Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine


Sunday, December 16th, 2001

AWRA awards 2 students
The American Water Resources Association has selected the recipients for its 2001-2002 Richard A. Herbert Memorial Educational Scholarships. Over 30 applications from around the country and abroad were considered for the two, $1,000 scholarships. Carl Legleiter, of Colorado Springs, Colo., received the scholarship in the undergraduate student category. Enrolled at Montana State University, Legleiter is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in geohydrology and maintains a 4.0 grade point average. Christine May, of Albany, Ore., received the scholarship in the graduate student category. Enrolled at Oregon State University as a Ph.D. candidate in fisheries science, she maintains a 3.97 grade point average.

Three gain posts at WEF
Three members of Kansas City, Mo.-based Black & Veatch have been elected to leadership positions at the Water Environment Federation (WEF). The group is an international technical, scientific and educational water quality organization with nearly 40,000 members. The announcements were made at WEF’s annual convention on Oct. 13-17. James Clark, P.E., was elected WEF president for 2001-02; Julian Sandino, Ph.D., P.E., was elected as a WEF director at large; and Matt Bond, P.E., was elected as a director representing the Kansas Water Environment Federation. Clark, a company vice president, has been a WEF member for 25 years. Sandino is a water reclamation practice leader. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, and master’s and doctorate degrees in environmental health engineering from the University of Kansas. Bond is a project manager who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Missouri.

Braswell leaves behind legacy; helped start Missouri WQA
A member of the National Association of Soft Water Service Operators since the early 1950s, and later of the Water Quality Association (WQA) until his retirement in 1994, John Braswell passed away on Sep. 21. He was active in developing the certification program at its inception in the early 1970s and was named a Water Specialist Emeritus last year. He was also an organizer of the Missouri Water Quality Association and was its president in 1973-74. The WQA is requesting that interested parties contact them at (630) 505-0160 for information on how to contribute to the WQRC in memory of Braswell.

Cini takes reigns at Rhino
Canadian-based Rhino Ecosystems has named Charles Cini as its new president. Cini has more than 30 years of experience in the waste removal industry. He formerly owned and directed a waste collection business. Former president Mark Wiertzema will be the company’s chief financial officer, effective immediately.

Crook grabs post at firm
Dr. James Crook has joined Denver-based CH2M Hill as a principal water reuse technologist. He will be located at the company’s Boston office. As a member of Hill’s Global Water Business Group, he will identify and support global and regional strategic water reuse projects, supply senior-level consultation, and develop and advance the firm’s strategies and tools to enhance project delivery efficiency. He was the principal author of the water reuse guidelines published jointly by the USEPA and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Crook received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Massachusetts and earned a master’s degree and doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

IBWA lauds many at show
The International Bottled Water Association announced the winners of its Hall of Fame, Aqua Awards and the 2001 Route Salesperson of the Year. The presentations were made on Oct. 6 at IBWA’s annual convention and trade show in Miami Beach, Fla. New inductees into the Hall of Fame were Henry R. “Bob” Hidell III and Jack West. Hidell is founder and owner of Hidell-Eyster Intl., of Hingham, Mass. He has helped guide bottled water companies develop high quality products and has served in capacities with the IBWA including its board of directors as well as other committees. West is founder and president of Puro Filter Co., of Bedford Corners, N.Y. He was vital in developing the IBWA Model Code. West is also an industry representative to Codex Alimentarius and a leader at the Drinking Water Research Foundation.

The Aqua Awards recognized the best in advertising and public relations programs produced by IBWA member companies this year. The “Best of Show” award was given to Zenda Natural Spring Water, of Servagua, Venezuela. The route salespersons of the year were Daniel Jones, of Crystal Mountain Natural Spring Water; Don Estrada, of Crystal Springs Bottled Water Co.; and Terry Weaver, of Crystal Springs Water Co./Suntory Water Group. In addition, Douglas Oberhamer, of Denver-based Deep Rock Water Co., was elected chairman of IBWA’s board of directors. Oberhamer is a former WQA executive director.

Pall names Nihon CEO
Riichi Inoue, Ph.D. has been promoted to senior vice president of Pall Corp. and president and CEO of Nihon Pall Ltd. Dr. Inoue will oversee Pall’s growing business in Japan. Asian sales were approximately $250 million in fiscal 2001. He joined Pall in 1982 and has held roles in sales, marketing and technical support for Pall’s Asian business operations. Last year, he was named president and COO of Nihon Pall. He holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor’ s degree in the same area of study from Kobe University in Japan.

