Saltworks Technologies Inc.

A British Columbia company’s wastewater products and systems are providing new technologies to help industry manage their wastewater.

“Over the past 10 years, industry has become increasingly conscious of its impact on water,” says Joshua Zoshi, chief operating officer and co-founder of Saltworks Technologies Inc. The trend is primarily driven by legislation by all levels of government, he says.

Since its founding a decade ago, the Richmond-based company’s growth has been impressive. It now has more than 100 employees and has worked with customers in Australia, Mexico, Spain and the U.S., as well as clients across Canada. These include chemical producers, land-fills, mining companies, oil and gas companies, power-plants and the agricultural industry.

About 10 employees have been hired through an ECO Canada internship program funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Science Horizons Youth Internship Program. Nearly all of them have been kept on as permanent employees after completing their internships.

“This has been a fantastic program that has helped Saltworks immensely,” says Zoshi, an electrical engineer. “It has helped us grow and is giving a much-needed boost to clean technologies.”

Saltworks Scientists in Water Chemistry Lab.

Saltworks’ founders Zoshi and CEO Ben Sparrow met at Simon Fraser University when taking their MBAs. Initially interested in municipal desalination, they realized that efficient and less costly industrial wastewater treatment options were urgently needed.

In a podcast interview, Sparrow, a mechanical engineer, remarked that while access to clean water might be considered a basic human right, treatment of wastewater should be a basic human responsibility. “Evolution didn’t plan for industrial development,” he remarked.

The company, which provides customized solutions for wastewater handling, has more than 50 patents for industrial wastewater products, including membranes and evaporators.

Saltworks’ interns, many of whom have graduated in electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering, have worked on a range of projects from front-end design to field work. Some travel to customer sites to help with installation, testing and plant operations.

Because the company works in many countries, language skills are especially valued. Languages spoken by staff include Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog and a range of dialects spoken in India.

Interns work closely with supervisors and receive extensive hands-on training to learn new skills, says Megan Low, the company’s chemistry and process engineering manager. She says Saltworks seeks people who are adaptable, open-minded, able to work in a team, and who are open to feed-back. Some have moved into senior positions.

Alex, a former intern provides on-site engineering for one of Saltworks’ full-scale industrial desalination plants at a customer’s site. And Kyle, also a former intern, is designing improvements for Saltworks’ next-generation SaltMaker zero-liquid discharge technology.

“The internship is a great opportunity to work on new technologies,” says Low, who has enjoyed working on big projects since she joined the company four years ago. “And the interns enjoy working on green technologies that will help the planet.”

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