Ionics Inc. announced financial results for the fourth quarter of 2000 in late February. Net loss for the quarter was $10.8 million and is partly attributable to litigation-related expenses accrued by three patent infringement lawsuits brought against it by USFilter. ?

Glendale, Calif.-based Chester Paul Co. became an authorized stocking distributor for Filmtec membranes in February. ?

French utilities group Vivendi Environnement said in March that it was targeting annual sales growth of 10 percent over the next three years. Chairman Henri Proglio set out the new targets following the release of the company’s first financial results. ?

GE Glegg Water Technologies received a contract in March from WHE BioSystems, a division of Kinetics Corp., to supply and install a USP water purification system for a new manufacturing plant scheduled to open in early 2002 in Ontario, Canada. ?

Wilsonville, Ore. awarded USFilter Operating Services, of Palm Desert, Calif., a five-year contract to operate and maintain its new 15 million gallon per day Willamette River water treatment plant in February. The contract is valued at $5.5 million. ?

The city of New Orleans was considering in March whether to hire a private company to run its sewerage and water system. ?

Virgin Drinks Co. has unveiled Fusion Water, its new brand of vitamin- and mineral-enhanced bottled water in five flavors. It began rollout in several markets last month. ?

Trojan Technologies was featured on Canada’s CBC Newsworld’s show, “Money Weekly,” on March 24. The segment dealt with investing in the water treatment industry. ?

On April 2, Michigan introduced six new designs of license plates for sale. One of them is water quality, which features a sailboat along blue waters. Purchase of the plate provides funds to keep the state’s waters clean. ?

Coconut Creek, Fla.-based Water Management Group is a new outsource company that specializes in all aspects of water treatment plant management and service. WMG provides technical expertise for the installation of equipment among other services. ?

In March, Met-Pro Corp. announced record sales for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2001, of $81.2 million compared to $78.4 million for the prior year. ?

Northwest Pipe Co., of Portland, Ore., reported sales of $281.4 million for 2000, a 17.1 percent increase over 1999. Net income was $10.7 million compared to $13.3 million last year. ?

Pentair’s website & growth
Pentair Water Treatment, of Chardon, Ohio, launched a new website in February for its Fleck Controls product line. This site is for water treatment professionals, installers and users of the product line. The company also reorganized its Pentair Water Europe business in March to better manage the 20 percent annual growth rate that’s projected to double the size of its Europe and Middle East business in the next five years.

Calif. backs off on chlorine
David Spath, division chief of Drinking Water and Environmental Management, informed the WQA that California’s Department of Health Services (DHS) will continue to allow aesthetic chlorine removal claims based on taste and odor. Previously, DHS said that all chlorine claims must now be certified as health claims. Since then, WQA and DHS have worked together to solve a problem that had the potential to fundamentally disrupt the home water treatment equipment market and add prohibitive product testing costs. At issue was DHS’s original interpretation of a new federal regulation aimed at utilities. This regulation created a new primary drinking water standard, the MRDL for chlorine and set the maximum residual disinfectant level at 4 mg/L. DHS was to formally notify manufacturers of its decision by April.

In other WQA news, the education department has developed a new program to honor certified individuals no longer active in the water quality improvement industry. The title of water specialist emeritus is given to select individuals who have made a significant voluntary contribution to WQA, the education program and their local communities. The first recipient is Ray Cross. To nominate someone, contact the education department. Also, the translated CWS exam was tested by a group of students from the Monterrey, México, Technical Institute in February. Student comments are being reviewed and changes to the exam will be made. The exam in Spanish was made available for the first time at the WQA convention in March.

Dow buys Rohm & Haas unit
Rohm & Haas Co. announced plans to sell its agricultural-chemicals business to Dow AgroSciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., for $1 billion in cash. At $531 million in annual revenues, the unit was considered too small to be an effective competitor in an industry that’s rapidly consolidating. The sale is expected to close in the second quarter.

Osmonics replaces valve
Osmonics Inc., maker of water purification and fluid separation equipment, said in March that it notified the FDA of its intention to replace a valve in its machine used in kidney dialysis but is unaware of injury to any patients. Only OSMO 23G machines manufactured with the permeate divert option are affected. The company said the move was a preventive measure. About 400 of the systems were shipped over the past eight years and are currently in use in renal dialysis systems.

Clorox, Brita hit snags
Banc of America Securities analyst William Steele in March lowered his rating on consumer products maker Clorox Co., of Oakland, Calif., to “market performer” from “buy” and lowered his third and fourth quarter earnings per share estimates for the bleach maker. Clorox sales and earnings fell in its fiscal 2001 second quarter as Brita water filtration products, Glad plastic bags, Kingsford charcoal and cat litter all faltered. In other Brita news, the company said in March that it reached a settlement agreement with Innova Pure Water Inc., and that Innova has dismissed its patent infringement lawsuit against Brita in which it claimed the water filter in the Brita Fill & Go sports bottle infringed on one of Innova’s patents. Under the terms of the settlement, Brita may continue to market the Brita Fill & Go sports bottle under a newly issued Innova patent.

