November 16, 2016
Indian River County gives Michigan company the go-ahead for a pilot program
RIVER COUNTY — A Michigan company is betting its technology can help clean
up the Indian River Lagoon by trying it here for free.
Greenfield Resources received the go-ahead this week from the County Commission and the Indian River Farms Water Control District for a pilot project to remove bacteria and other pollutants from the county’s canal system without using chemicals. . The company sees the program as a way to test its technology and equipment in Florida.
Over the next several weeks, water samples from canals will be analyzed by technicians to determine if Greenfield Resources technology can remove contaminants before the water makes its way into the lagoon.
If the tests are successful, water samples would be sent to Michigan for processing, which involves exposing it to strong electrical currents to kill harmful bacteria and removing other pollutants. The process has been used in a variety of industries worldwide, including aquaculture, poultry farming and municipal water-treatment facilities.
In Phase 2 of the pilot project, one or more water-processing units would be set up along the canals, treating polluted water and discharging clean water back into the canal.
County Commissioner Tim Zorc said the pilot project would depend on the amount of runoff in the canals, which usually is heaviest during the rainy season or after a storm. He said county staff would work with Greenfield to determine the timing and engineering of the project, and then recommend to the commission whether to proceed.
The pilot project does not commit the county to purchasing a water-treatment system from Greenfield Resources, something that concerned County Commissioner Joe Flescher.
“Many of these mechanical devices have not yielded the type of recovery we hoped for,” said Flescher. “If this was to go forward, we should do an open competitive bid.”
The technology could become part of the county’s regular procurement process in the future, County Attorney Dylan Reingold said.
“If we are looking to have a company do work for us, they would have to go through the proper channels,” said Reingold.
Greenfield Resources, according to its website, can process 1,000 gallons of water, without using chemicals, for $1. Treating 1,000 gallons with chemicals, including chlorine, would cost about $30, the company says.