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Local tap technology lured east

LOCAL water technology company Optum ES may move its proposed wastewater treatment facility to the eastern seaboard after receiving a lucrative offer from the Queensland Government.

Optum ES is a joint venture between the Australian Stock Exchange-listed Optum Group and Western Australian company Wavtech that has secured the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell the US-developed water treatment plant MEP MariSan.

The directors of Wavtech are also behind a new tap valve technology called Smartvalve that they say has attracted significant sales interest from overseas. They say that if the waste treatment manufacturing plant moves to Queensland, so will the development of the valves.

Wavtech director Charles Fridlender said the Queensland Government had offered to finance the set up costs and the land and provide cash capital for the building and operations.

“We are waiting for that to be finalised,” he said.

“We understand that would be a $1 million to $2 million dollar investment.”

Mr Fridlender said Optum ES was in discussions with 45 potential clients for the MEP MariSan and that the first plants would be available in July.

“We have approval to run three plants for a trial period of 60 days. Two of those are in Melbourne and one is in Queensland,” he said.

Mr Fridlender said Wavtech’s Smartvalve would be available from August and the company would fulfil its already strong base of export orders.

“We have prospective orders to the value of $350,000 and 80 per cent of those will be export. There are 100,000 orders from Australia and that is predominantly in the aged care sector,” he said.

The Smartvalve has pricked the ears of medical, aged care, and home building industries because of its innovative design.

The valve sits inside a tap and completely revolutionises conventional water flowing mechanisms.

Rather than the mechanical screwing down action of traditional taps the Smartvalve uses static water pressure to block water flow and therefore has several advantages, Mr Fridlender said.

The Smartvalve promises to never leak and it can never be over-tightened.

The design is what Mr Fridlender calls “reverse science” that removes the need for a washer and allows the tap to be turned through 360 degrees without ever over-tightening.

“It is easy to turn the handle on and off with just two fingers. No over-tightening can occur. Water leakage is impossible when the mixer is turned off. Static water pressure is used for sealing the valve on the seat,” he said.

Wavtech is now in the process of developing the solenoid technology, Smartsolenoid, for the irrigation market.

The company hopes to secure an Ausindustry grant to progress its R&D.

The main concern and drive from the Optum ES team is the MEP MarisSan water treatment plants and whether to base operations in WA or Queensland.

“We are in several negotiations and we estimate sales from those to total $1.5 million,” Mr Fridlender said.

He said the MEP MariSan could treat various forms of water including black water sewage, grey water, bilge, and galley water and convert it into clean drinking water using no external chemicals and was more cost effective than conventional plants.

The device uses the principles of electro-chemistry for disinfecting and particle removal.

“It saves 55 per cent of energy, 70 per cent of space and it’s cheaper to produce the water,” Mr Fridlender said.

“In WA 92 per cent of grey water is pumped out to sea with 8 per cent recycled and reused.

“This system recycles 100 per cent of the water and it is drinking quality water.

“The only problem with that is a psychological one but you simply send it back to the normal treatment plant.”

Aside from mainland water treaters Mr Fridlender said he believed the shipping industry was another key market and the company was in discussions with the Australian Navy.

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