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A US small business will use a loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) to construct a wastewater treatment facility in a city in northern Mexico, providing important support to its agricultural sector and relief from a 12-year drought.

Opic will provide a US$3.3mn loan to Lemna de Mexico, a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Lemna Corporation, for the construction of a wastewater treatment facility in Cuauhtemoc in Chihuahua state. The plant is currently under construction and due to be completed in July 2005.

Completion of the plant will enable Cuauhtemoc’s agricultural sector to eliminate the raw sewage currently used in irrigation and reduce its reliance on groundwater resources, providing important relief to a region that has suffered a 12-year drought. In addition, using treated wastewater instead of pumped groundwater and surface water will help the state of Chihuahua meet its water debt to Texas under the bilateral Treaty of 1944. The facility will make Cuauhtemoc one of the first medium-sized cities in Mexico to comply with the Mexican government’s mandate to treat municipal wastewater by December 2007.

Lemna chairman and founder Viet Ngo says, “We are eager to assist small and medium-sized communities across Mexico in meeting the federally-mandated requirements using our patented innovative technologies.”

Lemna Corporation has been providing cost-effective wastewater treatment solutions for more than 21 years and has designed and built more than 280 facilities in 18 countries, including the US.