West Caldwell, N.J.-based PCI-WEDECO Environmental Technologies was selected by the Santa Clara (Calif.) Valley Water District to supply three integrated oxygen-ozone generation systems for the Santa Teresa, Rinconada and the Penitencia drinking water treatment plants. The value of the contract is approximately $3.5 million. 💧
Lindsay Manufacturing Co., of Omaha, Neb., reported a 17 percent increase in revenues and a 25 percent increase in operating income for its first quarter ending Nov. 30, 2002. Total revenues for the first quarter were $33.5 million, up 17 percent from $28.5 million for the prior year’s first quarter. 💧
The Canada-based International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) has a new online newsletter, IUVA e-News, according to editor and IUVA director Jim Bolton. More information can be obtained at www.iuva.org 💧
According to the Freedonia Group Inc., of Cleveland, demand for virgin activated carbon in the United States is expected to increase nearly three percent per year to 450 million pounds in 2006, with market value expected to rise 3.5 percent per year to $332 million over the same period. 💧
Applied Water Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of Global Water Technologies Inc., received a contract from Way Service Ltd. to provide its AquaPhysics cooling water treatment technologies and services through Way Service for the Schlumberger Training Center in Sugar Land, Texas. 💧
According to “What Americans are Drinking in 2002”—a survey from a recent FDA consumer magazine article—bottled, filtered and non-filtered waters surpass soft drinks and juices as the leading cold beverage of choice. Also, bottled water sales in vending machines was the only cold drink category to grow sales in double digits in 2001. 💧
Omaha, Neb.-based AMCON Distributing Co. formed a new beverage division composed of a new wholly-owned subsidiary, The Beverage Group Inc., and Hawaiian Natural Water Company Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMCON since December 2001. 💧
ZENON Environmental Inc., of Ontario, Canada, will manufacture a re-locatable wastewater treatment plant for Canada’s Department of National Defence. Canada is a leader in the provision of emergency response water treatment. The technology was used in Afghanistan where Canada’s troops provided drinking water for other allied forces. 💧
Minneapolis-based Cargill Salt announced its participation in the Upromise service, making its Diamond Crystal brand the exclusive supplier of table, water conditioning and de-icing salt products to Upromise. The salt brand joins other brands that contribute a portion of their sales to consumers to help them save money for college. 💧
London-based Aquis Systems Ltd. announced the opening of its new office in Austin, Texas. The office will drive the North American sales, marketing and support of the company’s eServer and hand-held product lines. Aquis Systems is a global provider of advanced software solutions for the international water cooler industry. 💧
The Coliban Region Water Authority’s Bendigo Water Treatment Plant in Victoria, Australia, recently came online, producing drinking water for the town of Bendigo’s 80,000 residents. At the heart of the plant is a 33 million gallon per day microfiltration-submerged system supplied by USFilter’s Memcor Products. 💧
The Washington State Department of Health has released a report titled “Water System Security and Emergency Response Planning.” The document, along with other related reports, can be viewed at www.doh. wa.gov/ehp/dw. 💧
Chesapeake Utilities Corp., of Dover, Del., named Dashiell “D.J.” Shannahan, general manager of Sharp Water in Salisbury, Md., and Fred DeLoach, engineering technician at Central Florida Gas, of Winter Haven, Fla., the company’s Peake Manager and Peake Performer of 2002, respectively. 💧
Germany-based inge AG will steer the company’s research and development and manufacturing divisions from its headquarters at Greifenberg on Lake Ammersee, near Munich. The company is a manufacturer of membrane technology and modules for the processing of drinking water and wastewater treatment. 💧
The San Manuel Bottled Water Group and Big Bear Mountain Premium Spring Water (both of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians) have an agreement with Vend Source for distribution throughout Arizona and Las Vegas. It’s the first agreement for the spring water company’s new vending product. 💧
As bromate deadline approaches, Calif. dealers pay heed to Prop. 65
