A water-treatment technology company is moving its headquarters from Northern Virginia to Wise, Virginia, next month.

Micronic Technologies will locate in Southwest Virginia later this spring, said Karen Sorber, the company’s CEO. She said five people will move down initially, with the hopes of hiring two to four more local people to help get the company going.

The company is working to develop industrial equipment that will help clean the wastewater from fracking and acid mine drainage, Sorber said. The water treatment system under development is called the MicroDesal, and Sorber said it is currently capable of treating water to near-drinking water quality.

The company is already working on some federal grants, and will work with the University of Virginia’s College at Wise to raise matching funds for a Virginia Tobacco Commission grant.

“They have a very strong academic program in environmental chemistry and physics,” she said of UVa-Wise. “It appeals to us because we clean water and they can do the analysis. We’re collaborating on the [Tobacco Commission] proposal to make it happen.”

She said Northern Virginia wasn’t suited to the type of work Micronic Technologies does, but the region’s coal, methane gas and natural gas resources make it an ideal place to locate and find partners, clients and customers.

“It’s really a better business environment for our product,” she said. “There is a very welcoming business environment for us because the community wants so much to build a diversified business development. We’ll be dealing with companies and education organizations and businesses that are excited about us coming there.”

Until a facility is built at the technology park, the company will locate in the OptaFuel facility in Norton. Sorber said the company’s entire pilot project infrastructure will be moved down to Southwest Virginia. Eventually, once the company moves into the manufacturing stages of its product, the company will likely hire other people to help with assembly. Components to the product will be sourced locally, she said.

“Wise County is excited about the move of Micronic Technologies to SWVA in the hopes that a collaborative effort between Micronic and the Division of Mine Land Reclamation might greatly expedite some remedial projects currently on the drawing board related to acid mine drainage,” said Shannon Scott, Wise County administrator, in a written statement. “This technology will hopefully reduce significantly the size of the footprint necessary for DMLR mind acid runoff projects.”

Bob Atkins, chairman of the Wise County Board of Supervisors, said that he hopes the company’s move will eventually lead to manufacturing jobs in the community.

And UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna Henry said the college is committed to economic development in Southwest Virginia.

“Our collaboration with Micronic Technologies utilizes the expertise of our faculty to assist in the company’s efforts to commercialize their product. This applied research will create jobs in Southwest Virginia,” she said.

 agibson@bristolnews.com | 276-791-5459 | Twitter: @BHC_Allie | Facebook.com/bhcallie

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