HATTIESBURG – Sometimes the best solutions to problems such as waste management are those that simply enhance what Mother Nature has provided. A case in point is Bio-Solutions International Inc., a publicly-traded company that uses special combinations of natural microbes and enzymes to digest organic waste-turning toxic materials into harmless substances.
Bio-Solutions’ natural products are used to treat sites contaminated by such pollutants as hydrocarbons, grease, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. The company`s biggest customers are municipalities dealing with problems such as buildups of grease that can clog sewage lines and lift stations.
Natural treatment of waste is “the greatest thing since sliced bread,” says Joe Ashley, a member of the board of directors and a consultant for Bio-Solutions. “It`s definitely the way to go and the thing of the future. Mother Nature was designed to do what we are doing. It is amazing what you can do with bacteria and enzymes.”
Ashley said in addition to being environmentally-friendly forms of waste remediation that are guaranteed to work, businesses and municipalities can save money by avoiding the use of costly and dangerous chemicals
“We are taking these natural microbes, multiplying them, putting them in there in massive counts to do the job,” he said. “When waste passes through the bacteria, through digestion it changes the whole molecular structure. We are taking a toxic substrate and by digestion converting it to harmless elements.”
The company`s biggest market is with sewer collection systems, particularly with regard to digesting grease that can build up and clog sewer lines and lift stations. One of the formulas digests grease very well. Even with grease traps, a lot goes down into the sewage collection system and can clog lift stations, manholes and other parts of the system.
The company also treats grease traps and drain lines for foodservice facilities such as restaurants, hospitals and schools. Customer Chad George, manager of the IHOP in Oxford, Ala., is a big believer in the products.
“Since the introduction of the Bio-Solutions treatment method over a year ago, persistent problems such as clogged drains, drain gnat infestations and fruit flies have ceased,” George said. “Additionally, our grease traps have not had to be pumped since treatment began and back flow odors are non-existent. It is truly a relief to have the worries of a clogged drainage system removed from the numerous other areas that we, as managers, have to focus on.”
Normally the Oxford Water & Sewer Board requires that restaurant grease traps be pumped once a month. But seeing the successful results at restaurants treated with Bio-Solutions products, the water and sewer board allowed restaurants to substitute bacterial treatment for mandatory pumping. Then the city tried the products when facing a lift station with a cap of hardened grease two- to three-feet thick that prevented them from pumping the station down to do scheduled maintenance. After treatment, the grease was digested and no longer a problem.
“We recommend Bio-Solutions of East Alabama for your consideration in solving problems with grease in your system,” said Bob Fulton, general superintendent of Oxford Water & Sewer Board.
The company also sells microbes that help prevent the buildup of hydrogen sulfide in sewer collection systems that can damage the sewer collection system infrastructure. When mixed with moisture, hydrogen sulfide turns to sulfuric acid that can destroy concrete and metal.
Hydrogen sulfide is “rough and dangerous,” Ashley said. “Every sewer collection system has it, but some municipalities have worse problems than others.”
Another use for the product is to digest sewage sludge. Sewage sludge left over after treatment is stored in a lagoon until it fills up. Then the sludge is hauled off for disposal, an expensive process. Bio-Solutions has a product that digests the sludge, leaving more space in the lagoon and reducing costs for digging up and hauling off the sludge.
Bio-Solutions products are also marketed to portable toilet companies, to farmers for animal waste treatment, and to homeowners for use on their septic systems.
Bio-Solutions, which has had sales operations in Hattiesburg for a number of years, moved its manufacturing operations from Nebraska to Hattiesburg at a new facility at 1161 James St. to have all their operations under one roof. Ashley said that is helpful because if service people run into any problems, they can consult with the two Ph.D. scientists on staff who do research on continuing to improve the company`s formulas and developing products for new uses.
“The formulation is very important,” Ashley said. “The microbes must work synergistically with each other. Some strains could be detrimental to others. A lot of things can affect the microbes such as ph.”
A key to the success of Bio-Solutions, Ashley said, is customer assistance provided by service technicians. All franchises/distributors and their employees complete a rigorous training program to prepare them for the many different situations they encounter out in the field. If any problems arise, the two scientists who have developed the products are available to consult on solutions that will be cost effective and environmentally friendly.
“We train our service people extremely well,” Ashley said. “We don`t send some guy out there who hasn`t been well educated about how to use the product.”
Currently Bio-Solutions has franchises in 16 states. The company reported a 72% increase in sales in 2003.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Becky Gillette at email@example.com.