Innovative solution aims to prevent water contamination accidents

Chea Jackson

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sault Ste. Marie SmartZone tenant Quansor’s new technology monitors water quality

A new tenant of the Sault Ste. Marie SmartZone (SSMart) has developed an innovative solution that could potentially prevent water contamination accidents while completely automating the labor-intensive process of water quality monitoring.

“Quansor’s mission is extremely important and their technology has many real-word applications,” said Fred Molnar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “This is exactly what our SmartZones were designed to do—provide the resources, connections and partnerships necessary to develop life-changing technology.” 

Quansor has developed a low-cost, continuous-flow monitoring technology that detects waterborne contaminants in real-time. The Flint water crisis is just one example of the type of disaster that could have been identified early on if this system was applied. 

“Recent events in Michigan emphasize the need for this type of technology,” said John Merrill, president of Quansor. “With the help of our partners, we’re committed to developing and perfecting a monitoring system that will ultimately lead to safer and healthier drinking water for current and future generations.” 

Upon learning of the crisis in Flint, Merrill recognized the significant impact the Quansor technology could have, and the immediate need to bring visibility to -- and accountability for -- the nation’s public water systems.

Quansor met with the partner organizations at SSMart and relocated to Michigan.

Typically, water monitoring is conducted by drawing samples and submitting them to labs for analysis, which is often a lengthy and extensive process. Some companies and organizations spend upwards of $500,000 every year to continuously analyze the effectiveness of their water treatment systems.

Quansor’s technology uses a low-cost electronic device to automatically identify the presence and concentration of target ions or molecules within the water. It can be used in commercial and residential settings and is user-friendly enough for consumers to operate. 

Quansor is leasing space at the Meridian Street Technology Business Accelerator building, which provides close access to SSMart and the labs at Lake Superior State University (LSSU). The LSSU Product Development Center is working with Quansor to further develop their technology in areas such as electronics, software and packaging.

Additionally, the LSSU Environmental Analysis Lab will play a role by offering lab services, providing samples, verifying data and measuring results.

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