Startup has chemical-free process to sanitize water

BOULDER – A trio of seasoned entrepreneurs has launched a company that treats and sanitizes pool and spa water without using chlorine or other chemicals.

Steve Berens, a co-founder of Boulder-based smart-grid company Power Tagging Technologies Inc., leads the founding team of Clear Comfort Water LLC at 4888 Pearl St., Suite 100 West, in Boulder.

Microbiologist Nick Rancis is serving as chief water officer, and Robert Fenwick-Smith, founder and managing director of Aravaipa Ventures, a Boulder-based investment fund focused on green and sustainable startup companies in Colorado, is serving as interim chief financial officer. Aravaipa is providing the seed funding for Clear Comfort Water.

The company is using a patented oxidation process licensed by Clear Comfort to treat water. The process treats air to form hydroxyl radicals that are safe for humans but kill viruses in water. The treated air is injected into pipes that feed water into a pool through a unit designed by Clear Comfort. The unit is housed in an equipment room next to the pool. Clear Comfort is contracting with a manufacturer in Denver to build the units, Berens said.

The process also generates hydrogen peroxide, which provides safe residual sanitation, creating what Berens calls the “one-two kill factor.” He said the process also can “breakdown matter in water.”

Berens pointed out that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported there were 5,000 chlorine-related visits to emergency rooms in 2012.

Clear Comfort Water is working with researchers at the University of Colorado, to determine of the process can affect cryptosporidium, a waterborne germ that causes diarrhea. Cryptosporidium can survive for days even in chlorinated pools.

Clear Comfort, founded in March, is targeting the commercial sectors that include recreation centers, public pools, hotels and homeowners associations. It also will target residential pools this fall.

The company has four employees, but Berens expects the company will grow to 15 to 20 employees during the next 12 months.

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