McCoy wins IWA recognition
Dr. William McCoy, manager of global research for ONDEO Nalco, has been named the winner of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Water Management and Science Award from the International Water Association (IWA). The award—which recognizes an outstanding and innovative contribution of international impact relating to leadership, systems operation or international impact—was presented to McCoy at IWA’s World Water Conference in Berlin, Germany, in October. Dr. McCoy was recognized for his lifetime of work including the invention and development of STA-BR-EX, an environmentally sensitive chlorine replacement useful for microbial fouling control in cooling towers, condensers, heat exchangers and paper machines.

Orr anchors U.K. sales
Graeme Orr has joined Vivendi Water Systems as area sales manager for its industrial division. Based in Staffordshire, U.K., he will cover the central region and target a number of markets including general industrial, health care, power, food and beverage. His sales responsibility will include engineered systems and the design and construction of treated water plant and wastewater installations. Graeme, who has a higher national certificate in mechanical and production engineering, brings over 20 years experience in engineering and senior sales and marketing experience to the role.

WQA makes NDWAC nomination
The Water Quality Association has nominated Dr. P. Regunathan for a council position with the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC). The organization provides advice, consultation and recommendations to the USEPA on the activities, functions and policies related to the Safe Drinking Water Act. There are 15 members on the council—five each from the general public, state and local agencies related to water hygiene and public water supply, and private organizations or groups with an active interest in water quality. Dr. Regunathan has been in the water treatment industry for over 30 years and has served on the Arsenic Cost Working Group that was overseen by the NDWAC and the USEPA.

First woman awarded prize
In its fall newsletter, the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) announced that the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize had been presented to microbiology expert Joan Rose, Ph.D. The ceremony took place on July 25 in Costa Mesa, Calif. Dr. Rose was the eighth—and first woman—recipient of the award. She received a $50,000 check and a 14-karat gold medallion. She plans on donating a portion of the prize money to help establish the Safe Water Foundation at the University of South Florida. The foundation would address water quality issues in the state such as investigating water distribution systems (like pipes) for microorganisms that are potentially harmful. Dr. Rose received a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree in microbiology from the University of Wyoming and a doctoral degree in microbiology from the University of Arizona. She has been a professor at the University of South Florida since 1989. 

Snow to grow, hires three
Snow Valley Mountain Spring Bottled Water, of the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area, has hired three to its staff as the company looks to increase sales 40 percent over the next two years. The company has brought on Anita Ridgell to manage its call center operation. Also joining the Snow Valley’s senior management team was general manager Dave Nagle, who has more than 22 years of experience in the bottled water industry, and sales manager Patrick McAndrew, who has more than 15 years in sales. To meet increasing demand in the northern Virginia market, Snow Valley opened a new water distribution facility in Manassas, Va. When fully staffed, the 10,000-square-foot facility will employ about 10 people.

Research team wins grant
USFilter has awarded a grant to a research team from the University of Delaware at Newark. The proposal from Pei Chiu, Daniel Cha and Steven Dentel of the university’s department of civil and environmental engineering was selected, according to USFilter, because of its broad impact to the biosolids field. The research will run 14 months and began on Oct. 1.

Flier’s hires on director
Flier’s Quality Water Systems Inc., of Grand Rapids, Mich., has appointed Ken Velthouse as its director of purchasing. He has nearly 30 years of experience in plumbing and related supplies to the water purification industry. Velthouse was most recently employed for six years with Bertsch U.S. Flow Co., of Grand Rapids, in a sales capacity. He has an associate’s degree from Ferris State College. Flier’s Quality Water Systems specializes in providing purified water to a wide range of commercial industries, the food and drug industry, hospitals and laboratories, kidney and dialysis centers, among others.

Ask the Expert

Sunday, December 16th, 2001

Whole house carbon filtration

Question: We are in the process of buying a new home inan area where chlorinated water will be our water source. We do not want to use the chlorinated water in our home. Is there a “whole house purification” system that will allow us to filter out the chlorine before it comes into the house, by either putting a filter on the incoming line, or other means? We were in Southern California last winter at a Home Building Show, and I thought I remembered seeing a booth that advertised such a product. Unfortunately, I did not get a brochure. Any assistance you can give will be most appreciated.

