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Doing well by doing good: Thunder Bay company turns on the tap to filtration.

This past fall, Andrew Moorey was putting the "global" in Global Hydration Water Treatment Systems.

The Thunder Bay water purification company was "absolutely overwhelmed" with orders for water purification tablets from aid agencies in Haiti working to stem the spread of cholera in that earthquake-ravaged Caribbean country.

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"It's a small fire that could grow into a big fire," said Moorey president of the three-employee company that makes small and portable water treatment plants and distributes purification supplies.

Always being on call in case disaster strikes can be a tall order for a small company But it becomes pretty standard to work 12- to 14-hour days, sometimes seven days a week, whenever water emergencies occur in the Far North communities.

"You never know what e-mail is coming or who's on the phone with a French accent from Haiti looking for two million tablets," said Moorey whose company is moving into a renovated 1,800-square-foot building on the city's water-front.

Since launching in 2001, Global Hydration has found its niche by being able to move fast with rush orders of their portable treatment systems for disaster and emergency response agencies.

Their clients include the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), the Public Health Agency of Canada, Vancouver Urban Search and Rescue, fire departments in Toronto and Calgary the US. Marines and various aid management agencies and sporting good stores.

"When we deployed last year to Pikangikum with INAC," said Moorey "we got a stand-by call Saturday night, got the go-ahead on Sunday morning, and by three o'clock I was on a charter plane with all the (purification) equipment heading to the community By six, we were at the water treatment plant, people were lining up and we were providing them with safe drinking water."

Owned by brothers Andrew and Ian Moorey, it's a spinoff company of the family's water bottling business, Kakabecka Crystal Spring Water. It was there that they first learned the purification process.

They realized whenever there were emergencies up north, it was a logistical nightmare to fly in heavy and bulky pallets of bottled water.

So they went down the R & D path and built their own miniature treatment system which could be quickly deployed to pump and filter potable water out of any lake or river.

Their CAN PURE system is in use by the OPP's Emergency Response Team and INAC.

The transportable filtration plant uses micro-filtration and chlorination to eliminate microorganisms, viruses and bacteria, including tannins, which are harmless organics that gives water a swampy taste.

All the systems they design are custom-built, though they keep a couple in stock for emergencies that can be deployed within 24 hours. They also supply the accessory pumps, hoses, storage tanks, water bladders, filters and shipping containers.

Moorey said this technology can take them anywhere in the world but the best opportunities are close to home.

They've been selling and shipping equipment to miners on the West Coast, northern Saskatchewan and in Ontario's James Bay Lowlands. They are also working with Noront Resources and Matrix Helicopter Solutions in servicing a 100-person remote drill camp.

The message they promote is that using a CAN PURE system to supply a 60-person remote camp with water can save operators $50,000 a year over using bottled water.

They attibute their growth to strategic partnerships with salespeople and distributors with access to major Canadian retailers and government.

They are also agents for Sawyer water filters, Norit Purification Technologies and Medentech Ltd. of Ireland, manufacturers of AQUATAB water purification tablets.

"We're a small company and we do great work but you have to know what you're good at," said Moorey. "That's where partnering with some of these companies makes sense."

Despite the workload, Moorey said it's been an incredible experience to rub shoulders with some of Canada's elite search and rescue teams.

When Thunder Bay hosted a national emergency preparedness exercise in 2008, their CAN PURE system was airlifted into a mock base camp. In sub-zero temperatures, it drew water straight from the harbour to support a tent city of 150 people.

"It's fun that we're one of the few vendors that get to go on national disaster exercises," said Moorey. "It helps us develop our product to see how it's used in the field in challenging conditions."

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When called upon, they've gotten involved in humanitarian efforts, shipping purification tablets to Guatemala to stop the ravages of water-borne diseases that kill infant children.

"It's really rewarding to help. You work with disaster teams, humanitarian aid agencies, NGOs and actually save lives and make a difference to people through water purification."

www.globalhydration.com

By IAN ROSS

Northern Ontario Business
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Title Annotation:GREEN REPORT; Global Hydration Water Treatment Systems
Author:Ross, Ian
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Jan 1, 2011
Words:782
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