An Indianola company has begun producing a portable wastewater treatment plant that officials hope will become an alternative to large expensive plants. Cemen Tech president, Chris Wignall, says the company manufactures concrete mixers, but Warren County economic development officials and the Energy Independence Partnership contacted them about producing the wastewater plants.

“They were looking for a local manufacturer who had the requisite manufacturing skills to build this product. So, they really came to us based upon our manufacturing skill sets,” Wignall says their Wetworks plant is portable and more affordable than building a large treatment plant.

“The technology itself sits inside a standard iso shipping container, so it gives it a good solid infrastructure that can be moved around as the job sites dictate,” Wignall explains. “It provides high treatment qualities so we are meeting new nutrient discharge requirements on a low capital basis and a low operating expense basis as well.”

The plant costs around $250,000 and is seen as an alternative for cities that don’t have millions to invest in a large plant. “Smaller communities in rural Iowa would benefit from this greatly — so they wouldn’t have to build a lagoon system — they could effectively pour a concrete pad and place this unit on that pad. It would serve a community of about 200 individuals and can actually process about 20,000 gallons of water a day,” Wignall says.

The plant could be used at small campgrounds to handle wasterwater and he believes there’s a lot of potential for industrial used of the plant. “The other area that it can actually benefit are the man camps that are growing up in the mining and fracking industry. There are a lot of people there, they are king of overrunning the infrastructure and this product could be used to purify water in those settings as well,” Wignall says.

Wignall says they started production using the existing personnel and manufacturing equipment at the plant. He says they are hoping to raise awareness of the plant and build up so that they are eventually selling the units all across the country.