Jan Mayer

Answer: The simple answer to your question is yes. You’re looking for a whole house carbon filter. There are backwashable tanks of granular activated carbon (GAC) or other specialized filtration media (such as KDF) that will remove the chlorine from the incoming water to your house at the point of entry (POE). Some water softeners even incorporate carbon beds for that very reason. A silver impregnated GAC will be more resistant to microbial growth in the carbon bed. Keep in mind, that carbon also removes a number of other contaminants aside from chlorine that contribute to undesirable tastes and odors. Contact your local water treatment professional dealer.

The lowdown on POU & UV

Question: Please excuse this intrusion, but I make this contact to ask for help. Waterlogic International is a UK-based manufacturer of ‘point-of-use’ water drinking systems, and I’m seeking information on the market around the globe. I’m particularly interested in facts and figures on issues such as ‘point-of-use’ market penetration against water coolers/bottles. Also any information on the importance of UV, filtration and where the market will be in the future? What are the major changes anticipated? Any such information related to the USA and other corners of the world will be very useful. Thanks in anticipation,

Dean Bourke.
Waterlogic International
Wembley, Middlesex, United Kingdom

Answer: We don’t really have a crystal ball on specific industry segments such as this, but there are a few things that have happened in recent years that give some indication of UV’s future. For one, the U.S. patent that Calgon Carbon Corp. was awarded last year regarding effectiveness of medium-pressure UV on inactivation of Cryptosporidium is very significant. We have not followed up on whether Calgon was able to extend that patent to low-pressure UV applications as it was attempting to do, last we heard. The implications are tremendous with respect to whether other companies are ever required to pay royalties to Calgon Carbon on technology that has been in use for some time, although its efficacy against protozoan cysts was only confirmed in recent years. Secondly, considering regulatory concern over disinfection by-products (DBPs), UV’s star has risen sharply in recent years while ozone’s has dimmed somewhat. This is partly because of studies showing UV’s efficacy at lower doses than previously thought were necessary for inactivating pathogens. It’s also because of formation of the DBP bromate in waters containing the natural organic bromide ion when treated with ozone. While regulatory rules did not take a harder line on this particular DBP (actually relaxing proposed lowering of maximum contaminant levels allowed), concern over public response to any DBPs has made UV a more popular option, particularly for bottled water plants where it’s more difficult to control bromate formation currently because of sporadic production cycles. With municipal applications, where treatment is continuous, both UV and ozone are considered viable options. There has been a lot of activity as a result with corporate acquisitions of UV technology firms, such as in the United States by Germany’s WEDECO and the United Kingdom’s Severn Trent (through a U.S. subsidiary). Companies that focus on disinfection techniques see UV as one of the tools they need in their arsenal for providing clients with water quality improvement solutions. The International Ultraviolet Association may offer more specific data. For more general market information, we would point you to the Water Quality Association, which publishes a biennial National Consumer Water Quality Survey, or Zenith International, which does market research in the European arena (with particular focus on coolers and bottled water).

Essential minerals in the water?

Question: I am selling small RO drinking water systems for the household market. Sometimes, my customers claim that RO units are not healthy since they remove almost all essential minerals for the human body from the water. What are your comments? Can you advise me any literature where I can find detailed information. Thanks in advance.

Aclan Karaman
Alarko Carrier Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S.

Answer: While it’s true reverse osmosis will remove calcium and other necessary (as well as unnecessary) minerals from the drinking water supply, it has been well documented that, for people with a normal food intake, it’s completely unnecessary to use drinking water as the source of essential minerals. In other words, most people get more than their daily requirement of minerals from the food they eat, which makes eating a healthy diet essential. As we’ve often said, if you relied upon drinking water for your recommended daily allowance of minerals and vitamins, you’d have to drink 5,000 or more glasses of water. In other words, you’d drown. Consumption of low TDS water—water with few total dissolved solids—has no measurable if any effect on health. You need to speak with the company you’re working for and get them to provide you with literature from your RO system supplier that refutes these other claims and allows you to properly explain this to your customers. Your company needs to be informed about this common consumer question. Other sales people are likely facing the same question, so the company needs to cover this in a blanket communication to its entire staff.

