Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

People

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

Coody, Conte assigned new jobs at John Guest
John Guest USA Inc. of Pine Brook, Ill., has promoted Jeff Coody to sales manager for the western region with responsibility for the territory sales managers in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. He
was formerly West Coast territory sales manager. Coody will maintain direct sales in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Wyoming.

Mike Conte has been appointed Southwest Territory sales manager, responsible for California, Arizona and Nevada. Conte is formerly with Chester Paul Company.

ClearWater hires 2 for sales
ClearWater Tech, LLC of San Luis Obispo, Calif., has hired Ed Knueve and Jeff Freeman as outside sales representatives. They have a combined 35 years experience in the water treatment industry.

Knueve will handle sales in Indiana, Michigan, Iowa and Illinois. He has over 20 years industry experience and can assist client needs with ozone equipment in applications ranging from recreational water to small community drinking water systems. His degree in mechanical engineering is from Lima College and he’s a certified water specialist with the Water Quality Association, including membership on its Ozone Task Force. He’s also a member of the International Ozone Association.

Freeman will be the representative for the residential and commercial recreational water markets, which will include swimming pools, biological systems, hydraulics and filtration. His area will be from Central California to the border with Mexico, including Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson. He’s certified in advanced hydraulics and filtration and holds certifications for both residential and commercial electrical systems.   

Carney advances at CUNO
Timothy B. Carney was promoted to senior vice president, finance and administration of the Water Group of CUNO Inc. of Meriden, Conn. Carney will retain his current position as vice president, controller, with the added responsibility for all financial management and business development aspects of the group. Carney is a six-year veteran of the company with over 20 years of financial management experience. He’s been controller since 1996 and will continue to report to Frederick Flynn for these duties and to Michael Croft in his new position. Prior to this position, he was general manager of Water Factory Systems of Irvine, Calif.

Bertler joins Sta-Rite
Mark Bertler has joined Sta-Rite Industries as vice president, filtration, overseeing the company’s Filtration Business Unit. His responsibilities include sales and marketing, engineering, customer service and business development. Prior to joining the company, Bertler was a Midwest general manager for USFilter. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The Filtration Business Unit will consolidate the company’s Hydro-Flow, Omni and Fiberdyne product lines. Bertler will also jointly oversee a newly formed Retail Water Team, which will focus on selling pump and filtration products into the retail distributor channel.

DePrefontaine is new VP at Saratoga Beverage
Saratoga Beverage Group, Inc. of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has appointed Louise DePrefontaine vice president of marketing. DePrefontaine has 20 years marketing experience in the multi-billion dollar food and beverage industry, serving previously as regional category director for Reckitt & Colman Inc., where she was responsible for new product development, planning and analysis for the Lysol Brand. Prior to that she was marketing director for Nabisco, where she increased market share, spearheaded acquisition efforts and introduced numerous new products nationally.

CEI names Carter new VP
CEI of Circleville, Ohio, has promoted Ryan Carter to vice president. Carter is a Wittenburg University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He has over five years experience in the water purification industry, and was listed as an honorable professional in Who’s Who in executives and business. Recent company growth has been directly attributed to Ryan’s efforts.

Hoskin elected to board
Aqua Care Systems Inc. of Coral Springs, Fla., has elected Norman J. Hoskin to its board of directors. Hoskin will work in concert with President William K. Mackey, who will continue on the board but will focus on the business aspects of the company while Hoskin will evaluate avenues to increase shareholder value. “The board feels the true value of the company is not reflected in the stock price and is committed to actively exploring all options to help shareholders realize such value,” Hoskin said.

Hickling gets nod at NORIT
NORIT Americas Inc. of Atlanta, Ga., has hired Dr. Simon Hickling as its business development specialist responsible for new and existing markets for activated carbon in specialty areas including the pharmaceutical and catalyst areas. Hickling’s Ph.D. in physical chemistry is from the University of Bath and his bachelor’s degree in chemistry is from Sheffield Hallam University, both in the U.K. Prior to this position, Hickling was production manager for Bass Brewers Ltd. in Yorkshire, U.K.

Kinetico appoints Stanisz as new dealer manager
Kinetico Inc. of Newbury, Ohio, appointed John Stanisz as district manager with the responsibility of providing business management support to its independent retail dealer network in Indiana and Michigan. Prior to this position, Stanisz was vice president at Burkhart Insurance of Vincennes, Ind., and his background includes commercial sales, retail management and public relations. He was born and raised in Terre Haute, Ind.

Hamilton to head new group
ITT Industries of Upper Saddle River, N.J., appointed Richard J.M. Hamilton as president of its Specialty Products business segment. Formerly the president of its Commercial Products group, Hamilton will now be responsible for the company’s array of fluid specialty products. He’s been with the company since 1995, immediately following the breakup of the old ITT Corporation, which he’d been with for 25 years in a variety of management positions. Hamilton is the current director of the Hydraulic Institute and his bachelor’s degree of science is from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Ask the Expert

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

Irish stains are trying

Question: My wife and I have just retired and moved to our “dream” home in rural Ireland—alas, the dream is turning into something of a nightmare! We have no experience of well water, having lived all of our lives in cities or large towns, so when we noticed a sulphur-like smell and silty appearance about our tap water, we sent a sample for analysis. The experts told us: “The chemical analysis denotes a hard water. The levels of turbidity and iron exceed their limits for a drinking water of 4.0 NTUs and 200 µg/L Fe respectively. The water is satisfactory for human consumption in relation to its microbiological quality.”

Having no idea what all of this meant, we rang a company who supplies and installs water treatment equipment. Their representative ran some tests and scared us with talk of “excessive limescale” and “very” hard water, with iron limits that would clog our central heating and probably our arteries as well. Of course, he could put it all right—at a cost! Unfortunately, our budget is already stretched beyond endurance and the figure he quoted was beyond our reach. Just how bad is all of this? And what sort of equipment do we really need to keep our central heating, electric kettle, washing machine, etc., from seizing up…? Hope you can help us renew the dream…!

Brian O’Brien
County Galway, Ireland

Answer: The sulfur smell could be hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which frequently coexists with iron bacteria, and creates a “rotten egg” odor. I assume you may also have a staining problem on porcelain fixtures, etc. NTUs are nephelometric turbidity units and are used to measure color (i.e., light refracted by suspended solids) in the water among other things. Limescale is simply calcium carbonate (as CaCO3), which denotes hardness in your water. It may be measured in terms of grains per gallon (gpg), where one grain equals 17.1 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or parts per million (ppm); ug/L is micrograms per liter, which also translates to parts per billion (ppb).

More specifically, the sulfur odor is commonly the product of a soil type, sulfur-reducing bacteria. These bacteria are not harmful, but they react to form a gas—H2S, which again resembles the odor of rotten eggs. If the well is older, it may be controlled by a shock, one-time chlorination of the well. Other disinfection procedures may be necessary. A local well service company may be able to help.

The water analysis shows “high” hardness, but that isn’t qualified. There are several ways of reporting hardness, which is calcium and magnesium bicarbonates in water. The several scales can be converted and I’m not sure which one is used in your location, but high hardness would be 10-plus gpg, which translates to 170 ppm (or mg/L). Low, or acceptable hardness, would be in the range of 75-to 85 mg/L or below.  If the level is above that, a water softener can remove hardness. I have no idea of what the market value is for one in your area and suggest you consult with several (perhaps three) firms.

The turbidity of 4.0 NTU is rather high, but it’s more important to determine what in the water is contributing to that level. It can be silt, clay or other precipitates. The NTU value alone does not tell you the composition. Particulate matter can be filtered but, in this instance, it would be useful to determine the composition so the filter type and filter life can be determined.

The iron level of 200 µg/L, is the same as 0.2 mg/L. Here in the United States, and in Europe as a whole, 0.3 mg/L or below is considered acceptable. Iron, which causes rust-colored to brown stains when excessive, should not be a problem (high magnesium levels can also leave stains but these are purple to black). If however, that was misreported (which I doubt) you may need to reconsider. All in all, if the microbiology of the well is acceptable, simple sediment filtration and perhaps a water softener is all that is needed.

The initial solution is a simple water softener, which will reduce the 15-grain hard water and iron. It’s not recommended for turbidity reduction, however; a 25-micron cartridge filter before the softener is the least up-front capital expense way to go, but you may find yourself changing cartridges frequently (operating cost). The odor may be H2S although my bet is that it’s organic and will be reduced along with the turbidity by the filter. If filter cartridges are not changed frequently, bacteria and algae will grow—therefore, chlorination may be required.

PS: Yes, we do have a “staining problem” with wash basins, baths and toilets—anything white, in fact, and we have only been in the house about four weeks! Our report on water hardness says: “Total Hardness (as CaCO3) (mg/L)…253.” Regarding the dealer’s suggestions, I’m afraid the sales rep spoke so quickly and bombarded us with so much technical jargon, I could only pick-up items like “iron-sulphur unit…UV light… precipitation unit…” and a great deal of talk about stainless steel equipment, brass fittings and solid silver connections. I do remember the cost of all this, however. It was £3,000—I think about $4,500 in your currency.—Brian O’Brien

Correction: A reference in C.R. Fricker’s story (“Removal of Cryptosporidium pavum from Water by Filtration,” WC&P, February 2000, pp. 72-76) was incorrect. It should have read: Jokipii, L. and A. Jokipii, “Timing of Symptoms and Oocyst Excretion in Human Cryptosporidiosis,” New England Journal of Medicine, 315 (26): 1643-1647, 1986.

