Clean Water Grow: ‘Go or No Go?


The $43 billion US wastewater treatment industry is a landscape in which the high costs of capital construction and the need for economies of scale feature prominently. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that between 2004 and 2024, over $200 billion will need to be spent upgrading and expanding America’s wastewater infrastructure.
One significant challenge in maintaining treatment infrastructure is the build-up of struvite. Struvite accumulates inside treatment facility pipe networks, reducing capacity and increasing operating and maintenance costs. But discharging the components of struvite – the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous – into the environment also has negative consequences. Concentrated amounts can cause significant harm to aquatic ecosystems.

Clean Water Services (CWS) is the public wastewater utility for Washington County, Oregon USA, providing sewage and stormwater treatment services to more than 500,000 homes and businesses. Responsible for the health and management of a public good – the 83-mile long Tualatin River – CWS is subject to regulations over the temperature and quality of the water it discharges into the natural environment.

This case follows Clean Water Services in its pilot test of a home garden fertilizer product that is linked to the environmental benefits and operational efficiencies gained through an innovative treatment technology. In 2009, CWS implemented a groundbreaking solution to the challenge of struvite; one that also had the potential to turn a waste stream into a revenue stream. An advanced ‘nutrient recovery technology’ removes the nutrients that form struvite and pollute the environment if discharged, recycling them into an effective, safe to handle garden fertilizer. In mid 2012, the CWS Board gave the green light to produce Clean Water GROW™, its own brand of fertilizer, and test its commercial viability in the local consumer market.

The case educates students on the challenge of finding innovative ways to operate and maintain wastewater infrastructure in the face of population growth and increased pressure on natural systems. It provides detail on the development and commercial pilot of the GROW fertilizer product, and the packaging, pricing and distribution options that were analyzed. It asks students to conduct the crucial steps of analyzing the implications of marketing mix options in terms of break-even quantity and return on investment, and recommending a ‘go’ or ‘no go’ decision to the CWS board.

Authors: Simon Ngawhika and Scott Marshall
Institution: Portland State University
Competition Year2014
TrackSocial Entreprenuership
Key Wordssocial entrepreneurship, water, innovation, marketing, break-even analysis
CoursesMarketing, Operations, Strategy, Social Entrepreneurship
Target AudienceMBA, Junior and Senior Undergraduates
Purchase InformationPlease contact the authors, Scott Marshall for permission rights.
DownloadInspection Copy
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oikos International

posted June 26, 2014

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oikos Newsletter June 2014

Summer has officially set in! However, in the midst of all the rewinding and relaxation, oikees around the world have been at it as hard as even to promote their mission and vision of sustainable development. Probably the best way in which this can be encapsulated is by going through a summary of what happened during the recently concluded oikos Asia Meet in Pune, India. If you find it inspirational and would like to cement your association with the upcoming oikos FutureLab, do apply to either lead or become a part of one of the Learning Circles at the conference. Additionally, you can take it a step forward and also apply to host the next oikos Spring Meet scheduled to be held in 2015. However, if you haven’t been able to make any plans for summer so far and would like to travel while learning about social entrepreneurship, apply today to attend the oikos Summer School in the beautiful city of Tbilisi, Georgia. And to cap things off for this month, make sure that you take out 30 seconds to see what Pratik Chandwani, organizer of the oikos Asia Meet has to say about the ups and downs of organizing an oikos conference.

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oikos International

posted June 16, 2014

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Climatologue: The Great Himalaya Trail – My Climate Initiative

5th of June is the World Environmental Day and we are pleased to announce the online release of Climatologue: The Great Himalaya Trail – My Climate Initiative.
This Climatologue is a product of  “The Great Himalaya Trail – My Climate Initiative” in Nepal. It is a summary of interviews with the local people, a collection of their stories, and anecdotes of their perceptions of climate variability and change. It is also an account of what Paribesh Pradhan observed as a traveler passing from one hamlet to another, making his way through the deepest gorges and highest ridges of the Himalayas.
More info here
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oikos International

posted June 5, 2014

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