November 5, 2001

Biolix teams with French water treatment firm to advance Metix process

Biolix, an environmental technology firm based in Quebec City, has signed a partnership agreement with Ondeo, a major French water treatment and management company. The agreement will see Metix, an advanced sludge (biosolids) treatment process owned by Biolix, adapted and commercialized for the French market.

Its introduction and marketing will be carried out in France by Lyonnaise des Eaux France (LEF), a subsidiary of Ondeo Services. LEF supplies 14 million citizens with drinking water and treats the wastewater of close to nine million people in France. In March 2000, Lyonnaise des Eaux France, together with Sita (Suez Group) implemented France's first biological drying and composting platform for sludge.

"This partnership with a global leader in water-related services represents a significant step for our company. This international alliance is a recognition of our technology," stated Paul Boudreault, executive vice- president at Biolix. The company specializes in the creation and marketing of new technologies to treat and use domestic, industrial and agricultural sludge. The Metix process is the result of twenty years of research on sludge treatment by a team at Quebec's Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS-Eau).

The process is designed to decontaminate sludges too high in concentrations of heavy metals or other contaminants to meet regulatory limits for land application. It also eliminates odours and bacteria, says Biolix. Metix is intended for use in municipal and industrial treatment plants as well as in facilities with specific quality requirements for the biosolids they generate.

The high level of treatment provided by the process allows the recycling and agricultural use of these residues, minimizing or eliminating altogether the need to landfill or incinerate them.

Municipal wastewater treatment plants around the world produce an estimated total or more than 200 million tons of sludge annually. With processing costs varying between $40 and $140 per ton, global spending allotted to this sector far surpasses $14 billion per year.

In France, the total annual sludge production at urban treatment plants, is projected to reach eight million tons in 2001 and over nine million tons by 2005. The potential current market for the new process could range from 10% to 15% of this total. Moreover, says Biolix, the market will likely expand as future biosolids regulations set tighter limits on allowable levels of heavy metals and other contaminants.

The Metix process can also be used to treat sediments dredged from ports, estuaries and canals. This option creates a new market for the technology and offers new management options for these sediments, which often have a high heavy metal content and require special confinement facilities.

More information is available from Paul Boudreault, executive vice-president, Biolix, 418/266-5584, Web site

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