by Dennis Dalman
The Meyers of St. Joseph – Joe, Pete, Todd – have caused a worldwide interest in their new product – the “Mud Hen.”
At a recent trade show in Las Vegas, the Meyers were pleased with the keen interest in the “Mud Hen,” a portable machine that can recycle slurry water on-site for concrete projects. The Meyers – two brothers and a cousin – are owners of ‘Pristine Environmental,” a full-circle water company that makes equipment that recycles water in a variety of industries, large and small. Joe and Pete are brothers; Todd is their cousin.
About 13 years ago, the Meyers started their own water-filtration equipment company called “Avista.” That company is still extant, along with Pristine, which they created four years ago. Pristine has two plants – one in St. Joseph on Pearl Drive with six employees, the other in Las Vegas with nine employees.
The Meyers decided to start their water-recycling business after so many of their Avista customers asked them if they would start making equipment so water in factories could be recycled – a way to cut down production costs, not to mention an environmentally friendly, good thing to do.
Throughout history, including nowadays, factories generally use huge amounts of water in manufacturing processes. Most of that water goes right down the drain or into holding ponds.
Some factories, of course, such as food processors, must use a constant supply of fresh water. Others, however, do not need the freshest of water. They include concrete companies, brick-makers, granite cutters, paper mills and industries that produce certain glass, metal or plastic products.
Pristine manufacturers equipment can clean and recycle a water supply within a company or on-site job so not only is a huge amount of perfectly clean water not necessary but the environment gets a “break,” too.
There are basically two types of processes Pristine makes available via its equipment, which is all manufactured at its St. Joseph and Las Vegas plants. One is the use of polymer chemicals that causes particles in water to settle rapidly in the huge clarifying tanks made by Pristine. Another – called the filter-press process – places metal plates under huge pressure as the water is pressed through those plates, removing solids from the water. The resultant sediment from both processes – depending on what it is – can be hauled away, pressed into cakes for safe disposal or re-used in the manufacturing process.
The settling tanks Pristine makes come in a variety of sizes for different types of functions. The average tank holds 1,500 gallons and is 12 feet high; the biggest holds 3,000 gallons and is 15 feet high.
Several of Pristine’s customers are granite companies. Granite dust or bits that settle into the tanks in water after the cutting process are sold to various places or for other uses, such as becoming part of road beds.
“I feel good about being able to help out the environment with our products,” Joe Meyer said. “It just makes sense.”
Pristine has about 60 customers currently – about 40 in the United States and about 20 in Canada.
“A lot of our recent business is in Canada,” he said. “The U.S. economy is not so good, so that has an effect for now.”
All three Meyer men have been vital components of Avista and Pristine from the beginning.
“Pat and Todd are more mechanical,” Joe said. “They’re great at that and at building. I’m more esoteric, more mathematical. I’m better at the chemistry aspect; they’re much better at the mechanical things.”
The Meyers are very excited about their latest product – the “Mud Hen.” It is a portable water filtration rig that can be used at concrete-laying sites.
“It’s small and affordable,” Joe said. “And it brings water recycling to a lot of people.”
When crews are pouring concrete at work sites, they use a lot of water for cleaning and washing equipment. Typically, the waste water is captured in bins, then the company comes and pumps out the bins and hauls the waste water away. With the Mud Hen, the slurry waste is separated from the water. It can then easily be hauled away, and the water – cleaned of the solids – can be poured down the drain.
“The process meets all the environmental regulations,” Joe said. “We’ve gotten lots of good feedback about it and interest in it from all over the world during our trade show in Las Vegas.”
Avista and Pristine do just under $2 million in business annually.