From municipal water systems to industrial cooling towers, one Allentown manufacturing operation is leading the way to safer, more effective water purification and disinfectant processes with products that could have global implications in ongoing efforts to provide clean water.
CDG Environmental is a pioneer in the development and use of chlorine dioxide products for uses that now range from purifying the water in small municipal systems and eliminating the microbes that can grow in cooling towers to disinfecting vegetables and other food products and food preparation surfaces and equipment.
“It’s a specialty niche business that has a lot of potential. Ours is a demonstrated product in an area that has increasing importance around the world,” says CDG Technology Development Manager Peter Dent, a Lehigh University-trained chemical engineer, Air Products veteran and regulatory specialist who joined the company in December. “It’s basically clean water. ”
The company’s key products are CDG SOLUTION 3000™ a liquid concentrate and storage-stable chlorine dioxide aqueous solution that is the only product on the market capable of delivering the chlorine dioxide molecule to the end user’s application in a concentrated, ready-to-use form without the need for any on-site generation or “activation;” SAF-T-CHLOR, a gas-solid system and proprietary form of sodium chlorite used for the on-site production of high-purity chlorine dioxide gas; and CDG AQUADIOXIDE, which can be used for applications such as odor control of organic and inorganic sulfides, organic sulfur compounds such as mercaptans, disulfides, amines, aldehydes, ketones, fatty acids, phenols, and ammonia; iron and manganese reduction in non-potable water; color removal; removal of hydrogen sulfide from crude petroleum, refined petroleum, hydrodesulfurization, natural gas, and hot springs; odor control in coke ovens, tanneries, waste-water treatment and kraft paper mills; oxidation of thiols, ; oxidation of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals. CDG AQUADIOXIDE can also be used in the treatment of seafood, fruits and vegetables, poultry and red meat including ready-to-eat meats.
“Our products are used for the treatment of potable water and cooling water in hospitals, healthcare facilities, hotels, commercial, governmental and office buildings, ships, treatment of food processing water, livestock drinking water, industrial process water, vegetable washing, and cooling towers,” says Dent. “The products are mostly used to get rid of bacteria, algae, slime and more and do so in a quicker, more effective way than alternatives such as bleach, chlorine, PAA, and other chemicals.”
“Our products are a safe and easy way to produce and use very pure chlorine dioxide, free of chlorite, chlorate, perchlorate ions and molecular chlorine, which are impurities that can cause issues with equipment and even react with organic to produce complex organic chlorine compounds,” he adds.
While its manufacturing operations are based in Allentown at the former Bonney Forge facility, just off Sumner Avenue, CDG Environmental is a Bethlehem-based company that began under the auspices of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners program at Lehigh University in the late 1990s. It has gone through some growing pains over the past 15 years and emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.
“We are growing quite nicely now,” Dent says, “When we started in 2009 the solution part was almost none of our business. Now it is about half. ”
The company works directly with its municipal customers by distributes the other products through Delaval, ChemTreat and other distributors. “We have some things going for us and adding the distribution has been a good thing,” Dent says.
The company employs about 12 people, including at least a half-dozen manufacturing employees in Allentown. Dent says the Lehigh Valley has been a rich supply of experienced, educated team members.
“We have a good crew here and many have been with us a while,” he says, adding that growth is the goal – though that may come via satellite production facilities in other areas of the country to offset the cost of transporting a product that is mostly water.
“It’s a neat little business and it could be quite a lot bigger if we can get people to realize the implications,” says Dent.