Entex Technologies


Is Water a Right?

It’s a question recently posed by Daniel Van Abs, water policy professor at Rutgers University, and one that should be answered soon, in his opinion. Van Abs wrote an editorial about the issue, which was recently published in the NJ Spotlight, drawing from his research and his experience with water policy in New Jersey state government.

Van Abs asks, “Is water, as the U.N. states, a fundamental human right? Or is it a commodity that must be purchased at the going rate? Or is it a public service, in which the focus is on satisfying a social goal for provision of general needs?”

Costs for goods and services continue to rise with the times, and water is no different. Increased demand, regulations on freshwater sources, and improved drinking water treatment has driven the price of water upward. The problem lies with how people 375_250-faucet_regwith limited funds will pay for water for domestic use when the cost exceeds their budget.

This problem has plagued New Jersey, Michigan, and Maryland this past year with water companies shutting off water to hundreds of homes of those who failed to pay their water bills. If water is viewed as a right, as Van Abs thinks it should, this action violates the basic human right to water access.

If we were to view access to water as a right, more programs to support funding for water use would need to be instituted to help those in need. It would not be an easy project to tackle.

Read more about Daniel Van Abs’ insight in his full editorial here.

You’ve probably heard of miners using canaries as a safety precaution when they are deep in the mines, but have you heard of using mallards for wastewater treatment safety? Maybe not.

There is currently a water reclamation project in Utah that is discharging 1.5 million gallmallardons per day into the Great Salt Lake. The pipeline has been active for a year, and the project was instituted to combat the underground water contaminants that built up over decades of mining in the area.

The EPA has determined that the discharge will not have a significant environmental impact, but scientists will still be watching the Mallard population. Specifically, they will be monitoring Mallard egg production to gauge pollution levels.

With the Great Salt Lake approaching record low levels due to the storied drought in the Western US, the water reclamation efforts are a must, but scientists want to make sure it isn’t doing more harm than good for the area..

Read more on this story here.

Wastewater Treatment Plant or Gold Mine?


A study at Rice University finds that algae can produce oil in municipal wastewater treatment plants, in addition to treating the wastewater.

No need to rush out to California for gold this time. It could be hiding in your neighborhood municipal wastewater treatment plant. But not the traditional yellow lustrous variety. We’re talking about oil – black gold.

A recent study done by Rice University identified municipal wastewater as a habitat in which oil-rich algae could exist in abundance and flourish. The algae produce a specific type of fatty acids that can be used as biodiesel, as well as achieving 90% nitrate removal and 50% phosphorous removal.

What is even more exciting about this discovery is that it has the potential to convert the energy-sucking, bulky infratstructure that is a municipal wastewater treatment plant into a powerhouse for energy generation. Not only could they produce this renewable biogas, but they also have the potential to create renewable hydrogen, hydrokinetic, solar, and wind energy.

Adaptations to wastewater treatment plants to harvest this energy could offset their current carbon footprint, helping to solve the global issue of resource shortages.

Read more about oil-producing algae in wastewater treatment plants here.


The connection between drinking water sanitation and health has been known for thousands of years. The problem was that thousands of years ago, we didn’t understand the underlying science behind the causation between unsanitary drinking water and illness. Here are some key dates and discoveries that led up to our current drinking water treatment and regulations:

  • 2000 BC: People used sunlight, charcoal, heat, and copper to sanitize their drinking water and stored it in containers.Typhoid
  • 1746: The first patent for a water filter was issued in France, consisting of wool, sponges, and charcoal.
  • 1854: A cholera epidemic broke out in London, killing thousands of people, and the English doctor, John Snow, traced the cause of the outbreak back to a contaminated water pump.
  • 1900: Scientists discovered the effectiveness of disinfectants, such as chlorine, in sterilizing drinking water, and the application was adopted by water treatment companies shortly thereafter.
  • 1974: The Safe Drinking Water Act became US federal law, mandating the EPA as the governing body for drinking water standards and their enforcement.
  • 1996: The Safe Drinking Water Act was amended to include mandates on groundwater sources, such as reservoirs, lakes, and streams.

Presently, society has developed to treat water and wastewater with sophisticated and efficient systems, designs, and infrastructure. The advancements to make water reuse and the toilet-to-tap concepts come to fruition are in their early stages, an exciting venture for scientists, engineers, environmentalists, and all others involved. We have come a long way from simply dipping copper in a bucket of swamp water to sterilize it.



Integrated Fixed-Film Activated Sludge (IFAS) and Submerged Fixed Film (SFF) are popular wastewater treatment processes for both industrial and municipal treatment applications.  Both utilize media carriers to create a protected surface for a biofilm to attach. The large surface area of media carriers can provide capacity for a large biomass inventory, increasing treatment capacity and/or reducing tank volume for treatment. There are two types of media carriers, fixed media and moving media, both of which can be used in IFAS and SFF processes.

In a SFF process, media carriers (either fixed or moving media) are installed in the wastewater tanks. The tanks are aerated to maintain a dissolved oxygen concentration for organic contaminants and nutrients removal. Clarifiers are then used to separate the solids and biomass from the treated wastewater. No sludge recycle with the separated solids and biomass is performed. SFF can also be an anoxic process through the use of submerged mixers that are used to direct the path of the water through the tank. When utilizing moving media, this process is often referred to as Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR).

An IFAS process is similar to the SFF process, and either fixed or moving media can be used. The main difference between the two processes is IFAS recycles part of separated biomass from the clarifier to the treatment tanks, which is regularly referred as returned activated sludge (RAS). Therefore, IFAS combines a fixed-film process with an activated sludge process by recycling the sludge back to the aeration tank to increase biomass inventory and treatment capacity. The lack of RAS in a SFF process reduces the load for clarifier solids inventory management.

