LaMotte Company celebrates 100 years
In October of 1919, Frank LaMotte left DuPont to start a company making pH indicators in the US. He began by making the first domestically produced pH test kits; the only ones then available came from Germany and relations with that country were tenuous. Originally located in downtown Baltimore, MD, LaMotte worked on his own until 1920, when he hired fellow chemist Doc Kenny. That same year he worked with Johns Hopkins chemist, Dr. Linn Enslow, to develop the first chlorine comparator. Its need arose after chlorinated lime was first added to drinking water in 1908. While LaMotte Company started with pH indicators and buffers for water test kits, they began developing and marketing other types of test kits as well. Methods for analyzing agricultural soil were developed in the early 1920s. In 1925, LaMotte produced the first kits in the US for testing chlorine and pH in swimming pools.
In 1929, a LaMotte pH test kit made the first expedition to the South Pole with explorer Admiral Byrd at his station called Little America. Traveling by air, the kit was later returned and is still on display at LaMotte Company headquarters in Chestertown, MD. In 1934, the company moved to Towson, MD, where it continued to grow and in the mid 1950s, LaMotte began supplying phenol red pH indicators for monitoring the stability of the Jonas Salk vaccine. Needing more space, LaMotte moved the company to Chestertown in July 1956, where it remains today. Over the years, as innovation and product demand increased, the original location expanded many times. (The latest expansion, completed in late 2018, added 10,0002 of research and development labs as well as additional production and meeting space.)
In 1968, LaMotte introduced the first DPD Free Available Chlorine test in North America under a partnership with Dr. A.T. Palin. Soon afterward, US EPA recognized the DPD method as a preferred way for testing free chlorine in drinking water and in pools. The late Charles LaMotte took over as President from Frank LaMotte in 1971, pioneering the use of electronic colorimeters to measure pH, chlorine and dozens of other test parameters. In 1983, the company was sold to the Arthur H. Thomas Corporation, of Swedesboro, NJ. The corporation allowed Charles to pass the leadership on to his nephew, David LaMotte, who became president in 1986 and remains at the helm today.
By the late 1980s LaMotte had introduced water analysis systems linked to computers and software to record data and provide recommendations to the user. In the mid-1990s, they began making an assortment of multi-parameter test strips designed for instantly measuring various elements in water. More recently the company launched and patented an automated water analyzer, WaterLink® Spin, in 2012. The key to the Spin system is a reagent-filled disk that can measure up to 10 factors using only a small water sample. The Spin meter mixes and analyzes the filled disk and displays the results in just 60 seconds.
Today the company employs over 220 at its headquarters in Maryland and has three other sales offices globally. LaMotte Company remains a privately held manufacturer, dedicated to innovations that make testing and analyses easier for all.
WQA 2020 convention notes
The Water Quality Association has opened registration for its 2020 WQA Convention & Exposition, to be held April 1-3, 2020 in Orlando, FL. The convention website, wqa.org/convention, offers easy-to-use access to registration, housing and event information for the annual industry gathering and for the March 31 WQA Business Boot Camp, both set for the Orange County Convention Center. The event is expected to attract more than 3,000 dealers, manufacturers and consultants. Expanded hours for the trade show offer greater opportunities to see the latest products and services in drinking water treatment.
NSF standard update announced
The joint committee of experts that maintains an NSF International drinking water treatment standard has recently updated it to allow a more efficient method of treating microorganisms in drinking water. The revision to NSF/ANSI 55: Ultraviolet Microbiological Water Treatment Systems establishes new criteria for use of UV-LED technology for microbial reduction and provides a new test method to certify manufacturer claims. Treatment systems covered by the standard use UV light to inactivate or kill bacteria, viruses and cysts in microbiologically unsafe water (Class A systems) or to reduce the amount of non-disease-causing bacteria in disinfected drinking water (Class B systems). See Water Matters for full details.