Global Spotlight

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

Topway Global Inc., Brea, Calif., received its certificate from the state of California Department of Health Services for its 5-stage RO system. Topway also received its NSF certificate under Standard 58 for a variety of its RO systems. 💧

Fluid Knowledge, Oakland, Calif., has launched an online directory of over 1,700 businesses, organizations and agencies of relevance to the water and wastewater industry called the WaterList, at www.waterlist. com 💧

Marathon Ceramics, Seattle, Wash., originally formed as a division of Mountain Safety Research, has now been incorporated as a separate company. Marathon will continue its exploration of opportunities beyond the outdoor market currently served by Mountain Safety. 💧

Dow Chemical Company’s Liquid Separations business group, Midland, Mich., announced an across-the-board price increase of its DOWEX™ Ion Exchange Resin product line. The price will rise an average of 5.6 percent and will vary somewhat by resin type and grade. The increase is attributed to the increasing price of raw materials and is the first price increase of its ion exchange resins since 1991. 💧

Patent number 6,013,189 was issued Jan. 11, 2000, to protect designs for the countertop ozone purifier developed by W. Alan Burris, Ph.D., president of ALAB LLC of Pittford, N.Y.  Burris’ innovation radically “shrinks” the scale of ozone technology to fit in an appliance the size of a food processor—a monumentally difficult research and engineering challenge. 💧

Calgon Carbon, Pittsburgh, Pa., has developed Filtrasorb® 600 as a carbon designed specifically for consistent and predictable removal of MTBE from water. It is available for drinking water and groundwater applications. 💧

Multi-Pure Corporation, Las Vegas, Nev., announced its drinking water system models MP750S, MP400PC and MP1200 that use solid carbon block filter technology have been tested by NSF International to effectively reduce MTBE and chloramine. 💧

The American Society of Testing and Materials’ Standardization News magazine, one of the premier publications covering standards development, is now online at www.astm.org 💧

The Water Quality Association reminds its members softener efficiency standards in California’s SB1006 do not apply to commercial and industrial systems, and only residential systems discharging into a sanitary sewer system must be demand initiated with an efficiency rating of 3350 grains removed per pound of salt used. 💧

Rohm and Haas, Philadelphia, Pa., announced a price increase for most of its ion exchange resins, adsorbents and catalysts. The increase will average a minimum of 5 percent and is attributed to the rise in raw material prices such as polystyrene and divinylbenzene. The increase will also cover raising environmental, health and safety regulation compliance costs. 💧

Environmental publisher Island Press, Washington D.C., has released Rivers of Gold: Designing Markets to Allocate Water in California, the first book to detail examination of water markets and the institutional design issues associated with them, with in-depth case studies of actual water market transactions. 💧

The BetzDearborn and Pulp and Paper divisions of Hercules Inc., Trevose, Pa., and USFilter Corp., Palm Desert, Calif., have entered into an alliance to jointly sell USFilter’s capital and chemical feed equipment and Hercules’ water and process treatment chemicals. 💧


Germans buy Vermont UV firm
Ideal Horizons of Poultney, Vt., is to be acquired by WEDECO AG Water Technology, of Dusseldorf, Germany, in an agreement announced Jan. 12 to combine the two companies’ ultraviolet (UV) light operations in North America.

The combined business will operate as WEDECO Ideal Horizons Inc. The acquisition marks the first transaction by WEDECO following its initial public offering on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Symbol: WDO) in October 1999. WEDECO AG was formed through a merger of the UV activities of its namesake parent company in Herford, Germany, and Katadyn Holding AG of Zurich, Switzerland. With annual sales of US$31 million, the company is Europe’s UV disinfection market leader and No. 2 worldwide in sales volume.

Ideal’s 60,000-square-foot facility in Vermont will house all design, project engineering, manufacturing, service, administration, marketing and sales support for the merged companies’North American operations.

With more than 20 years experience in the UV business, Ideal Horizons president Jesse Rodriguez—a past member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee—will manage the new entity as vice president and chief operating officer. Ideal Horizons was founded in 1983 and quickly became a market leader in North America in UV applications for industrial process water and residential and commercial units for home and office use.

John Marrino, WEDECO Inc. Water Technology N.A. president, will be president and CEO of the merged firm. WEDECO AG chairman Werner Klink said he expects growth of better than 30 percent per year through 2005, at which time sales are projected at $280 million. This includes $83 million attained through strategic acquisitions such as that of Ideal Horizons. WEDECO operates in more than 80 countries through wholly owned subsidiaries and representatives.

’60 Minutes’ targets MTBE
A Jan. 16 broadcast of the 60 Minutes news program stirred renewed interest in the groundwater contaminant methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). Reporter Steve Kroft told viewers “MTBE is turning up in lakes, underground aquifers and in 20 percent of the nation’s urban wells, forcing some cities to shut down local water supplies.” The report cited Santa Monica, Calif., as one city where “you haven’t been able to drink the water here for nearly four years” when it discovered that 70 percent of its wells were contaminated with the gasoline oxygenate.

Industry reaction was universal. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) called for more studies, saying “MTBE was a real threat to drinking water resource and public health, demanding immediate focus.”  The AWWA Research Foundation issued a fax news bulletin listing the three studies it sponsored concerning treatments for the contaminant, including ozone with hydrogen peroxide, and advanced oxidation techniques for MTBE removal. The Water Quality Association sent a fax broadcast to its members that said as far as it knew, air stripping and granulated activated carbon rated to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) chloroform were the two most effective technologies for MTBE removal.

Chesapeake buys another EcoWater dealership
Chesapeake Utilities Corp. of Dover, Del., now owns another Eco-Water dealership with its recent purchase of Carroll Water Systems, Inc. of Westminster, Md. It will leave company founder and president Ron Smith at the helm. Smith started the dealership 17 years ago. The tally now reaches four as the number of residential water dealerships or stores owned and partially owned by the publicly traded Delaware utility, which bought its first dealership in March 1998. Several months ago it purchased Douglas Water Conditioning, a top EcoWater dealership in Waterford, Mich.

Son buys out mom at Rayne
Rayne Corp., a distributor of water treatment equipment based in Ventura, Calif., has been acquired by Millenium Water Inc.

“Basically, what we have is the final cleanup of the late David Nancarrow Sr. estate,” said Bob Denne, Rayne president. “David, his son, has formed the company (Millenium) to buy Rayne from his mother.”

Millenium is owned and operated by Dave Nancarrow, chairman and CEO: Mike West, vice chairman; Denne; Greg Nancarrow, vice president, and Larry Cousins, vice president and chief financial officer.

The Nancarrows operate Rayne dealerships in Santa Barbara and Ventura and—with West and Cousins—own four additional Rayne dealerships in California and Arizona. Rayne also operates dealerships in Santa Clarita and Foothill, Calif. There are 42 Rayne dealerships across the country. The latest were added in December in Las Cruces, N.M., (run by Mark Monger) and in October in Chesapeake, Va., (run by Richard Arsenault).

Millenium Water will continue to operate the company under the Rayne name, which has been in existence since 1928. It’s address, phone and website will remain the same as well.

Judge tosses magnetics suit
An Indiana U.S. District Court judge in mid-January dismissed a lawsuit against the Water Quality Association, Bob J. Johnson & Associates and Spectrum Labs Inc. filed by Charles H. Sanderson, president of Fort Wayne, Ind.’s Superior Manufacturing, on Nov. 3, 1999.

The suit claimed damages to Sanderson’s business, which includes the sale of magnetic devices for the control of scale, because of statements by the defendants about the technology his products incorporate, going back as far as “the 1970s.” He alleged a “conspiracy” that amounted to “restraint of trade.”

William C. Lee, chief judge of the court, ruled in favor of the defendants, dismissing the case based on the statute of limitations, lack of jurisdiction of the court and “moreover, Sanderson’s claims are woefully lacking in any factual basis.” He also granted Spectrum’s motion that Sanderson pay legal costs for this and previous actions he has taken against the company and its president, Duane Nowlin.

Council seeks action on POU/POE, bottled water
Members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s  (USEPA) National Drinking Water Advisory Council have approved several recommendations aimed at perceived inadequacies in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulations for bottled water. The panel also approved recommendations on point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) devices. Recommendations included:

  • The NDWAC called on the USEPA to work with the FDA to ensure that bottled water meets testing, monitoring and reporting standards “at least as stringent as the requirements for public water supplies.” The council also recommended a joint USEPA-FDA working group or memorandum of understanding to coordinate developments such as a “quality assurance and reporting program.”
  • POU/POE devices “may be a solution for certain small water systems” in meeting drinking water standards. NDWAC urged USEPA to support research to identify affordable devices and to evaluate their viability for protecting certain sensitive subpopulations, assuming such units would be maintained and operated by public water systems. 

Osmonics to move 2 units, close Phoenix operations
Osmonics Inc. of Minnetonka, Minn.,will close the doors of its Phoenix manufacturing facility by the third quarter in an effort to rationalize product lines and to reduce excess capacity. Its major product lines will be moved to other existing manufacturing locations with available capacity, including its Orec™ ozone generator product line, which will move to Minnetonka, and its Lakewood Instruments™ product line, which will move to Milwaukee, Wis. Phoenix employees are being offered either transfers or severance packages.

Cancer institute awards grant to study arsenic
The National Cancer Institute recently awarded a grant to Dartmouth Medical School to assess the feasibility of constructing historic exposure to inorganic arsenic in public and private drinking water. The study will be conducted by Margaret Karagas, who had been investigating arsenic exposure via drinking water as part of a case controlled study of skin and bladder cancer in New Hampshire, where incident rates have risen markedly in recent years.

Danone buys McKesson, becomes No. 2 U.S. bottler
Paris-based Groupe Danone has agreed to buy the water products division of McKesson HBOC Inc. for $1.1 billion cash, of which $230 million represents the value of tax savings realizable by Danone. The transaction is subject to regulatory review and other conditions.

