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January 2004: Volume 46, Number 1

Waterite`s Jacuzzi on Canadian DWTU Standards
by Carlos David Mogollon, WC&P Executive Editor

In early December, WC&P had an opportunity to speak with Paul Jacuzzi, president of Waterite Technologies Inc. of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on an effort under way since this summer to establish formal drinking water treatment unit (DWTU) standards in Canada under a consensus process involving stakeholders from all segments of the industry, regulatory and public health officials, and end-users. Here's what Paul had to say:

WC&P: I'm putting together an article on what's going on with CSA International and Health Canada on development of Canadian DWTU standards. I spoke with CSA's Paul Bates as well as Connie at CWQA and wanted to get a manufacturer perspective and one of the companies mentioned that was participating was Waterite. So, I wanted to know what your thoughts were on this whole process?

Jacuzzi: Well, it's an inevitable process and my involvement is primarily to make sure that, if it's an inevitable process, it be done in a method that's sane from the standpoint of a manufacturer's viewpoint. What I saw them doing at the first meeting was going down the road that would have ultimately led to a double certification process for Canada, which is just insane. It was a certification from CSA that would have mandated a certification from NSF, so in order to get one you had to have the other.

WC&P: And pay double the price, too.

Jacuzzi: Oh, yes. Pay double the price, go through twice the administration, twice the waiting period, testing time, chasing around and sending product from one end of the country to the other. That was point No. 1. Point No. 2 was as it was currently being discussed, for companies like ourselves and those like USF Watergroup, like McDonald & Son, like Pequa—all the various players at the OEM level of significance in the country have literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of softeners and filters and different configurations arrayed in a multiple of ways. As it currently sits at CSA, each one of those models would have had to independently been submitted for a certification in an approval process, which is beyond ridiculous.

WC&P: In talking to Paul, he pointed out that nothing is yet written in stone. They don't even have the technical committee formally named. That will be done later this month. And then they'll address structure and everything else related to these. They've had task force meetings to talk about how they should look at this stuff but nothing's really been done yet.

Jacuzzi: Absolutely, I'm chairing the technical group that is looking at the current plumbing standards in Canada. And the first question we have to address is do the current plumbing standards meet the concerns of the various stakeholders that were at the first CSA meeting that seem to have concerns about drinking water treatment units and were concerned that there be a certification process in place. What was it they were concerned about? Were they concerned about its ability to withstand pressure, to be able to conform to plumbing codes, their safety… so we had a long discussion about that. At the end of the day, it became pretty obvious that there was a pretty broad number of opinions as to what they were concerned about. I think there was one part of the manufacturers represented there that argued very vigorously to the effect that the plumbing code of Canada is a pretty comprehensive document just as it is in the states—by state or on a federal level. And as far as the requirements of the plumbing code and the various plumbing certifications and plumbing standards under CSA that that adequately deals with drinking water treatment units. And they said, "Yeah, it very well may do that." So, that's the first mandate of the technical group that I'm heading up is to establish what if any standards that deal with drinking water treatment units under the plumbing codes—is there anything missing from a structural and from a performance standpoint. And, if it is, that's when we have to make the recommendation that we have to create some kind of a process for testing and certification so as to cover the areas of concern.

WC&P: And see if there are any models out there that can be drawn upon in formulating a process for that in Canada.

Jacuzzi: Yes. But my involvement, as I said, is to make sure that whatever we do, it does not penalize the market ultimately by withdrawing a lot of competitors from the market because they just simply cannot afford the onerous task of going through multiple certifications on the argument or basis that, any time you have fewer choices in the market and all those choices cost more money, it's probably not a good thing. And, ultimately, the certification process if it's taken to an extreme case, it's going to lead to that. And I just can't see how that can be a good thing.

WC&P: Well, it would seem to be a positive sign that you are all participating.

Jacuzzi: Absolutely, if we get in, you have enough voices heard and you wrestle with the thing long enough, you're probably going to come out with a pretty good overall decision in the direction you take. If it's kind of a multifaceted process, or one in which you have a lot of different levels of participation, it's probably going to be a good model.

WC&P: Well, I just wanted to get something into the magazine so that we could update people on this topic. I'll probably run this in the January issue as the Viewpoint.

Jacuzzi: I'm concerned that the country—if manufacturers and the various stakeholders in the industry don't broadly participate in this—is going to end up with something like we had in Quebec.

WC&P: How broad is the participation at this point?

Jacuzzi: Well, I mean the CSA committee that's been established has a very broad participation. I mean from the major manufacturers to CSA itself to Health Canada to CWQA, it covers a very broad section of opinions.

WC&P: So, you want to keep that going, in other words?

Jacuzzi: Yes. If everyone can be heard and can have some input into where we go with this overall certification process for this country, I think we can avoid something like what we've got in Quebec, which is so restrictive and I think it's just terrible.

WC&P: Would this supercede Quebec at all? Or, once passed, would it possibly look to drop theirs in favor of this?

Jacuzzi: Who knows? The Quebec government now is a wildcard.

WC&P: Hasn't it always been a wildcard?

Jacuzzi: Always. Absolutely, but even moreso now that it's gone from a sovereigntist, separatist, nationalist government back to a federalist, liberal government and what's their views on environmental policy, health and other related themes? I don't know.

WC&P: You've got Quebec. We've got California.

Jacuzzi: Yes, we've both got our burdens to bear. Oh, that's a perfect analogy. Absolutely.

###

Jazuzzi can be reached at:
Waterite Technologies Inc.
Unit 1 - 885 Keewatin St.
Winnipeg, MB R2X 2S7 Canada
Tel: +1-204-786-1604
Fax: +1-204-783-1599
Email: pvjacuzzi@waterite.com
Web: www.waterite.com