PFAS briefing on Capitol Hill
In an effort to bring awareness to the work being done at the local level to respond to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure in drinking water, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) joined the National Environmental Health Association, Association of Public Health Laboratories, Trust for America’s Health and American Public Health Association to hold a congressional briefing: PFAS and Water Protection Briefing with Public Health Experts. Karla Black, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Kent County, MI, discussed PFAS contamination of wells in northern Kent County and the local health department response efforts to understand and mitigate resident exposure. The health department documented more than 700 sites in the county that were contaminated, with levels of PFAS from less than 70 ppt to a high of 96,000 ppt.
DuPont technology honored
DuPont Water Solutions was awarded the 2019 International Desalination Association (IDA) Award for Best Disruptive Technology in recognition of its efforts to meet water demand in Egypt. DuPont’s innovative, modular design of a new ultrafiltration plant constructed in Suez, Egypt in partnership with Integrated Environmental Technology and Oil Services Company S.A.E (IETOS) was showcased.
Water dispenser growth reported
The US water-dispenser market has grown by an annual average of 4.4 percent to reach almost eight million units by the end of 2018, according to US Water Dispenser Report 2019 from Zenith Global. Home and office bottled water dispensers dominated the market at 75 percent of total numbers installed. Mains-fed units have advanced faster than the overall market, rising by an average 8.8 percent a year to nearly two million in December 2018. Integrated tap systems are also strengthening their profile: 87 percent are in commercial locations, mainly workplaces. Their presence in hotels, restaurants, catering and homes is also significant.
Aquatech Amsterdam success reported
Aquatech Amsterdam 2019 proved to be an exciting week. The all-new Innovation Forum kick-started the event with the tagline, Mastering Water’s Digital Transformation. With the ambition to help people ‘think differently about water,’ the forum, which included 250 delegates, speakers and moderators, was applauded for its non-conference style, focusing on two-way interaction. Four days of an energetic, informative and interactive exhibition then followed to ensure visitors from over 147 countries were kept informed, engaged and energized throughout the entire week. Highlights included the world champions drilling and tapping won by Team Waterbedrijf Groningen; drones demonstrating groundwater monitoring in the Drone Arena; eight country pavilions; 26 visiting country delegations (including six ambassadors), specialty pavilions and much more.
drinktec name changed
Messe München GmbH announced that drinktec worldwide has changed to bev & food tec network powered by drinktec. The new name reflects the evolution of the trade-fair network. Since 2007, the network around drinktec has grown steadily to now include events at 10 locations.
Desalination technology field tests in Palestine
A new low-energy desalination technology, developed at Aston University and the University of Birmingham and patented by University of Birmingham Enterprise, will soon begin field tests in Palestine, where it is expected to help mitigate the effects of water shortages and improve the efficiency of crop production. The technology uses a solar-powered desalination system, made of a novel combination of existing, off-the-shelf products, which can be deployed easily and relatively cheaply in locations that are off-grid. The field-testing project and the technology are described in a paper published in the November issue of Desalination and Water Treatment.
Solar-powered borehole inaugurated
In October, the Poul Due Jensen Foundation inaugurated Borehole 2 in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp. With the last of three boreholes in use, the foundation’s safe water projects provide drinking water for almost 150,000 refugees in western Tanzania. The foundation also celebrated having reached over 50,000 Tanzanians in poor rural communities outside the camp. In 2016, the foundation and the American NGO Water Mission partnered to show the international community that it is possible to provide safe drinking water for large refugee camps with solar pumping solutions.
De Nora technology highlighted
To address increasingly complex water treatment issues and standards in Asia, De Nora highlighted its groundbreaking hybrid system of CECHLO® and Capital Controls® at this year’s International Water Association conference. The system aims to ensure an entirely safe process of chlorine management from beginning to end. Water treatment has become an indispensable part of the water supply process, with chlorine being the most common disinfectant. Safety around the transportation and management of chlorine gas, however, is a growing concern, particularly in populated areas.