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'Revolutionary' water treatment units on their way to Afghanistan
Date:2/9/2010

HUNTSVILLE, TX- The United States Army has taken delivery of the first two units of a "revolutionary" waste-water treatment system that will clean putrid water within 24 hours and leave no toxic by-products, according to scientists at Sam Houston State University.

"The system is based on a proprietary consortium of bacteria- you can find them in a common handful of dirt," said lead scientist Sabin Holland.

"In the right combination and in the right medium, they have the capability to clean polluted water with a very high efficiency very quickly. It truly is a revolutionary solution."

Holland said the physical systems themselves-- called "bio-reactors"- use little energy, are transportable, scalable, simple to set-up, simple to operate, come on-line in record time and can be monitored remotely.

The first two units, about the size of standard shipping containers, will be deployed by the Army to Afghanistan.

"The science and engineering technology behind this process have both military and civilian applications," said Holland.

"The technology was developed for remote applications where little infrastructure exists, such as remote military operations, disaster relief and nation-building situations."

"These systems would be immensely useful right now in Haiti," Holland said. "One of the most pressing threats to public health in the aftermath of the recent earthquake is contaminated water and the lack of infrastructure to clean it up."

Holland has managed the research and development of the systems and directs the Texas Research Institute for Environmental Studies at Sam Houston State.

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

"The bacteria, the 'bugs,' we are working with are naturally occurring. We have isolated a small subset of
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Contact: Bruce Erickson
bruce.erickson@shsu.edu
936-294-1833
Sam Houston State University
Source:Eurekalert

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