IER News Issue 5
October 2021

IER News Issue 5 – October 2021

A warm welcome to our fifth Newsletter.

A Letter from Doug Kelley, President of IER

“So, just a few months ago we thought we had COVID in the rear-view mirror, but along comes the Delta variant, and the battle goes on. Massive forest fires in the West and record-setting floods in the East. As this is likely our new normal, we’ll need everyone globally to pull together around the foundations of science to address these challenges.

My thoughts and prayers are particularly focused on those in communities most ravaged by the increasing power of nature.

In the midst of this battle, IER has added some troops! Joshua Howard and Scott Langner have joined IER’s team of regional experts, bringing their knowledge in wastewater operations and technical problem solving to serve IER’s customers. With Joshua in Houston and Scott in Sioux Falls, IER has dramatically expanded our resources to support our Midwestern customer base. Welcome to the team, Joshua and Scott!

As we expand our sales and service team, we know that we can always rely on tremendous support from the home front – our Administrative Team! In this newsletter you’ll be introduced to our long-standing Customer Service Manager, who cares deeply about each customer’s needs and strives to orchestrate the very best logistical solution even under emergency situations. In the world of wastewater treatment, especially for our industrial customers, there are times when the bacteria in the plant are behaving dramatically differently today than they were yesterday. This could be due to a seasonal upset, or perhaps someone up in the plant dumped a chemical down the drain that they shouldn’t have. It takes an extremely committed and capable administrative person to juggle all the internal and external resources in order to meet the fluctuating needs of our growing customer base.

We are also highlighting in this newsletter the tremendous benefits of IER’s Magnesium Hydroxide products for controlling odor and corrosion in sewer lines. We refer to this application as “killing two birds with one stone”, meaning that by feeding AMALGAM-60 (60% Mg(OH)) into a lift station for collection system odor and corrosion control, the increased pH and alkalinity entering the treatment plant greatly minimizes or eliminates the need for added alkalinity in order to maintain effective nitrification. We hope you enjoy reading this technical story!

While the COVID battle continues, we encourage all to follow the guidance of science and to be as thoughtful as possible toward the health and safety of all those we encounter. This philosophy is identical to IER’s philosophy of providing sound scientific solutions while supporting our customer’s applications with world-class technical service. These times are still far from “normal”, but we can best reach a successful new normal by pulling together around the foundations of science.”

Introducing Karen Kurle

Karen Kurle previously worked as an international account manager, assisted the trade show manager for an electronics firm, and assisted the safety director for a truck brokerage company.

Since joining IER in 2005, Karen has contributed to the health and wellbeing of the company, her teammates, and our customers by taking on numerous responsibilities including customer service, bookkeeping, purchasing, scheduling, dispatching, inventory control, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and maintaining DOT and driver records.

Today Karen is IER’s Customer Service Manager and her priority is to ensure every customer’s request is researched and answered in a timely and professional manner. If you call IER, Karen will always be there with a smile and her full attention.

Outside of work, Karen enjoy spending time with my family.

IER News Issue 4 – June 2021

A warm welcome to our fourth Newsletter.

A Letter from Doug Kelley, President of IER

“As we move from Spring into Summer we are all feeling extremely rejuvenated by the dramatic decline in COVID-19 cases in the States, allowing us to get outdoors to enjoy the warming weather and outdoor fun. IER is also experiencing rejuvenation after passing through the most difficult Winter season imaginable, being able to make a full conversion and upgrade to our Magnesium Hydroxide product line while having to navigate through the pandemic and the Texas power outage!

We couldn’t have done it without our dedicated team of delivery specialists, men who take great pride in meeting or exceeding our customers delivery needs. In this newsletter you’ll get the chance to meet one of our longest employed delivery specialist, who not only takes great care of our customers, but is a tremendous resource of ideas and service in and around our manufacturing facility.

We are also highlighting in this newsletter a lesser-known benefit of Magnesium Hydroxide, that being its coagulation properties which can provide a dramatic benefit in the dewatering of wastewater sludge. In this newsletter, an article describing the chemistry behind flocculation and sludge compaction, and an actual case study that documents the reduction in sludge hauling fees when replacing NaOH with Mg(OH)2, will be useful reading for those experiencing sludge treatment challenges. Perhaps a change to a safer alkaline additive can also have a significant impact on the overall cost performance of your system!