McKesson Water was the third leading bottled water company in the United States, with a recognized portfolio of brands including Sparkletts, Alhambra and Crystal. It has estimated revenues of more than $380 million and operates 14 production facilities marketing bottled water in 30 states. The majority of its activities are conducted in California and Texas with a primary focus on home and office delivery, which generates approximately 80 percent of sales. Groupe Danone is now the second largest bottled water company in the U.S., with its Evian brand the leader of bottled water worldwide and its Dannon Natural Spring Water still the leading water brand sold through supermarkets in the U.S.

N.Y. toughens MTBE limits
New York Gov. George Pataki ordered the state health and environmental conservation departments to toughen allowable MTBE limits in surface, ground and drinking water. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) published a proposal to slash the ambient water quality criteria for MTBE from 50 µ/L to 10 µ/L. Meanwhile the Department of Health is still developing a proposed change, which will mirror the DEC’s numbers.

Revised Lead-Copper Rule
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted revisions to the lead and copper rule that require systems subject to the lead service line replacement requirements to replace only the portion they own rather than replace the systems they control. USEPA retained the requirement that suppliers offer to replace privately owned line portions at the owner’s expense and added two related requirements: systems replacing partial lines must give residents 45-day advanced notice; and risk control guidance must conduct one follow up test for each partial replacement and disclose the results within 90 days.  The revisions also streamline a host of monitoring, reporting and public notice requirements to simplify implementation.

New facility: CEI’s new facility at 28091 Scippo Creek Drive in Circleville, Ohio, will enable the filtration media manufacturer and supplier to expand its range of products while giving its customers continued quality service, according to president Rick Ciminello.

Separate entity: Iron Out Inc. of Fort Wayne, Ind., formed a new company, Pro Products LLC, as a separate entity from the parent company. Iron Out’s “Pro Line,” experienced enough growth last year to incite the new division, which is based in Ft. Wayne also. Robin Barna is vice president and general manager and Jason Meyer is the national sales director.

International

Water as flood relief
Spc. David Acevedo and Spc. Erik del Toro from the U.S. Army base in San Juan, Puerto Rico, are pictured operating a water purifying machine on a beach in Catia la Mar, 40 miles from Caracas, Venezuela, to help victims of the killer floods there at the end of last year. The United States continued its assistance efforts despite a decision by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to reject hundreds of U.S. military engineers who had been invited to clear a critical coastal road. About 120 U.S. soldiers in Venezuela whose main mission is to help provide clean drinking water to survivors were used.

GE buys Canadian firm
GE Power Systems finalized its acquisition of Glegg Industries of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, increasing its stake in the company from 82 percent to 100. Glegg is a privately owned water treatment firm in the industrial market that was formed in 1978. The new organization will be named GE-Glegg Water Technologies and will focus on water treatment applications at the power plant level.

Naltex opens English office
Naltex has opened an office in Merseyside, England, to be headed by Vaughan Williams, who has over 20 years experience in the international netting industry with expertise in the filtration marketplace. The establishment of a European office is to help the Austin, Texas-based thermoplastic netting manufacturer achieve its goal of improved service and rapid technical assistance to its European customers.

British bottled water is up
U.K. bottled water sales are breaking all records in 1999 with a 22 percent increase in consumption, to an average of 20 liters per person, said new research by Zenith International presented at an annual industry conference in Buxton, U.K. The British bottled water consumption level passed fruit juice in 1998 and is now 10 times higher than in 1986. The leading brand is Evian, owned by the Danone Group of France. Increased sales for the year are attributed to better summer weather and an improving economy; the industry also increased its advertising and expanded consumer choice through new products and packaging.

Argentina gets a billion more
The Inter-American Development Bank has granted Argentina an additional US$1 billion for its national infrastructure program, bringing the total amount to US$13 billion from US$12 billion announced last year. Infrastructure Minister Nicolas Gallo unveiled the four-year program in December to build homes and water treatment plants, repair highways and expand ports. The project is expected to create a quarter of a million jobs.

EU proposes creation of public health agency
According to the Australian Water Association, the European Commission has signaled a proposal to create an independent EU agency on public health and food issues, which could cause a major shake up for European procedures on scientific advice, risk evaluation and crisis management on environmental, public health and food safety issues.  

U.S. firm buys French water business in turnaround
The water treatment business of Otene, STTE and Grai companies of Bezon-Paris, France, has been purchased by Dublin, Ohio-based Ashland Specialty Chemical Co. for an undisclosed amount. The business will be consolidated into Ashland France and will be a wholly owned affiliate in the company’s industrial division, continuing to supply products and specific process chemicals in France as part of an overall strategy to strengthen European business.

Trojan reports expected loss
Trojan Technologies Inc. of London, Ontario, Canada, announced a loss for the first quarter ending Nov. 30,1999 of $4.23 million before taxes and a special restructuring charge of $2.5 million. After the special charge and taxes, the net loss for the period was $4.1 million compared to a restated income of $0.6 million in 1998. On a per share basis, there was a loss of $0.24 compared to income of $0.04 for the same period last year. Sales revenue of $16.5 million was 28 percent below last year’s restated first quarter but is still in line with company expectations for the quarter.

Drought sans hurricane
At least 500,000 residents of San Juan, Puerto Rico, went without water for at least a week because of a failure at a main pumping station that provides drinking water to hospitals, schools and hotels in the capital city and surrounding towns of Carolina and Trujillo Alto. Hotels and hospitals had to switch to stored water, while the University of Puerto Rico canceled classes for 67,000 students. Islanders that usually store water during the hurricane season were caught off guard by the sudden January drought. The government provided tanker trucks to supply free drinking water.

Letters

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

Materials Safety: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves

Dear Editor:
NSF has great concern over the content of David Mogollon’s “Viewpoint: A Solution for Materials Safety” in the January 2000 edition of WC&P.

Let me begin with an explanation of what took place at the two NSF joint committees this past fall, i.e., for the Drinking Water Additives and Drinking Water Treatment Units programs. From this, you will quickly see how the comment concerning agreement by the two joint committees to use Standard 61 as an option to the DWTU requirements is far from the true status of this issue.

Joe Harrison of the WQA presented at both joint committee meetings this past fall, proposing that the DWTU standards and Standard 61 should be harmonized for materials evaluation and acceptance. There was general agreement within both committees that this would be desirable, but that there were several issues that needed to be addressed before a decision could be made to move forward. The two most significant were as follows:

  • Two methods of extraction exist today. Should both remain, one or the other, or should a new method be developed?
  • Two endpoint criteria exist today, with the DWTU standards using the MCL and Standard 61 using 1/10 the MCL (MAL). Should both remain, one or the other, or should new criteria be developed.

There were other issues identified relating to implementation, including assurance that DWTU performance testing would not be circumvented by having the 61 materials certification option, and what the impact would be on those companies now certified under DWTU standards.

The task group formed to investigate options to resolve those issues will bring its analysis of them back to the respective joint committees. From there, decisions will be made on how to proceed.

I hope this clarifies the issue. It is of great concern to NSF that manufacturers, their customers, code officials and regulatory bodies may be given an incorrect understanding of where this stands today.

We appreciate your efforts to correct this problem.

Tom Bruursema
DWTU Program General Manager
NSF International
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Editor’s note: First,it should be pointed out that the “Viewpoint” in question was read verbally to both the WQA’s Joe Harrison and NSF’s Jane Wilson as an opportunity to review and correct any discrepancies that may have existed in the editorial prior to publication.

Second, it is noted in the “Viewpoint” that there are issues that remain to be resolved before full harmonization can occur. It is noted that the task group and joint committees will need at least a year to clarify language.

Yes, obstacles do remain, particularly regarding extraction methods and the tenth-of-a-part MCL additive rule in Standard 61. However, the agreement in principle to make uniform the materials safety protocols for components in Standard 61 and the DWTU standards, as such, would seem to be a major hurdle in the effort to move the industry toward a situation where drinking water treatment equipment is tested and certified to only one universal set of standards (i.e., allowing retirement of the WQA’s Gold Seal S-series standards).

If, in fact, something emerges from the task group and joint committee deliberations that is different than full acceptance of Standard 61 into the DWTU standards, then indeed—it would seem that the WQA has overstated the success of the NSF meetings of last fall. In the end, though, you are correct in that the goal should not rise above the focus of NSF, WQA, WC&P and the industry in general to promote only products that improve the quality of drinking water offered to the public.
Our apologies for any confusion that may have been conveyed by the editorial.

WQA Gold Seal program continues to grow

Dear Editor:
Thank you for noting the error in WC&P’s January 2000 “Viewpoint” editorial. As you corrected in the February 2000 issue, the Water Quality Association will not be retiring its Gold Seal program. My January quotation saying “That means retiring WQA’s Gold Seal program” should have read “…retiring WQA’s Gold Seal standards.”

There’s a tremendous difference, of course, between the WQA standards and the WQA Gold Seal program. The Gold Seal program tests and validates manufacturers’ models of water treatment equipment programs. The standards are public domain documents that can be used by any testing laboratory.

If the NSF standards are successfully harmonized to cover all aspects of WQA standards, WQA will plan to switch to the NSF standards in the Gold Seal testing and validation of drinking water treatment unit (DWTU) products. We’ve been working toward this harmonization to one set of industry standards for the past five years or more. I see the adoption of a component or wetted parts assessment for materials safety (i.e., those compliant with Standard 61) as has always existed in the WQA standards (i.e., those compliant to NSF standards or FDA Title 21) as the final hurdle to a single set of industry standards for DWTU products. Our industry may then retire the WQA standards.

