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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Water News - Scientists Discover, Patent, Sell 'Revolutionary' New Water-Treatment Technology at Sam Houston State University

Water News -

http://www.shsu.eduHUNTSVILLE, TX--- November 19, 2009 - Sam Houston State University has been awarded three federal patents to protect the technology and engineering associated with a "revolutionary" wastewater treatment system.

The university has applied for three additional patents and formed a company to manufacture, market and sell the systems. Its first customer is the United States Army.

The system is designed around a proprietary consortium of bacteria that have the capability to clean wastewater quickly with a high degree of efficiency and leave no toxic by-products.

The physical systems themselves that house the bacterial "cocktail" use little energy, are portable, scalable, simple to set-up, easy to operate, come on-line in record time, and can be monitored remotely, according to the lead scientist on the project.

"The science and engineering behind this process have both military and civilian applications," said SHSU lead investigator Sabin Holland.

"The technology was developed for remote applications where little infrastructure exists, examples being remote military operations, disaster relief efforts, and nation building."

Holland, a microbiologist, directs the research at Sam Houston State's Research Institute for Environmental Studies.

"We have gone from basic research into the bacteria to construction and deployment of the systems in seven years. The typical time from laboratory discovery to commercialization is 14 years," Holland said.

"The bacteria we are working with occur naturally and can be found in a common handful of dirt. We have isolated a small subset of them, each having a specific function, to engineer a biofilm that is self-regulating and highly efficient at cleaning wastewater."

Holland demonstrated the systems' effectiveness at several municipal and military sites by cleaning influent wastewater within 24 hours after set-up to discharge levels that exceed standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency for municipal wastewater.

"The typical septic system or traditional waste treatment process takes as long as 30 days and leaves as much as 40 to 50 percent sludge," he said.

"The technology is scalable," Sabin said. "We can make the units for large scale applications, or as small as a single home unit."

The research has been funded over the last three years by U.S. Department of Defense. The Army's systems will be deployed in Afghanistan and transported by standard trucks using a palletized loading system.

Sam Houston State selected a private firm, PCD Inc, of Palestine, Texas, to form a limited liability corporation company named Active Water Sciences (AWS) to manufacture, market, sell and further develop the systems. The University retains a majority interest in the corporation and has licensed the technology to AWS for three years.

"This technology is an elegant, simple, clean and green system," said Dan Davis, SHSU's associate vice president for research administration and technology commercialization. "It's revolutionary technology."

Contacts:Sabin Holland (936) 294-4234 (936) 294-4234

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