Science fair query

Question: Hi, my name is Nick i live in Oklahoma. I am 14 years old. I looked at your site and could use some help… I didn’t get to look for long so this might be a stupid question… I am doing a science fair project on “water purification” on three different kinds of bottled water and tap water. I will test them. Do you have any sites or anything that I could use to find information on this topic. Thank you


Answer: There are lots of websites you can refer to for help in your project. The International Bottled Water Association’s website is www.bottledwater.org and would be a good place to start. It can provide you with an explanation of the different types of bottled water, regulatory differences and market statistics. Texas and California also have large state associations (see www.tbwa.org and www.cbwa.org). And there’s a European and Asian chapter (www.ebwa.org and www.ibwasia.org) as well. For bottled water trends, you can also see www.bottledwaterweb.com. Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-ind4c.html) and various state agencies. A large percentage of bottled water actually is retreated city municipal water. To know more about the quality of your local water, call your municipal drinking water supplier and ask for chemical analysis data sheet for your water. The Safe Drinking Water Act Reauthorization of 1996 requires that they get this information and give it to you in an annual consumer confidence report, often referred to simply as a “water quality report.” It may even be posted on the utility’s website with more frequent updates.




Global Spotlight

Sunday, December 16th, 2001

Cleveland-based Waterlink Inc. sold its shares in Waterlink Sweden AB and Waterlink Germany GmbH, along with their related subsidiaries, to Tyco Group S.A.R.L., a subsidiary of Tyco International Ltd. Proceeds from the late September transaction will be used to reduce Waterlink’s bank debt.

In late September, the Sulfatreat Company, of Chesterfield, Mo., was acquired by M-I LLC. The new company name will be referred to as Sulfatreat, a division of M-I LLC. The phone numbers and addresses will remain the same. M-I’s revenues for last year were over $1.2 billion.

Water Pik Technologies Inc. reported third quarter sales of $75.2 million, an increase of 12.4 percent from sales of $66.9 million for the same period last year. Net income was $1.9 million vs. $1.7 million in 2000.

USEPA Administrator Christine Whitman announced the establishment of a water protection task force at the agency that will be charged with helping federal, state and local partners safeguard the nation’s drinking water supply from terrorist attack.

Philadelphia-based Rohm & Haas Co. reported third-quarter earnings of $53 million vs. $77 million for the same period last year.

The IBWA said changes in its Model Code will require bottler members to include their brands’ contact telephone numbers on product labels and provide bottled water quality information to consumers upon request.

Dow Chemical Co., of Midland, Mich., said third-quarter net income dropped 84 percent over 2000. Market leader DuPont Co. also reported a decrease of almost 75 percent in third-quarter income. Dow reported net income of $57 million vs. $357 million last year.

The Specialty Nets and Nonwovens division of Applied Extrusion Technologies Inc. and Naltex merged in October to create DelStar Technologies Inc. The company’s headquarters will be in Middletown, Del.

Ionics Inc., of Watertown, Mass., reported revenues of $118.3 million for the third quarter vs. $124.9 million last year. Net income was $4.2 million vs. $2.9 million in 2000.

Pure 1 Systems has moved its corporate offices. The new address is 560 Sylvan Ave., Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 07632. The phone number is (201) 568-2224 and the fax number is (201) 568-5288.

PPG Industries Inc., a maker of chlorine tablets, said third-quarter earnings fell about 40 percent in all its markets. PPG reported net income of $93 million in the quarter vs. $153 million earned last year.

Canadian-based TransAlta Corp. has awarded USFilter a $7 million contract to use its technology in TransAlta’s water treatment program. TransAlta is Canada’s largest non-regulated electric generation and marketing company.

St. Paul, Minn.-based Pentair Inc. reported $647 million in sales for the third quarter of 2001. For the three months ending Sept. 29, the company had operating income of $51.2 million vs. $61.4 in the third quarter of 2000.

In October, National Filter Media Corp. (NFM) announced it had acquired the Industrial Fabrics Division of Snow Filtration Co. LLC, a BBA Filtration company. NFM manufactures products for liquid and dry filtration.

For the year ending Augt. 31, 2001, Canadian-based Trojan Technologies will achieve revenues of $73 million and expects to report a net loss of $5.1 million compared to $67 million in revenues and a net loss of $7.7 million in the previous year.