However, we won’t retire the WQA Gold Seal program! Quite the contrary, it has increased by over 100 percent in just the past two years. During 1999, we tested POU/POE products and validated that: 1) manufacturers’ performance claims are true and accurate, 2) materials construction doesn’t add anything harmful to the water being treated, 3) the system is structurally sound, and 4) advertising claims are clear and accurate (meeting WQA’s Code of Ethics standards)—in over double the equipment testing accomplished prior to 1998. Manufacturers currently can choose either WQA or NSF standards for Gold Seal validations of their equipment models. The WQA laboratory tests to ANSI/NSF standards and WQA standards. The Gold Seal is awarded to those units that fully meet an ANSI/NSF standard or a WQA Standard, as designated directly on the Gold Seal. As harmonization such as Standard 61 adoption proceeds, WQA will move toward wholly utilizing the NSF standards—awarding the Gold Seal only to those equipment products that fully meet an ANSI/NSF standard.

Again, thanks for helping to clarify for the readers of WC&P magazine that retiring WQA standards does not mean retiring WQA’s Gold Seal program. The Gold Seal testing and validation of our industry’s water treatment products is going stronger than ever. WQA will continue the Gold Seal program stronger than ever.

Joseph F. Harrison, P.E., CWS-VI
WQA Technical Director
Lisle, Ill.

Viewpoint

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor

Of MTBE, 60 Minutes, lead faucets and ‘legalized extortion’

Ah, just when you thought it’d be an easy year to enjoy, controversy rears its ugly head. By controversy, I mean two issues that seem to have 1) riled consumers, and 2) riled the point-of-use/point-of-entry water treatment industry.

The first refers to a Jan. 16 broadcast by CBS 60 Minutes about MTBE, the fuel oxygenate mandated by the 1990 Clean Air Act that’s contaminated much of the nation’s groundwater. WC&P first reported the subject in November 1997, with our own exposé in the March 1998 issue that also covered perchlorate as an emerging issue for waterborne contaminants.

Ironically, we detailed several treatment options being investigated to remove the substance, which moves quickly in groundwater and is slow to biodegrade, in that article and another by researchers at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Those methods include: air stripping, granular activated carbon, peroxone (hydrogen peroxide and ozone) and other advanced oxidation processes, membrane separation and bioremediation—although all were viewed as cost prohibitive for large scale needs. Dr. Kelly Reynolds also touched on the topic in her May 1999 On Tap column and we’ve continued to report new developments in our Newsreel section.

Yet, the 60 Minutes report—while an outstanding presentation overall—presented the information as if it might come as a big surprise to viewers and indicated  no treatment exists for MTBE: “nobody knows how to clean it up.” After the broadcast a deluge of press releases were filed about options offered by: Waterlink/Barnebey Sutcliffe, Calgon Carbon, Infectech Inc./BioRemedial Technologies, Wellness Filter and PUR, now owned by Procter & Gamble. The Water Quality Association posted its response on its website and noted that NSF International added a reduction claim for MTBE to Standard 53 in September l999.

While there’s no question the first step toward a solution is ending use of MTBE, there is a way to clean it up. The POU/POE industry has the answer. Needed are conclusive studies showing effective removal by those firms making marketing claims.

The second issue involves something truly obscure—a pattern of litigation threats over two years resulting in financial settlements against nearly 20 companies by attorneys for the Center for Environmental Health. You’ll recall CEH raised the issue of lead-bearing drinking water faucets in undercounter filtration systems in the summer of 1998, pressuring several manufacturers to discontinue their use or face lawsuits under California’s Proposition 65.

WC&P has acquired copies of legal settlements with some 16 companies opting to pay (from $30,000 to $50,000 usually) to forego legal expenses and negative publicity of contesting accusations their products may impart contaminants into drinking water greater than Prop. 65 levels (which are well below federal standards) allow. The settlements require them not to sell systems imparting far less than a limit set in an earlier group settlement with standard faucet manufacturers and insist they be applied to products sold globally or nationally.

Thomas Clarke, an anti-Prop. 65 attorney in San Francisco, noted the pattern is typical of “greenmailers” using Prop. 65 as “legalized extortion” whereby environmental groups like CEH are used as “beards” or fronts to generate fees for law firms while settlements, of which the state is due 50 percent, often go undisclosed. It’s questionable whether these serve public health goals or simply subvert state and federal laws for personal gain, he added.
On the other hand, CEH attorney Eric Somers points out, “litigation by regulation” is central to Prop. 65 to allow “private citizen enforcers” to assist overburdened, underfunded regulatory agencies in protecting public health. And, he adds, requiring lower limits is valid since  water from these systems is primarily for consumption, most companies approached didn’t do anything until lawsuit threats and nothing is binding—even on those that voluntarily switched to non-leaded brass faucets—unless a legal agreement is signed.
One thing is for sure, you’ll be reading more about this topic in WC&P.

Identifying Populations at Greatest Risk of Waterborne Disease

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

By Kelly A. Reynolds, Ph.D.

he risk of waterborne disease is clearly recognized by the general public, but perhaps not as earnestly by immunocompromised individuals as it should be. This group consists primarily of the very young, the elderly, pregnant women and persons with diminished immunity, either due to medical intervention (organ transplants, invasive surgery), previous illness (diabetes, cancer) or infection (AIDS, etc.). For these populations, the risk of serious illness due to contaminated water consumption is greater than the general population.

Guidelines issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommend that immunocompromised individuals drink only treated water and, whenever possible, boil their water prior to consumption. Because microbial infections are more likely to have fatal outcomes with persons of decreased immunity, the water purification industry has an immense responsibility to those most at risk.

State of sensitive populations
According to 1991 estimates from the Department of Commerce, sensitive populations constitute nearly 20 percent of the population. Future projections indicate that a continued increase in population growth and advances in medicine will lead to a greater number of individuals at risk.

The number of individuals over the age of 65 is expected to be up to 69.4 million by 2030.1 During 1995, the proportion of adults aged greater than or equal to 65 years was 12.8 percent, compared with an anticipated 20 percent during 2030. Adults aged greater than or equal to 85 years are the fastest growing segment of the population; during 1995-2030, their numbers are projected to increase from 3.6-to-8.5 million. Conversely, approximately 21.5 million children greater than or equal to four years of age will be living in the United States by 2025.2

In 1999 alone, 1,221,800 new cancer cases are estimated to have occurred.3 Calculations using projected populations and assuming constant prevalence rates yield an estimated 6.2 million people with a history of cancer in the United States by the year 2000 and 9.6 million by 2030.4

Due to highly active antiviral therapy repelling the onset of AIDS with HIV positive individuals, there’s been a decrease over previous years, with 44,296 new cases reported in the United States in 1998.5  The number of people living with AIDS, however, is increasing as new treatments prolong the lives of infected persons. In 1997, approximately 270,000 people were living with AIDS.6 And more than 21,197 transplants were performed in 1998.7

Fatal outcomes
Although the causative agent is not identified in half of all documented U.S. waterborne outbreaks, a number of microbial agents have been found to cause waterborne outbreaks. Protozoa and viruses are most commonly associated with waterborne illness.8 The severity of the outcome following exposure to human pathogens is affected by a number of factors including general health and immune response, nutrition, age, and other nonspecific host factors.

In addition, specific characteristics of the infecting organism play a major role. For example, some viruses primarily produce disease in children, but only affect a small percentage of adults. Most enteric pathogens will produce clinically observable illness in 50 percent or more of infected individuals.9,10 This means the other 50 percent of the infected population will not show visible signs of illness. For immunocompromised individuals, the infectivity rate may be much higher. In addition, the number of clinical illnesses leading to death is higher for sensitive populations.

Recent outbreaks of waterborne disease have certainly had the most deleterious effects on immunocompro-mised individuals. For instance, on Aug. 28, 1999, a massive E. coli outbreak occurred in Albany, N.Y.  Labeled the worst outbreak in the state’s history, the number of people reporting symptoms was 921, with 65 hospitalized. The waterborne organism also claimed the life of a three-year-old girl and a 79-year-old man.9 The well publicized Milwaukee, Wis., outbreak linked to Cryptosporidium was reported to have affected 403,000 individuals. More than 100 deaths among immunocompromised individuals were associated with that incident.10

Assessing risk by group
Pregnancy—During pregnancy, women appear to be at greater risk of enteric virus infection and subsequent infection to the unborn fetus. Available information on Hepatitis E infections—no U.S. outbreaks have been reported—in immunocompetent and pregnant women show that the case fatality ratio is 1-to-2 percent vs. 10-to-20 percent, respectively. A viral infection during pregnancy may result in transfer to the child either in utero, during birth or shortly after birth. Enterovirus infections may be particularly dangerous in the first two weeks of an infant’s life, where infection is most likely to result in a fatal outcome. Coxsackie B viruses have been associated with stillbirths, spontaneous abortions and birth defects.11

Nursing home residents—Microbial outbreaks in nursing homes have been documented as having a significantly higher mortality than the general population.11 Case fatality rates may be 10-to-100 times greater than the general population, depending on the agent. One documented outbreak of rotavirus in a nursing home resulted in nearly 66 percent infection with symptomatic illness, an extremely high attack rate.11

Cancer and transplant patients—Cancer patients and transplant recipients are subjected to intensive therapies known to reduce the ability of the immune system to ward off disease. The mortality rate among bone marrow transplant patients with enteric viral infections was an alarmingly high 59 percent according to one study.11

AIDS patients—Enteric diseases are among the most common and devastating problems affecting AIDS patients. Estimates of 50-to-90 percent of AIDS victims suffer from chronic diarrheal illnesses. Adenovirus and rotavirus are the most common enteric viruses afflicting persons with AIDS. Twelve percent of the AIDS patients with clinical symptoms are infected with adenovirus, and 45 percent of these cases will result in death within two months.11

Cryptosporidium is perhaps the most serious microbe affecting AIDS patients, usually resulting in a prolonged diarrhea with fluid losses of several liters a day. Mortality rates are as high as 50 percent.11  The CDC and USEPA have issued guidance statements informing immunocompro-mised individuals on how to minimize or avoid Cryptosporidium infection (see Chart 1), in light of the fact the protozoan pathogen is difficult to remove from water and that public water supplies do not provide adequate measures of protection for sensitive populations.