Finally, we have decided to include in this newsletter a simple and scientifically sound method that we developed for testing the comparative dosing rates for different alkaline chemicals. We call it the Vinegar Test, named accordingly, as you’ll see, for obvious reasons.

It sure feels like we’re nearing the end of the COVID tunnel, and the light is looking brighter and more like normal. Never thought we’d all be so desperate for . . . normal!!

Wishing everyone the very happiest and safest Summer – you deserve it!”

Introducing Patrick Helman

In 2012, after many years working in the retail sector, Patrick decided to get his Commercial Driver’s License. He started his career as a truck driver with a local company before he joined the North Dakota oil fields, where he worked until the oil boom in North Dakota came to an end in late 2015.

This is what brought him back to the Pacific Northwest, where he could be closer to family and friends in his hometown of Othello, WA.

In November 2016, he joined IER and has been providing dedicated delivery services to IER customers ever since. Patrick drives from our Pasco plant to customer sites and has been an important part of IER’s growth in the Pacific Northwest region over the last few years.  He has come to know IER’s business so extensively that he is a great resource for our customers, as well as a fantastic sounding board for feedback to IER’s technical and service team.  He also enjoys supporting various technical projects that are always going on back at the plant!  His natural curiosity and warm personality make Patrick a tremendous asset for our IER team!

Outside of work, Patrick enjoys woodworking, fishing, hunting and growing fresh vegetables in his garden.

Introducing Kevin Kohler

Kevin Kohler chose to serve his nation directly after leaving high school, joining the US Marine Corps, where he served as a mechanic, receiving extensive training in various areas of maintenance.  He received numerous awards and commendations and served on several overseas deployments.

Kevin joined IER in 2009, and has held various positions including Plant Manager, Regional Manager, and now Project Engineer.  With tremendous work ethic and inherent curiosity, Kevin has gained invaluable experience in product development and automated chemical feed and control systems. To further assist IER’s clients, Kevin has completed numerous wastewater treatment courses and earned several certificates while progressing towards an engineering degree.

He resides in Walla Walla, WA, with his wife and daughter. Outside of work, Kevin enjoys the great outdoors, especially hunting and fishing.

IER News Issue 3 – March 2021

A warm welcome to our third Newsletter.

A Letter from Doug Kelley, President of IER

“As amazing, challenging, sobering, and enlightening as 2020 was, we have now made the turn and are off and running in 2021!

Actually, these are very exciting times in IER, primarily because we have taken what we’ve learned from the hard work of research and development in 2020 and have  converted our manufacturing processes into the sale of new, world-class formulas for our AMALGAM Magnesium Hydroxide products!

By combining IER’s multiple years of chemistry, engineering, and operational experiences, along with strong guidance from our Calix partners in Australia, our team of dedicated professionals has reached new milestones in the development of formulations of magnesium hydroxide (AMALGAM-60, 60% Mg(OH)2) and blended alkaline additives (such as AMALGAM-55, blend of Mg and Ca hydroxides). These new formulations exhibit improved reactivity and settling stability with dramatically reduced viscosity, providing more reliable dosing under all wastewater application conditions.

In this newsletter, we are highlighting one of our key employees who played a central role in the development of these formulations.  Interestingly, he is not a Ph.D. chemist, nor a degreed engineer (though he is getting close to that achievement!).  Most importantly, he is a very curious person who is powerfully driven, each day looking to improve the efficiency of our processes and the effectiveness of our products.  His passion to learn and succeed has resulted in his rise within our organization to a position of oversight into nearly every project we perform.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy having the chance to meet him in this newsletter.

In our last newsletter I mentioned how we are rapidly expanding into the treatment of odor and corrosion in lift stations and collection systems.  While this is not a new application for magnesium hydroxide, IER’s team is bringing a unique focus on this application in order to address the overall performance of the collection system, as well as the wastewater treatment plant at the end of the pipe.  I am very excited to share in a future newsletter some very encouraging findings concerning the replacement of two hazardous chemicals with one nonhazardous AMALGAM product to completely mitigate collection system/lift station odor and corrosion, while simultaneously optimizing the alkalinity at the treatment plant for effective nutrient removal!

