Treating Water, Customers Right

In the heart of ethanol country, Water Engineering Inc. is putting producer relationships, service and process knowledge first. When product is needed, ethanol producers turn to the Omaha-based chemical provider for a variety of solutions.
By Tom Bryan | March 10, 2021

While Omaha-based Water Engineering Inc. is known in the ethanol industry as a trusted provider of water treatment chemicals, Katie Wagenfuhr prefers not to push the company’s products on customers as the only solution to their needs.

“Our customers rely on us for more than just chemicals,” says Wagenfuhr, vice president and co-owner of the company with her husband David Wagenfuhr. “We consult, we advise, we provide analysis, and, ultimately, we help our customers get where they need to be with water treatment.”

This holistic approach, Wagenfuhr explains, starts with an understanding of each client’s goals. “Every plant is different,” she says. “Some are part of larger, multi-plant companies, and their water treatment goals may be set by corporate, but it’s still the same process of sitting down with plant managers and maintenance managers and discussing their broad objectives. Industry standards set by organizations like NACE—the National Association of Corrosion Engineers—and the Boiler Manufacturers Association, also guide our conversations.”

Wagenfuhr says her team can help producers assess investments in new chemistries before they are introduced. “We help them see the possibilities, understand the ROI, and any implications certain water treatments might have on production,” she explains. 

When chemicals are needed, ethanol producers turn to Water Engineering for a variety of products ranging from pretreatment chemicals to chemistries for cooling and boiler water treatment. The company provides specialty wastewater polymers and coagulants, and has access to chemicals used on the process side of ethanol production—evaporator scale inhibitors, oil recovery agents and more. Water Engineering also specifies and installs equipment for pretreatment, reverse osmosis, chemical feed and control automation. Recently, the company even assisted a few ethanol plants with the implementation of activated carbon filtration for sanitizer-grade alcohol production.

About two-thirds of Water Engineering’s clients work with the company on a fixed-rate basis. These customers receive a tailored water treatment program that includes service technician visits, on- and off-site testing and analyses, efficiency evaluations, operator training and more.  “It’s a popular setup for ethanol producers because every penny matters in their business, and they don’t need surprises,” Wagenfuhr says. “With this approach, they receive our full suite of products and services at a competitive monthly rate.”

Contact Water Engineering at 402.624.2286, or visit for more information.  

Author: Tom Bryan