Commercial News USA, the official export promotion magazine of the U.S. Commerce Department. A provider of water treatment solutions for industrial and infrastructure markets with a focus on desalination and water reuse, Aquatech reported export sales of over $180 million in 2006, a +350% increase over 2005. Founded in 1981, it began exporting in 1983.

BRAZIL: SABESP has signed an agreement with companies of the Capuava Petrochemical Complex, between the cities of Santo Andre and Maua, Brazil, for launch of the Aquapolo Ambiental project, which aims to supply reuse water from the utility’s Sewage Treatment Station to companies in the complex for current and future needs. The investment of nearly US$79 million will be supported by the consortium among the companies of the Capuava Complex, led by Petroquimica Uniao (PQU).

USA: GE Water & Process Technologies is supplying its ZeeWeed membrane bioreactor (MBR) ultrafiltration technology as part of a $250 million upgrade and expansion to the Yellow River Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The selection of the advanced ZeeWeed treatment process contributed to a $50 million savings in the projects capital costs, largely due to its compact size, which helped to dramatically reduce the quantity of concrete, steel and labor needed to complete the construction.

USA: Dow Chemical is partnered with humanitarian healthcare agency International Aid to supply plastic resin to make 300,000 HydrAid™ BioSand Water Filters, a lightweight, non-electric purification device manufactured by Cascade Engineering of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and distributed by International Aid and its partners worldwide to supply a family’s clean water needs. The deal was announced at the 2008 International Thirsting to Serve Water Conference, held at Grand Rapids’ Aquinas College.

USA: The Awwa Research Foundation (AwwaRF) launched a strategic initiative to fund $500,000 in ongoing research on how climate change is affecting quality and quantity of the public’s drinking water supply. Precipitated by a two-day workshop in January hosted by AwwaRF and co-sponsored by the Water Environment Research Foundation and UK Water Industry Research Association, attendees included experts from the U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia.