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Microvi signs contract to bring clean drinking water to rural communities in California

  • Microvi signs contract to bring clean drinking water to rural communities in California
    Photo: Microvi

About the entity

Microvi is a green technology company based in the San Francisco Bay Area that delivers next-generation biotechnologies for the water, wastewater and renewable chemical industries.

Microvi will be installing a Microvi MNE nitrate treatment system for Hillview Water in Raymond, CA. This system will allow Hillview Water to bring clean drinking water to a rural community that has been plagued with high levels of nitrate contamination.

Nitrate is one of the most widespread contaminants in groundwater globally and can have significant human health impacts. Its impact is primarily felt in rural communities where groundwater is contaminated with agricultural runoff. According to the California State Water Resources Control Board, 21 million Californians drink water that originated from contaminated groundwater. 

"This project represents an opportunity to have a tremendous impact on disadvantaged communities that face high nitrate levels in their drinking water and lack access to clean water," said Dr. Fatemeh Shirazi, CEO of Microvi. "Microvi MNE is a cost-effective solution that can easily be applied to existing facilities to improve the quality of lives of community members in the Central Valley and around the world."

Nitrate that is detected in water wells today likely stemmed from use decades ago, meaning that nitrate contamination issues will continue to be a problem for the foreseeable future. Unlike most solutions to reduce nitrogen levels, which typically come at a substantial cost, Microvi's solution provides a cost-effective, scalable method to reduce nitrate levels and provide clean water.  

This project was identified as part of Microvi's partnership with climate-tech accelerator Elemental Excelerator. Microvi joined Elemental Excelerator's 7th cohort in their Equity and Access track in November 2018.

"We are excited by this project and eager to see the benefits of Microvi's technology in Raymond," said Kim Baker, Director of Water Innovation at Elemental Excelerator. "We also see tremendous opportunity for this easily replicable deployment approach to scale and reach more communities disproportionately affected by water contamination."

Microvi's solution will allow the utility to use existing infrastructure and staff to implement and maintain the system, keeping costs significantly lower, providing an affordable solution to a challenge that dominates the Central Valley of California. The system will be a Design, Build, Own, Operate (DBOO) system which will also reduce the cost and risk for the utility.

The Microvi MNE technology uses novel biocatalytic composites (MNE biocatalysts) that intensify and extend the life of biological processes, while maintaining a controlled population of microorganisms at a much higher density than existing technologies. Despite the complexity of the MNE biocatalysts themselves, the design and operation of the systems are simple with no complex process controls. In addition, Microvi MNE does not produce additional solids, and reduces energy and carbon requirements.

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