CEO buys Aquarius Technologies

Port Washington wastewater treatment firm seeking new space

Wastewater treatment plant
A wastewater treatment plant.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:21 pm

Port Washington-based wastewater treatment firm Aquarius Technologies Inc. has been acquired by its president and chief executive officer Deborah LaVelle. The terms of the Jan. 16 transaction were not disclosed.

Wastewater treatment plant
A wastewater treatment plant.

LaVelle purchased Aquarius from an ownership group through her newly created company, Aquarius Technologies LLC. The previous ownership group included a Small Business Investment Company and Israeli venture capital firms Evergreen Venture Partners and LCapital Partners.

Aquarius has 15 employees at its 10,000-square-foot Port Washington headquarters and 15,000-square-foot Pewaukee manufacturing facility. LaVelle, who has been president and CEO since 2015, is seeking a new, 30,000-square-foot space in between the two facilities where Aquarius could combine its operations and have access to a loading dock and additional storage space.

“What we have is a consolidation plan of bringing both of the facilities together for additional expansion as we continue to grow,” she said. “Last year, when we were looking for property, we were able to see some places over in Saukville and Jackson, but we’re certainly definitely going to stay in this area.”

LaVelle also plans to expand Aquarius’ focus to include both diffused aeration systems and biological wastewater treatment solutions. Demand is growing for industrial water pre-treatment, as well as municipal systems that allow water reuse in water scarce areas. About 80 percent of Aquarius’ customers are municipalities.

“Worldwide, many existing wastewater treatment plants need to replace aging infrastructure,” LaVelle said. “As they do so, many will employ biological treatment to reach the level of treatment required by today’s stringent environmental regulations.”

Aquarius was founded in 2006, but did not reach its full potential during its first decade, LaVelle said. She has managed to turn the company around, using patented technology that was left on the shelf, and double sales to under $10 million since she joined the company. LaVelle has 35 years of experience in water and water treatment.

LaVelle said President Donald Trump’s plans for retaining American jobs and buying American, as well as his tax plans, helped her decide to get off the curb and buy the company.

“Aquarius is the only U.S. manufacturer of diffused aeration systems, which should, in fact, put us in a favorable position, but typically we’re hampered by the fact of a lot of our competitors outsourcing to other countries,” she said.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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