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Austin's Innovation District - 2018 Annual Review

Hiding in Plain Sight

Environmental Quality Operations is a startup that is cleaning up Texas waterways with the help of Austin Community College, Austin Technology Incubator, and Mass Challenge Texas – and it has big plans


John Higley first recognized the similarity between treating cancer and cleaning up the environment during a conversation with friends at a party, in 2012.

Russian Zebra mussels, brought over as stowaways, have been wreaking havoc in northeastern U.S. waterways since the 1980s. Soaking up micronutrients, they starve out native ecosystem inhabitants and clarify the water, encouraging toxic algal blooms. Their colonies block water treatment and energy plant pipelines, pumps, and turbines. An estimated $7 billion is spent each year in mitigation.


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We envision a world in which whole aquatic environmental management is possible for public health, conservation, commerce, and recreation.

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