Both IFAS and SFF can be used for nitrification, denitrification, and BOD removal. Common reasons for choosing one over the other include cost, site space availability, and ease of operation. For example, SFF does not need equipment for recycling activated sludge, so it may make the clarifier easier to operate and maintain. Since IFAS recycles its sludge, it can provide a more efficient usage of tank volume and lower cost on operation and maintenance over time.

Flushability Guidelines to Change

They wreak havoc on wastewater treatment plants. From clogging pipes to breaking down equipment, non-woven fabrics cause all sorts of problems for plant operations. Popularly known as wipes, and commonly flushed down toilets, these non-flushable items are often a source of plant overflow.flushability

What can be done to solve this issue? That’s a question that has been asked for years with few helpful answers. Recently, five organizations from both the water and non-woven fabrics industry came together to jointly address the problem. The organizations involved are INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry; NACWA, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies; APWA, the American Public Works Association; WEF, the Water Environment Federation; as well as CWWA, the Canadian Water & Wastewater Association.

This collaborative group will focus on how product marketing could be manipulated to create more awareness around the improper disposable of wipes. They want to improve product labeling and consumer awareness on whether non-woven fabrics are flushable and also increase available consumer information available on this topic.

For the future, there is talk of expanding this program to other non-flushable items that routinely appear in wastewater treatments plants, such as paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and cotton swabs.

Read more on the history of what the INDA and similar organizations have done in regards to non-flushable products here.

What is Water Hammer?

Water hammer, also known as hydraulic shock, is a sudden buildup of pressure in a pipe due to change in direction or speed of the water inside, which can cause the pipe to burst and damage water hammerequipment.

What Causes Water Hammer?

The most common cause of water hammer is a valve closing quickly, momentarily stopping the flow of water through the pipe and increasing pressure in the upstream side and decreasing pressure in the downstream side of the valve.

Other causes of water hammer include a rapid pump startup or shutdown and air pockets in pipes that create a similar vacuum effect that leads to pipes imploding.

How Can Water Hammer Be Prevented?

  • Thoroughly train plant personnel on correct ways to open and close valves and the dangers of water hammer.
  • Use correct start-up and shut-down protocols for pumps.
  • Restrict speed of water in pipes to at or below 5 ft/s.
  • Use slow-closing valves.
  • Use piping with high pressure ratings.
  • Install air vents downstream of valves.

For more information on water hammer, read this paper by Baker Corp.



Kansas Rural Water Association

Last month, the Entex sales team was in Wichita, KS for the Kansas Rural Water Association Conference. The show was geared toward operators in the area, which allowed our sales team to receive direct feedback on challenges they are facing at their plants. The dialogue was focused around solutions to reach stricter permit limits and how difficult it is to do so without increasing tankage or otherwise spending a large amount of funds on plant upgrades.

Kansas municipal wastewater treatment plants are currently facing a few different problems that have town council members and plant operators looking for solutions to alleviate spending and improve their treatment performance. Initially, Kansas’ state budget was slashed, leaving wastewater treatment plants with less funding. More recently, legislation was passed in Kansas to lower the amount of total nitrogen allowed in plants’ effluent to 10 mg/L, which is a difficult permit to meet with many of Kansas’ plant tankage and technology.

The show provided a great opportunity to speak with operators about our fixed-film retrofit technologies that enable a plant to increase their biological concentration and treatment capacity with the existing tankage to help them meet their permits.

With the effects of the drought in the Western United States becoming more and more worrisome, scientists are attempting to take matters into their own hands to find a solution to overcome the water deficit. Since no end seems to be in sight, they are turning to technological innovation for a way to combat the abysmal rainfall.

One method involves attempting to alter weather patterns to induce regional precipitation. It is not an unprecedented concept. Beijing used cloud seeding technology to inhibit rainfall over the area in 2008 during the Summer Olympics. The question now is simple. How do we reverse that concept and create precipitation? Scientists are searching for that answer and have arrived at some possibilities, including flooding Death Valley with sea water to provide an extra area where clouds could form and produce rain.

Other ideas include desalination of seawater on a large scale and a push for the “toilet to tap” concept of water reuse, which was recently explored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. View the video below to learn more about what engineers are doing to make water reuse possible.

There is no doubt that our drought solutions need improvement. In fact, NASA has predicted what they are calling a “megadrought,” which could occur as soon as 2050 and last up to 30 years, turning much of the United States into barren desert land. With this daunting threat looming over the heads of US citizens, scientists recognize the importance of drought alleviation research and are working to find a way to combat drastic water shortages for the present circumstances and for the future.

March Madness: Entex Sales Team Edition

It’s travel season for our sales team, and Regional Manager, Jason Bowman, has hit the road.

Texas Longhorns (11 seed)

Jason started his journey in Texas to visit shipyards and refineries in Houston. He enjoyed the sights and sounds of the barge-cleaning facilities and shipyards while meeting with industry’s leaders.

Kansas Jayhawks (2 seed), Kentucky Wildcats (1 seed)

He flew to Kansas and onto Kentucky to spread the word about an oxidation ditch IFAS solution utilizing our Webitat system. A UNC (4 seed) graduate, Jason appreciated their love for March Madness and mutual distaste for Duke basketball (1 seed).

Indiana Hoosiers (10 seed), Ohio State Buckeyes (10 seed)

His next stop was Indiana and Ohio to meet with potential clients who are interested in our biological and filtration systems. Jason emphasized their efficiency and cost-effectiveness for meeting total nitrogen and limits, as permits for these limits continue to decrease.

New Mexico State Aggies(15 seed)

Earlier this week, Jason was in Albuquerque for the New Mexico Rural Water Association trade show. He also met with our sales representatives to plan and review strategies for this year.

Next week, Jason will return to Kansas for the Kansas Rural Water Association trade show where he plans to speak with engineers about our biological and filtration systems.

For Jason, March Madness has taken on a whole new meaning that has nothing to do with basketball, though he does plan to watch some of the games.


