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P.E.I. company earns $470K federal contract

Colin Ragush of Island Water Technologies in Charlottetown, holds one of the bio-electrode sensors the company is installing in wastewater facilities across Canada.
Colin Ragush of Island Water Technologies in Charlottetown, holds one of the bio-electrode sensors the company is installing in wastewater facilities across Canada. - Terrence McEachern

Island Water Technologies installing nine bio-electrode sensors at wastewater facilities across Canada, including Charlottetown and Montague.

A P.E.I. technology company has secured a $470,000 federal government contract to monitor the quality of wastewater at some Canadian municipalities, including Charlottetown and Montague.

Patrick Kiely, founder and CEO of Island Water Technologies, said on Thursday the contract under the Build in Canada Innovation Program to install nine bio-electrode sensor systems at wastewater facilities was signed last week.

He added that work at the Charlottetown and Montague wastewater facilities is already underway.

Besides Charlottetown and Montague, sensor systems are going to be installed in British Columbia, Toronto, Barrie, Ont., and Parks Canada sites around Banff and Jasper.

In addition to the contract, the company has also received a research and development grant from the National Research Council worth $250,000. The funding will be used to further develop the system and improve the sensitivity of the sensor.

Kiely explained that the bio-electrode sensors provide facility operators with a “real-time visual interpretation of the health of the biology of the wastewater” through signals from bacteria. The sensors help prevent the wastewater from contaminating the environment once released from the facility.

“The idea is that (operators) now have a sensor that allows them to view the performance of the biology instantaneously in real-time so they catch it and they can mitigate it happening or reduce the impact of it happening whereas traditionally it takes them five or six days for them to even understand there is a problem. And, it’s already after contaminating the environment,” he said.

The company already has 13 systems installed at facilities in China, the Netherlands, the United States, across Canada and Germany. Some of the sensors have been installed in breweries in Europe. In the next six months, the company has plans to install 19 more systems.

In February, the company received $500,000 in total seed funding from Island Capital Partners and Natural Products Canada.

Kiely said the support from these two investors has been “instrumental in putting us in this position.”

Kiely added that the company has also been selected as one of the top-20 innovative companies at the Canadian Innovation Exchange conference. The conference is being held in Toronto on Oct. 22-23.

“That was pretty cool to get picked as one of the top-20 in Canada. So, we’re pretty happy with that,” he said.


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