Some water treatment systems, particularly reverse osmosis (RO) units, have been associated with regrowth of heterotrophic plate count bacteria (HPC). Although the majority of heterotrophic bacteria are not pathogenic to humans, some strains are opportunistic pathogens, meaning they can cause disease in immunocompro-mised populations. Thus, the CDC recommends boiling as the most effective treatment for the reduction of microbes in water.

Conclusion
As a health conscious industry, we must continue to educate sensitive populations to the fact that public drinking water supplies, even when they meet or exceed all state and federal standards, are not sterile; nor is bottled water or water treated by a home water treatment device. According to a CDC draft report, “Immuno-compromised persons who wish to take independent action to reduce the risk of waterborne cryptosporidiosis may choose to take precautions similar to those recommended during outbreaks (such as boiling tap water for one minute). Such decisions should be made in conjunction with their health care provider.”

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Surveillance for morbidity and mortality among older adults—United States, 1995-1996,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 48 (SS08): 7-25, 1999.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, “Population pyramid summary for United States,” online reference (updated Dec. 29, 1999): http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/idbpyr.html
  3. American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures, Atlanta, Ga., 1999.
  4. CDC, “Progress in Chronic Disease Prevention: The Prevalence of Cancer—Connecticut,” Jan. 1, 1982, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 36(13): 205-207, 1987.
  5. CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report, 5(1):1-14, 1999a.
  6. CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report, 5(3):1-12, 1999b.
  7. United Network for Organ Sharing, “Critical data: U.S. facts about transplantation,” online reference (updated Jan. 15, 2000): www.unos.org/newsroom/critdata_ main.htm#transplants
  8. CDC, “Waterborne and foodborne disease outbreaks,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 39:1-57, 1990.
  9. CDC, “Public Health Dispatch: Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter Among Attendees of the Washington County Fair, New York, 1999,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 48(36): 803, 1999c.
  10. Kramer, M.H., et al., “Surveillance for Waterborne-Disease Outbreaks—United States, 1993-1994,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 45 (SS-1): 1-33, 1996.
  11. Gerba, C.P., J.B. Rose and C.N. Haas, “Sensitive populations: Who is at the greatest risk?” International Journal of Food Microbiology, 30: 113-123, 1996.

About the author
Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds is a research scientist and microbiologist at the University of Arizona with a focus on the development of methods for detecting human pathogens in drinking water. She also has been a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee since 1997.

Update on Package Drinking Water Treatment Systems

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

By Kristie Wilhelm and Carol Becker

The Package Drinking Water Treatment Systems (PDWTS) Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Pilot was developed to benefit small communities by verifying the performance of pre-engineered drinking water treatment technologies and to facilitate the regulatory approval of innovative technologies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and NSF International cooperatively administer it.

During the past four years, both USEPA and NSF have completed development of the pilot’s operational procedures, including eight contaminant-specific testing protocol documents and 18 technology-specific test plan documents. One additional protocol and nine additional test plans are under development and expected to be completed in September 2000. The pilot has approved 18 applications for verification tests involving 15 package drinking water treatment systems.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires the USEPA to set numerical contaminant standards and treatment and monitoring requirements to ensure the safety of public water supplies. Since many small communities have limited financial and technical resources available for SDWA compliance, package drinking water treatment technologies may offer a more affordable alternative to the construction of a new conventional water treatment facility or development of a new water supply.1, 2

Package system usage
Package drinking water treatment systems are factory-assembled equipment, typically skid-mounted for easy transportation, requiring only minor plumbing and electrical hook ups for installation. PDWTS installations can be used successfully by small communities to meet such drinking water regulations as the Disinfectant/Disinfection By-products (DBPs) Rule, the Surface Water Treatment Rule, the Total Coliform Rule and possibly the pending Ground Water Rule.4

PDWTS are considered an alternative treatment technology by many states and are often required to undergo lengthy pilot studies from state-to-state.3 The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) developed a protocol that established a process for approving new and alternative drinking water treatment technologies, including PDWTS. The ASDWA protocol recommends that manufacturers of PDWTS provide objective and verifiable test data that support the treatment system performance claims. The ASDWA protocol’s preference as to the source of these data is an accredited third-party testing organization. 4

The USEPA allocated funds for the verification of PDWTS under its ETV Program in October 1995. The program is led by the USEPA’s Office of Research and Development and was established to accelerate the development and commercialization of improved environmental technologies through third party verification and reporting of performance. The program structure includes a five-year pilot phase, during which the USEPA and its partners will operate to identify new and efficient ways to verify environmental technologies while maintaining the highest credibility standards. This pilot phase runs through September 2000, at which time USEPA will make recommendations to Congress on whether, and in what form, such verification should continue. The pilot was specifically created to help small communities comply with the SDWA, to reduce the number of costly pilot studies required by states and to accelerate the regulatory approval process for alternative technologies.

This project is one of several USEPA ETV pilots aimed at establishing the quality and integrity of environmental data collection.

Protocols and verification
The organizational phase of the PDWTS ETV Pilot began shortly after the allocation of funding in October 1995. To establish the PDWTS verification program, NSF and USEPA obtained broad stakeholder input in developing widely accepted protocols and test plans for verification testing of PDWTS. To assure that quality data are reported, the pilot oversees verification testing in conformance with the established protocols and test plans.

Figure 1 lists the contaminant-specific protocols and technology-specific test plans that have been finalized.

To date, the pilot has approved 18 applications and Field Operations Documents (FODs) for verification tests involving 15 package drinking water treatment systems. Testing and report writing for one system has been completed, and eight more tests for six products are in the report-writing phase. Three systems are currently being tested and six more products are scheduled to commence verification testing in the first quarter of 2000.

The first technology verified under the pilot was the Calgon Carbon Corporation Sentinel™ Ultraviolet Reactor, R-11, Model 6-1. The technology was verified according to the procedures outlined in the USEPA/NSF ETV Protocol for Equipment Verification Testing for Inactivation of Microbiological Contaminants.5  The verification testing was conducted at the Mannheim Water Treatment Plant in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Cartwright, Olsen and Associates LLC served as the Field Testing Organization (FTO).

Completed and in-progress testing
There are seven membrane filtration tests and one ozone/advanced oxidation test completed and in the report writing phase. These tests verified claims for both physical removal and inactivation of microbiological contaminants. Gannett Fleming Inc. tested four membrane filters in Pittsburgh, Pa.; CH2M Hill tested one membrane system in Portland, Ore.; and Montgomery Watson tested two membrane systems—one with enhanced coagulation—in San Diego, Calif. Cartwright, Olsen and Associates LLC tested the ozone/advanced oxidation system in Minneapolis, Minn.  Manufacturers with completed tests are Aquasource North America (one system tested at two sites), Pall Corporation, F.B. Leopold Company, ZENON Environmental Inc. (two systems tested at three sites) and Osmonics Inc.

Two membrane filtration and one cartridge filter verification tests are in progress. The tests are being conducted to verify claims for physical microbiological contaminant removal. The FTOs involved are Montgomery Watson and Cartwright, Olsen and Associates LLC; manufacturers involved include Hydranautics, Ionics, and Rosedale Products Inc.

Scheduled testing
Six additional treatment systems have been approved to begin testing during the first two quarters of 2000. The tests are to verify claims for physical microbiological contaminant removal and microbiological inactivation. The FTOs involved in these projects are Gannett Fleming Inc., Cartwright, Olsen and Associates LLC and the University of New Hampshire. The manufacturers involved in testing include Chemical Services Company, Kinetico Inc. (two products at one site), Pall Corp., and Separmatic Filter Company (two
products at one site). A summary of the manufacturers and the products involved is listed in Figure 2.

Applications pending
On Aug. 20, 1999, NSF requested proposals to conduct the protocol validation studies for technologies for which the market demand will likely occur in future years. NSF wanted to validate the protocols and the test plans associated with USEPA rules that may be completed after the pilot, including:

  • Ground Water Rule—November 2000,
  • Proposed Radionuclides Rule—November 2000,
  • Arsenic—January 2001,
  • Stage 2 Disinfectants/Disinfection By-Products Rule—May 2002, and
  • Stage 2 (Long-term) Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule—May 2002.

The protocols for which the USEPA and NSF desired validation and that address the above list of rules are on-site DBPs and their precursors, arsenic and nitrate (an ever-present contaminant).
In response to the request for proposal, NSF has received proposals to conduct validation studies for the arsenic, DBPs and on-site disinfection. There are currently 10 applications pending in association with the protocol validation efforts. Figure 3 lists protocols and test plans currently under preparation, with an expected finalization this year.

Conclusion
The pilot officially ends its “pilot-phase” period Sept. 30, 2000, and the USEPA expects it to become a program. The future of the project will depend on the real and perceived value of verification testing of the PDWTS by all stakeholders. One major change anticipated for the program is that funding for future testing will most likely be borne by the manufacturers, utilities and other organizations.
The PDWTS ETV Pilot benefits all stakeholders. State and federal regulators will benefit from having credible, independent test results on the performance characteristics of PDWTS.  The availability of the ETV Protocols will reduce the need for regulators to develop and implement testing protocols for each PDWTS under review. Equipment manufacturers will benefit by receiving an independent verification test and a verification report on USEPA and NSF letterhead that can be used for marketing or investment purposes. Manufacturers can gain cost benefits from fewer requests for site-specific pilot testing at the state level. Small water utilities will benefit through improved drinking water and compliance with the SDWA, as well as from faster state approvals.