LaDonna Gives the Gift of Life

We do a lot for the ones we love. For many, it isn’t hard to imagine making a great sacrifice for a family member or loved one, even if it means giving up a kidney to save their lives. But what if you were donating a kidney to someone you have never met? That’s exactly what our Administrative Manager, LaDonna Hernandez, did last November. She gave her kidney to a then-anonymous person in need on the waiting list through the Good Samaritan pilot program at Duke Medicine. The program works to create and maintain a chain reaction of donors, with family members of recipients volunteering to be the next person to donate to keep the chain going.


LaDonna (left) meeting her recipient for the first time earlier this month, three months after the kidney donation took place.

Her story even made headlines on local news and was featured in the Duke Medicine blog. You can also view a video of the story here via WRAL News: LaDonna Saves a Life

LaDonna’s giving and selfless personality makes her a valuable member of the Entex team, leaving no office need unmet and no team member unsupported.


At first sight, this card appears to be just a laminated piece of paper, flimsy and easily tossed aside. But for Executive Vice President, Dick Pehrson, this card represents decades of dedication to the wastewater treatment industry.

Dick began his journey in wastewater out of college as an applications engineer for a company specializing in valves. His resume is decorated with positions in product and market development, consulting, sales and executive level management.  He has numerous publications and has given many presentations at state and national conferences. In addition to these accomplishments, Dick also holds several patents.


With his extensive experience, Dick, along with Entex President Wayne Flournoy, saw the need for a company offering both fixed and moving media systems with the ability to evaluate and offer the optimal solution to client’s needs. This entrepreneurial endeavor has been a thrilling experience for Dick who says, “Entex has given me the opportunity to know the challenges and rewards to starting and developing a new company. We have been successful in getting the best people and giving clients the best solutions.”

For someone who has worked so hard for so long, you would think he is dreaming of a restful retirement in the near future. When asked about retirement, Dick simply says, “Who says I am going to retire?” We at Entex are certainly happy to hear that and are proud to have Dick as one of our talented minds at Entex. Here’s to hoping every year after this 35th is just as successful for Dick!

NEWEA Show: Boston in a Blizzard

Last month may have been the most interesting time to be in Boston for our two North Carolina natives, Jason Bowman and Brittany Reeves. They met Gerry Callahan of the Dennis and Callahan show on the metro and delightedly listened to him carry on and on about politics for miles. The Patriots had just left for the Super Bowl. Oh, and let’s not forget the three feet of snow fell over the course of 24 hours. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable and productive experience for these members of our Sales and Marketing Team.

With New England’s recent shift in phosphorous effluent limits down to less than 0.1 ppm, the conference was buzzing with discussions about how such tight regulations will be met. Technical papers focused on filtration this year, with many presenters demonstrating how they make the science work in their favor to hit that 0.1 ppm magic number.

Along with Entex’s local sales rep firm, WESCOR Associates Inc., we spoke with some bright engineers in the municipal wastewater market and water and wastewater manufacturers with interesting and inventive products. Entex’s Webitat for oxidation ditches process piqued the interest of many municipalities due to its surprising ease of installation, proven results, and ability to increase microbiology present in the basin without increasing tankage.

4 Misconceptions about the Water You Drink

How much do you know about the water you drink every day? Better yet, how much truth do you know about your drinking water? If you previously believed any of these misconceptions, it’s time to reconsider your thoughts.

1. Bottled is better for you than tap water.

These sources are monitored by different agencies. Bottled water is controlled by the FDA, while tap water is monitored by the EPA. In some cases, the EPA places heavier regulations on tap water than the FDA does on bottled water. While some bottled waters claim exotic sources or added minerals, the truth is that this doesn’t do much for your health. Not to mention bottled water costs hundreds of times more than tap water.

2. Filtering water makes it safer for you to drink.

While your filter may make your water taste better to you, it doesn’t actually remove anything harmful in most cases. In addition, filters need to be changed and monitored frequently in order for them to be running at peak efficiency, and you must ensure you are keeping up to date with yours.

3. The amount of water available to us has decreased over the last century.

This is a claim that pops up every so often, but the truth is that we still have the same amount of available water as we did back then. The difference is that the development of the world has placed more demand on water. Industrialization and the world’s ever-growing population have increased water’s demand on the same amount of supply. We must be careful in how we use and conserve this renewable resource.

4. Bottled water is good for the environment because the bottles are recyclable.

It is true that the bottles can be recycled, but the energy used by the bottled water industry as opposed to energy used to provide tap water is much too high. From oil used in making the bottles, to freight and trucks transporting cases of water, ecological and economical costs of the bottled water industry are high. This isn’t even considering the fact that most water bottles don’t get recycled anyway.

We hope you will consider these busted misconceptions about drinking water and use this knowledge in your everyday life. Does that tap water look so bad now?

1st EPA Regulations on Coal Ash Released

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its first regulations regarding the management of disposal and handling of coal ash. This historic progress was initially sparked by the monumental coal ash disaster in Tennessee in 2008. Many of you will also remember recent coal ash spill by Duke Energy in the Dan River of North Carolina that hits closer to home for those of us at Entex. After the damage in 2008, the EPA began research on the United State’s existing infrastructure for coal-driven power plants and their processes for coal ash waste removal. The product of this research includes the following new federal requirements for coal ash disposal:

  • Shutting down surface impoundments and landfills that do not comply with engineering and structural standards
  • Mandating regular inspections of the safety of surface impoundment infrastructure
  • Rules for where new surface impoundments and landfills can be located
  • Requiring monitoring and immediate cleanup of contamination to protect water supply

So why is the EPA so concerned with coal ash? Spills have the potential to wreak havoc on the environment and cause millions of dollars in damage. Improper disposal of coal ash can lead to contamination of surface water, air, and ground water, as well as damage to surface impoundments.

