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Israel’s En Gibton is fountain of youth to polluted water wells

Posted By Karin Kloosterman On April 10, 2008 @ 9:26 am In | No Comments

EnGibton’s CEO Rafi Nevo: “It’s medium-tech cleantech.”Americans have growing concerns over organic chemicals such as birth control pills and fertilizers contaminating their water wells. More recently the dangers of inorganic compounds such as perchlorate, a byproduct of rocket fuel, have trickled into the headlines and consciousness in America.

Israel’s En Gibton, named after a centuries’ year old water fountain outside the Israeli city of Rehovot, plan on making America’s drinking water cleaner and safer.

Developed by scientists at Hebrew University, En Gibton’s main product is ClayMix, a filtration compound made from clay and natural organic materials. The ClayMix attracts negative and neutrally-charged organic and inorganic ions, and locks them away on its microscopic cup-shaped surface.

The cost-effective solution uses environmentally-friendly raw materials and achieves the highest efficiency in removing dissolved organic matter in brackish waters, reports the company.

“It’s medium-tech cleantech,” says En Gibton’s CEO Rafi Nevo to ISRAEL21c. Nevo also heads TreaTec 21 Industries, a company specializing in advanced electrochemical water purification systems.

What’s especially attractive about ClayMix, he says, is that the groundwater, surface water and wastewater treatment solution requires virtually no input of energy – just electricity to pump the water through the system.

Contaminated water is an acute and growing problem around the world. ClayMix, however, claims that it has the power to sequester up to 99 percent of its targeted contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals and fertilizers, from water, versus a 60% success rate in the industry standard carbon-based solution.

As populations grow and industrial and military processes increase, more and more American underwater wells and aquifers are becoming polluted. More recently, perchlorates in America have entered the environmental hazard radar, especially in regions such as Colorado.

“Perchlorates found in the Colorado River area can accumulate in breast milk, dairy milk and lettuce leaves and is known to affect the thyroid,” says Nevo, noting that water treatment facilities in Colorado are on his check-list for potential US-based pilot plants of En Gibton’s solution.

Founded in 2005, En Gibton is located in Ashkelon at the Ashkelon Technological Industries Incubator. The company is also supported by Israel’s national water utility via the company WaTech, which has been beta testing En Gibton’s technology in Israel.

En Gibton has tested the ClayMix solution in laboratories on organic contaminants and is currently treating Israeli water wells from perchlorates with great success. This issue of perchlorates is a global concern, says Nevo. And shutting down wells that are contaminated can only be a temporary solution.

“Perchlorates bind to the water,” he says, “they stay there and accumulate. It’s expanding and dispersing, so it’s not clever to shut down a well. [The water] has to be treated. Our solution makes it possible to reopen these wells and prevent the closure of operating wells.”

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