References

  1. Campbell, S., “Package Plants for Small Systems: A Field Study,” Journal AWWA, p. 49, November 1995.
  2. Goodrich, J.A., et al., “Safe Drinking Water from Small Systems: Treatment Options,” Journal AWWA, p. 49, May 1992.
  3. America Water Works Association Research Foundation, A Summary of State Drinking Water Regulations & Plan Review Guidelines, Denver, Colo., 1989.
  4. Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, Final State Alternative Technology Approval Protocol, Washington, D.C., July 1996.
  5. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Environmental Technology Verification Report: Inactivation of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts in Drinking Water: Calgon Carbon Corporation’s SentinelTM Ultraviolet Reactor,” USEPA/600/R-98/160.

For more information
If you are interested in having a product verified under the pilot or are a utility interested in hosting an ETV test, contact NSF International at (800) 673-6275 or visit the websites at www.nsf.org/etv/ or www.epa.gov/ etv/

About the authors
Carol Becker and Kristie Wilhelm are environmental engineers at NSF International’s Environmental and Research Services Group, where they are involved with this project. Becker holds a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Michigan; Wilhelm has a bachelor’s degree in the same plus a master’s in environmental engineering from the University of Michigan. Both worked in environmental consulting before joining NSF and can be reached at the phone number above.

Bottling Technology and Planning Make Salvavidas a Market Leader in Guatemala

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

By Brenda Loreman

The world over, clean water means life. In Guatemala, “Salvavidas”—or “life saver” in Spanish—is synonymous for pure bottled water. Since 1936, the Salvavidas company, a division of Cerveceria Centro America, S.A., has been bottling water in Guatemala. A combination of high quality, good
planning and progressive technology from companies like Portola Packaging allows Salvavidas to meet the continuing increased demand for bottled water in the country. In fact, Salvavidas has become the No. 1 water bottler in Guatemala, and its main plant in Guatemala City was reportedly—until only recently—the  largest single such facility in the Americas. It’s now second.

Strategic planning: oversize
Part of Salvavidas’ strategic planning includes building new plants and installing equipment with a greater production capacity than is currently needed. “All of our plants are oversized,” says Plant Manager Carlos Novotny. “When we build, we always look ahead at least five years.” With each of Salvavidas’ four plants larger than needed, the company is able to handle any increased production demand, including the duration of the country’s hot months or catastrophic emergencies such as 1998’s Hurricane Mitch, which decimated Guatemala’s neighboring countries and caused disruption of services at home.

The Guatemala City plant runs six days a week for 24 hours a day using three shifts. Production averages nearly one million five-gallon refillable bottles per month—record-breaking numbers, according to Novotny. Production of five-gallon bottles is provided by a pair of large-capacity integrated bottling systems from Portola Packaging Inc. of San Jose, Calif. The two 2,100 bottle-per-hour (bph) systems, some of the largest Portola makes, run side-by-side on a staggered schedule that provides Salvavidas with round-the-clock operation and record-breaking production.

Portola engineered a unique configuration for the two five-gallon bottling lines. An extended conveyor layout provides maximum accumulation going into the washer and filler, ensuring a steady production rate of 2,100 bph from each system. Operators can load empty bottles consistently, with no gaps in production. A third line in the plant, using a gravity filler, fills 1- and 2.5-gallon, 0.5- and 1.5-liter bottles on a rotating production schedule.

Guatemalan consumers are no different from those in other regions
in the world and weather tends to dictate water sales. Production is heaviest March through May, during Guatemala’s hot months and lighter during the dryer, cooler months of November and December.

Binary bottling system
Salvavidas attributes its ability to meet production demand to the two bottling systems. Each runs 21 hours a day and the three-hour maintenance downtimes are staggered so that bottling is constant.

Empty bottles are manually unloaded from racks onto the system’s stainless steel in-feed conveyor, automatically de-capped then staged and automatically loaded into the washer, eight bottles at a time. The washer steadily indexes 144 bottles at a time through 18 consecutive cleaning cycle steps. Theses steps include exterior bottle pre-rinse, recirculated heated solution wash and detergent purge, ozone-based sanitation, a final rinse with product water, and an air blow step. A microprocessor or programmable logic controller (PLC) controls the index time and positions the bottles throughout the cleaning process for precise and thorough bottle cleaning. The systems’ efficient use of water has aided Salvavidas in reducing both water and energy consumption.

From the washer, clean bottles are conveyed to a clean room containing the filler and capper. With high-velocity air turnover, the clean room helps ensure sanitary filling conditions. The system’s 10-head, side-shift filler pre-stages 10 bottles at a time, providing for continuous filling of bottles in as little as seven seconds. A contamination-proof product water recovery system captures any overflow.

After filling, the bottles are automatically capped with a Salvavidas-designed flip-top cap. The system’s feeder includes a special lubricator system that sprays a small amount of ozonated water into the cap to remove any dust or particles, and ease the seating of the cap.

Once capped, the bottles exit the clean room, and a Videojet coder marks the cap with production information. An additional safety step, Salvavidas adds a shrink sleeve over the cap to provide tamper evidence and a freshness guarantee. The bottles are then loaded onto racks, and racks are taken by lift truck into the warehouse staging area for daily distribution.

Priority: high quality
Part of the cause for increased bottled water demand in Guatemala is the changing awareness of the health benefits of bottled water. “People here are beginning to look at bottled water as a need rather than a luxury,” says Novotny. “They are looking for a source of water they can drink with confidence, for good health and a better quality of life.”

Providing the citizens of Guatemala with the highest quality of water possible is a high priority. “Our number one goal is quality,” says Edgar Castillo, Salvavidas’ general manager. “As a large company, we can afford to spend more to make sure that our products meet the most rigid standards and we are
known for quality and leadership in the industry.

“All of our plants are inspected by NSF International and we regularly receive certificates of excellence for good manufacturing practices. As a member of the International Bottled Water Association, one of our goals is to continuously improve the standards and technology in the industry. One way we strive to achieve that goal is to use NSF-certified vendors.” Portola was the first equipment vendor in the industry to achieve NSF certification for their bottling systems.

QC, QA and loyalty
To help achieve their high quality priority, Salvavidas meets or exceeds NSF water quality testing standards. Quality control (QC) personnel analyze the water at Salvavidas daily, testing it at every step of the bottling process. As required by NSF, an independent lab tests the water on a monthly basis to guarantee reliability of Salvavidas’ in-house testing.

Part of quality assurance (QA) involves a rigorous multi-barrier filtration system. After initial chlorination, the water is subjected to microfiltration, down to 0.45 microns. Ultraviolet (UV) sterilization follows, and then ozonation just prior to bottling. “With this process, we can assure at least one year of shelf life,” says Novotny. “We get visitors from around the world who want to look at our process to see how it’s done.”

Reliance on the highest-quality technology and testing standards is an aid to producing a quality product. For Latin American companies, building relationships is also an important part of any successful business. At Salvavidas, this includes employee relationships as well as equipment supplier relationships. Employee teamwork is an integral part of Salvavidas’ business and ability to plan for future growth. “One of the most important factors we rely on is our work force,” notes Castillo. “It’s one of our main strengths.  We are one of the most stable companies in the country, and many people want to work here. We have great employee loyalty and our employees identify themselves with us.”
An equipment supplier relationship, like that with Portola, provides Salvavidas with benefits beyond mere equipment. “Our relationship with Portola began more than 15 years ago, and we consider the people at Portola to be our friends,” says Castillo. “They are very warm people and we feel comfortable doing business with them. Over the years, they have always been willing to give advice, ideas and assistance. Portola’s philosophy is to build the best equipment in the industry. In the whole world, there are many companies who build very good equipment, but we believe theirs is the best.”

Conclusion
With a committed workforce, beneficial business relationships and a dedication to high quality, Salvavidas looks forward to continued growth. To handle that growth, Salvavidas plans to build new or update existing regional facilities to keep up with production demand.

The three additional facilities, at Quetzaltenango, Escuintla and Zacapa, all have installed automatic bottling systems. These regional plants aid distribution and allow the main facility to maintain an extra cushion of capacity. Plans are in the works for a new facility in the northern jungle district of El Petén.

“We want to be known as a Guatemalan company that produces refreshing drinks of the highest quality, at a reasonable cost,” says Castillo. “We use the best technology to meet the needs of our customers and ultimately, to work together for the benefit of our country.”

About the author
Brenda Loreman, who also provided the photos, is an associate with Keck & Co., a San Francisco management consulting firm with a nationwide practice in strategic research, marketing, and planning for industrial firms that manufacture packaging and processing equipment and related technologies similar to the large-capacity CapSnap® PortaPlant™ integrated bottling systems from Portola Packaging discussed in this article. She can be reached at (650) 854 9588, (650) 854 7240 (fax) or email: info@keckco.com

Coming Full Circle with the Big Three—EcoWater Systems of Venice, FL

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

By Steven Delgado, WC&P Senior Editor

Blowing a knee during a family holiday football game was one of the best career moves Ken Gibson ever made. The painful injury effectively dissolved a sales job offer from an unforgiving appliance superstore and opened a door of opportunity with a patient EcoWater dealership willing to wait for Gibson. So, in 1990, the dealership trained him on the fine art of the home soft water demonstration.  

