Environmental Protection

United Water, Infilco Degremont Collaborate on Research Center

United Water and its sister company, Infilco Degremont, Inc., have established a Water Environmental Research Center (United WERC) to spearhead innovative efforts in providing safe drinking water and state-of-the-art wastewater treatment.

"These investments will help us continue to provide safe and affordable drinking water to our many clients and customers throughout the United States and ensure the best technology is used to protect the environment," said Bertrand Camus, chief executive officer of United Water's nationwide water and wastewater operations.

Corporate executives of both businesses launched the initiative at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Degremont's North American R & D facility in Richmond, Va., where four major research projects already are under way. The companies plan to invest more than $1.2 million in 2010 in the projects, which include two focused on improving drinking water supplies and two dealing with wastewater treatment issues.

The research center is accredited by the R+i Alliance, an organization created in 2005 by Suez Environnement, the parent of both companies. It is designed to promote collaboration between United Water, which brings a history of operational excellence, and Infilco Degremont, which offers products and equipment in water treatment services. The initial projects include

  • management techniques to recharge groundwater aquifers without causing naturally occurring contaminants in the rock to migrate into the water,
  • testing treatment processes to remove pharmaceutical and personal care product contaminants from drinking water,
  • improved wastewater treatment methods to remove certain contaminants from methane gases used for energy production,
  • reducing energy consumption for applications of advanced membrane bioreactor technology in wastewater plants and
  • finding better and less expensive methods to transmit customer water usage data central control.
While the initial projects were awarded by the R&I Alliance, United WERCs also will pursue research funded by and in collaboration with other industry organizations, universities and government entities.

Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Lisette Provencher, director, R + i Alliance; Robert Kelly, technical director, water and environment, Suez Environnement; Didier Gaujous, executive vice president, technical services, United Water; Sunil Mehta, director, research and development, Infilco Degremont; and John Dyksen, vice president, capital investments, United Water.

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