When Randy Bell of Water Resource Technologies wandered onto the grounds of the Marine Mammal Conservancy (MMC) in Key Largo last summer, he had no idea he was about to be seduced.
A South Florida sales manager for Water Resource Technologies, a company that provides waste water treatment systems, Bell was making a preliminary site inspection at the ATT facility when his curiosity led him to explore activity on the adjoining property. He was soon met by an MMC volunteer, who advised him that he was trespassing. A dialogue ensued and within minutes, Bell found himself on the water amongst six stranded pilot whales and the volunteers who were trying to save them.
“I learned about the amazing work those people were doing, but also that they would have to close the conservancy until they could install a wastewater system. They had some funds, but needed a lift station to complete the project and tie in to the sewage system,” said Bell.
“I know that whale was checking me out!” said Bell, and the mournful look of the ailing pilot whale touched him deeply.
Bell said he had a hunch that Mark Alexander, President of Water Resource Technologies, would donate the needed equipment. But to save time, he called Alexander’s daughter, Colleen, “because she could make it happen faster.”
After the call from Bell, Colleen, a 21-year old college student, called her dad and the deal was sealed.
“She’s a wonderful caring, mature young woman,” said Bell, a long-time friend of the family. “I just wanted to help this organization, but also for people to know that Water Resource Technologies is a company that plays a supportive role in the Keys community.”
Water Resource Technologies, which serves several businesses in the Keys, including Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District, is donating the needed lift station, a grinder with dual pumps, alarms and control panel to MMC — a gift of more than $10,000.
Bell said Water Resource Technologies also plans to service the system free of charge when needed. A provider of green solutions for waste water collection, the company is a selected subcontractor for the Reynolds Water Islamorada team for installing low pressure sewer.
“They have even offered to supervise the installation when we do the tie-in,” said Art Cooper, MMC’s chairman. “We are really grateful and also dependent on donations like this one from Water Resource Technologies to remain in operation. We receive no government funding, yet we are saving the communities we serve thousands of dollars by conducting these rescue and rehab services.”
Cooper said even carcass removal for marine mammals can cost up to $10,000 each. The two-acre MMC facility is equipped for critical care, as well as for stabilizing and pre-release conditioning of marine mammals.
“We built an office and meeting room with indoor plumbing two years ago, but haven’t been able to use the bathroom for lack of a sewage line. But this tie-in is also necessary for us to continue long-term rehab,” Cooper added, citing health concerns with disposal of medication and other possible contaminants from sick marine mammals.
Dedicated volunteers at the MMC recently provided the round-the-clock human support needed to assist 23 stranded pilot whales, an endeavor that started in May and was maintained for five months. Thanks to Water Resource Technologies’ donation, their work assisting other marine mammals can now continue.