Finally, I want to wish all reading this newsletter the very best with the physical and mental health for yourself, your family members, and your co-workers.  This past year brought stresses into each of our lives that we’ve simply never had to face before.

Keep looking out for each other – the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter each day! “

Killing Two Birds with One Stone: Odor & Alkalinity Control

This talk discusses the concept of using the collection system as a means to extend the treatment of wastewater beyond that of the traditional treatment plant.

The discussion covers ideas to use simple chemical concepts to solve more than one problem with a single treatment.  Specifically, this presentation shares how the application of magnesium hydroxide into a force main can provide both odor and corrosion control in the collection system, while simultaneously providing sufficient influent alkalinity to maintain effective nitrification to meet a customer’s new permit limit.

Introducing Pete Leber

Pete graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science Technology. Pete started to work as a laboratory supervisor for a potato processing plant in the Tri-Cities of Washington.

From there, Pete moved back to Oregon to join a cherry processing plant, where he held several roles in both supervisory and management positions – Production Manager, Plant Manager and eventually Vice President of Operations, with responsibilities covering two processing plants. During that time, wastewater treatment became an important part of his overall operational responsibility.

Outside of work, Pete likes spending time outdoors especially hunting, fishing and camping.

Pete brings a depth of on-site wastewater experience, with a strong focus on both regulations and budget, to provide hands-on expertise and excellent service to IER customers.

IER News Issue 2 – December 2020

A warm welcome to our second Newsletter.

A Letter from Doug Kelley, President of IER

“It’s hard to believe it has been one year since IER joined forces with Calix, and what an amazing challenge it has been trying to grow together in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.  Through the miracle of webinars and emails we have shown incredible resiliency in our efforts to come to know each other and to really enjoy working with each other, confirming how our two companies – now one! – are mutually committed to advancing new technologies that cost-effectively sustain all life here on Earth!

IER has been focused on upgrading our core technologies related to magnesium hydroxide.  Our primary product, AMALGAM-60, has been reformulated to provide exceptional performance and stability. This has resulted in improved feed reliability and cost reductions related to customer handling and maintenance of slurry storage and feed systems.

In this newsletter, we are highlighting one of our key employees who transitioned from the food processing world over a decade ago to join IER and has been extremely successful in growing our business in Western Washington and Oregon.  His primary focus has been to replace the use of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) with magnesium hydroxide (AMALGAM-60), with the simple and clear message that it is safer for employees to handle, better for the environment, and costs less to use.  By working closely with the customer to optimize each storage and feed system, while providing exceptional customer service, he has been able to build a strong network of very happy customers.

With the coming new year, IER is poised to grow in our applications of magnesium hydroxide for odor and corrosion control in wastewater collection systems.  Armed with a very high-surface area product (ACTI-Mag), we are prepared to expand into this market with a highly cost-effective technology having over 20 years of proven applications success in Australia and SE Asia.

Finally, I want to wish all reading this newsletter a very safe, healthy, and peaceful end to 2020, and the same in 2021.

The virus pandemic has certainly changed the way we do business, and many of these changes will likely remain with us.  However, my hope is that we all renew our efforts to remain connected to those that are important to us – family and friends.  In many cases, some of our best friends are our customers.  Here’s to the strengthening of old relationships and the excitement of new beginnings in 2021!

Merry Christmas, All!


Introducing John Van Wingerden

John graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. John worked at the Port of Sunnyside Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant for 11 years in the lab, and then operations, before joining IER in September 2019. At the wastewater treatment plant, he started as a lab technician, but rapidly progressed in operations.

The treatment plant received a multitude of different industrial wastewater streams that varied seasonally. As a laboratory technician, John’s role was to observe the incoming levels of important parameters so that they could maintain optimized treatment in their sequencing batch reactor (SBR).

John was also actively involved in a range of activities from managing the lab to making day-to-day operational decisions for the treatment process.

This also gave John the chance to interact with the IER team as a customer. It was IER’s flexibility and ability to rapidly respond to the plant’s operational issues and technical challenges that convinced him to join the company. Today, he enjoys giving proactive service to his own customers and leads business development of AMALGAM products for the wastewater industry.

Outside of work, John likes to spend time with his family, playing board games with friends and working in his garden.