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated a 10 parts per billion (ppb) limit for bromate in bottled water effective Jan. 1, 2002. Then, on May 31, 2002, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) of the California Environmental Protection Agency added bromate to Proposition 65 (the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986), which lists chemicals considered to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Since the effective listing date for bromate was May 31, 2002, and the state law requires “clear and reasonable” warnings on consumer products 12 months later—May 31, 2003—water bottlers face a looming deadline. Paul Overbeck, new chairman of the International Ozone Association-Pan American Group (see Newsreel, February 2003), said it’s too soon to comment until California sets its “safe harbor” level for bromate in products. In short, a bottler could be fined in the amount of $2,500 per day per violation. Overbeck said, “I take this potential seriously as penalties have been assessed on other Prop. 65-listed chemicals.” Moreover, an injunction could be issued to prevent any violation of the warning requirement. Ten ppb was established by Stage 1 of the USEPA Disinfectants and Disinfection By-Product Rule as the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for compliance at public water systems. Overbeck is quick to point out that Prop. 65 doesn’t apply to municipal drinking water supplies, but only to consumer products. He calls this “inconsistent.” Proposition 65 requires consumers be warned of any amounts above a “no significant risk,” safe harbor level, which can be less than the USEPA and FDA-established MCL. The California OEHHA hasn’t established this safe harbor “no significant risk level” for bromate as it relates to Prop. 65. By law, however, if a product contains greater than the “safe harbor” level of bromate after May 31, 2003, the product label must read: “Warning: This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer.” For now, the International Bottled Water Association is suggesting members make certain they meet the FDA-established 10 ppb bromate level while IBWA performs its own research to establish a safe harbor limit, and use their own research data for a legal defense if one becomes necessary.
Mold suit filed in Idaho
In late January, a second group of homeowners filed suit against a Boise, Idaho-area housing developer, claiming shoddy construction has caused more than 140 homes to flood, weakening the homes’ structural integrity and prompting dangerous mold growth. In early December 2002, another group of homeowners in an adjacent subdivision filed suit against the same developer for similar causes. The suit states that at least 50 homeowners have been affected by construction defects and estimates individual losses for each of the homes at $50,000 to $200,000, setting the final damages as high as $10 million. Plaintiffs also have the option to file for punitive damages against the developers under Idaho law. In related news, the National Association of Mold Professionals (NAMP) announced, in late January, that it’s offering comprehensive mold inspection and remediation certification classes throughout the year. The NAMP has decided to provide an extensive two-day certification program due to the increasing percentage of adverse health-related problems caused from mold exposure, and the shortage of trained professionals in the mold inspection, testing and cleanup industries. The course is held once a month in Detroit. See www. moldpro.org for more information on NAMP and its certification program.
Money pumped into homes
The home renovation market is having its strongest year in history, and industry leaders don’t see a slowdown coming anytime soon as residential remodeling and repair expenditures hit an all-time high. Projected total spending nationally in 2002 hit $163 billion, compared to $157.5 billion in 2001 and $150 billion in 2000, according to a recent Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB) report. The majority of the remodeling business stems from three circumstances—existing homeowners don’t want to move because they like their neighborhoods, new homes are becoming too expensive, and they want to increase the value of their homes. In fact, recent homebuyers account for more than 25 percent of the total dollars spent on remodeling in the United States in 2001, the CIRB report stated.
W. Va. utility accepts RWE bid
The West Virginia Public Service Commission gave final approval in early January to a German conglomerate’s $4.6 billion purchase of West Virginia-American Water Co.’s parent company. Earlier, Attorney General Darrell McGraw Jr. and West Virginia-American agreed to terms of the sale to Germany’s RWE and its British subsidiary, Thames Water. American Water Works Co. already received approval for the sale from the 26 other states in which it operates. West Virginia was the last state to approve the buyout. The agreement includes several provisions:
- The local company must gain approval from the PSC before selling water out of state and must contribute 3 percent of its gross revenue from future water exports. It annually exports $1.3 million in water to towns across the Virginia and Ohio borders.
- The company can’t use international treaties to challenge the PSC’s jurisdiction.
- RWE and American Water also agree not to own or control West Virginia’s water and thus can’t export large amounts of it.
- West Virginia-American must pass along any savings from the sale of American Water Works, its parent company, to RWE/Thames Water to its customers.
- The company is doubling its annual contribution to $50,000 to the Helping Hand Program, which helps low-income households pay for water service.
West Virginia-American Water serves 150,000 residential customers and 11,000 commercial customers in 17 counties.
