Brian Alexander McCoy, (Brian A. McCoy) water treatment engineer and entrepreneur, founder and owner of McCoy Water Filter, inventor of The Real McCoy Iron Removal System and Sulfur Eliminator System. Grandson of Dr. John Oliver McLean. 20 years experience in the field of water treatment, water systems, and plumbing.McCoy Water Filter, Inc.
The Real McCoy Water Treatment Systems
Since 2003
(804) 222-2089



One of John’s Original Iron Systems

This is one of John's last original Iron Removal Systems. The earlier Iron Systems were made using a galvanized tank with a manual backwash valve constructed from plumbing and gate valves. John McLean would install the system and come back every 6 months to backwash the filter. The later systems, like this one shown, had a 519 automatic backwash control made by Erie Water Treatment. The control valve was very problematic with iron clogging causing a few minor treatment failures. Automatic backwashing was an upgrade to the previous system and required less frequent service. Brian serviced this system shown when he worked for his family. When Brian was in his third year in business for himself the new owner of this system called Brian for service and we ultimately replaced the system with Brian's Iron Treatment.


Iron System

John McLean’s first Water Treatment System Patent. Official March 14, 1972. John was working for Reynolds Metals when he invented this system. He went before the board at Reynolds when he was about to retire and asked if they had any interest in the invention. John was well respected and already produced 25 patents for Reynolds as a Lubrications Engineer. Reynolds let John keep his Iron System Invention and that began John’s water treatment business McLean Engineering, Inc. John later invented another system, this time for sulfur removal. This patent was also licensed to Chemical Engineering Corporation. Both systems were revolutionary and surpassed all the available sulfur and iron water treatments for that time.

John’s Original Iron System Patent

Brian McCoy's first Water Treatment System patent. Official May 5, 2003. Brian was working for his family when he invented this iron removal treatment. Usually the company a person works for takes any invention the person develops while working for the company. In this case, Brian's father offered Brian a considerable $ bonus for every one of Brian's iron systems the company installed. This agreement was solidified with a license contract. Brian's mother Sandy McCoy reneged on the deal when Brian began making too much money. Brian saw an opportunity to get the assignment on the patent. Brian offered to tear up the license contract in exchange for the assignment on the patent. Brian McCoy received the assignment and the patent became solely owned by him. This was not what started Brian into his own water treatment business. It would be, however, the choices made by his parents which inevitably forced the idea. Brian’s intention was to improve the MacCLEAN Iron System and in turn improve the family business. Without the assignment though, Brian would have been left with no hope of following in his grandfather’s footsteps. Brian’s parents would have sold his patent along with the business without a second thought. It was quick thinking and sacrifice on Brian’s part which allowed him to continue to provide the kind of service that would make John McLean proud.

Brian McCoy’s Iron System Patent

This is Brian McCoy's water treatment laboratory. This is where, in 2007, he cracked the sulfur problem and the bacterial bio-film problem. Brian was able to invent several new water treatments including the Sulfur Eliminator. Most of the lab was left to Brian from his grandfather, John McLean.

Brian’s Water Treatment Laboratory

When John McLean started treating water with his Iron Removal Invention most of the inventory he needed he would travel out of state to collect. Brian's beginning mirrors his grandfathers in making connections with vendors and traveling and meeting with suppliers.

Brian used to go to NC and pick up 2,000lbs of filter media every 3 or 4 months.

It took Brian's parents 15 years on top of his grandfather’s 10 years before they were ordering this quantity of iron filter media. Brian and Tracy McCoy have only been in business for 6 years and already have a wealth of clients enjoying the benefits of the McCoy Iron Removal System.

Now we have at least 40,000lbs of filter media delivered each year.

The MacCLEAN Iron Removal System was the name Wilfong from Chemical Engineering, Inc. gave John McLean’s Iron System when he licensed the patent for the air charger device. Chemical Engineering was already trying to develop the air charger device, but John McLean beat them to it by about 30 years. MacCLEAN was the name that was supposed to honor John for his efforts. The system however did not honor John McLean at all. It was supposed to be a packaged simple to install treatment that had major marketing appeal. They even gave the name and the system Scottish plaid and girls in short kilts to sell the system. Wilfong doubled the size of his MacCLEAN manufacturing plant 6 times before they finally sold out to CUNO.In March 1998 CUNO acquired the Chemical Engineering Corporation (CEC). Already a supplier to CUNO for ten years, CEC designed and manufactured water conditioning equipment, including water softening, iron removal, and acid neutralization. The CUNO line formerly sold under the CESCO brand, the line was renamed MacClean.

McCoy & McLean, the history of our family business.

In 1972, Dr. John Oliver McLean patented his Iron Removal System that he invented in 1955 for his family and his home on the James River here in Richmond, VA. This simple design proved to be a breakthrough in technology for iron removal treatment. Years later a simple idea prospered into a well known family owned water treatment business.


