Kingston partnership works to improve clean water technology research

Photo via Purafy Clean Technologies website.

St. Lawrence College (SLC) Applied Research and Queen’s University have partnered with Purafy Clean Technologies Inc., headquartered in Kingston, to assess the water- and energy-saving potential of Purafy’s water treatment system.

According to a release from SLC, this multi-dimensional research and development project will last three years, with funding support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and provincial government channels.  

SLC received an NSERC Applied Research and Development (ARD) grant of $75,000 per year for three years. ARD grants provide access to knowledge, expertise, and capabilities available at Canadian colleges and train students in essential technical skills required by companies, according to the college.  

The water treatment system has been installed at Kate’s Rest Foundation in Prince Edward County and will determine energy and water savings expected by lowering the volume of water utilities used onsite. According to the release, this system operation will be assessed and validated throughout the duration of the Purafy, SLC, and Queen’s University collaboration.  

According to the release, the Applied Research group at SLC will collaborate with Purafy’s technical staff in the testing and performance evaluation of a novel system to clean grey water waste streams to drinking water quality standards. Research staff, research assistants, and student researchers from both the Cornwall and Kingston campuses of SLC will be involved in the project, the college said. 

The goal is to create sustainable and secure groundwater levels for Canadian home and business owners, while also using this external pilot project as a branching point into international opportunities where water savings are essential due to the impacts of climate change, making the need for treated greywater essential, according to Cameron Runte, VP of Product Development at Purafy. 

“Our need for clean water conservation is why the team at Purafy is leading the teams at SLC and Queen’s for both applied- and academic-level research and development for this Made-in-Canada technology. We foresee small businesses within both rural and urban regions playing a significant role in helping Purafy bring this new water conservation technology to market, to both implement and maintain these novel systems within our decentralized treatment network,” Runte said.   

According to the release, this Purafy-led team is focused on maintaining alignment within the newly unveiled Canadian Water Network (CWN) Strategic Plan for 2022-2027, meaning that at the conclusion of the project, the technology will fully enable new water leaders to appear at the community-level with existing small businesses who become partners of Purafy.   

“This support from the Government of Canada is a testament to the value that Applied Research at post-secondary institutions can bring to the world,” said Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO of St. Lawrence College. “Initiatives like this allow us to demonstrate our commitment to innovation and helping the communities that we serve, while providing world-class, practical opportunities for our students to showcase their skills and knowledge. Everyone involved in this collaboration is optimistic this work will advance the knowledge and processes around clean water technology while also resulting in future economic and even more importantly, environmental benefits.” 

One thought on “Kingston partnership works to improve clean water technology research

  • $225,000 in grants for a new water purification technology?

    While there is a worldwide need for pure drinking water, nowhere do I see what the cost is for the six-month filters produced by Purafy Clean Technologies. The only significant benefit to these filters over some very simple ones is the removal of mercury contamination, but at what cost?

    The first problem that I see with this new technology is that home filters are set up for a pressurized water supply system, (which is not available to many people getting water from wells and streams). Bio-filtration with a basic sand filter can kill most biological contaminants, and adding some rusty nails into that sand can remove most of the arsenic. The cost for a family is nominal: the container, a pipe, and the sand, (all of which can be washed clean, without being replaced every six months). It’s a proven technology for decades and can be set up locally, (without any plastic waste product).

    So, who benefits? St. Lawrence College, Queen’s, and Purafy? The principal customers for this product are not in the third-world but in Canadian communities already served by water purification plants and pressurized water supplies. Local governments shouldn’t be letting arsenic, lead, and mercury into their water intakes. Boil water advisories are due to failed systems, (not usually the homeowner), and a lack of funding to community water treatment.

    If this is an alternative to sending bottled water to homes, it’s not the right solution. Fund the water supplies in Canada, (fix them), then any problems are in the pipes, (which can be fixed promptly). These filters are a minor improvement on expensive home filters, already being sold in stores; so, let’s call this a “business” grant, (giving money to promote a new product), rather than a promotion of a new technology to bring safe water to the world.

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