USEPA hands down 10 ppb ruling; promises $20 million on arsenic study
USEPA Administrator Christie Whitman said in late October that the arsenic standard in drinking water will be 10 parts per billion. “Throughout this process, I have made it clear that EPA intends to strengthen the standard for arsenic by substantially lowering the maximum acceptable level from 50 parts per billion (ppb), which has been the lawful limit for nearly half a century,” Whitman wrote in a letter to the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies appropriations measure. Whitman had asked that three expert panels review all new and existing materials. The National Academy of Sciences looked at risk, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council examined costs to water systems throughout the nation, and the USEPA’s Science Advisory Board assessed benefits. Nearly 97 percent of the water systems affected by this rule are small systems that serve less than 10,000 each. The USEPA plans to spend $20 million over the next two years for the research and development of more cost-effective technologies.  

Iowa WQA changes dates
The Iowa Water Quality Association winter convention has changed its dates. The new dates are Jan. 15-16, 2002. It will take place in West Des Moines. For more information, please call (515) 282-9303.

Report: Salt is on the rise
American salt makers produced 16.1 million tons during the first six months of 2001, up 3.1 percent from a year earlier, the Salt Institute announced in its half-year 2001 Summary Report of U.S. Salt Sales. Revenues totaled $613.2 million, up 5.2 percent. Water conditioning sales were up 67,000 tons while chemical sales continued to sag, down about 24,000 tons.

Softener use goes west

Water softener use in the United States is growing the fastest in the west and north central, according to the Water Quality Association 2001 National Consumer Water Quality Survey. In the west, the previous survey—conducted in 1997—found only 5 percent used softeners. It’s now 10 percent. Four years ago, 18 percent of homes in the north central area used water softeners. The 2001 survey found that figure had jumped to 22 percent.

State gets MTBE delay
California Gov. Gray Davis was expected to postpone banning the controversial gasoline additive MTBE from the state’s fuel supply by one or two years, petroleum industry sources said in late September. California refiners were pushing for a two-year extension, but conceded that a one-year delay was more likely. The move is viewed as Davis’s formal response to the USEPA’s decision in June denying a waiver from Clean Air Act mandates and requiring the state to start blending corn-based ethanol, rather than MTBE, into its gasoline.

N.C. well facts found online
Prompted by numerous requests from local residents, Mecklenburg County (N.C.) has made public, drinking wells’ records more accessible with the evolution of a website. The new website, www.maps.co.mecklenburg.nc.us/wells, gathers information from county and state agencies that test well water or investigate groundwater contamination. The site is a welcome addition for many people as scattered records make it impossible to identify how many wells are in use in the county. Mecklenburg officials estimate that more than 100,000 people, most located in Charlotte’s rural fringe, pump their drinking water from the ground. According to the Charlotte Observer, groundwater or soil is contaminated in about 1,000 places across the county. Petroleum products leaking from underground storage tanks are leading contaminants of well water in the county and state. More than 17,400 leaking tanks have been catalogued statewide. The N.C. Groundwater Section website, with statewide contamination data, is www.gw.ehnr.state.nc.us

Student lands AWWA grant

Paolo Scardina, an engineering graduate student at Virginia Tech University, has won a $150,000 grant from the American Water Works Association Research Foundation based on discoveries that could help prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases. His research is on air bubbles in drinking water. He began studies on the subject as an undergraduate and has continued through his master’s and doctoral programs. Scardina’s research is also being used by engineers with the California Department of Health Services to identify problems at two facilities that have experienced eruptions of air bubbles. The last treatment barrier in most drinking water treatment plants is filtration. A burp of bubbles can puncture tiny holes in filters, which may allow for dangerous particles entering the water.

Court favors Pall in case

The United States District Court has ruled on the side of Pall Corp., of East Hills, N.Y., in a patent infringement suit against CUNO Inc. The Court found that CUNO’s PolyPro XL filters—and filters with the same pleat configuration such as CUNO’s LifeAssure filters—infringe on Pall’s U.S. patents. The Court will address Pall’s request for damages and injunctive relief, which includes CUNO ceasing the sale of all infringing products. The case began in December 1997.

