The Acti-Zyme Journey

The Acti-Zyme Journey

The Acti-Zyme biological product has transcended through time, changes in cultures and climate and a few changes in hands from it's original creator. It is certainly one of trials and challenges and one that has changed our perspective on biodegradable or organic matter in water and how we must continue to do our part as a Company implementing change to treating the water issues within the Industries we serve and that waste water is truly a valuable asset.


It all started with US soldiers at the end of WWII, waiting in temporary camps for ships to take you home - Lack of sanitary conditions with sewage overloading and odour as an overwhelming issue.

One soldier came forward suggesting   a biological solution was a viable option. The challenge was accepted and a biological product was created,         with results beyond expectations.     


Ken Hartlerode was that soldier who started it all.... and below is the story where the original Acti-Zyme journey began

The Acti-Zyme story  as recounted by Bill Powell CEO Acti-Zyme Products Ltd.

    ..........Ken Hartlerode  returned home.

Having a background in helping water treatment plants before the war, Ken decided that designing lagoons for waste water management, as long as they could be maintained, was a much simpler and more cost-effective waste water management method. He knew that a treatment plant was expensive to build and to maintain for removing organic matter from the inflow waste water, which then had to be disposed of, was not the most practical or cost-effective waste water management approach.

Ken decided it was much more proactive to decompose the organic matter in the water, provided this approach was effective enough to meet outflow reading requirements along with avoiding sludge overloading.

Ken then decided to make biological waste water management a full-time business, so in 1954 registered the name ‘Acti-Zyme’ in California - Acti-Zyme Co U.S.A.                                                                                                                "ACT IN TIME WITH ACTI-ZYME"

Ken further found that by speeding up the decomposition of organic matter allowed for faster release of the biogases while in Nepal              

(Biogas in Cold Climate (1947-1949) In: Biogas Newsletter. Number 1, pp 5-6, Summer 1978) 

In 1947-49 an American biologist K.C. Hartlerode, who had long experience in purifying the polluted water through treatment, succeeded to develop a biological compound in a dried form from natural elements, which he named as Acti-Zyme. Today this improved compound industrially produced by *Acti-Zyme CO. U.S.A. contains per gram more than ten billion bacteria obtained and selected through successive mutation matched with their biological catalysers, high quality enzymes and co-enzymes. A trail of Acti-Zyme was made in Nepal at Dandapakhar on the road from Lamosangu to Jiri at an altitude of 1800 m.  Acti-Zyme was mixed with slurry and was introduced into the pit. Within a few days, gas began to form and soon the plant was in full operation

*Acti-Zyme Products Ltd is now registered and head quartered out of British Columbia Canada

                        However, he was not satisfied with the product so from time to time, while Ken's staying in a camper beside a pig farm waste water lagoon at Royal Farms in California, over a 19-year period, he adjusted the formulations and inputs. The results were positive.

(Royal Farms testimonial)


The American Cudahy Packing Plant in Phoenix was also having compliance issues  (Cudahy archived testimonial letter from United States Department of Agriculture - 1959)


Protectiveness of the product and his ability to manufacture was better than his marketing skills. A fellow Canadian became aware of the effectiveness of Acti-Zyme, and took up distribution for Canada, buoyed by a letter of approval for use by the Canadian Military from the then, Minister of National Defense, George Pearkes (1957 to 1960). 

However, sales in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan to towns and contained livestock producers became the core of the Canadian business. In fact, virtually the only business the US Acti-Zyme Products Ltd company was conducting. Ken was having health issues, so agreed to sell and the business was moved to Canada in 1979.

For the next 34 years the business settled into a safe and consistent mode with limited exports and marketing. Sales to between 300 to 400 customers,mostly in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with repeat orders year after year made for an easy to manage and steady business. Very limited marketing was required. Who knew then, that we would have population explosion and urbanization in most countries and the need for mass storage and disposal of waste water; a Global waste water crisis?

Act-Zyme has been used in many countries over the years in many climates with great results. Warmer water does provide better results. The results from the city of Inuvik in the far North of Canada to Panama in the tropics and Africa are the same. An effective biological waste water management product in all climates.

In 2008, Bill Powell became involved with the company, and quickly realized the need Nationally and Internationally of such products, and their many added benefits. One such benefit being when the organic matter decomposition is increased, so is the availability of the biogases, therefore making the instillation of Anaerobic Digestion cost effective along with the reuse of the now treated outflow water being ideal for agriculture. The group saw Acti-Zyme as the key to the puzzle to address world wide issues related to fecal polluted water causing enormous human health and environmental issues. 

With this in mind, in 2012, the Company Environment Depot for Waste Water to Energy Ltd ----edwwe-----was formed to purchase  Acti-Zyme Products Ltd, with the purpose of not only re-verifying and re-documenting the positive results of biological treatment, but to complete the whole package of transforming waste water to energy in a relatively low cost manner. One of the keys to cost effective Anaerobic Digestion (AD). Acti-Zyme’s biological product already had over 60 years of continued success at effectively speeding up the decomposition of organic matter, which allows for practical, cost effective waste water management. By speeding up the decomposition of the organic matter allows for the faster release of the available biogases. edwwe felt it was imperative to find a way to utilize these biogases. This led to being able to consult with Roy Sharp, the owner of Royal Farms who had been using AD at his swine farm continuously for 31 years. One of the founding members of the edwwe group was also instrumental in the recently formed Water Tree Foundation to provide transfer of technology and funding for Global projects backed by the experience and expertise of edwwe and the Acti-Zyme biological product.

We are now addressing the question of  ‘If Acti-Zyme is so effective why is it not more widely used and known?’ Over the past few years, the company committed its Vision & Mission to verifying and documenting before and after use results of previous and new field trials and projects to show to the world that there is a practical, cost effective biological solution to the waste water challenges we face today.                                                                                                           

Acti-Zyme has had a very unique journey and has ‘stood the test of time’ in all manner of applications. We see great new opportunities for it to continue on and evolve.