Around the Water Cooler

Severn Trent Joint Venture Wins $1.9 Billion Contract from U.K. Defense Department
Severn Trent and Costain, Coast to Coast Water Ltd., have been awarded a $1.9 billion contract from the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense (MOD) to deliver water and wastewater treatment services to approximately 1,500 MOD sites throughout England. The 25-year contract, known as Project Aquatrine, is the first major public-private partnership in the U.K. water sector in which water and wastewater treatment services will be provided for a diverse and widely dispersed area outside of the regulated water industry.

Severn Trent is involved with numerous public-private partnerships for water and wastewater systems in the United States, operating facilities under agreements with municipalities at 600 locations. With Project Aquatrine, the Fort Washington, Pa.-based Severn Trent is now establishing itself as a major global participant in the advancement of such partnerships.

For more information about Severn Trent and its partnerships, please visit www.severntrentservices.com.

General Electric Agrees to Acquire Ionics
Ionics Inc. has signed a definitive agreement with GE Infrastructure, a unit of General Electric Company, for the acquisition of Ionics in an all cash merger for $44 per share, valuing the transaction at approximately $1.1 billion plus the assumption of existing debt. Upon completion of the transaction, Ionics will join GE Infrastructure's Water & Process Technologies business unit.

Ionics, Watertown, Mass., is a global leader in desalination, water reuse and recycling, and industrial ultrapure water services. The company's CEO, Doug Brown, looks forward to the merger with GE Infrastructure: "Through this merger we create the opportunity to serve our industrial and municipal customers in new and exciting ways. Both GE and Ionics are focused on building the water services business. By combining our technology with GE's and by accessing GE's financial expertise and world class international organization, we substantially enhance our ability to deliver our water purification services globally."

George Oliver, GE Infrastructure's president of Water & Process Technologies said, "This acquisition strengthens GE's commitment to people, technology, and solutions. There are great synergies between the two companies -- GE currently has more than 2,000 scientists and engineers focused on improving water quality for industrial and commercial use, and the addition of Ionics expands our ability to provide solutions to our customers' most pressing water needs. Ionics has established technologies, engineering resources, and global desalination management capabilities that give GE a significant presence in the potable water segment.

"Because Ionics utilizes multiple technologies for its emergency mobile fleet, we will be able to offer expanded services for our industrial customers who need immediate assistance treating their water supply," Oliver said. "The acquisition of Ionics reinforces our commitment to our customers by providing the services they need to remain productive and profitable."

The merger, which is subject to the approval of the holders of at least two-thirds of Ionics outstanding common shares, usual government approvals, and other customary conditions, is expected to close in the first half of 2005.

To find out more about GE Infrastructure, go to www.geinfrastructure.com; or visit www.gewater.com for more about GE's Water & Process Technologies business and its product offerings. Information about Ionics is available on the company's Web site, www.ionics.com.

BASF Donates Wastewater Treatment Patent to WERF
During a formal presentation held at the Alexandria Sanitation Authority in Virginia on December 16, 2004, the Water Environment Foundation (WERF) received a wastewater treatment technology patent from New Jersey-based chemical company BASF Corp.

The patent donated to WERF, titled "Continuous Flow Completely Mixed Waste Water Treatment Method," was issued to BASF by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under U.S. patent number 6,426,004 in 2002. Often referred to as "timeswitch" technology, the patent describes how to conduct nitrification and denitrification of wastewater in a single treatment tank instead of the traditional multiple-compartment method.

After trying to reduce the amount of nitrate compounds in the discharge at its Freeport, Texas, manufacturing site, wastewater experts from the Freeport site and other BASF locations in the United States and Germany jointly developed the timeswitch technology using computer simulations and pilot plant testing. BASF did not implement the process, but has retained rights to practice the technology under the donation agreement with WERF.

Typically nitrogen removal is accomplished in aerobic and anoxic tanks, vessels, or compartments of a wastewater treatment system. Since aerobic and anoxic treatments are incompatible, two tanks were thought to be the minimum number of vessels needed to operate both aerobic and anoxic processes. With the timeswitch method, nitrates can be removed from water at municipal and industrial wastewater plants in a way that eliminates the need to invest capital in constructing an additional tank. With only a few new controls and mixers, both aerobic and anoxic treatment can be accomplished in one tank.

"This is exciting new technology that helps address a critical environmental issue," said Cenan Ozmeral, BASF's group vice president for petrochemicals in North America. "The timeswitch patent could be a very effective answer for municipalities and businesses that need or want to reduce nitrates in their water streams."

According to WERF, nitrogen control is one of North America's most significant environmental water quality issues. Nitrogen discharges are the primary cause of water quality and environmental problems in the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and other regions.

"We are very appreciative of BASF's donation," said Glenn Reinhardt, executive director of WERF. "We're excited about the cooperation with BASF on a project that may be quite useful in adding to the available nitrogen removal methods."

Potential users of the timeswitch treatment technology include municipal wastewater treatment plants, industrial wastewater treatment plants at manufacturers --such as food processing, steel manufacturing, and chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing -- and concentrated animal feeding operations. For many facilities, use of the timeswitch invention would allow nitrogen removal with minimal changes compared to the usual add-on approach, resulting in capital and operating cost savings.

For more information, visit www.werf.org or www.basf.com/usa.

Kemiron Companies Acquires Eaglebrook International Group Ltd.
Two large manufacturer/distributors of water treatment chemicals used in drinking water and wastewater, Kemiron Companies Inc. and Eaglebrook International Group Ltd., have joined forces. The joint venture will have revenues of more than $165 million and nearly 500 employees, making it the leading producer of inorganic coagulants in North America.

Eaglebrook International Group of Matteson, Ill., was acquired by the Bartow, Fla.-based Kemiron Companies last November in a stock acquisition transaction. Company headquarters will remain in Bartow, Fla. Products will be marketed under the Kemiron name in the United States and the Eaglebrook name in Canada.

"This acquisition provides an opportunity to better serve our customers both regionally and nationally across North America, through a broader product line and an expanded distribution network," said Lawrence Hjersted, Kemiron's CEO, who will also serve as CEO of the new company. "The combination of Eaglebrook's strengths in transportation and logistics with Kemiron's expertise in engineering and processing will create a much more dynamic and efficient organization."

Kemiron's primary geographic presence has been in the Western and Southern United States and Eaglebrook's has been in the Eastern United States and Canada. Kemiron currently sources its products from twelve production facilities located in the United States, while Eaglebrook sources its products from two production facilities located in the United States and three in Canada. Products will be distributed from these production sites plus more than 40 distribution terminals in North America.

The new company will continue to be majority controlled by Kemira Oyj, headquartered in Helsinki, Finland. Kemira is a leading global chemical company focusing in water treatment chemicals, pulp and paper chemicals, industrial chemicals and paints, and coatings. Kemira's water treatment chemicals division, Kemwater, is the largest producer of inorganic coagulants in the world with operations in 30 countries worldwide with a turnover of $338 million.

For more information, visit kemiron.com.

This news item originally appeared in the January/February 2005 issue Water and Wastewater Products, Vol. 5, No. 1.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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