Suez creates water group; Nalco now ONDEO Nalco
Suez announced in March the creation of ONDEO, which offers solutions to the water-related needs of cities, consumers and industries. With annual revenues of $8.5 billion, ONDEO consists of the following companies: Services, Nalco, Degrémont and Industrial Solutions. As a result, Nalco Chemical Co.—whose parent company is Suez—has changed its brand name to ONDEO Nalco.

Carbon leader expands
Waterlink/Barnebey Sutcliffe of Columbus, Ohio, has doubled the size of its line of NSF-certified activated carbons. The company specializes in activated carbon products, air and water purification equipment and systems, as well as technical and on-site media exchange services.

ASCE gives D+ to nation
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its “2001 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure” on March 8 and the nation’s infrastructure received a cumulative grade of “D+” for 12 infrastructure areas. Causes given by the group for such a dismal grade include: explosive population growth and school enrollment, which outpace the rate and impact of current investment and maintenance efforts; local political opposition and red tape, which stymie the development of effective solutions, and the growing obsolescence of an aging system. The ASCE estimates a needed $1.3 trillion investment over the next five years and calls for a renewed partnership between citizens, local, state and federal governments, and the private sector. This year’s report card follows one released in 1998, at which time the 10 infrastructure categories rated were given an average grade of “D.” Wastewater declined from a “D+” in 1998 to a “D,” while drinking water remained a “D.” The highest grade was given to Solid Waste (C+) and the lowest grade went to Schools (D-).


WEDECO awarded contract from Wessex UV unit
For the replacement of a medium pressure UV plant at U.K.-based Wessex Water’s wastewater treatment plant, Kingston Seamore, WEDECO was awarded the contract in March with its TAK55 UV system. The TAK55 is WEDECO’s generation of high intensity, low-pressure UV systems incorporating variable output, Spektrotherm-type UV lamps, a purely mechanical wiping system and a sophisticated UV dose control philosophy. The project’s completion is expected in three months.

Chile gets Degrémont plant
Emos, the company which manages water supply and sewerage for the Santiago, Chile, metropolitan region, has selected Degrémont (a subsidiary of the Water Division of Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux) to build its Farfana wastewater treatment plant in Santiago. The contract is worth $267.5 million and involves building a wastewater treatment plant with a capacity of 8.8 m3/s and one year of operation. The plant will treat the wastewater of 3.7 million people, or 50 percent of the city’s population.

SNC gets project in Egypt
A consortium led by SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. signed an agreement in December with the Egyptian government for a $180 million water project near Cairo. The consortium to build, own and operate the Cairo/Suez Water Supply Project includes International Group for Investments, Egypt Kuwait Holding Co. SAE and International Environmental Technology Co.

Water is safe, Navy says
A U.S. health agency has announced that the water supply on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques is safe to drink and hasn’t been contaminated by U.S. Navy bombing exercises. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released the finding in late February as the first step in its assessment of whether any health effects might be associated with potential releases of hazardous substances on the Navy’s firing range. Puerto Rican leaders have urged the U.S. government to halt bombing exercises. The Navy said its training on the island has caused no harm and is vital for national defense.

Low arsenic tied to cancer
A new study from Taiwan completed in March shows that levels currently considered “acceptable” can increase cancer risk. Earlier this year, the USEPA issued a ruling that called for maximum allowable arsenic levels to be lowered from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb in an effort to cut the health risks associated with the contaminant. The ruling, due to take effect in 2002, was held up March 20 for review by the USEPA’s new administrator, Christine Todd Whitman. In the March 1 edition of American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from the National Taiwan University in Taipei report that arsenic levels between 10 ppb and 50 ppb in drinking water increase a person’s risk for developing bladder cancer. The study examined 8,102 people who have various cancers.

Bank assists small towns in Paraguay with water
Small rural and indigenous communities in Paraguay will receive potable water and sanitation systems under a program supported by a $12 million loan announced in March by the Inter-American Development Bank. The resources benefit 100 small communities, with an average population of around 750, as well as 10 indigenous communities in the Chaco region.

Drought claims wildlife
Several hundred animals have died in a wildlife sanctuary during a prolonged drought in Tanzania. Investigators are looking into the mysterious deaths of seven of the 17 rare black rhinoceros. An 11-member team from the United States, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa arrived in early March to investigate the death of the rhinos. Some officials believe the rhino deaths are tied to Babesiosis, a tick-borne disease caused by the Babesia parasite that attacks red blood cells that supply oxygen. Babesiosis is common in animals but rare in humans. Lack of water from the drought is believed to have killed the other animals. Remains of the animals were found near water sources. 

Trojan buys Arizona UV firm
Canadian-based Trojan Technologies Inc. agreed to acquire the assets of Advanced Ultraviolet Solutions (AUVS), of Tucson, Ariz., in March. The purchase will accelerate Trojan’s entry into an emerging market opportunity in the destruction of exotic contaminants in drinking water supplies. Recently spun off from Hydro Geo Chem Inc., AUVS is an environmental consulting firm that designs, integrates and installs optimized UV light treatment systems for the destruction of certain chemicals present in wells and aquifers among other sources. The purchase agreement consists of an upfront payment of $500,000 with milestone and earn-out payments based on revenue generation and profitability over the next 10 years. Trojan and AUVS have identified projects in California with revenue potential exceeding $32.3 million over the next 3-5 years.


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