The NC AWWA focused this year’s conference around the coal ash spill by Duke Energy, and our Marketing Analyst, Brittany Reeves, attended multiple lectures on the crisis and progress being made to combat the damage done.

A full description of the history of coal ash management and the EPA’s past and current actions can be found here.

Entex is excited to announce that we have received another award from Frost and Sullivan. After they analyzed the water and wastewater market, they have recognized us with the 2014 North America Frost and Sullivan Product Line Strategy Leadership Award. Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants.

The set-up for the presentation of awards at the Frost and Sullivan Gala.

“Having entrenched itself in the municipal market, the company is now focused on expanding into industries such as oil & gas, petrochemicals, and food & beverage,” said Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Anu Cherian. “Uniquely, its portfolio not only demonstrates industry expertise, but also enables end users to choose the best possible technology to meet their plant’s distinct requirements.”

Here is a summary of why Frost and Sullivan gave us this award:

“Entex Technologies has shown excellent leadership in building a comprehensive product line as well as aligning it strategically to provide customers with truly best-in-class solutions. As the scope of its technology and expertise increases, Entex Technologies will be ideally positioned to capture new growth. Entex Technologies’ extensive product line caters to a variety of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment needs. This comprehensiveness has enabled it to serve a wide customer base while developing its solutions to be scalable, more environmentally friendly, and cost-efficient.”

Wayne Flournoy, Entex President, said “It has been 5 years since our last best practices recognition for Customer Service Leadership. This award builds and expands on that foundation and is another step toward fulfilling our vision of being the premier supplier of a broad range of proven advanced wastewater treatment solutions, of building a world-class team, and expanding into related systems and technologies.” Wayne attended the black tie gala in Toronto, Canada on December 2, 2014 to accept the award on behalf of Entex.

Entex President, Wayne Flournoy, poses for a photo before they sit for the awards presentation at the Frost and Sullivan Gala.

Our Trade Show Presence: Revamped!

Last week, Entex was at the NC AWWA state trade show once again to connect with potential and past clients. We shared a booth space with our sales representatives at EW2 Environmental, Inc. and were able to reconnect with them.

New to the booth:

This was the first state show for our Marketing Analyst, Brittany Reeves, who will be attending more shows for us in the future to increase the visibility of the Entex brand. We have a new tablecloth to make our logo more readily visible to show attendees. Entex is excited for these additions to our trade show presence and hopeful that they will improve our outreach to operators and engineers in the future.

Nutrient Removal

Entex values our home state and strives to make it to local trade shows every year to be able to reach out to those in our immediate area. We are also hiring! If you or someone you know would be interested in working for Entex as a Regional Sales Engineer or a Process Design Engineer, contact info@EntexInc.com.

Drought On, Water Off in California

Imagine a world where your decisions are based on how much water is available to you and in your immediate environment. Did you picture a country overseas? Think again. This level of water shortage is present in areas of the United States right now. California residents are having to scale back their daily use of water due to an ongoing drought. This is no routine water shortage. In fact, it is the third-driest year California has ever recorded, and they have been under drought conditions for the past three years.

The Cause

Scientists have examined California’s drought and have concluded that the reduced rainfall and snowfall can be attributed to climate change, altering pressure zones over land and ocean and their subsequent weather patterns that bring precipitation over land. Furthermore, their snowpack in the northern part of the state, which has historically supplied much of their water throughout the year, has melted rapidly and otherwise depleted from extraction for use. Additionally, California’s population keeps rising, increasing water demands, while their water delivery and storage systems battle the inefficiency issue that comes with aging structures.

The Response

The California State Water Resources Control Board has been enforcing emergency regulations on water use in residential and commercial settings. Watering lawns, washing cars, and adding water to decorative water fixtures and pools is forbidden. They are also requiring municipal and industrial water use reports from companies and plant operators to monitor water usage, control any wasteful practices, or identify faulty infrastructure. The Governor of California, Edmund Brown, has urged citizens to scale back on their daily water use by 20 percent. He has also passed legislation on behalf of the drought, calling for stricter regulations on groundwater extraction and for agencies to monitor these efforts to combat the recent unevenly-distributed groundwater extraction practices that have left some areas with significantly less water supply than others.

The Takeaway

We should not take clean water for granted. About fifteen years ago, we had a similar drought in North Carolina that spanned several years. California is currently cutting back on their water usage, but we could all take some time to reconsider our own water usage. Some impactful ways to reduce your personal water use are to only wash full loads of laundry, keep your showers short, and only wash your car when it really needs it.

This was a special WEFTEC for Entex Technologies. We won an award. We took three new employees. We were noticed. Not that a combination of these things hasn’t happened to some extent before, but we think this time it was different.

For starters, more people than ever seemed to recognize our company name, what we do, and our technology. Winning the 2014 WEF Innovative Technology of the Year Award also won us a spot inside the Innovation Pavillion, a central booth on the conference floor where most exhibitors and attendees venture at some point during the week to see which companies and technologies are currently on the cutting edge of innovation.

Beyond this surface layer of acknowledgement at WEFTEC, something deeper happened that week. We sent three new employees to New Orleans early on Wednesday to set up our booth alongside Jason Bowman, Regional Manager. These two Project Engineers, Mark Gockowski and Patty Richeson, and our new Marketing Analyst, Brittany Reeves, accepted the challenge of three full days of rigorous set-up. They hoisted, snapped, built, and hung each piece during the day while also finding time to keep up with their other work responsibilities.

In the middle of this phase of WEFTEC, the group spent Saturday volunteering at the WEFTEC Service Project building bioswales in Conrad Park to prevent the previous frequent flooding of the area, one of the only places where neighborhood kids congregate regularly. The leader announced upon arrival that there would be several volunteer groups, and Entex jumped right into the “break a sweat crew” to shovel and wheel barrow dirt, gravel, and sand for the majority of the day. The most rewarding part of the day was when some of the neighborhood kids came to shovel with the team and ate lunch with us, playing small pranks on the volunteers throughout the day.

