Burning River Sort Of Spurs Three Water Winners

Growing up in Cleveland on the shores of a great lake, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to not have access to clean water. But not too long ago in Cleveland history a river of ours caught on fire. The 1969 Cuyahoga River fire helped spur an avalanche of water pollution control activities, resulting in the Clean Water Act, Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the creation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

So anytime I come across interesting ways companies are making a difference in wastewater technologies, I take notice. Recently I became aware of a contest that aimed to advance new ideas and approaches for improving sustainability and resiliency efforts in the water and clean-tech industries.

Sponsored by Veolia – an environmental solutions provider, The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the “Pow! emPowering Opportunities in Water” competition crowned three winners:

Nano Gas Technologies, Inc., a Deerfield, Ill.-based water technology company that infuses nanobubbles of oxygen and other gases to support the recovery of oil and gas while recycling water.

Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling (NRU) LLC, a Madison, Wis.-based resource upcycling and sustainable nutrient management company using a phosphate recovery technology to extract brushite from wastewater.

WAVVE Stream Inc., a Houston-based water high-tech startup using an innovative biodegradable gel made from food-grade material to help remove heavy metals and nutrients from water.

“The driving force behind Pow! is to connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem with the needs of society, the environment and our clients,” says Philip Abraham, senior vice president of Veolia’s global Research and Innovation. “By providing access to markets, pilot sites, research and innovation, technical partners and professionals who can bolster the winners’ ideas and experiences, ‘Pow!’ is a new way that Veolia and partner organizations can contribute to global improvements in how we manage water.”

Each winning company will receive support from Veolia, the Water Council and WEDC to help bring their ideas to market. The winners also get a lot of cash and access to many mentors in industry and academia.

Cleveland has come a long way since its burning river days. It’s actually a great tourist destination for folks wanting to visit the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Museum, Cedar Point amusement park and our newly revitalized downtown scene complete with award-winning restaurants. Companies like the Pow winners will hopefully ensure that no other rivers catch on fire in the future.


Traci-bio-photo.jpgTraci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s senior digital editor and Lake Erie enthusiast. She’s also a fan of the mnemonic device to remember all the Great Lakes: HOMES -- Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. You can email her at tpurdum@putman.net.