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thedrifter
01-18-06, 03:42 PM
Safer drinking water in works for U.S. Marines
Clay Holtzman
NMBW Staff

Thanks to a $4 million Department of Defense appropriation, 57,000 U.S. Marines soon will have a handheld water purification device at their disposal -- one that relies heavily on technology licensed from a New Mexico company.

The contract was awarded recently to Seattle's Cascade Designs Inc., which, in 2003, signed a license agreement to use a proprietary method of water purification developed by Albuquerque-based MIOX Corp.

The MIOX water purification system, marketed by Cascade under the brand name Mountain Safety Research (MSR), will be used by Marines serving in Iraq. Like many other MIOX products, its technology is based on a process that uses salt and electricity to kill bacteria in the water, making it safe to drink. The device consists of a water bag, the MIOX disinfection unit and a separate filter. It is capable of processing and holding up to three liters of water at a time.

The contract will purchase enough of the devices to cover about one-third of the entire Marine Corps.

MIOX spokeswoman Katie Boleck says the contract could lead to more business for MIOX and Cascade.

"We're hoping to get additional funding to outfit the rest of the Marine Corps," she says.

No time line for the distribution of the devices to the Marines has been set.

On Thursday, MIOX will host a ceremony celebrating the contract at which U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, D-NM, will speak. Boleck credits Wilson and other members of New Mexico's congressional delegation with helping to secure the contract.

"It was largely through her efforts and our senators' that this appropriation was funded," she noted.

MIOX, founded in 1994, has 45 employees. It makes handheld, portable and utility-scale water purification systems for drinking purposes. The technology, which also is used to clean pools and spas, is an alternative to traditional chlorine-based treatment systems.

In September 2005, new and existing investors, led by locally-based Entrada Ventures, took over ownership of MIOX for $16 million in debt and equity capital.

Ellie