On Sunday, the rest of the Entex team flew in to have a company dinner. The new employees wrapped up the preparation of the booth that morning to join the rest of Entex for some food and fun with their co-workers. This was a cherished time since our team is rarely all together in the same room as we travel often and some people work distantly.

Monday morning brought the official start of the conference. Entex team members, old and new, stood at our booth and talked to attendees about our solutions, technologies, and ways we could collaborate. Jason gave a presentation in the Innovation Pavillion about our award-winning Webitat for Lagoons technology, and we learned that the Indian food vendors easily sold the best food at the conference.

On Tuesday, we continued to connect with conference attendees and exhibitors. In addition, we attended several educational technical sessions to learn more about the industry, a crucial learning opportunity for our new hires. We ended the day at a reception for the WEF Award winners and attended the ceremony, where we formally accepted our 2014 WEF Innovative Technology of the Year Award and took an Entex team photo with it.

Wednesday was a day to network. Attendee traffic is always slow on the last day of the conference, giving time to talk with some of the other exhibitors who are friends of Entex and collaborate with us. At the end of the day, the Entex leadership team flew out of New Orleans, and our trusty booth crew broke down the booth, coming back early in the morning on Thursday to finish the job before they caught their own flights.

Sitting at the airport waiting to start the journey home, Jason, having worked at Entex for seven years, summed up what made this WEFTEC so special. He said “I feel more comfortable with this team than I have with any other team we have had.” The rest of us agree. There is something special about this team. We work together well and act like we have all known each other for much longer than a few months. We are excited for the progress we are going to be able to make with this group in the years ahead. In our tenth year, we feel that we are finally building a recognizable and trusted brand with an extraordinary team behind it.

Engage with Entex at WEFTEC 2014!

Over the next week, Entex will be at WEFTEC 2014, and we would like you to join us or follow our activities there. Here is a summary of what we will be doing:

September 27th, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

  • Volunteering on the 7th annual WEFTEC Service Project with fellow companies to plant bioswales and rain gardens to reduce flooding in Conrad Park in New Orleans

September 29th, 2:45 pm, New Orleans Morial Convention Center Innovation Pavillion, Booth 4029

  • 2014 Innovative Technology of the Year Award Winner Presentation

Jason Bowman, Regional Manager, will be giving a presentation as part of our award to convey the innovative solutions our Webitat system provides.

September 30th, 11:30 am, New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Room 350

  • Technical Presentation: Industrial Pretreatment Solutions and Technologies

Ed Weinberg of ESSRE Consulting, Inc. will be speaking on a paper co-authored by Wayne Flournoy, Entex President.

September 30th, 4:30 pm, New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Great Hall B

  • WEF Awards Reception and Ceremony

We will gather with fellow award-winning companies, colleagues, and friends to celebrate our 2014 WEF Innovative Technology of the Year Award.

October 1st, 9:00 am, New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Room 253

  • Technical Presentation: Fixed Film Biological Treatment: Applications and Case Studies

Asish Mehna of Premier Tech will be giving a presentation on a paper co-authored by Jason Bowman, Entex Regional Manager.

In addition to these highlights, Entex will be staffing booth 1607 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm September 29th to October 1st to engage with people at the conference, such as consulting engineers and prospective clients, to tell them about our technologies and how they can provide solutions for their needs. We hope you stop by our presentations and our booth next week!

Not in New Orleans? You can still follow us for updates on Twitter (@EntexInc) throughout the conference. After WEFTEC, we will be blogging and sharing news on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ pages.

This year at WEFTEC, members of the ENTEX once again joined over a hundred young professionals from across the industry to help give back to a community in need. This was the sixth community service project organized by Young Professionals committee of WEF, and ENTEX has been there every year, for the past few years as a project donor.
The project was to add a rain garden to a a elementary school in Chicago’s inner city Chinatown to help divert a fraction of the city’s stormwater from the wastewater treatment system. We were joined by students and staff from the school in removing large sections of asphalt, weeding overgrown garden beds, and planting beneficial plant species. We got a taste of the Chinatown culture with the nearby Chinese Independence Day parade and a Chinese lunch.
Volunteering at the project were ENTEX team members Jason Bowman, Phil Beecher, James Robinson, Chuck McCall, Sarah Hubbell and Jacob Boehm.
Excavating the Ground to Prepare for the Rain Garden

Excavating the Ground to Prepare for the Rain Garden

Chuck and Jason Weeding a Garden Bed

Chuck and Jason Weeding a Garden Bed

The ENTEX team after a long day of work!

The ENTEX team after a long day of work!

All of the Volunteers after completing the Rain Garden

All of the Volunteers after completing the Rain Garden

Entex Gives Back in New Orleans

This past October at the annual WEFTEC conference in New Orleans, Entex participated in a community service project called Bogging in the Big Easy. The project was organized by WEF and Entex served as a project donor. Seven of our team members joined over a hundred volunteers from all over the country to help establish a new bioswale in NOLA’s City Park, which was devestated by Hurricane Katrina.

A little rain and mud did not stop the volunteers from rapidly planting over 5000 native species of plants in the new bioswale. After everything was planted the volunteers enjoyed a bbq lunch in a picnic area under an overpass to keep dry. Later in the day, officials from the Mayor of New Orleans and the City Council’s offices came out to the site, along with WEF leadership, to view the project and proclaim October as “Water Is Worth It” month.

Volunteering at the project were Entex engineers Jason Bowman, Erin Gallimore, Phil Beecher, James Robinson, Chuck McCall and Sarah Hubbell.

Entex Wastewater

Jason Bowman

Jason Bowman planting a bioswale.

Erin Gallimore

Erin Gallimore getting muddy.