Firm wins membrane patent
Electropure Inc., of Laguna Hills, Calif., announced in early January that it was granted a U.S. patent for a process to make improved ion exchange membranes an integral part of its electrodeionization (EDI) water purification technology. The patent (US 6,503,957) describes a low temperature method for making polypropylene-based, ion exchange membranes, which enable the efficient removal of impurity ions like sodium, chloride and silica from water. Electropure designs, manufactures and markets water purification equipment as well as laser-based technology for detecting and identifying microbes in real time.
AFFI joins show’s sponsors
The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) announced it will co-sponsor the Worldwide Food Expo 2003, which will be held Oct. 29-Nov. 1 at McCormick Place in Chicago. AFFI joins the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), whose sponsorship was announced last fall, as the newest co-sponsor of the expo. It will feature an expanded food, dairy and beverage exposition in the south hall of McCormick Place sponsored by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the International Association of Food Industry Suppliers (IAFIS), IBWA and AFFI. AFFI will also sponsor the frozen food exhibits in the American Meat Institute’s (AMI) international meat, poultry and seafood expo, located in the north hall and part of the south hall. In addition to AFFI’s participation, the show sponsors last fall announced the addition of IBWA’s bottled water pavilion, and a special “bev expo” zone that will highlight innovations in processing, packaging and formulation of waters, juices, dairy beverages and non-carbonated and other carbonated beverages.
Pace gobbles up Spectrum
Minneapolis-based Pace Analytical Services Inc. acquired the assets of Spectrum Labs Inc., a product testing laboratory located in St. Paul, Minn. Pace Analytical will continue to operate its product testing laboratory at 301 W. County Road E2, St. Paul, MN 55112. The company retained Timothy Shannon as product testing manager and his staff (previously of Spectrum) to operate this facility. Thomas Halverson will serve as director of business development. Halverson previously worked as the operations manager for Spectrum Labs for a period of 10 years, from its inception in 1990 until 2000, when he was hired by Pace Analytical. The product testing group will report to Gabe LeBrun, general manager of Pace’s Analytical LabOps Division.
Perchlorate found in wells
More than 300 drinking water wells in the San Martin (Calif.) area may be contaminated with perchlorate, which is used in the manufacturing of rocket fuel and highway flares and may cause health hazards for pregnant women and infants. The chemical has spread in a four-mile underground plume and could affect drinking water supplies for more than 2,000 people, officials said. Residents are being urged not to drink the water until it’s been tested by the water district. Perchlorate was detected in 12 of 100 wells tested in the unincorporated area between Gilroy and Morgan Hill. One municipal well in Morgan Hill has been closed because of contamination. Santa Clara Valley Water District officials said in mid-January that an additional 350 wells must be tested. Some studies suggest perchlorate may be a cause of thyroid cancer. There are no federal or state safe drinking water standards or maximum allowable contaminant levels for perchlorate; however, the state Department of Health Services has set 4 parts per billion as the level at which action must be taken to resolve the problem. Home filtration systems don’t remove perchlorate.
Boys’ deaths bring scrutiny
Phoenix’s tap water is chlorinated and therefore safe to drink, city officials are telling residents. The safety of tap water has been questioned in the Phoenix area since the October meningitis deaths of 5-year-olds Davy Luna of Glendale and Zach Stalls of Peoria. Both had been exposed to water from the small Rose Valley Water Co. in Peoria. Chlorination was urged for all water systems to minimize danger of a recurrence. Since the deaths, three of seven water samples that Maricopa County sent to federal labs from the Peoria and Rose Valley water systems and a refrigerator filter at one of the children’s homes have tested positive for the microbe Naegleria fowleri amoeba. The amoeba is blamed for the children’s deaths. Phoenix’s water meets all federal and state standards. It has been treated with chlorine for more than a century.
Ionics to implement filters
Corning Inc. and Ionics Inc. announced an agreement for the supply of Corning ceramic membrane liquid filters to Ionics for the food and beverage processing industries. The multi-year agreement enhances Ionics’ integrated membrane systems approach for these markets. The company will incorporate
Corning’s advanced ceramic membrane filters into their process membrane systems. Ionics will be the exclusive supplier of these advanced filters in North America, South America and Western Europe. The filter types include 0.2 µm, 0.01 µm and 0.005 µm ceramic membrane filters used for microfiltration and ultrafiltration.
