Aclarus Ozone Water Systems, a Peterborough-based water treatment company, will be donating its innovative ozone system to a federally funded project that will research wastewater treatment in First Nation communities. In addition to this private sector partner, the work will be a joint effort between Trent University, McGill University, and Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Dr. Chris Metcalfe, a professor at the Trent School for the Environment, and director of the Institute for Watershed Science, will lead the project. His Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grant of $478,800 will fund a three-year study about the viability of using ozone treatment systems in sewage lagoons to improve wastewater treatment, specifically for two Ontario indigenous communities. A previous study conducted with McGill demonstrated ozone’s unique ability to remove complex contaminants such as drugs, hormones, and medication from wastewater.
Adam Doran, VP of Marketing and Sales at Aclarus, says that Bob LeCraw inspired the company’s involvement in the project. LeCraw’s company, MS Filter Systems Inc., has worked with First Nation communities for more than 25 years to improve their water treatment. “Bob is now upgrading and improving many of those systems using our designs and recommendations,” Doran says.
Bringing a humanitarian aspect to the business has been important to Aclarus founders and cousins Michael and Adam Doran, especially on the home front. “If Canada claims to be a world water leader, then helping international clients is not enough,” Doran says. “There are countless First Nation communities whose clean water issues could be resolved using new creative methods and locally relevant procedures.”
One of those methods, he says, is ozonation. “In our partnership with MS Filter, Aclarus combined our more advanced ozone systems with Bob’s systems, which are supported by proper designs, practicality, and maintenance programs that provide knowledge transfer and training to community operators in First Nation communities.”
“Ozone is ideal for remote areas since it does not require consumables or heavy maintenance. It is low power, simple to operate, and provides on-demand treatment for even the worst water issues. It can yield oxygenated water that is all natural and bottled-quality in terms of fresh taste, smell, and appearance, with the added benefit of leaving healthy minerals intact,” Doran says. “Having our designs achieve success within these communities has given our company momentum for additional projects.”
For the recently announced project, the goal is to improve the existing wastewater treatment methods in remote First Nation communities using ozone, as well as better protecting the ecosystem health of aquatic life in water sources. “Ozone not only disinfects and removes the worst wastewater issues without chemicals, it benefits lagoons and other water ecosystems by improving oxygenation in the water. Natural treatment was a key factor for local stakeholders in proving that we can improve existing infrastructure without adding major capital or operating expenses,” Doran says.
When it comes to offering solutions for First Nation communities, Doran says it is most important to meet specific local needs. “Finding a solution also requires the full involvement of local stakeholders in a process that is transparent and respectful,” he says. “Ontario companies need to be ready to work closely with these communities and offer innovative, practical designs that include full local support, training, and technology transfer. That’s what leads to success.”
Josh Chong is a communications strategist at WaterTAP.