Chuck McCall

Chuck McCall carrying plants.

James Robinson

James Robinson bringing more plants to volunteers.

Entex Wastewater Engineers

Entex Volunteers Staying Dry

Earlier this year the City of Clare, Michigan completed the installation of a new full scale Webitat system in their lagoon wastewater treatment facility. Since April the plant has been fully nitrifying and meeting its permit even in cold temperatures. (See relevant graph.)

Entex In The Classroom

Entex’s Erin Gallimore recently reprised her past teaching experience during a workshop at Smith Middle School (Chapel Hill, NC). Erin worked with over 150 eighth graders over the day long workshop; focusing on Water and Wastewater. Students were divided into several groups and rotated between three stations during each class session. Workshop stations included activities on the water cycle, water usage facts, wastewater cycle from source to treatment to fresh water discharge, water preservation, wastewater byproducts, etc. Many students were introduced to many topics for the first time and others were able to enrich their current knowledge. Erin plans to continue visiting other schools as opportunities arise.

Analysts: Entex Has a Clear Lead

A recently published independent report by Lux Research has some really interesting news about the global wastewater treatment market. The report is titled “Sizing Up Advanced Wastewater Treatment” is authored by Senior Analyst, Brent Giles. The report concludes that the size of the advanced wastewater treatment market could be as much as $27.8 billion in 2012, with the majority of that coming from capital expenditures in the U.S. and China. Cities all over the world over seek to either replace old or add new facilities to process an additional 4.3 billion gallons a day and 94% of the international market is made up of existing plants needing expansion or replacement.

“Solving the most pressing problems in wastewater treatment will require technologies that are not just effective, but also affordable to the rapidly growing market in the developing world,” said Brent Giles. “With an ever growing installed base, technologies that don’t make use of existing infrastructure must be truly spectacular to survive — and some just might fit that bill.”
The following comes directly from a blog post by Lux Research noting highlights of the water industry report:

In our shorthand analysis, the technologies of three companies – Aqwise, Entex and Microvi Biotech – came away a clear lead in our comparative analysis. Each has significant market potential in both the developed and the developing world.

While Aqwise and Entex have huge market potential, so do all of their competitors. Even so, their particular approach to offering fixed or moving media as an alternative to traditional activated sludge has enormous market potential worldwide – especially fixed media, which is a technically simple compromise to activated sludge. Establishing or defending any IP for such a simple technique is more of a challenge. Fortunately, there’s plenty of market to go around.

We at Entex are not surprised by this information but we certainly are pleased that a completely independent study had such high compliments for our offering of both fixed and moving media, which is exactly the premise Entex was founded on eight years ago.

Scouts El CaminoOn June 15th, 17 year old Mark Flournoy sets off from Raleigh-Durham airport with 9 other Scouts and their leaders from Troop 845 on a flight to Madrid. They will spend the next five weeks hiking over 500 miles on the historic El Camino de Santiago trail across the north of Spain.  Mark is the son of Entex CEO, Wayne Flournoy, and is embarking on his second major High Adventure trip, having cycled with the same group across the US from Maryland to Puget Sound last summer.

He and the other young men have embarked on this new epic journey as a fundraiser for the Lineberger Cancer Center at UNC. Last year’s cycle20ten bicycle ride across the country raised over $26,000 for the Lineberger Cancer Center. This effort was significant enough to warrant receipt of the 2010 Youth Philanthropic Award for North Carolina. They hope to beat last year’s fundraising with this new effort.

After having set the BSA record for longest bike ride last year, the group is trying to break the current BSA record for the longest backpacking trip with this hike. They’ll need to average about 16 to 18 miles a day, carrying everything they need in their backpacks, and sleeping in tents at night. You can follow their progress across the country with live GPS tracking on their website, along with a daily blog and photos. You can also donate in their honor on the website.

Follow Entex On Twitter and LinkedIn!

Social media is a powerful tool that allows people, organizations and companies to connect and engage with their communities much more immediately and more intimately. While blog posts and news releases are one way that we at Entex can get the word about about the exciting work that we’re doing, we also post short and more frequent updates to Twitter. From the Entex Twitter account we also connect with the water industry as a whole to stay abreast of current events and technology and we amplify a lot of interesting articles and tweets from other water industry leaders. Here’s an example:

You can also view more information about our company and our employees via our company LinkedIn page. This page tells a bit about Entex as a company, shows our Tweets and locations, and you can view a bit more personal information about some of our employees by clicking through to their personal LinkedIn profiles. Through LinkedIn we are connected to hundreds (maybe thousands!) of other water and wastewater industry   professionals, from engineers to academics to manufacturer’s reps and more. We also participate in some LinkedIn professional group discussions regarding new technologies and issues in the water quality field.

Why not follow Entex Technologies on Twitter and LinkedIn today? Join us and let us know what you think!

Entex Featured at Science in the Triangle

BioWeb IFASOur company was founded in Chapel Hill, NC in no small part due to the incredible science and technology resources available in the Research Triangle area. One blog that focuses on the many companies and technology issues of this area is Science in the Triangle. Author Lisa M. Dellwo interviewed Entex CEO, Wayne Flournoy, about the state of wastewater treatment technology in the U.S. today. He explained to her some of the basics in layman’s terms.

If you can enable your system to sustain a larger mass of “biology,” your system will be more efficient. That’s what Entex does. It provides substrates that allow more of the beneficial microorganisms to grow and that allow them to stay in the treatment tanks longer. One, BioWeb, is a fabric that looks much like a soccer net, which Entex licenses from its manufacturer. It’s all about “creating an environment that the right kind of biology likes,” said Flournoy. He added, “The real magic is . . . in manipulating the microbial environment to maximize the beneficial biology while minimizing the nuisance organisms.”

The article also discusses new challenges in wastewater treatment such as removing pharmaceutical compounds and achieving extremely low levels of nutrients like nitrogen.

