As municipalities across Canada and around the world face ever-stricter wastewater treatment standards, an Ottawa Valley firm with big international expansion plans is seeing demand grow for its technology that helps customers retrofit and upgrade their existing facilities.
Renfrew-based Bishop Water Technologies sells a variety of water and wastewater treatment solutions including its BioCord Reactors, which remove nutrients from water by allowing symbiotic layers of different bacteria to develop on densely arranged loops of polymer fibres – mirroring the process that occurs in nature.
It’s a solution that can extend the life of existing wastewater treatment infrastructure with a relatively low capital investment. That makes it particularly appealing to municipalities such as The Nation east of Ottawa, which avoided the costly expense of constructing a new mechanical treatment plant by installing BioCord Reactors in its current lagoon system in Limoges.
“There are many communities in Ontario and throughout Canada that are in a very similar situation as The Nation,” said Bishop Water CEO Kevin Bossy. “As their populations grow, many are wondering how to provide wastewater services for new residents and new businesses without taking on the massive debt and higher operating costs that a more complex solution might bring.”
But the reach of Bishop Water, which also targets customers in the mining, light industrial and paper sectors, among others, extends well beyond Eastern Ontario.
Its technology can be found across Canada, as well as in Chile, Australia and New Zealand. Bossy said the company is also close to signing a Scandinavian representative to deepen its inroads in that region.
Prior to leading Bishop Water, Bossy worked at RBC for more than a decade including stints in capital markets, commercial banking and investment banking (he jokes now that he tells people he used to work in investment banking but pivoted to wastewater management “because the smell was better”).
While living in Toronto, he had a cottage in Eganville and eventually bought a house in Renfrew, moving with the bank to the Ottawa Valley.
One of his clients, he said, approached him about Bishop Water Technologies.
“The opportunity to grow a business that wasn’t necessarily about just making money but ... had a culture to it, where people could come and make a difference, was important,” said Bossy. “It seemed like an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down.”
He joined Bishop Water Technologies in 2008 as CEO of the firm, which was spun out of Bishop Aquatic Technologies, and built on the company’s expertise in providing solutions to the aquaculture industry.
Despite cutting his teeth with the business in the midst of the financial crisis slightly more than a decade ago, Bossy said the pressure from COVID-19 was significantly greater.
“Financial crashes come and go, but none of us had been inside of (a global pandemic) before,” he said, tipping his hat to the company’s employees for rallying around the company and doing whatever was necessary to maintain the company’s momentum.
Those efforts paid off.
The company was able to move projects that had been under discussion prior to the start of the pandemic across the finish line in 2020, and Bishop Water’s project in The Nation was honoured with a national industry association award that recognizes early technology adoption.
“At the end of (2020), looking back, we had a really good year,” said Bossy, adding that the company is looking to expand its Canadian footprint this year while deepening its reach in the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand.