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Dr. Pierre Côté

Location: Oakville, ON

Award: Principal Award

Category: Civil Engineering

Year: 2000


Conceived and produced ZeeWeed, a unique filtration membrane that represents a revolution in water treatment. Read the News Release and Media Backgrounder for additional information.

News Release

Team Develops Revolutionary Water-Purifying Technology

ZeeWeed® membrane-based technology chosen for Walkerton, Ont.October 30, 2000

Calgary, AB - ZeeWeed® is a revolutionary technology using membranes like those in the human body to treat and purify any kind of water source. Now the leader of the team that developed ZeeWeed,® Dr. Pierre Côté of ZENON Environmental Inc. in Oakville, Ont., has received this year's $100,000 Manning Principal Award.

ZeeWeed's® thin, hollow, fibre membrane strands act as a physical barrier filtering out particles, contaminants, parasites and microbes, including potentially deadly E.coli bacteria. The technology has just been selected as an interim ultra-filtration system to treat well water in Walkerton, Ont.

"We want to see ZeeWeed® used in every plant in the world, both for drinking water production and for wastewater treatment," says Côté, chief technology officer for ZENON Environmental.

ZENON's membrane technology is being used or installed in more than 100 treatment plants in 20 countries, in applications ranging from small towns like Walkerton to cities of two million people.

Côté, 47, who grew up fascinated by construction technology, has won this year's top prize from the Manning Innovation Awards Foundation. The annual awards program has recognized leading Canadian innovators since 1982, presenting them with $135,000 in prize money each year.

ZeeWeed® modules consist of vertical frames fitted with numerous membrane fibre strands. The open modules are immersed directly into the water source, where a slight suction draws pure water through each porous-walled fibre. The system, which automatically cleanses itself, significantly reduces the amount of chemicals and associated equipment required with conventional water treatment.

The town of Collingwood, Ont., installed a ZeeWeed® treatment system after identifying isolated cases of microbe-caused cryptosporidiosis in water supplies in 1996. "The Collingwood ZeeWeed® plant has run very smoothly since start-up, producing the best drinking water in Ontario," says Ed Houghton, director of engineering and operations for the Collingwood Public Utilities Commission. ZeeWeed® also is employed in North America's largest ultra-filtration plant, being built in Olivenhain, California.

Côté, along with this year's three other Manning Award innovators, will receive their prizes at the annual awards dinner Nov. 6 in Montreal.

* For more information about the award-winning ZeeWeed® water purification technology, please call Dr. Pierre Côté, chief technology officer, ZENON Environmental Inc., at (905)-465-3030.

* For more information about the Manning Innovation Awards Foundation, please contact Donald Park, Executive Director, at (403)-266-8288 or visit the Foundation's website at www.manningawards.ca