President and Chief Executive Officer at Ecolab
Thank you, Mike, and good afternoon, everyone. Great to be together with you today. So Q3 has been another very good quarter for Ecolab, demonstrating once again that Ecolab is in great shape, with strong top-line momentum and a proven ability to effectively mitigate the adverse effect of inflation and the so-called supply shortages. Now the underlying sales trends were strong across-the-board. In a complex environment, we delivered 10% reported and 8% fixed currency organic sales growth, driven first and foremost by continued strong momentum in Institutional and Specialty that delivered 17% sales growth in the quarter and 24% from the Institutional division. We also saw accelerated momentum in Industrial sales with 7% growth and 13% in other segments driven by sustained high-performance in Pest Elimination.
Healthcare & Life Sciences posted negative sales growth year-on-year as they compared to exceptional growth during the pandemic as we know; however, the respective underlying sales growth stayed on a healthy mid-single and double-digit trajectory. This top-line momentum combined with accelerating pricing and structured productivity that's benefiting from our state-of-the-art digital automation drove the strong adjusted EPS delivery, more than offsetting short-term impact from Hurricane Ida and the rapid acceleration of global cost inflation.
The team did an exceptional job minimizing the impact of Hurricane Ida, which we were able to successfully manage to be a much lower impact than initially expected at only $0.03 in the quarter. Most importantly, the team mitigated the impact of additional significant supply shortages to ensure exceptional service to customers while driving continued new business wins and strong price increases, contributing to 31% increase in free cash flow. Current sales momentum is strong, and we expect it to accelerate. Stronger business and breakthrough innovation are expected to continue to drive top-line growth. Also, pricing will keep accelerating towards 4%.
The strong volume and price momentum is expected to result in Q4 showing better year-over-year sales growth than what we've seen in Q3. At the same time, delivered product cost will keep increasing rapidly, which we'll continue to mitigate with great pricing; however, as we know with our model, this takes time to do well, in a way that's sustainable long-term, and aligned with the incremental value we create for customers. We therefore estimate that the time lag between pricing and cost inflation will impact the fourth quarter EPS by approximately $0.20 versus what we expected just a few months ago, but that too we'll address over the next few quarters.
Next, we expect Q4 EPS to continue to grow double-digits though not as strong as in Q3, which will help us exceed the year with great momentum, with strong volume growth, continued pricing and delivered product cost hopefully nearing its peak, we then enter 2022 in great position to deliver another great year for Ecolab. This strong fundamental business momentum combined with continued market recovery provides us with great confidence in the future and especially for 2022. In a world full of uncertainties, we keep driving strong business wins in a competitive differentiation.
In a world where customers struggle to find reliable partners for innovation, especially product supply and expertise to help them run their operations efficiently and serve their customers safely, we have substantially strengthened our position as their clear, innovative and reliable global partner. In a world where our Institutional Specialty customers and consumers especially are concerned about the increased risks of infection, Ecolab Science Certified has become the reference that provides guests with the assurance they're looking for.
And in a world where environmental impact has become front-and-center, our Net Zero offering is providing Industrial segment customers especially leading and innovative ways to deliver on their commitments when improving their own financial returns. All this provides us with confidence that '22 will be another strong year for Ecolab with sales and earnings growth above our long-term trends.
So with that, I look forward to your questions.