Lab is endorsed in state
Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Inc., of San Bruno, Calif., (EMLab) said in early December that it’s now California accredited. The California Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) provides evaluation and accreditation of environmental testing laboratories to ensure the quality of analytical data used for regulatory purposes to meet the requirements of the state’s food, drinking water, wastewater, shellfish, and hazardous waste programs. The state agencies, which monitor the environment, use the analytical data from these accredited laboratories. The California Environmental Laboratory Improvement Act took effect on Jan. 1, 1989.
False tests on the rise
Environmental and law enforcement officials said manipulated water supply tests are interfering with the government’s ability to enforce environmental laws, defrauding companies that pay for honest testing and ripping off consumers who pay for products. In some cases, however, officials said companies and laboratories have conspired to falsify test results so the companies can certify that their products meet environmental standards. The Justice Department and the USEPA have prosecuted dozens of employees and laboratories the past several years for fraudulent testing. Officials said they aren’t certain whether an increasing number of labs are falsifying tests, or whether more are simply being caught through more aggressive investigations and whistle-blowers. Fraud examples were given in Texas, Kansas, Massachusetts and South Carolina.
LightStream goes global
In late December, LightStream Technologies Inc., of Reston, Va., appointed Acquamarin, d.o.o., the exclusive technology provider for the LS Series of advanced pulsed UV water disinfection machines in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina in a five-year agreement. Founded in 1999, Acquamarin provides water, process water and wastewater treatment technologies for municipal, industrial and commercial clients. The company is headquartered in Rijeka, Croatia, with branch offices in Zagreb and Split. Soon, LightStream’s network will reach 40 countries.
Contract awarded to Vivendi
Vivendi Water Systems, a subsidiary of Vivendi Environnement, won a $6.175 million contract for a wastewater plant extension and water reuse unit in Jordan to upgrade and extend the Ramtha wastewater treatment plant. The project, which will be partially financed by the French government, was won by a consortium led by Vivendi Water Systems and a local civil engineering firm, El Concorde. The plant will enable treatment of all wastewater generated by the 70,000 inhabitants expected by 2005 in Ramtha (56 miles north of the Jordanian capital, Amman). The plant, initially built in the late 1980s, will treat 5,400 cubic meters of wastewater a day. The treatment will consist of pre-treatment, biological treatment to remove carbon and nitrate pollution as well as phosphorus, and tertiary sand filters treatment to remove algae and parasites.
Cholera thrives in Africa
By mid-December, at least two people had died and 33 people were diagnosed with cholera since an outbreak in the Kampala and Wakiso districts of Uganda in late November, according to a report released by the Ministry of Health. The report cites dirty surroundings, poor personal hygiene, latrine breakdown, and sharing of latrines as the main risk factors. Following the latest cholera outbreak, the sale of water and juices that are locally packed in plastic bags (buveera) have been banned. Ugandans are urged to always boil water before drinking, and keep themselves and their homesteads clean. In related news, simply filtering water through old sari fabric may be enough to reduce cholera cases by about half in rural villages in Bangladesh, researchers say. A sari, the garment favored by most Hindu women, is made of lightweight, gauzelike cotton fabric. In a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists filtered pond and river water through nylon mesh and through old, much-washed sari cloth. There were 184,000 cases of cholera reported from 58 countries in 2001, according to the World Health Organization. More than 2,700 people died; however, Bangladesh wasn’t included in these statistics.
Glaxo gets UV facelift
GlaxoSmithKline upgraded an existing ultraviolet (UV) water disinfection unit from Berkshire, UK-based Hanovia Plc., at one of its UK installations with new medium-pressure UV systems from the company. Six systems were recently upgraded, all of which are used to disinfect purified water for the washing and rinsing stages of clean-in-place (CIP) production equipment, as well as for the manufacture of coating solutions for tablets. The water, which originates in nearby reservoirs, is chlorinated before passing through sand filters. It’s then passed through carbon filters and deionized before UV disinfection. The UV systems have the capacity to treat up to 80,000 kilograms of water per day, 24 hours a day.