Water Purification: Evolving Challenges Require A Broad Range of Solutions

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Like most people, I often get asked what I do for a living whether it be on the sidelines of my kids’ field hockey match or at any type of social gathering.   When I say, “I build engineered products for water purification”, people typically want to know more, and they quickly associate the need for our products with the macro trends around the world – droughts, pollution, industrialization, global strife and a growing population.   They think there must be an insatiable demand for our work, and how exciting the work must be.  While these things are certainly influencing factors, and the work is very fulfilling, the reality is far more complicated, and the details are indeed everything.  

Like so many other industries, water purification is a very challenging business. One of the many details that makes our industry so complicated is that feed water supplies come from a variety of sources such as rivers, lakes, municipal supplies or oceans, and one treatment method is not suitable for all sources.  Water purification systems that operate on various sources require different treatment methods and can yield various qualities of pure water output.  The current plight of the city of Flint, Michigan is a good example.  Switching the source water from Lake Huron to the Flint River without due consideration to its proper treatment had disastrous consequences.  Another complicating factor is that there are many methods available to purifying a given feed water source.  The right solution, among other things, depends upon the client’s needs and priorities.  Experts often disagree on the most appropriate methodology given different perspectives or priorities related to capital cost, operating cost, reliability, the environment, and other issues.

For decades MECO has designed and constructed many different solutions. Those solutions range from a single product, to a complete system made up of a number of products. From a manufacturing perspective, most would agree that it is best to standardize the products and repetitively build them. Unfortunately, that is not practically possible given the foregoing considerations. However, it is difficult to design, cost, and propose customized solutions on a speculative basis. Furthermore, executing one time, custom projects, requires the supplier to be exceptionally proficient. Sufficient infrastructure is required to get the project right the first time, and this may be the only time, one will see that particular application. Customizing solutions is just not sustainable on a larger scale and therein lies another complicating detail.

The answer lies somewhere in between and that’s where experience comes in.  MECO got its start almost 90 years ago building seawater desalination plants.  One of the reliable tenets of the business then (and now) was that we generally knew what was in seawater.  This eliminated or at least minimized one of the complicating factors.  Today we have over two dozen product lines in varying sizes to handle a wide variety of water sources and client applications.  That broad product line of standardized solutions gives us the ability to manufacture high quality products that are proven, and also customize solutions where necessary, to suit the application and meet the client’s needs with minimal risk.   We are able to continually invest in the development of those products and support them for the marketplace.  In addition, those product lines enable an underlying infrastructure that most will never see but inherently appreciate – administrators, engineers, a worldwide service presence, production personnel, and a state of the art manufacturing plant, all focused on our clients, the marketplace and the environment.

There is a reason why MECO has been the trusted source for pure water for nearly 90 years. Discover why MECO is Where Tomorrow Gets Its Water. ™

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