Leno’s Harley helps victims
Frank Davis, a water well driller from Portales, N.M., placed the high bid of $360,200 on the online auction site eBay in mid-October for talk show host Jay Leno’s Harley Davidson motorcycle. The money will go to the Twin Towers Fund for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Leno asked celebrities who visited his show to sign the limited edition motorcycle, which he bought in July. A list of stars covered it with their signatures including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise during appearances on the Tonight Show. Davis said he plans to tour with the bike and raise more money for the fund.

Severn Trent buys, builds
Severn Trent Services, of Fort Washington, Pa., has acquired Environmental Systems Technology Corp. (EST), of Milford Square, Pa., a leading manufacturer of devices for toxic gas release mitigation and related process equipment. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. EST products and personnel will be transitioned into Severn Trent over the next few months.

Meanwhile, Arkansas and South Carolina have selected Severn Trent to supply on-site sodium hypochlorite generating systems. The units represent the largest electro-chlorination systems to be installed in each state. The Clinton Water Treatment Plant in Van Buren, Ark., is a 6-million gallon per day (mgd), surface water treatment facility supplying local residents and a large ConAgra Frozen Foods plant. The system was installed in September as part of a project upgrading plant capacity from 3 to 6 mgd. Later in September, Severn Trent installed a similar system for the 8 mgd Marion Wastewater Treatment Plant in Marion, S.C. Both systems are designed to assist the communities’ growing demand for potable water while reducing the potential for community exposure to chlorine gas.

In other Severn Trent news, the company has reached an agreement with Hanovia Ltd., of the United Kingdom, to use ultraviolet (UV) technology for customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Severn Trent and Hanovia will market and develop UV disinfection systems for municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment. Hanovia’s products will be marketed under Severn Trent’s FrontLine brand. Also, NSF International has awarded Severn Trent certification for its ClorTec line of on-site sodium hypochlorite generating systems.

End to typhoid fever?

Scientists have genetic blueprints for two strains of salmonella bacteria, one of which causes the potentially deadly typhoid fever, according to reports released in October. This is expected to help scientists create vaccines and treatments for infections caused by the strains. One research team mapped the genes for a strain of typhoid-causing salmonella that’s resistant to several antibiotics. The strain, S. typhi CT18, is one example of the emerging worldwide problem of multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections, reports the Oct. 25 edition of Nature. Dr. Julian Parkhill of The Sanger Centre in Cambridge, U.K., led the study. He said that the genetic mapping raises the hope that typhoid fever can be eliminated. Meanwhile, a team led by Dr. Michael McClelland of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in San Diego, California, came up with the sequence for S. typhimurium LT2, which can infect animals and is a major cause of increased incidence of foodborne gastrointestinal illness around the world.

Blue-White gets new digs
Blue-White Industries, of Huntington Beach, Calif., moved to its new corporate/manufacturing building in September. Construction of the 48,000 square-foot facility began in September 2000. The new address is 5300 Business Drive, Huntington Beach, Calif., 92649. The phone number is (714) 893-8529 and the fax number is (714) 894-9492.

E. coli crashes campus
Four more cases of E. coli linked to a pancake tailgate party at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were reported, taking the total to 26, university officials said. The party was held at campus on Oct. 6 before a football game. Two of the infected are children and the rest were UW students, officials said. They said one student remained hospitalized but was in good condition. At least 1,000 people attended the university-sponsored party. Health officials said the source of the E. coli was probably not the food, since only a small percentage of those who attended became ill.

Anthrax test finds outlets
Vital Living Products Inc. (VLPI), dba American Water Service, said that Meijer Inc., of Grand Rapids, Mich., plans to sell PurTest Anthrax Test chainwide in the pharmacies of its 152 stores in five states. VLPI began development of the anthrax test following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. The test utilizes technology similar to that employed by the company’s PurTest Bacteria Test, which has been on the market since 1996 and tests water for the presence of coliform bacteria. The anthrax test detects the presence of anthrax germs and spores, providing consumers with results at home or the workplace. In related news, VLPI said ACE Hardware, of Oak Brook, Ill., will distribute the anthrax test as well. Through its 10 distribution centers in the United States, ACE will make the test kits available nationwide to its 5,100 dealers. The company also said it expected to close a private placement of its common stock by late October where it will raise approximately $750,000 by issuing around 10.5 million shares.

