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Houghton County approves $60K to NECi

HOUGHTON – The Houghton County Board approved $60,000 from its revolving loan Fund to NECi Superior Enzymes at its meeting Tuesday night.

The Lake Linden-based company has registered a method for nitrate testing involving the enzyme nitrate reductase, said Jeff Ratcliffe, executive director of the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance. The company initially began researching the enzyme’s properties as a treatment for drinking water before switching focus.

“It’s a very low-cost testing product,” Ratcliffe said. “It’ll allow for them to get into the market such as wastewater treatment plants, who use very expensive testing methods currently.”

Chair Al Koskela said the system could also be used by the Department of Homeland Security in testing for explosives.

Commissioner Scott Ala said the company had received much of its revenue to this point from grants.

“This particular process, once it’s implemented, will supply a steady stream of income, instead of applying for grants,” he said.

In addition to being cheaper, this one also has no hazardous byproduct, Ala said.

The company has paid off earlier loans on time, Ratcliffe said.

The loan is expected to generate four new jobs. Ratcliffe said NECi has between 10 and 12 employees.