3.06.2008 Grand Haven Tribune

CHARDON, Ohio. One of the country's largest producers of industrial sand has teamed up with a Holland-based foundation to supply 1,000 sand filters to villages in underdeveloped countries. The filters will provide safe drinking water, according to Fairmount Minerals Ltd. in Chardon, Ohio.

A Fairmount Minerals subsidiary, Standard Sand Co., is located in Grand Haven Township.

developing inexpensive systems to locally generate sustainable supplies of potable drinking water. The Aqua Clara water purification system cleans and disinfects polluted water that may come from rainfall, polluted ponds and unsanitary shallow wells without boiling to kill the pathogens. Fairmount and Aqua Clara developed the filters with the help of the engineering department of Hope College.

“In addition to providing clean water, our focus is on increasing industry in the region,” Aqua Clara Director Bob McDonald said. “We want to teach local business people to make the purifiers and sell them to support their families. Once people experience the difference clean water makes and value its importance, we're confident they will buy these units to use in their homes.”

Fairmount President Chuck Fowler said the program's first locally owned business involves the production and sale of family-sized filters and the installation of a large water filtration unit that serves a school complex in Kenya.

According to the World Health Organization and United Nation's Children's Fund, more than half of the world's population has access to safe drinking water for the first time in history, thanks in part to the use of sand filter technology that's actually more than a century old.

A leading producer of industrial sand, Fairmount employs more than 350 people at 18 mining and mineral processing plants in the United States and Canada.