Clinton office avoids scare
The Secret Service investigated two vials containing salmonella that were sent to former President Bill Clinton’s office in New York in late October, the Washington Post reported. Jim Mackin, a Secret Service spokesman, said there’s no connection to the anthrax scares. Salmonella is a common food poisoning bacteria that is rarely deadly. Mackin said several vials containing an unknown substance were received by Clinton’s office in early October. The fermentation process turned the substance into salmonella in two of the vials, he said. Clinton didn’t handle the package and nobody has gotten ill from it.

NSF releases 2 reports
NSF International has released six new verification reports and statements for the ETV Drinking Water Treatment Systems (DWTS) Pilot. Two of them are from Kinetico Inc.—the Macrolite® Coagulation and Filtration System, Model CPS100CPT for the removal of arsenic and the Kinetico CPS100CPT Coagulation and Filtration System for the physical removal of Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts in drinking water. Two others include the Lapoint Industries Aqua-Rite Potable Water Filtration System and the Rosedale Products Inc. Bag and Rigid Cartridge Filter System Model GFS-302P2-150S-ESBB. The Koch Membrane Systems TFC-ULP4 Reverse Osmosis Membrane Module and the PentaPure H-3000-I Mobile Water Purification Station round out the reports. The USEPA and NSF have approved these reports for distribution. These reports are located in their entirety on the NSF and USEPA websites (www.nsf.org/etv and www.epa.gov/etv, respectively).

Also, in October, NSF and JIA met in Ann Arbor, Mich. JIA is a partner organization of NSF in Japan, and one of only four Japanese companies with ownership and access to the Japan Water Mark. JIA had previously accepted NSF testing in support of the Water Mark, i.e. testing to the JIS 3200 series standards. During the meeting, a review was conducted of the upcoming deadline for compliance of drinking water treatment units with the Household Goods Quality Labeling Law. This will be required of all water purifiers sold in Japan with an implementation date of April 1, 2002. In order to meet the labeling law, products must first be tested to the JIS 3201 performance standard.

WQA series hits the road
The Water Quality Association (WQA) is looking to expand its tour of educational series seminars to members across the country. The first in this new series was to be the Water Quality Technology Seminar held Oct. 25-26 in Indianapolis. Aspects of high purity water systems, regeneration efficiencies, UV disinfection, testing for arsenic, and membrane technologies are some of the topics covered. Certification exams will also be offered, and sessions will be given WQA CPD credits. According to the WQA Newsfax, the goal is to promote industry technologies and help members grow new markets. Areas expressing an interest so far are Oregon, Washington, Florida, Texas, and the East Coast. Contact the WQA education department at (630) 505-0160 if you’re interested in having a course come to your state.

USFilter breaks new ground
USFilter’s Kruger Products first installation of the BIOSTYR® process has begun operation at the Freeport, Ill. wastewater treatment plant. The biologically aerated filter process is part of an $11.4 million wastewater treatment upgrade. The process consists of upflow filtration through submerged and floating fine spherical media where the air and wastewater are introduced below the base of the media. Process adjustments allow the system to perform either nitrification or simultaneous nitrification and dentrification. The system’s compact size, which combines a biological reactor with filtration, is designed to achieve maximum wastewater purification with limited technology and space requirements. USFilter teamed with the design engineering firm, Montgomery Watson, of Minneapolis, the Freeport Water and Sewer Commission, and USFilter representatives—Vessco Inc., of Eden Prairie, Minn., and Peterson & Matz Inc., of Palatine, Ill.

In other news, the first immersed membrane bioreactor unit developed by USFilter is being demonstrated for wastewater reuse in the Sammamish Valley, King County, Wash. The project is a partnership between King County, Seattle-based Carollo Engineers and USFilter. The county is evaluating the technology for full-scale reclamation facility that would supply irrigation water to local landscaping businesses, sod farms, nurseries and a golf resort. These facilities currently supplement their potable irrigation supply with water from the Sammamish River, a salmon-bearing watercourse threatened by low flows and high water temperatures.

IDA Congress pushed to 2002
The International Desalination Association (IDA) World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse has been postponed until March 8-13, 2002, due to the recent terrorist attacks on American soil. The show will take place in Manama, Bahrain. Ghassan Ejjeh, president of IDA, explained: “Despite much adversity over the past (couple of months), we made very attempt to proceed with our plans; however, it no longer seems to be the most sensible or sensitive course of action. The volume of concerns has intensified in the last few days and we feel that deferring the date for a short time will allow us to present the best possible program with the utmost attendance and participation.” The conference was originally slated for October 26-31.