In the early 1980’s Chemical Engineering Corp, an at that time small water treatment company in the mid west, purchased rights to John’s invention. The original invention was then modified to become a mass manufactured product known as the MacCLEAN Chem.-Free Iron Removal System.


John was in his seventies when he decided it was time to take a less active role in the company. John passed operation of the business to his daughter and son in-law, Sandy & Dan McCoy. John retained principle ownership until March, 2002.


After gaining control of the company, Sandy and Dan switched to using the pre-fabricated MacCLEAN Iron Removal System. The MacCLEAN Iron System became the company’s exclusive iron removal system from then on. This newly re-configured system proved quick and easy to install but never really removed iron as well as John’s original hand crafted and hand assembled iron system.


In 1991, Brian McCoy, grandson of Dr. John McLean, began working for his family’s water treatment business. Brian labored for the company, servicing and installing his grandfather’s water treatment systems and learning all brands and products for water treatment. He spent many of his days off from work with his grandfather in the lab, learning water chemistry and everything John could teach about designing and building water treatment. 


In 1998, John McLean was approaching ninety. His daughter, Sandy McCoy, decided it was time to replace her father’s old iron system at his house with the MacCLEAN System.


John found fault with the MacCLEAN system right away. He started testing and quickly learned the MacCLEAN Iron System is not capable of removing 100% of the iron present in his water. The MacCLEAN Iron System components included: Iron Filter Tank with Control Valve and an air injector (“Micronizer”, “HydroCharger”  or Air Charger) installed between the well pump and the expansion tank.


John and Brian began re-configuring the MacCLEAN Iron System and trying all means of improvements and additions with little result. Brian took on the challenge to develop an improved MacCLEAN Iron System and spent many months, after working hours, sometimes all night, until he found the answer. The McCoy Iron Removal System was created.


With John’s permission, the McCoy Iron Removal System replaced the MacCLEAN System as an experiment. The new system’s start-up produced amazing results.


The McCoy Iron Removal System out-performed the MacCLEAN Iron System and is still treating that water today. The McCoy Iron Removal System removes 100% of 14ppm soluble and insoluble iron, 100% of 4ppm hydrogen sulfide, and neutralizes an acid pH of 6.5. 


Dr. John McLean considered the McCoy Iron Removal System to be a breakthrough in technology for our family’s water treatment business and the industry. John also noted the mechanical properties of iron treatment resembled his original system’s iron treatment mechanics like no other.


One year after John McLean’s untimely death in 2002, the McCoy Iron Removal System gained 20 years of patent protection from the USPTO. It became the first addition to The Real McCoy line of Water Treatment Systems.


Brian invented another breakthrough in 2007, this time for sulfur treatment. The McCoy Sulfur Eliminator System is a culmination of 14 years of laboratory and field testing and is the lowest maintenance and only 100% successful sulfur treatment on the planet. Brian McCoy guarantees instant and permanent sulfur elimination or you don’t pay for the system.


Brian McCoy honors his grandfather by continuing to offer innovative, low maintenance, and all natural water treatment systems along with impeccable, old fashioned, and honest service. Everything you could expect from John McLean can now be found with Brian McCoy and the McCoy family.


The McCoy Iron Removal and Sulfur Eliminator Systems are patented and exclusive to McCoy Water Filter, Inc.


John McLean’s Notes on the McCoy Iron Removal System.


The McCoy Water Filter Service Truck, a 2006 Express Van 2500 series. When Brian started in 2004, we bought a '90 Astro van on eBay for $500 and drove a rental car to Fort Lauderdale Florida to buy it and drive it back to Virginia. We barely made it back. Brian fixed the engine and exhaust and the body on the truck. He even hand painted our logo and phone number on the sides and back door until we could paint the truck and have it lettered. Our first truck lasted us a year. Our second truck was a 1998 Astro and that one cost us a fortune to keep on the road. Brian bought this Express van and figured a monthly payment would be like spending money every month fixing on an old truck. This truck should never leave us or our clients hanging.John Oliver McLean, a PhD in chemical engineering from MIT. This picture was a part of a Richmond Times article about him and his business published in 1983. He was a very modest and honest man. He did not want to be known for being a doctor in chemistry, but rather for his love for automobiles and the opera. He was a very particular person, a stickler for order and perfection and not very easy to please. Brian’s greatest memory of John was the time spent in John’s basement puzzling over how to make the MacCLEAN Iron System work. For the last few years of John’s life Brian was able to experience how much he and John were alike when it came down to being a water treatment scientist. “We clicked” Brian said, “We were always very good friends, but for the first time in our lives we were collaborators on a point of great personal interest for the both of us. It was great to see John so excited to be on the verge of another water treatment discovery.” It was that time when Brian invented the McCoy Iron Removal System. Unfortunately John did not live long enough to see Brian Receive the patent.