When the Raccoon River inundated the Des Moines water treatment plant last weekend, the threat of disease hung over the flood-ravaged Iowa city until a Timonium-based maker of self-contained filtration machines provided thirsty residents with fresh water.
Michael J. Glynn, president and chief executive officer of Memtec America Corp., said yesterday that when he saw news reports Monday about the loss of the Des Moines water system, he contacted government officials about sending some of his company's "small package plants" to the scene. After speedy negotiations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, nine of the machines -- each capable of daily transforming 60,000 gallons of muddy river water into potable water -- were rented and on trucks headed for Des Moines, Mr. Glynn said.
Wednesday morning, helicopters lowered the machines into place. While four of the machines are flushing out the city's water treatment plant so it will be clean when service is restored, four others are filtering river water into large containers for distribution by tanker truck to residents. The ninth machine is being held in reserve, Mr. Glynn said.
Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden yesterday honored Memtec America with an executive citation for the company's prompt response to the relief effort. The Timonium plant employs about 450 people.
Memtec has 13 smaller filtration package plants on hand in Timonium and another one or two at its San Diego plant in case they are needed to help other cities cope with the flood disaster.