Managing Talented People

A great honor for us last year was being named one of North Carolina’s Companies to Watch in 2010 by CED. Here’s a short video created to go with the award with Wayne talking about his views on managing the talented people at Entex.

Entex Technologies Wins 2010 CED Award from Sarah Hubbell on Vimeo.

A common misconception concerning IFAS systems is the longevity of the installation and down time a basin has to suffer.  A lot of people aren’t aware that the process is actually quite painless.  Entex Webitat units come preassembled.  Therefore, there is no field assembly required.

The Entex Technologies Webitat System is generally used as a secondary wastewater treatment application.  Its primary purpose is to increase nitrification capacity by adding surface area for additional biomass growth.

Entex Technologies generally works as a subcontractor to the General Contractor and Consulting Engineer during municipal projects. There are only four steps involved in the Entex Webitat installation.

Step 1:  The Lift

Entex Webitat units are assembled with a minimum of 6 heavy duty lifting lugs.  This helps to maximize the customers lifting options.  A crane is typically used to lift the modules.  Shackles are recommended for crane lifts. Units can weigh up to 3,000 pounds.  The rigging and lift process takes approximately 10 minutes per unit.

Step 2:  The Placement

Entex engineers design each unit to avoid interferences with other in basin equipment while simultaneously maximizing treatment benefits.  Under normal circumstances, the units are oriented such that the BioWebTM is parallel with the direction of flow. The placement and orientation of each unit normally takes less than 10 minutes.

Step 3:  The Anchor

Each leg has a square base plate with 3 holes for anchoring.  Once the units have been positioned correctly, each leg is typically anchored into the concrete using either epoxy style anchors or expansion anchors. Drilling will be required.  The anchor process typically takes 30 minutes per unit.

Step 4:  The Air Connection

Each Webitat unit comes preassembled with an integral coarse bubble air scour system located underneath each unit.  The air scour will be made of either 304L SS or SCH 80 PVC.  The final step in the installation process is connection of an external air supply to the 2” MNPT connection underneath each unit.  Connection time will take less than 5 minutes per unit.

Thus, each unit can easily be installed in under 1 hour.

This post brought to you by Jason Bowman.

I’m fortunate to be a part of a really great non-profit educational organization called the Water Environment Federation. Three years ago the WEF Student and Young Professionals committee decided to start a community service project in conjunction with our annual convention, WEFTEC. This year our service project was incredible, taking place in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, a low income neighborhood that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. We teamed up with a local group called Global Green to construct a bioswale, which helps abate flood waters with efficient drainage at the same time creating a community garden.

Laying pipe in the bioswale ditch.

It was back breaking work for the 75 volunteers who showed up to dig and move gravel and plant for eight hours straight. But the end result was gorgeous, and a beautiful spot amidst an ugly community.

My friend Dan Dair digging the bioswale.

Concurrently we held a water carnival, with about a 16 booths from sponsoring companies hosting hands on water related educational activities. Girl scouts, boy scouts, Brownie troops and just kids from the hood came by to pick up a passport, go through the activities and receive a pin.  The most profound activity from my point of view was a race up the grass levee with buckets full of water, which demonstrated what it is like for people in the third world who have to walk miles to retrieve their daily supply of drinking and washing water.

Girl scouts learning about transporting water.

I have never been so proud to be a part of a community of water engineers as I was last Saturday during the Bioswales in the Bayou project. Next year’s tentative plans have already begun, which may involve transforming an abandoned bus depot in South Central Los Angeles to a natural wetlands community park. Looking forward to being there!

Here’s a slideshow of lots of photos from the event.

Reflections on the WEF/IWA Biofilms Conference

Recently I spent two beautiful days in Portland, Oregon attending the Biofilm Reactor Technology conference. While the weather and scenery were spectacular, I saw little of it since I was indoors in seminars organized jointly by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA).  The conference was remarkable for a number of reasons, including the attendance and the subject matter.

Almost 200 people attended, a major increase for a conference which in the past has been relatively small and very focused. Notable was the strong international flair with attendees from 26 countries.  Among the organizers were Josh Boltz, of CH2M Hill, who served as Co-chair of the Scientific Committee, Julian Sandino, also of CH2M Hill, on the organizing committee and Entex’s own Sarah Hubbell. Many attendees were also well known in the IFAS community, including professionals like Jim McQuarrie of CH2M Hill, Chris Debarbadillo of Black & Veatch and Jamie Gellner of Hazen & Sawyer.

For me it was a great time to catch up in a small setting with old friends and colleagues, such as Cliff Merritt of Owens Corning, with whom we installed a fixed media IFAS system in an SBR.

While there were two parallel tracks of presentations, I couldn’t help but notice the IFAS sessions were standing room only, while the other track was lightly attended. Interestingly, while the presentations covered a broad range of issues, two distinct themes emerged for me. First, there was a strong focus on modeling, and the need to better predict system performance during the design stage. Denny Parker of Brown & Caldwell led the way in trying to pull together a coordinated effort in this area. Indeed, we (at Entex) spend a great deal of time refining and modifying our design models to better predict performance. The research program we led jointly with Dr. Andrew Schuler (then of Duke University) over three years at the South Durham facility has yielded a number of insights into the modeling process.

The second theme I noticed is best summarized by a presentation from Heather Phillips of Black & Veatch entitled “The Second Generation of IFAS and MBBR: Lessons to Apply”.  One takeaway from her talk was that we’ve had almost a decade of well performing IFAS and MBBR systems operating in the US, and we as an industry are incorporating best practices in a new generation of systems.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Entex’s Dick Perhson participating as a co-author along with Dipankar Sen of Santa Clara Valley Water Authority and Rip Copithorne of Stearns & Wheler and others on Green House Gas Emissions modeling, an intriguing and timely subject. There were some 70 or more papers and posters at the conference, all quite strong and well presented. The papers are all available from the Water Environment Federation.

