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TECHNOLOGY PROFILE – BluMetric Environmental

TECHNOLOGY PROFILE – BluMetric Environmental

BY JAMES CARELESS

BluMetric currently has an $18.2 million contract to support the SRODs installed on the RCN’s Halifax class frigates credit: Cpl Michael Bastien, Combat Camera

BluMetric Environmental

Keeping the CAF Awash in Fresh, Clean Water

 

Clean water is as vital as fuel and ammunition to the Canadian Armed Forces. Military operations cannot be conducted anywhere without it.

Ottawa-based BluMetric Environmental Inc is the CAF’s trusted partner for clean water solutions. Products such as BluMetric’s SROD (Shipboard Reverse Osmosis Desalinator) and ROWPU (Reverse Osmosis Water Purification System) make it possible for Canada’s naval and land forces to deploy internationally and support relief missions at home and abroad. The knowledge to design, build, and support these cutting-edge water treatment products comes from BluMetric’s 40 years experience in environmental consulting and 25 years in water/wastewater treatment.

“BluMetric is a company that’s really all about integrated solutions,” said company CEO Scott MacFabe. “We have a very strong consulting history and we have a strong technology history and the two complement each other very, well.”

“We have provided solutions, services and support to the Canadian Armed Forces for many years – with a particularly strong presence within the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) – and are truly becoming the water subject matter experts for the Canadian defence industry,” he added. “As well, our experts are on-call 24-7 to support our water treatment and are ready to deploy in any situations — including combat zones.”

 

AT SEA

 

The clearest proof of BluMetric’s stature with the Canadian Armed Forces is the number of supply/support contracts it has with DND.

A case in point: BluMetric currently has an $18.4 million contract (signed July 2018) to support the SRODs installed on the RCN’s Halifax class frigates.

As the name suggests, Shipboard Reverse Osmosis Desalinators provide naval ships with fresh, pure drinking water extracted from the oceans that the ships are sailing in. In the case of the RCN’s Halifax class frigates, BluMetric is overhauling/updating their existing SRODs (previously supplied/installed by the company) to bring them up to the most modern standards.

The goal of this contract is to significantly modify the frigates’ SRODs, so that they can be operated with minimal maintenance/supplies during a typical 90-day deployment at sea. Making this happen entails reducing the amount of ‘consumables’ needed to filter and purify salt water.

“We want the ships to be able to produce potable water using far less energy and far fewer consumables for a longer period of time, which helps in their 90- day deployments and supports the green fleet initiative,” said Corey Switzer, BluMetric’s Military Market Leader and PMO Manager. “Reducing the environmental footprint of generating this fresh water is critical for the fleet, as is reducing the amount of scheduled maintenance which results in minimal downtime .”

BluMetric is configuring its SRODs to digitally log every aspect of their onboard monitoring systems, which can be stored on a server and reviewed on a shipboard computer display. This eliminates the need to send a crew member physically to the SROD to check these readings in person.

The company’s SRODs are being provided to Seaspan Shipyards for the JSS (Joint Support Ship) Shipbuilding Program, under a $4.2 million contract signed October 2018. Seaspan is building 17 non-combat ships for the RCN and the Canadian Coast Guard, including one Polar class icebreaker and two joint support ships.

The JSS project is also installing BluMetric’s new SUVUs (Shipboard Ultraviolet Units, contract signed/ March 2019) and SCDUs (Shipboard Chlorine Dosing Unit, contract signed/ March 2019) in its ships. Designed to work with the SROD, the SUVU allows a ship to safely treat any port-supplied fresh water using bacteria-killing UV light. Meanwhile, the SCDU monitors and doses chlorine levels in all ship-based water, be it from the SROD or the port. Think of it as a ‘Goldilocks device’. The SCDU ensures that the ship’s fresh water is neither over- nor under-chlorinated – it’s ‘just right’.

In addition to these DND naval contracts, BluMetric has signed a Standing Offer Agreement (May 2018) with SNC Lavalin to provide in-service support to the RCN’s Kingston class coastal defence vessels. It also has a Standing Offer Agreement with Federal Fleet Services Inc. (April 2018) to provide in-service support on the MV Asterix, the civilian ship that Federal Fleets substantially modified to supply our Navy at sea.

Most recently, BluMetric is pursuing a contract with the RCN to provide Oily Water Separators (OWS) for the Halifax class frigates. The OWS safely removes oil and other contaminants from a ship’s bilge water, which can accumulate where sea water interacts with the ship’s machinery. BluMetric and one other competitor are currently having their OWS tested by the RCN.

Shipboard Reverse Osmosis Desalinators provide naval ships with fresh, pure drinking water

ON LAND

 

In 2017, BluMetric signed a contract with DND to support the Canadian Army’s ROWPUs (Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Systems). Under the deal, the company is being paid $3.5 million to support the ROWPUs, and $1.8 million to provide the land forces’ ROWPUs with 90 Day Sustainment Kits. These water purification units are used for military operations and disaster relief deployments anywhere Canada’s help is needed in the world.

As with its SRODs, BluMetric has been working diligently to reduce the energy and consumables needed to operate its ROWPUs. “What we’ve done is revolutionized the pre-filtration unit so that everything is automatically back-washed,” said Switzer. “This allows the system to run 90 days without requiring filter changes, which reduces downtime, the money spent on consumables, and the huge amount of waste generated by using disposable filters.” BluMetric’s ROWPUs are also designed to filter out CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) contaminants from the water, which can be truly life-saving in conflict zones.

 

END-TO-END SERVICE

 

BluMetric’s success in winning numerous DND contracts speaks to the company’s commitment to building quality water treatment systems that are easy to operate, generate consistently clean water, and function as designed for years at a time.

This said, the real secret to BluMetric’s success is its end-to-end service. “We don’t consider the job done when the tech has been shipped out,” said MacFabe. “We work very closely with our clients to make sure that integration and deployment are seamless, and that they have the necessary training and support to be able to run it themselves. And when problems that they can’t fix come up – and they inevitably do because it’s technology that we’re talking about – we’re right there to support them and to make sure that their downtime is as short as possible.”

“BluMetric’s commitment to service has stood up even during the pandemic,” Switzer added. “Right now, we have field service representatives travelling to the East Coast, West Coast, and Northern Canada to support our clients and resolve their problems.”

MacFabe added, “it’s hard for me to hide my pride in this aspect of our business and how the team, led by Corey, has been there for our clients throughout COVID-19.”

Add BluMetric’s belief in paying attention to customer feedback – “the more we listen, the better we make the technology,” said MacFabe – and one can see why this Ottawa company is doing so well in the Canadian defence sector. After all, water is life for everyone who serves in the CAF (as well as everyone else on the planet). By doing its best to keep the CAF supplied with potable water, BluMetric has proven itself to be an essential partner for DND and the men and women who serve in the CAF.

 


 

James Careless is CDR’s Ottawa Bureau Chief

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