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August 2014 People: Leaders in Motion/Jon-Mark Chappellet

Even when there isn’t a drought, water use remains top of mind for many businesses that depend on it. Yep, we’re talking wineries. Jon-Mark Chappellet, formerly director of operations at Chappellet winery, is doing something about it.

His family's winery, which has been growing grapes and making wine on Pritchard Hill in St. Helena since the 1960s, was one of the first to install a Lyve Systems wastewater system. Chappellet is now general manager for that company.

“I got to know Wayne [August, Lyve Systems’ founder] when we installed the system at our winery,” he says. “Then when I left the winery last fall, I thought of Lyve Systems as a company that’s closer to what my passions are—something related to energy conservation, the environment, sustainable development and such. Reduced water use is only one of its many benefits.”

In short, the system is a biological digester of processed wastewater, specifically designed for wineries. It provides active, happy bacteria with nutrients and air needed to continue feeding on the organic matter. “After the solids are oxidized, you’re left with clean water that’s good for irrigation,” says Chappellet. “If you treat it further, you can use it for wash downs within the winery. The sludge left over can be used as compost and is certified for organic vineyards.

“It makes good sense for existing wineries that are upgrading, and it works perfectly for new wineries, because no land is used for wastewater treatment.”

Originally from New Zealand, the company is growing quickly. It’s relocated its headquarters to Napa Valley and is currently focused on local customers.

Sounds like this is a move where everybody wins.

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