Discovery Newsletter: Shades of gray (water)

January 1, 2017

Two employees, one with 25 years of experience at Koch, another with just one, are part of the team on point for the largest construction project in Koch Industries’ history: building Koch Fertilizer’s new facilities in Enid, Oklahoma. Launched in 2014, that $1.3 billion project is on schedule for start-up this summer. One of the unique features of the expanded complex is already complete: a water plant capable of treating millions of gallons of “gray water” daily. Gray water is relatively clean waste water — like that from a dishwasher or washing machine — that does not contain sewage. “Building this kind of water treatment plant as part of a new facility is something new for Koch,” said Marc Hoss, plant manager in Enid and a 25-year Koch employee. “It made sense to do that here,” Hoss explained, “because we’re likely to use at least 5 million gallons per day, and even more during the summer months. That could put quite a strain on local water resources in years to come.”

SECRET WEAPON

The water treatment technology chosen by Koch Fertilizer for the plant has been provided by another Koch company: Massachusetts-based Koch Membrane Systems. “Once our team decided to move ahead with this idea,” Hoss said, “KMS offered us the best configuration with the best performance specifications.” Anthony Lauletta, in his first year as a global marketing manager for KMS, sees Enid as a win-win for Koch and the community. “By using ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis technology from KMS, the Enid plant will be able to further process and use wastewater discharged by the city rather than using drinking water,” Lauletta said. Since many Koch company sites rely on local water supplies for their manufacturing processes, Lauletta hopes the Enid project will prompt some innovative thinking elsewhere at Koch.

This makes great environmental and economic sense. – Anthony Lauletta

“It’s common for people — including many Koch employees — to associate KMS with things like desalination (turning sea water into drinking water). But what we do goes way beyond that.
“We work with a wide variety of manufacturing companies, including the automotive industry, as well as with dairy, wine, beer and juice producers. “In Australia, we provided a very efficient solution for a manufacturer that was hard-pressed because of record drought.”

GREAT POTENTIAL

“This kind of approach, where you take existing technology and use it in a new way, has great potential all across Koch,” said Hannah Valmont, vice president of EH&S and Operations Compliance for Koch Ag & Energy Solutions. “Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. So if Koch companies can find ways to use and re-use it more efficiently, and then share that knowledge across all our companies, that is great news for the environment. “What Koch Fertilizer and KMS are doing in Enid is exactly the kind of thing we’re talking about in the KII Vision,” Valmont said. “We want to create goods and services that people value while using less resources.”

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