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Instrumentation Northwest Inc.
The early 1980's was the era when the full extent of the Love Canal environmental tragedy was coming to light. Fear of similar tragedies in other areas began to grip the nation. The scientific and industrial community was being asked to develop solutions to these environmental problems. INW, a fledgling geotechnical equipment company working out of Gregg's garage in Washington State, began focusing on sampling equipment needed by the fast growing environmental monitoring industry.
One of the nation's largest environmental cleanup projects was located virtually in INW's back yard. The Hanford Site in central Washington had been the United States' main production facility for weapons grade plutonium during the Cold War. At its height, the Hanford Site housed nine nuclear reactors and five plutonium processing complexes. In the wake of Love Canal, eyes were focused on monitoring this highly dangerous site. As INW had been developing relationships with environmental well construction firms, selling well casings, screening, and other supplies for groundwater monitoring, it wasn't long before INW was approached by Hanford, seeking information about casings and screenings for their monitoring wells. Thus began a relationship between Hanford Site and INW that continues to this day.
Battelle, operating the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was working on a deep well sampling pump for the Hanford Site. INW licensed the technology from Battelle and went on to develop the HydroStar pump, which became a standard in the environmental industry.
Along with well supplies and the HydroStar pumping systems, INW was frequently being asked for equipment to use in the monitoring wells. In 1985, INW invented and began manufacturing their first submersible pressure sensor, the P7000. Submersible sensors continue to play a large role in INW today. These sensors have continued to advance in design and today not only measure pressure, but temperature, conductivity, pH, redox, and specific ions.
In the early 1990's, INW developed a relationship with Grundfos® Pumps and became one of only seven U.S. Environmental Product Master Distributors for Grundfos® environmental pumping products. Early in that decade, INW introduced the REEL E-Z® and Dedicator® pumping and sampling systems, featuring Grundfos® Redi-Flo2® pumps and INW's Happy Hose! ® systems, making compact, convenient systems for retrieving water samples from small monitoring wells.
The turn of the century found INW still hard at work. Capitalizing on the advancements in miniaturized, low-power electronics and powerful new programming languages, INW introduced the PT2X Smart Sensor in 2002 - the first of a new line of submersible sensors. These innovative devices are not only sensors, but dataloggers, all in small submersible packages. Driven by INW's powerful control software, these systems can record over 500,000 records in non-volatile memory, display real time measurements, as well as transmit readings via wireless telemetry and the Internet, allowing the users to monitor their data from anywhere with an Internet connection.
As we enter the second decade of the new century, INW continues to reach out to meet the ever changing, growing needs of the environmental community, continually seeking better ways to protect our water resources.