What we are about

Environmental Technologies Development Corporation (ETDC) is a Mississauga based, privately-held Ontario company incorporated in 1992 which seeks out, organizes, evaluates, and leads R&D on, and arranges the further development of select environmental technologies. It also designs and engineers advanced natural wastewater treatment facilities; evaluates the impacts of metagenomics on chemical and other processes; provides glycol management services to airports; presents short courses on waste management issues; and provides business planning services. ETDC provides services to its private and public organization clients via colleges, universities, research laboratories and development agencies, and these entities see to the furtherance of results.

Currently and in recent years Environmental Technologies Development Corporation has been involved with research, development and testing projects at Fleming College (Fleming) in Lindsay, ON in collaboration with the Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment (CAWT) there, and at School of Environmental Studies at the University of Guelph (UoG) where its President is an Adjunct Professor. Clients and collaborators on prior and current projects include

Companies such as Stantec Consulting and Lorax

Universities such as UoG, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo;

Colleges such as Fleming and Yukon College;

Public Organizations such as the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, the St. John’s Airport Authority, the Ontario Clean Water Agency, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, and the Kelowna Airport Authority;

Governments such as branches of Environment Canada, Ontario Transport, and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment

Development Agencies such as the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the Ontario Genomics Institute, the Southern Ontario Water Consortium, and Sustainable Technology Development Canada. 

organizes and leads research on, and arranges the further development of select

ETDC provides the following business services.

Engineered Bioreactor Ecotechnology

  • Technology Evaluations
  • Design & Engineering of Engineered Bioreactor and Engineered Wetland Systems
  • Aerobic & Anaerobic Bioreactors
  • Anaerobic Digesters
  • Permeable Reactive Barriers

Natural Systems Engineering

  • Design & Engineering of Constructed Wetlands
  • Design & Engineering of Stormwater Management Systems
  • Design & Engineering of Aquatic Wastewater Treatment Systems
  • Design & Engineering of Created Wetlands (Habitat, Mitigation)
  • Design & Engineering of Pond & Lagoon Systems
  • Design & Engineering of Land Wastewater Treatment Systems

Mining Engineering

  • Environmental Aspects of Mining
  • Preparation of Closure Plans
  • Assistance with Obtaining Permits & Approvals
  • Feasibility Studies, PEAs
  • Assistance with Aboriginal Consultations
  • Tailings and Waste Rock Management
  • Reclamation Plans
  • Lime & Limestone Treatment Systems

Site Remediation

  • Bioremediation
  • Site Reclamation
  • Covers
  • Phytoremediation
  • Biosolids Use and Management

Business Planning

  • Glycol Management for airports
  • Preparation of Business Plans
  • Marketing Plans
  • Funding Assistance
  • Assistance with Obtaining Partners and Business Associates

Short Courses

  • Ecological Engineering
  • Engineered Wetlands & Engineered Bioreactors
  • Natural Systems for Wastewater Treatment
  • Environmental Aspects of Mining
  • Phytoremediation
  • Remediation of Toxics (As, CN, Cr, Cu, Ni, Se, Cd, PAHs, PCPs, Pb, Zn)
  • Airport Glycol Management

Technological Development

  • Technology Evaluations
  • Assistance with Obtaining Research Grants & Other Funding
  • Organization & Implementation of R&D Projects
  • Pilot and Demonstration Plant Design, Construction & Operation
  • Assistance with Obtaining Patents & Licenses

Engineered Bioreactor Ecotechnology

A new, highly advanced kind of natural wastewater treatment has been developed and ETDC staff and Associates are the world leaders in providing it. Engineered Bioreactors (EBs), sometimes called Engineered Wetlands (EWs), are highly advanced, innovative kinds of natural wastewater treatment (WWT) which evolved from Constructed Wetlands (CWs), and now differ greatly from them. With Engineered Bioreactors, operating methods, process conditions, substrates, microbiology and morphology are manipulated and controlled to allow vastly superior performance in comparison to that of CWs. EBs have performances in many cases even equal or superior to that possible in much more complex mechanical WWT plants (WWTPs).