The Biofilms Reactor Technology conference was a reminder of the broad and growing acceptance of IFAS and attached growth systems in our industry. Many challenges lie ahead, but I remain excited, and I look forward to the 2010 WEFTEC conference held this year in New Orleans in early October.  This conference usually hosts up to 18,000 or more with a broad international presence. Entex will be there exhibiting again for our 7th year.  We’ll also be co-authoring two papers, continuing our string of presenting or co-authoring papers at every WEFTEC.  If you’re planning to attend, be sure to stop by our booth.


by CEO, Wayne Flournoy

I took a call on our main line a bit ago. The caller ID showed it was the engineer on a recent bid. Heidi Rupp had managed that bid, but she was out of the office.  I knew that our bid was the low price for our filter, but I also knew this was an evaluated bid which took into consideration many other factors than just the capital cost, including things such as experience, technical merit and operating costs.

Eagerly, I was hoping to hear the good news that we had been selected as the low evaluated supplier, and would be awarded the project. Instead, the engineer first asked for Heidi, and when I explained that she was out of the office and that perhaps I could help, he proceeded to explain his call.

He was calling because he finished his evaluation of all of the bids for the various components, some 50 or so bids in all. He wanted to wish us well in the final outcome, but his real reason for calling was to thank Heidi for being clear and comprehensive in her proposal. Of all the proposals he reviewed for all the equipment, only Heidi’s addressed every item and did it clearly.

He called to say thank you.

I told him how much I appreciated the call. I explained that as an equipment supplier, we rarely hear the simple thank you. His response was that as an engineer, he rarely does either, and as a result, he tries to make a point of saying thank you when it is warranted.

It made me think of the last time I called one of our suppliers out of the blue to thank them for a job well done. We all need to express appreciation for a job well done more often.

By the way, we did get the order.

On June 14th, 15 year old Mark Flournoy set off from Havre de Grace, MD on a 3700 mile bicycle trip across the U.S.  Mark is the son of Entex CEO, Wayne Flournoy, and a member of Boy Scout troop 845 from Chapel Hill, NC. He and 14 other young men have embarked on this epic journey as a fundraiser for the Lineberger Cancer Center at UNC, and so far they have raised over $7,000.  The group consists of 10 high school students, 3 UNC students and two adult leaders.  Many of the guys on this ride are leaving home for the first time, pushing themselves to their physical and emotional limit on a daily basis. They are traveling without vehicular support, carrying everything they need for the 70 day journey in 4 panniers on their front and rear wheels. You can follow their progress across the country with live GPS tracking on their website www.cycle20ten.com, along with a daily blog and photos. You can also donate in their honor on the website.  Check out this video montage of the day they set off.



What Motivates Us?

Lots of scientific studies have been done to find out what truly motivates people, and consequently companies.  Companies are really just people, after all.  This fascinating video from RSA points out some astonishing results.  The bottom line is that we as a company are not motivated by profit alone, we are also strongly motivated by purpose.  That purpose is environmental stewardship, creating innovative and cost-effective ways of treating wastewater and keeping our waterways clean.  Check it out, I think you’ll find it worth your time.

And I must give credit to my friend, Gwen Bell, for bringing this video to my attention.



It Comes Down To Values

From Entex CEO, Wayne Flournoy


Recently I was having dinner with one of our investors, a bright, inquisitive professional whose career included a stint as a CEO of a well known social networking company, and one as president of Asia for a leading beverage manufacturer. He now teaches Business Management in his retirement at one of our nation’s leading graduate business schools.

Over the course of several hours, our conversation touched on a number of different topics, some personal, some related to Entex. He offered a number of business insights for the company, and we discussed a broad range of topics ranging from finance to marketing to the value of clean water. When I got home, one part of the evening resonated beyond the norm. What struck me in retrospect was how the conversation drifted to values, and those values we teach our children. It was a very personal conversation, touching on a number of issues close to each of us.

Reflecting back on our dinner conversation reminds me of one of the reasons I value my career in wastewater. It’s not a particularly glamorous occupation, especially not back in the days when I first joined, before “sustainability”, “green” and other buzz words became socially popular. Years ago I had a similar dinner with a senior executive at another company in the industry (who’s long since retired). At the core of that conversation, and most of what I remember of that night, was his revelation that what kept him in the business all those years was the people. He related that while there were some notable exceptions, most people were in this business for the right reasons, and were “good” people that he liked being around.  I had never thought about it in quite that way until he laid it all out so clearly. I’ve never forgotten that dinner years ago simply for that singular personal revelation.

As I reflect back on these dinner conversations, the recurring themes are remarkable, and worth repeating. In the end, it all comes down to values. Nothing else really lasts. Hopefully, we cultivate those values within ourselves, and successfully pass them on to another generation. Another generation of children, another generation of professionals.

I have had many other, similar conversations, some with other Entex investors with whom I’ve become close, some with other wastewater professionals who have helped give depth to my own career as they shared their own values and dreams.

Take a few minutes this week, find a younger colleague, or perhaps your own children, and spend some time talking about what you do, and why you do it.  Pass it on.

Here you will find up-to-date stories and opinions on all things related to our company, our people, and our passion: the global water environment. We would love to hear your thoughts on the various topics we will cover here, some personal and some impacting everyone.

Entex is thriving and growing as we embark on our 7th year of operations. We recently hired a new engineer, Phil Beecher, who we will tell you more about in an upcoming post. If you’ve been familiar with Entex for any length of time you probably know we recently added an entire new product line, our FlowTex Filtration Systems, headed up by Heidi Rupp. We continue to be actively involved in advancing cutting edge technologies in the wastewater treatment industry through research partnerships, publications and presentations at a wide variety of technical conferences.

Clean water and people are what we care about and we hope you’ll join our blog community to share with us what you care about too!

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