Twenty-five years ago, German contracting and industrial giant Bauer AG, based near Munich, formed a corporate entity to contend with contamination on its global construction sites. Today, that unit is generating its own results providing municipal and industrial clients in Germany and globally with remediation, waste management, water-wastewater treatment and natural-resource protection services.

Making its debut on this year’s Top 200 list, Bauer Resources GmbH (No.49) reported about $232 million in global revenue.

The company has five soil-treatment centers in Germany, its largest market, generating 64% of total revenue. Its clients include former U.S. and NATO installations as well as automakers BWM and Audi.

Over the years, Bauer has developed water treatment and recycling processes and remediated more than 30 military sites, says Dennis Alexandersen, international business development manager. In Leuna, a center of chemicals production in eastern Germany, Bauer says it is developing the world’s first industrial-scale biovertical filter for groundwater remediation (see photo). “Featuring nature-like biological remediation technology, the bio-filter system offers a more effective, environmentally friendlier and cheaper alternative to conventional … treatment technologies,” Stefanie Apelt, site manager at Leuna, told visiting officials earlier this year.

The spin-off’s business has expanded worldwide. The Middle East last year generated 18% of its revenue, primarily to support oil and gas clients as prices inch back up.

The firm’s most well-known project in the region involves the Nimr oil field in Oman, Alexandersen notes; there, for every barrel of oil extracted, 10 barrels of oil contaminated water is produced. Bauer designed, built and financed a 360-hectare engineered wetland oasis - now one of the world’s largest natural filtration projects – to treat the produced water. Microorganisms and algae reduce contamination to 0.5 ppm from 300 ppm—almost non-detectable, he says.

Until 2031, Bauer will operate the site, which processes 115,000 cu meters of brackish water a day. The German firm has teamed with U.S. metals giant Alcoa to design and construct similar natural water treatment technology facilities in Texas and Pennsylvania. The company’s Americas work, which also involves supply of brewery technologies in that sector, generated 7% of last year’s revenue.

In Africa, which accounted for about 5% of revenue, Bauer has built solar-based defluoridation plants in Ghana to reduce naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water.

With global uncertainty, the company’s backlog fell 6% in 2016 and its parent’s stock price dropped 33% by year-end, according to its annual report. But the environmental unit sees an increased need for soil and groundwater remediation in Europe and potential to grow its small footprint in Asia.

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