Ottawa’s Clearford lauded for water projects spanning from Kemptville to India

Clearford in North Grenville

In the midst of a restructuring plan, Ottawa clean-tech firm Clearford Water Systems received a high-profile endorsement of its technology and commercialization efforts this week.

The company’s sewage treatment and water purification technology has landed it a major industry award for innovation. The first announced Thursday that international market research firm Frost & Sullivan has recognized the firm’s groundbreaking products with its 2017 Best Practices Award for Enabling Technology Leadership in the Decentralized Water and Wastewater Treatment Industry.

Clearford is known for selling its technology to municipalities in less developed countries such as India and Colombia. But it was a project in its own backyard that earned special kudos from Frost & Sullivan this time around.

Last year, the company finished installing its Clearford One sanitation system at a mobile home park near Kemptville after the 80 residents were handed eviction notices when the park’s owner failed to comply with sewage treatment regulations.

Clearford’s groundbreaking technology solved the problems created by the park’s aging septic systems. The firm helped alleviate the other vexing issue – funding – through a 30-year, $3-million agreement that sees residents pay monthly user fees while the municipality monitors the performance of the sewage treatment system.

“Through its Clearford One offering, Clearford has provided a one-stop solution for the entire wastewater treatment cycle, and its unique business model – the pay-for-performance financing scheme – has made the company a reliable and cost-effective solution provider,” Frost & Sullivan research analyst Paul Hudson said in a statement.

On the other side of the world, Clearford’s Jambudiyapura sanitation project in India was also cited for its impact in making the area the first defecation-free village in the Indian state of Gujarat and leading to additional project opportunities in the south Asian country.

Ahmedabad
Homes in Ahmedabad, India. It's the largest city in the state of Gujarat, where Ottawa-based Clearford has several installations.

The award comes as Clearford starts work on a new business plan that it hopes will put the struggling company on more solid footing following years of losses. In its most recent quarter, the firm reported revenues had dropped 6.6 per cent year-over-over to just over $970,000, and the company has an accumulated deficit of about $45 million.

In June, the firm told shareholders it wants to end its reliance on subcontractors by acquiring companies capable of bringing its wastewater treatment operations and services in-house.

“The new business model will position Clearford as a provider of water purification and complete wastewater solutions: collection; treatment; and systems operations,” CEO Kevin Loiselle said in late July.

A critical part of this plan involves finding financial backers to help Clearford fund its acquisitions, the first of which the company plans to complete before the end of the year.