Fairmount Minerals and Aqua Clara Help to Supply Safe Drinking Water

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As cities across the United States prepare to commemorate World Water Day today, one of the nation's largest producers of industrial sand teams up with a non-profit foundation to supply 1,000 filters to provide safe drinking water to villages in underdeveloped countries.

As cities across the United States prepare to commemorate World Water Day today, one of the nation's largest producers of industrial sand is teaming up with a non-profit foundation to supply 1,000 filters to provide safe drinking water to villages in underdeveloped countries.

Fairmount Minerals Ltd. in Chardon, Ohio is supplying financial support, materials and technical assistance to manufacture and deliver 1,000 sand filters to Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru this year that will prevent water-borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery and parasitic infections.

The filter project highlights the necessity of World Water Day, a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992 to draw international attention to the "the critical lack of clean, safe drinking water worldwide." Event planners said activities are being planned in New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle as well as a number of local communities.

About 70 cities across the United States passed resolutions acknowledging March 22 as World Water Day last year. Those who wish to participate in their communities or by taking a "virtual walk" can learn more by accessing http://www.worldwaterday.net

Fairmount decided to become involved with providing safe drinking water because the company has an expertise in that field, Fairmount CEO and President Chuck Fowler said. The company's partner in the project is the Aqua Clara Foundation, a non-profit, faith-based group in Holland, that is focused on 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 Holland, Mich.

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 more than a century old.

Even thought the technology is mature, a real difference in the 21st century is that American businesses are providing the know-how and resources to distribute these inexpensive and effective water filters around the world -- along with encouraging villagers to start their own filtration businesses in their home countries.

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.

"We hope to make an immediate and lasting impact on the population's quality of life," Fowler said. "The combination of small and large filters provides a primary water supply for the campus, medical clinic, and people of the village, plus point-of-use units for the region's schools and small communities."

Aqua Clara Director Bob McDonald said his organization wants to "teach local businesspeople 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. The result will be a win-win...a community with sustainable water and sustainable employment." More information on Aqua Clara Foundation can be found at http://www.aquaclarafound.org.

A leading producer of industrial sand, Fairmount employs more than 350 people at 18 mining and mineral processing plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It products are used in metal casting, water filtration, glass production, golf and sports turf, oil and gas production, and commercial floor coatings. The company adheres to three sustainable development principles that address its social responsibility to families and communities, its stewardship of the environment and its economic prosperity for the company and its stakeholders. More information on Fairmount can be found at http://www.fairmountminerals.com.

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Matthew Gryczan

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