Engineered Bioreactors can be designed to be either passive or semi-passive’ attached growth systems, and there are several varieties of them including aerobic and anaerobic versions. The most common kind of aerobic EB is known as a BREW Bioreactor and involves the sub-surface flow (SSF) of wastewater through a granular substrate into which air from a blower is injected, allowing very high removal levels for oxidizable contaminants (95 – 99%+). The most common kind of anaerobic Engineered Bioreactor is called a Biochemical Reactor (BCR) and involves a unit having a substrate containing a carbonaceous active medium which sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) use in their metabolisms, allowing the precipitation as insoluble sulfides of dissolved metals and metalloids from a wastewater. Engineered Bioreactors usually form the secondary (2°) WWT component of more comprehensive Engineered Bioreactor Systems (EB Systems) which include primary (1°) and tertiary (3°) wastewater treatment components as well. Figure 1 shows a sketch of a vegetated horizontal flow aerobic BREW Bioreactor.

Figure 1: An Aerated Engineered Bioreactor

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EB environmental/biological technology (ecotechnology) for natural WWT allows the treatment of wastewaters containing even the most recalcitrant (difficult-to-treat) pollutants to very high levels of removals in in-ground basins (cells) which operate at very high efficiencies whatever the ambient water and air temperatures.

The Engineered Bioreactor ecotechnology is fully developed and proven, with over a hundred operating facilities using it for treating a wide variety of wastewaters, stormwaters, and groundwaters including municipal sewage; municipal stormwater; northern community wastewaters; aquaculture waters; landfill leachates; runoffs from landfarms and industrial waste tips; acid rock drainage (ARD) from mine acid- generating tailing and waste rock piles at mine sites, effluents from mine leach beds and other mining influenced waters; hydrocarbon-contaminated groundwaters; process waters; certain industrial waters (e.g., the high BOD, high phosphate streams from food processing plants); runoffs and washwaters from intensive farming/livestock raising operations; produced waters from oil & gas production wells and fracking operations; glycol-contaminated stormwater runoff from cold weather aircraft de-icing operations; a variety of liquid sludges (e.g., 0.5 – 2% solids) from the activated sludge units of conventional wastewater treatment plants; and many others.

The EB ecotechnology has been licensed in several jurisdictions in Canada, the US and Europe. Engineered Bioreactors allow the treatment throughout summer and winter in economical systems that can consistently meet stringent wastewater discharge criteria over extended periods.



Most Engineered Bioreactors are sub-surface flow (SSF) units similar in concept to SSF CWs, but much more sophisticated and capable. In addition to the aerated bioreactors and the systems they form part of may be designed (“engineered”) by a variety of other methods including replacing all or parts of the substrates in select EB cells with materials which will preferentially sorb, sequester, reduce, oxidize etc. specific contaminants in wastewaters; by adding heat or chemicals at some point; by pumping around or recycling streams or parts of streams; by using phytoremediating or salt-resistant plants in their cells; and/or by operating them in advanced manners.

Figure 2 shows a football field-sized BREW Bioreactor designed by ETDC’s President which contains dolomite gravel substrate 1.5 m thick in operation at Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA). It is noted that the bioreactor cell in the following picture is vegetated with terrestrial grass, not wetland plants. This is because the oxygen requirements of the microbes in the biofilms in the substrate are supplied by air from blowers, and that from wetland plants is not required.

Figure 2: A BREW Bioreactor in Operation

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Anaerobic bioreactors (ABRs) are characterized by certain sorts of microbes (e.g., the SRB of BCRs). Besides BCRs, other main kinds of anaerobic Engineered Bioreactors are Denitrification Bioreactors (DNBRs) which remove nitrates from wastewaters, and Successive Alkalinity Producing Systems (SAPS Bioreactors) which allow the neutralization of iron-containing acidic wastewaters. In addition to the above kinds there are several kinds of Specialty BCRs that are used to remove specific oxyanions (e.g., those of arsenic) or to enhance the removals of specific dissolved metal(loid)s and other species which may involve other kinds of distinguishing microbes (e.g., selenium-reducing bacteria) or processes.

Engineered Bioreactors generally have much higher treatment efficiencies (the rate constants for the removal of specific contaminants may be 5 – 30 times those of CWs); and can handle much higher wastewater flow rates (up to many thousands of m3/d).