Gibson now owns EcoWater Systems of Venice, a southwestern Florida dealership along the Gulf of Mexico south of Tampa, that has sold just over a million dollars in equipment since its 1998 opening. EcoWater knew it had a good recruit in 1990, but it wouldn’t be until 1998 that Gibson would earn his dealership.

That’s because Gibson was trained by EcoWater, recruited away by Culligan, recruited from Culligan by Kinetico, and was re-recruited back to EcoWater to start his dealership in Venice. Got all that? No? That’s good, because Gibson’s career schematic with these “Big Three” water system companies isn’t only an engaging trek but also a lesson in hard work and perseverance.

Insurance academy alum
In 1990, Gibson had just finished curriculum at an insurance academy to be an agent—but really wasn’t feeling the commitment he thought he would need to become a successful agent. So he interviewed for two jobs: a sales position at a local appliance superstore and a position at an EcoWater dealership. When the appliance center that offered him a job found out that he couldn’t walk because of his holiday injury, its enthusiasm waned.

Not so at EcoWater. Gibson wound up with the secondary job offer at EcoWater in Venice—not the same dealership he owns now but a previous dealer for the region. “I learned the home demonstration—the problems/benefits/solutions-type demo, where you teach people about water, how they can have better water and how it can pay for itself,” Gibson said. “I had instant success; I went from $300 a week to all of a sudden making seven, eight sometimes nine hundred dollars a week. That was a lot of money for me at the time.”

He worked for that dealership for a little over a year when its manager had a falling out with the owner. Gibson left the company with the manager to open a new dealership. “Unfortunately, it didn’t last because he didn’t have enough capital and I don’t think he was real prepared at the time,” he said. “I went with him based on emotion.”

Gibson was the sales manager for that business and since his numbers were still pretty strong, he was never in doubt of his ability to sell. Neither was Culligan, which recruited him in 1993.

‘Hey, Culligan man!’
At Culligan, Gibson was offered his own store in Port Charlotte, Fla., still in the southwest but a few more miles down the popular Tamiami Trail, the U.S. 41 highway that runs from Tampa all the way to Miami through the Everglades.

The Culligan dealership was, however, a satellite office that did no installations or out-of-office service. It was a storefront with one assistant and one telemarketer. Gibson was given all of Charlotte County as his territory, and he made the best of it.

“They weren’t having a lot of success through telemarketing or advertising in that market,” he said. Eventually, the numbers turned around. “We took that store, which was averaging $11,000 or $12,000 a month at the time, and we consistently did $40,000 a month. We went from $120,000 a year to about $500,000 a year at that location.”

Gibson worked at that dealership for almost four years. He was working directly for Bruce King, the general manager of a regional Culligan business with headquarters in Venice. King was then offered another dealership and eventually became the area Kinetico dealer. When King left, Gibson elected to stay with Culligan and he worked for General Manager Todd Logue. But he knew he had been successful with King before and left open the possibility he might have an opportunity to work with him again someday.  

Opening another door
Gibson stayed with Culligan for another two years with much success at the Port Charlotte satellite office. Then King called him with an offer to be general manager of King’s Kinetico dealership in Sarasota County, just north of Point Charlotte. That was in 1996.

“At that point we were a small company, doing about $300,000 a year in business,” Gibson said. “I went there and I loved the product. I loved the company. I had good success in recruiting people and building that company up.

“The first year we went from $200,000 or $300,000 to about $750,000. Also that year, we came in second place for Kinetico’s biggest increase at a dealership in the nation. The following year we went from $750,000 to $1.5 million. That year we received the Explorer Award from Kinetico for the biggest increase in business for the nation.”

Gibson was the general manager in Sarasota County but was also selling, earning an award for being one of the top 10 salespeople. It was then that King and Gibson became partners to own a dealership in Lakeland, Fla., further north and a little inland on the peninsula. Gibson was now realizing his dream: to work his way from sales to having his own store.

Joining the EcoWater Squad
The two ran the Lakeland dealership for about a year when EcoWater approached Gibson and said it was looking for better representation of its products in the Venice area. This was a tough decision, because he and King had now been successful in both Sarasota and Lakeland.

But Gibson took the chance and in September 1998 opened the doors to his own EcoWater dealership, a stand alone building that can be seen from U.S. 41. The road it’s on leads to a popular area neighborhood, which results in walk-in and repeat business.

“We’ve had a quick startup and have been able to develop a huge customer base relatively quickly because of marketing, advertising and location,” Gibson said. “We’re in an ‘aware’ market here… people know they have bad water. So the location we picked is in a high traffic area, combined with a well water population. Plus we get a lot of walk-in customers, which is a little unusual for this business. Most of the time, location doesn’t matter, but with this dealership we’ve achieved a lot of business from the location.”

An aggressive advertising campaign is another of the dealership’s strong points. EcoWater of Venice has taken full-page insert ads in the Sarasota Herald Tribune’s TV guide since the water business opened and is conducting a television campaign on “Sarasota News Now,” a local cable version of CNN. The commercials offer water tests in a public-awareness format.

Besides print and television, EcoWater Venice does direct mailings as well as markets new homes and construction. “We’re aggressive in obtaining customers,” he says. “It’s been helpful for this company to get some name recognition in this market.”

And a crowded market it is.

The Big Three and more
“This is a competitive market, I can tell you that much,” Gibson says. “We have Culligan, RainSoft, Kinetico; we have Water Dynamics, Ionics and probably about 20 Fleck and Autotrol dealers or people who are representing Fleck and Autotrol.

“In the Yellow Pages of Sarasota County alone, you’ll find close to 30-to-40 water company listings. The population for this and Port Charlotte counties is somewhere around 410,000 people. You have a lot of companies working the market, but not with the same success… many have come and gone. They either weren’t prepared or didn’t have enough financial backing to make something fly. But the Culligans, RainSofts and the Kineticos, those guys have been around for awhile and everyone seems to be working the market well,” Gibson said.

Gibson’s territory, just south of Sarasota, is what could be called “a growth area.” The weekly new homeowners list obtained by the dealership usually has at least 150 new names on it per week, translating to about 600-to-800 people a month in the area either getting new mortgages or building new houses.

Seven employees work in the dealership: one office manager, two service people, a route driver and two sales people. It also uses one part time telemarketer. Gibson reiterates his owner/operator position: “I do books, payroll, advertising and marketing. And I go out and sell.

“I try to run 10 leads a week myself. If I have to put on my service shirt and do an install, I’ll do that. I’ll do whatever it takes in order to be successful. I don’t mind getting my fingernails dirty. Knowing every aspect of the job helps you be the best dealer that you can be.”

Conclusion
Gibson attributes his dealership’s success to consistency in the marketplace with a little personal resilience. “Every day, you talk to 10-to-30 people. During this day, you have things that make you smile and you have things that make you frown. The biggest thing is to balance it all out.” Gibson’s final advice to dealers? “Try to keep the thought that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re trying to be successful and build a future for yourself. And the water industry is a great industry to help people, be successful and set yourself up for a good financial future.”

The Big Three and more
“This is a competitive market, I can tell you that much,” Gibson says. “We have Culligan, RainSoft, Kinetico; we have Water Dynamics, Ionics and probably about 20 Fleck and Autotrol dealers or people who are representing Fleck and Autotrol.
“In the Yellow Pages of Sarasota County alone, you’ll find close to 30-to-40 water company listings. The population for this and Port Charlotte counties is somewhere around 410,000 people. You have a lot of companies working the market, but not with the same success… many have come and gone. They either weren’t prepared or didn’t have enough financial backing to make something fly. But the Culligans, RainSofts and the Kineticos, those guys have been around for awhile and everyone seems to be working the market well,” Gibson said.
Gibson’s territory, just south of Sarasota, is what could be called “a growth area.” The weekly new homeowners list obtained by the dealership usually has at least 150 new names on it per week, translating to about 600-to-800 people a month in the area either getting new mortgages or building new houses.
Seven employees work in the dealership: one office manager, two service people, a route driver and two sales people. It also uses one part time telemarketer. Gibson reiterates his owner/operator position: “I do books, payroll, advertising and marketing. And I go out and sell.
“I try to run 10 leads a week myself. If I have to put on my service shirt and do an install, I’ll do that. I’ll do whatever it takes in order to be successful. I don’t mind getting my fingernails dirty. Knowing every aspect of the job helps you be the best dealer that you can be.”

Conclusion
Gibson attributes his dealership’s success to consistency in the marketplace with a little personal resilience. “Every day, you talk to 10-to-30 people. During this day, you have things that make you smile and you have things that make you frown. The biggest thing is to balance it all out.” Gibson’s final advice to dealers? “Try to keep the thought that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re trying to be successful and build a future for yourself. And the water industry is a great industry to help people, be successful and set yourself up for a good financial future.”

More Industry Shakeout—Home Shows Present Sign of the Times

Wednesday, March 15th, 2000

By Davi dH. Martin

Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of columnist David Martin’s annual coverage of the two most important home-based tradeshows of the year. This month, Chicago’s housewares show is discussed; next month, Dallas’ builders show will be reviewed.

The International Housewares Show and International Build-ers Show overlapped this year for the first time, mirroring the continuing consolidation of water improvement exhibitors in both industries. Consolidation? Let’s call it a shakeout, with fewer but bigger players competing for slower-growth business.

The Housewares Show, held Jan. 16-19 in Chicago, was mostly a revolving door for brand-name housewares exhibitors who “once tested the water business” but have since gotten out of it.

Water exhibitors fall short
Traditionally, this is the international exhibition for entry-level retail water improvement systems including pour-through pitcher and end-of-faucet filters sold primarily through discount retailers, department and drugstores. Countertop water filters, distillers and now ozone purifiers were shown at the Chicago show. A wider variety of shower filters than last year was exhibited as well.

