Aquagenx will provide human resources and portable water quality tests while working directly with water utility operators and local governments in the areas of greatest impact.

Chapel Hill, NC, November 20, 2013 – Aquagenx, LLC, a provider of innovative microbial water quality testing products that detect potential health risks, has been requested by the Government of the Philippines to deploy its Compartment Bag Test (CBT) to the Philippines to assist with post-disaster restoration of critical water services following Super Typhoon Haiyan.

The initial focus of these efforts will be on the Island of Samar, which like Leyte Province, was severely impacted by the typhoon. Aquagenx efforts will also support national government officials in Manila to promote improved disaster preparedness for emergency response efforts targeting the restoration of critical water services.

The CBT is a portable, simple, self-contained microbial water test that helps disaster response personnel quickly test drinking water after a disaster and assess the safety of drinking water onsite. Because fecal contamination frequently finds its way into drinking water after natural disasters, the CBT is routinely used for water quality monitoring in disaster settings and resource limited regions of the world where access to laboratories, electricity, transportation and cold chain are limited. With the CBT, anyone with little training can detect and quantify the concentration of E. coli bacteria in a 100 mL sample, no matter where they are.

“After flooding or other natural disasters, water system infrastructure can become disabled and damaged,” says Mark D. Sobsey, co-inventor of the CBT and a Kenan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. “This often results in the introduction of sewage or other fecal wastes loaded with intestinal pathogens into water systems. The CBT is a simple method for water system operators to determine if water delivered to their customers is safe for consumption.”

“Because it is impractical and costly to monitor all pathogens in drinking water,” continues Sobsey, “the microbiological quality of drinking water is evaluated based on fecal indicator microorganisms such as E. coli. The World Health Organization and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommend a 100 mL sample volume of water be tested for E. coli to determine if water poses a health risk. This is what the CBT does, and Aquagenx is honored our test will be used to help identify safe drinking water after Super Typhoon Haiyan.”

Super Typhoon Haiyan struck in the Visayas (central) region of the Philippines with the provinces of Leyte and the island of Samar receiving the greatest damage. Aquagenx will provide human resources and testing equipment while working directly with water utility operators and local governments in the areas of greatest impact in an effort to help them verify the water delivered by these utilities to their customers is potable.

Aquagenx develops customized CBT packages and programs for disaster relief water testing and monitoring initiatives. Disaster relief responders and providers can contact Aquagenx for more information.

Founded in 2012, Aquagenx has received awards and honors for the CBT, including the USAID Pioneers Prize 2013 and LAUNCH Innovation Prize 2010. The CBT was recently featured by USAID on the cover of its innovations catalog, “The Catalog: Version 1.0.”

Aquagenx is a portfolio company of the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network and Don Holzworth is its Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

 About Aquagenx:

Aquagenx provides innovative water quality testing products that detect potential health risks and help eliminate the millions of annual deaths due to contaminated drinking water. The Compartment Bag Test (CBT) is a portable, simple, microbial water test that addresses the needs of low resource, underserved markets. The test can be used in low resource settings and at the household level by individuals, communities, NGOs, water utilities and disaster/emergency responders for ongoing water quality monitoring.

Aquagenx and the CBT are the result of groundbreaking research and development led by Dr. Mark D. Sobsey and Dr. Ku McMahan at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.