Aug 10, 2009

'Buy American' Provision May Delay Water Projects

GE filters, made in Canada, cannot be used in work funded by stimulus money

Bloomberg has reported that a shortage of General Electric Co. (GE) water filters has slowed progress on water projects funded by stimulus money.

Under “Buy American” rules, the filters, which are made in Canada, cannot be used for work using the stimulus funds.

“It’s added a whole new level of difficulty,” said Kathy Emery, a senior engineer for the West Virginia Department of Environment. “We’re continually having changes and further guidance” from federal rule-makers.

GE, based in Fairfield, Conn., said its facilities in Toronto and Oakville, Ontario, are “fully integrated” with its U.S. operations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted six waivers to buy filters made by GE and other companies and has 29 petitions pending.

Tom Pokorsky, president of Port Washington, Wis.-based Aquarius Technologies, told Bloomberg that domestic business has slowed to a trickle.

“Buy American has stopped U.S. wastewater work this year,” Pokorsky said. “I’m surviving by selling to Canada.”

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