This year’s show was more notable for all the water improvement market dropouts than it was for new products and players. The aisles of McCormick Place were haunted by the fading memories of past water-related products, no longer seen in the booths of such household names as Rubbermaid, Sunbeam, Salton, Honeywell, Farberware, Nordic Ware and Singer. Smaller, former specialty players including Bodum, Deni/Keystone and William Bounds Ltd. were also among recent water treatment dropouts in a retail field once flush with multiple competitors.

Left in place was a handful of familiar survivors, all water-related specialists except for General Electric (GE) and newcomer Fantom. The marketers that have attained mass housewares distribution are doing fine. The rest cling to the hope of “being discovered” by the right housewares buyers.

Pitcher filters
Thanks in large measure to the marketing leadership of Brita, mass market retail distribution of water filtration has matured, with U.S. household penetration of all devices estimated at 25-to-30 percent.
Industry statistics released by HomeWorld Business and NPD Intellect tell the tale of a flattened segment in 1999. After years of double-digit gains, pitcher filter sales in dollars actually declined slightly to $71 million, from $74.6 million in 1998. The fact that unit sales grew to 4.18 million from 3.98 a year ago was small consolation for pitcher marketers faced with the grim reality of declining retail prices and fading profits.

Brita reigns in pitchers with an es-timated 75 percent share—and it has earned it. Building the brand over the last 10 years, with an annual advertising budget of more than $30 million, has made Clorox’s brand the entry-level water filter of choice with American consumers.

Pur filters—recently bought by Procter and Gamble (P&G)—are the closest competitor. Culligan is third and recently dropped its glass pitcher model. WAL pursued a private-label strategy for more than a year with little to show for it. No new pitcher competitors surfaced this year. Rubbermaid and others have come and gone in what now must be perceived as a mature niche.

The focus has shifted to replacement cartridge sales, where price competition could be fierce. Culligan is offering “universal” cartridges, said to fit both Pur and Brita pitchers. Suggested retail is $5.00 each and $14.99 for a three-pack. In this competitive climate, other filter prices can be expected to drop this year.

End-of-faucet filters
Now the fastest-growing segment of the retail water improvement market, faucet filters represent about 20 percent of the category’s total unit share: 1.4 million units in 1999. End-of-faucet units command a 26 percent share of dollars ($37.8 million in 1999).

Three familiar names represented the retail retrofit faucet filter category in Chicago. For the first time in years, the category has stopped adding new features. Price points are now paramount. Pur is standing pat for now with its familiar product line, said to be the national sales leader in both hardware and mass merchant distribution, although speculation abounds about when and how P&G plans to flex its muscles with its new acquisition. Brita began shipping its first faucet-mount filter with electronic filter replacement indicator last summer and has the potential to become a category leader in 2000. Water Pik Technologies, now an independent spin-off from Allegheny Teledyne, showed the same filter trio as last year, starting at suggested price points ranging from $10-to-$24.95. Water Pik created the first end-of-faucet water filter a quarter century ago. Its electronic faucet filter, introduced in 1998, remains the only filter that measures both “elapsed time” and “gallons used.”

Health claims for retrofit faucet filters have included lead, cysts and even volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in recent years. A year ago, Culligan claimed bacteriostatic protection as well for its unique two-stage FM-5 and FM-7 filters, first seen at the 1999 Housewares Show. The two units have now been reintroduced with NSF certification for bacteriostasis, but won’t be sold in Iowa, Wisconsin and California—states that don’t allow bacteria reduction claims. Prices range from $34.99-to-39.99.
Continuing pressure from retailers to deliver sophisticated faucet-mount filters in volume—and at low cost—makes this segment the most challenging for new players. No new competitors emerged in Chicago.

Countertop appliances
Countertop water improvement appliances have long been a staple of direct sales channels but have never broken above 3 percent of total U.S. retail market penetration. This may be due to Americans preferring not to add “countertop clutter” to precious kitchen real estate when they can opt for faucet filters, pitchers or even undercounter models that won’t get in the way. According to NPD Intellect, retail countertop unit sales were 1.4 percent in 1999 (3 percent of dollar sales).

In spite of this problem, at least five companies showed countertop units at the 2000 Housewares Show. Culligan and H2O International showed carbon filter countertops that combine granular activated carbon (GAC) carbon with KDF redox media. Talhin/T Corp. showed its unique slim-profile countertop filtration unit that actually fits behind most faucets. Called “Aqua Life,” the unit is also available in an undercounter model, according to J.D. Jackovich, who said that both units will soon be available at Home Depot.

Encouraged by growing public concerns over bacteria in private and public drinking water, several exhibi-tors in Chicago showed alternative bactericidal technologies.

Two companies showed appliance style countertop distillers, both with carbon post filters. The Genesis unit is available through catalogs. The second distiller is a new entry in batch water purification from Burton Inc. The new Burton unit will retail for under $120 and features a “refill and reset” LED indicator.

A new “ozone” countertop appliance debuted in Chicago from Fantom Technologies, a Canadian company known for its line of vacuum cleaners with HEPA air filtration. Fantom’s Calypso water purification system incorporates activated oxygen or ozone to kill waterborne microorganisms. Set to ship in the spring of 2000, the unit is said to also remove a wide range of VOCs. The batch-fill corona discharge unit contains a computer-controlled monitoring system to ensure the dispensed water is disinfected. Fantom plans to take the Calypso to the WQA Convention and Trade Show this month in Long Beach, Calif.

Shower filter growth
The shower filter category has been shown for several years at the Housewares Show but never before in the numbers seen at this year’s show. Sprite Industries, industry pioneer and shower filter specialist, exhibited retrofit filters that fit existing showerheads. It also makes high-output filters and slim-line shower filters with replaceable cartridges. The company is said to be developing an Italian-designed, hand-held showerhead. Sprite uses a patented filtration media called KDF Chlorgon that performs well under high water temperature and pH conditions. Sprite shower filters are currently sold through West Coast Home Depot stores.

Water Pik, leading manufacturer of massage showerheads, showed two KDF-200 CPP shower filters said to perform in high phosphate water. Model SF-1 has a suggested retail price of $29.99. Step-up shower message model SFS-421 will retail for $39.99.  Replacement filters are $19.99 retail.

Holmes Group, a consolidator of several familiar houseware industry brands including Rival and Polinex (both formerly in point-of-use, or POU, filters), has introduced a new Polinex KDF-55 shower filter said to retail from $35-to-39.99. H2O International showed its RioVita KDF-55 shower filter with pop-in cartridge and LED filter change indicator.  

‘Personal’ filter bottles
Sports filter bottles first debuted several years ago at the Housewares Show, when Innova introduced one with a built-in GAC cartridge and straw. Two years ago, Rubbermaid showed its own Innova-cartridge sports bottle that it has since withdrawn from the market. William Bounds Ltd., better known for pepper mills, also showed a sports filter bottle two years ago and has also withdrawn.

Culligan and Brita both debuted new entries in the portable filter bottle category at the 2000 Housewares Show. Culligan showed sports bottles in 16-, 22- and 24-ounce sizes. Its replaceable filter cartridge is said to be the only one that removes lead as well as improves taste, color and odor. Slated to ship to retailers in the spring, Culligan is hoping the category will open up new classes of trade including sporting goods, fitness and wellness retailers. Suggested retail prices are $4.99 for the 16-ounce bottle, $5.99 for the 20-ounce and $7.99 for the 24-ounce bottle. Culligan also introduced a two-liter travel pitcher, priced at $9.99.

Brita hopes to leverage the wide acceptance and distribution of its filter pitchers, with the introduction of the Fill ‘N Go water filtering sports bottle. The 700-milliliter polyethylene bottle is fitted with a carbon block filter certified for taste, color and odor. The push/pull-cap bottle is expected to retail for $7.99. A 15-gallon replacement cartridge will sell for about $3.49. Units will be displayed alongside other Brita products. Sporting goods retailers and convenience stores are other targets.

Other exhibitors
American Water Service introduced the new PurTest Pesticide Kit. President Don Podrebarac said the new kit is a “fast, easy and economical test that detects triazine pesticides as low as 3 ppb (parts per billion).”  The company will introduce the first home test for arsenic at the WQA show in March. It will also introduce to water treatment professionals a new line of Bottle Test Strips for pH, copper, alkalinity, hardness, nitrate and nitrite, chlorine and iron, says Podrebarac. “PurTest is the first national brand in water tests. Our products will be available in over 20,000 locations in the U.S. by the end of this year,” he said.

Mountainside Designer Coolers introduced two new water coolers with built-in refrigerators. The 1.22-cubic foot (cu. ft.) Space Saver refrigerator/cooler and the 2.21 cu. ft. model called the Refreshment Center are constructed from lightweight fiberglass and feature see-through refrigerator doors. The company also showed a line of fiberglass and wood-laminated cylindrical coolers for upscale offices.

Conclusion
The long-coming shakeout of retail water improvement players was very apparent at this year’s annual International Housewares Show; not only did more players exit water treatment appliances, there was a striking lack of new ones this year for replacements. Price points are lower than in the past, yet advertising drives the success of the leaders. New product claims were minimal, suggesting a maturation of product features and consumer benefits. The price of admission to this now exclusive club has decidedly risen. Few will be willing or able to “buy the business.”

About the author
David H. Martin is a marketing consultant and partner in Lenzi Martin Communications, a Chicago-based marketing firm focusing on products which protect people’s personal environment. He can be reached at (708) 848-8404, (708) 848-9062 (fax), or email: newage@mediaone.net

©2020 EIJ Company LLC, All Rights Reserved | tucson website design by Arizona Computer Guru