Now that the storm has passed and the levee breaks corrected, the millions of gallons of stagnant, bacteria-laden flood water remain the major challenge facing New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
ZENON Environmental is shipping technology to the area that will help New Orleans and surrounding areas get a handle on that problem, too.
ZENON Environmental and Maytag are donating water filtration systems to aid in relief efforts in affected areas in Mississippi and Louisiana. ZENON has already sent 40 of its Homespring central water filtration systems to Louisiana. Maytag, ZENON’s distributor in North America, has agreed to match the donation and will soon be sending an additional shipment of 40 units.
The first shipment of water treatment systems has already arrived in Baton Rouge, where it is being staged for installation. ZENON's technicians arrived on the ground yesterday and will commence installation of some of the units while training local technicians to set up the remainder of the equipment.
To date, six public schools and several churches in Hancock and Harrison Counties have been identified as initial sites for the filtration system. Several disaster relief housing centers in the New Orleans area are also being considered.
The unique central water filtration systems will help prevent further spread of bacteria-borne and parasitic diseases, which constitute a major health problem for survivors and rescue teams at the moment.
"We're eager to help our fellow neighbors get through this devastating natural disaster," said Andrew Benedek, Chairman and CEO of ZENON. "Clean water is always important, but even more so at times like these. Thanks to the help of a number of our partners, we will all be able to provide assistance to survivors and rescue teams to help improve relief efforts and save lives."
"We at Maytag are equally committed to ensuring that people everywhere have access to clean water, not only for consumption but also for personal hygiene purposes," added Sean Kruuv, General Manager of Maytag's Central Water Filtration North American operations. "These systems will be installed in identified locations where people can have easy access to a supply of clean, safe water."
As each Maytag-Homespring filtration system can potentially produce up to 5,000 gallons of water per day, when deployed in easily accessible public locations, the 80 units provided are capable of providing clean, safe drinking water to approximately 600,000 people.
This residential central water filtration system is the same technology that can be found in over 100 municipal drinking water plants throughout the world and is being considered for many new installations. It is currently being installed in Jackson, Mississippi as the key element in the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant expansion.
The same Homespring units were also used in relief camps in the Tsunami-ravaged areas of the Pacific earlier this year, where they are continuing to provide residents with safe, clean water.
"I would like to personally thank all the individuals and organizations who have worked so diligently with us over the last few days to help expedite the process of delivering and installing these units," continued Mr. Benedek.
According to Mr. Benedek, in addition to Maytag's generous donation, other organizations that have been instrumental in this initiative include:
* The staff of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco;
* Environmental Technical Sales (ETEC), ZENON's representative in Louisiana and Mississippi, for their assistance in coordination along with their efforts in working with local contractors for installation of the units;
* FOP Development and Reynolds, Inc. for their assistance in the Mississippi area;
* The Naval ROTC Unit, University of Florida, Class of 76/77 who helped arrange transportation of the units with Northwest Airlines;
* Northwest Airlines for their generous donation of space on their flight from Toronto, Canada to Baton Rouge, Louisiana;
* Empire Transportation for kindly delivering the shipment from ZENON's warehouse in Burlington, Canada to the airport;
* In addition, local groups on the ground helping with storage and identification of installation sites including Cajun Constructors, Neel-Schaffer Engineers, Tullier Contractors, and the Mississippi Baptist Convention.