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Natural Resources

International Investments in Muck

By Gary Scott
Natural Resources

Many investors have recently been following the price of gold. Well they should. The price of the yellow stuff has risen mightily and there are plenty of reasons to expect it to rise more. However I have been focusing on water. Without gold we can live. Without clean water we die.

We have seen in recent messages that there is international investment opportunity in the treatment of municipal wastewater. One special area of growth is secondary biological treatments that enhance the removal of solids processes.

In short there are three ways that sewage is cleaned, aeration, filtration and bioactivity (microbes eat the solids and crap).

Upgrading existing activated sludge plants can be costly, especially making tanks and aeration facilities larger. So there is excellent growth in a technology called integrated fixed film activated sludge (IFAS).

IFAS technology combines the traditional activated sludge approach with a biological treatment system that employs microbes grown on plastic. In day-to-day language this means that pieces of plastic with more microbes to eat the crap are placed in the sewage.

This significantly increases the capacity of a waste processing plant without increasing the size of the plant. By increasing the microbial population, a tank’s treatment capability can be increased by a factor of 2 or even 3. This represents a significant cost-savings over adding aeration capacity.

There are added benefits in that IFAS can also be used to reduce nitrogen in existing wastewater treatment plants. In areas where there is a lot of fertilization, nitrogen gets in the water through run off and must be removed because nitrogen encourages algae growth in water and the algae robs the water of oxygen.

Many sewage plants need to convert to nitrification. The IFAS systems are dramatically less costly than the traditional solutions of adding new basins.

Several public companies are producing IFAS technologies.

Siemens AG (NYSE ADRs:SI) offers and IFAS Agar process marketed by USFilter, a unit of Siemens Water Technologies.

Another public company is Groupe Laperriere & Verreault Inc. (TSX:GLVSVA)/Dorr-Oliver Eimco of Canada. They have patented EIMCO® Cleartec® IFAS technology that has been applied to wastewater treatment for over sixty years.

There are also several private companies involved that are also worth watching should they become public. These include, Entex Technologies, Inc., Kolnus NA, Brentwood Industries, and Hydroxyl Systems, Inc.

The old British saying is "Where there is muck there is brass."

Today’s growing population has created so much muck that there may even be gold and investments in IFAS may be one way to turn clean water into the yellow stuff!

Until tomorrow’s message, good investing!


Learn more about investing in water. Join Merri, Thomas Fischer of Jyske Bank and me at our next International Business and Investing Made EZ course in North Carolina, this May 26-28, 2006.  Review where to invest and do business now and learn which markets and currencies may be strong in the year ahead. Details

Learn how to export tours to places of pure water such as this crater lake in Ecuador that is near our home in Cotacachi Ecuador.

Natural Resources
March, 2006
Natural Resources



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