Missoula biological company lands milestone contract in Utah

This ground level view of the Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery system developed by CLEARAS Water Recovery in Missoula is under construction at the South Davis wastewater treatment plant in Utah.

By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

A biological company based in Missoula announced a significant milestone this week, landing a major contract with a Utah municipality where it will deploy its non-chemical technologies to recover phosphorous and nitrogen from the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

CLEARAS Water Recovery, founded and headquartered in Missoula, signed a contract with the city of South Davis to implement its Advanced Biological Nutrient Recovery system as part of a $24 million upgrade to the city’s wastewater plant.

“The project in Utah is a watershed moment for us,” Andrew Gordon, the company’s marking development manager, said Thursday. “It’s going to be the first full-scale installation of our technology at a 4 million-gallon-plus capacity plant.”

The nutrient recovery system will bolt on to the existing South Davis wastewater plant as part of a larger upgrade. Gordon said the company’s technology scales to any size project and integrates seamlessly into the existing infrastructure.

Once in place, the CLEARAS system uses micro-algae to recover phosphorous and nitrogen while accelerating photosynthesis. The system produces clean, recoverable water in three separate phases and uses no chemical additives.

The South Davis plant can treat up to 4 million gallons per day.

“We’re an ideal solution for these folks,” said Gordon. “It doesn’t require tearing out foundational technologies. We can bolt onto existing infrastructure to treat their secondary waste stream using micro-algae. We keep the system completely balanced.”

Gordon said CLEARAS, founded in Missoula in 2008, met members of the South Davis Sewer District at a conference last year. The municipality showed interest in the technology and after months of talking costs and offering demonstrations, a deal was reached.

Jordan Lind, CEO of CLEARAS

Jordan Lind, CEO of CLEARAS, said the company found a forward-thinking partner in South Davis, one that was seeking an environmentally friendly way of treating wastewater and reducing carbon dioxide.

“Their board and management have a strong vision and plan which aligns perfectly with our technology and company culture,” said Lind. “This is an important commercial milestone for our business, the future of wastewater treatment, and technologies which advance the circular economy.”

Also on Thursday, CLEARAS announced the hiring of a new chief operating officer in John Thee. The company plans to announced the hire next week, though Gordon said the position coincides with the South Davis contract.

“He officially joined the team today,” Gordon said. “This addition to the team for us is another milestone moment that was part of the winning of this larger project down in Utah. We needed a very strong and seasoned executive leader to come in and guide the company forward.”

Gordon said CLEARAS currently employs 16 workers in Missoula with 35 others based in Oregon. While the company will retain its headquarters in Missoula, he said, it’s looking to expand in other locations as the technology continues to sell.

Contact reporter Martin Kidston at info@missoulacurrent.com