Water sent in abundance
Immediately following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, bottled water companies sprang into action and reacted with full force. In fact, Soft Drink Letter reports that so many cased of bottled water were sent that Red Cross and National Guard units were saying they had more than enough water to meet their needs. Joseph Doss, president of the International Bottled Water Association, shared the news recently with the group’s annual convention in Miami Beach, Fla.

Osmonics gets city order
Minnetonka, Minn.-based Osmonics Inc. received a third order from the city of Pascagoula, Miss., worth $1 million for two skid-mounted reverse osmosis systems to purify its water. Designed especially for municipal water treatment, the custom systems will be added to four existing Osmonics RO systems. A city of 27,000 residents, Pascagoula has the capacity to purify 3.5 million gallons per day, representing 80 percent of the total daily city water needs. Scheduled to be completed in early 2002, the two systems will produce an additional 2.2 million gallons of purified water per day, treating 100 percent of the city’s water supply. The city’s source water is tainted with tannins and also contains high concentrations of dissolved minerals that result in discoloration and foul taste.

Apyron’s unit touted by WEF
The Water Environment Federation presented the Innovative Technology Award to Atlanta-based Apyron Technologies during ceremonies October 16 as part of WEFTEC 2001 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Apyron garnered the award in the Process Equipment category for its “arsenic treatment unit” using the Aqua-Bind® Arsenic Removal media. The awards recognize products or services that use new ideas, methods, alterations or unique changes from existing systems in four categories: collection systems, instrumentation, process equipment, and solids handling and disposal. On the same day at the conference, Glen Daigger and Elena Bailey received the Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal from the WEF. Daigger, a senior vice president with CH2M Hill, of Denver, and Bailey, an aeration product manager at Enviroquip Inc., of Austin, Texas, won for their article, “Improving Aerobic Digestion by Prethickening, Staged Operation, and Aerobic-Anoxic Operation: Four Full-Scale Demonstrations.”

SPEX makes 1-year promise
SPEX CertiPrep, of Metuchen, N.J., now guarantees stability of all Organometallic Oil standards for one year from date of shipment. These standards are commonly used for ICP, ICPMS, AA, XRF, rotrode and atomic fluorescence spectroscopy. Included are 29 single-element reference standards, a wide variety of multi-element standards and stabilizer/solubilizers.


Paris hosts big water show
A good turnout is expected when water treatment professionals converge on the 3rd Aqua-Expo, the French International Water Quality and Protection Exhibition in Paris, France, on Feb. 6-10. Free to the public, the show promises to cover the point-of-use, point-of-entry residential, commercial and light industry segments. Major themes will include The French School of Water Management, Household of Tomorrow, Health and Safety in the Water Industry, Water and the Environment, Water and Leisure, Seawater, Water and Quality of Life, and The Water Professions. More than 30,000 water industry professionals, including over 100 exhibitors, are expected to attend.

Azurix pulls plug in area
Azurix, a subsidiary of energy company Enron. Corp., has withdrawn from its contract to distribute drinking water in Buenos Aires after ongoing disputes with the provincial government. In the last several months, Azurix has accused the province—Argentina’s largest and most indebted—of failing to comply with certain conditions of the 30-year deal for which the company paid $439 million in 1999. Azurix provides water services to 2.5 million people in 71 cities in the province.

Crypto cases cause concern
In Saskatchewan, there were 60 cases in August of Cryptosporidium, which causes diarrhea, fever, nausea and general malaise. The figure compares to only five in the same month last year, said Dr. David Butler-Jones, the province’s chief medical health officer. The increase in Saskatchewan comes after two swimming pools in Alberta were closed in August because of the waterborne parasite. At least 16 people were confirmed to be infected and another 21 were showing symptoms of the disease in Medicine Hat and Didsbury. The microscopic parasite lives in the intestines of humans and animals and is found in animal and human waste. It can pose a more serious danger to people with reduced immune systems, such as those with AIDS or cancer. Crypotosporidium is the same parasite that sickened hundreds of people in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, earlier this year after the town’s drinking water became contaminated.

Erie heats up in Belgium
Erie Water Treatment Controls, of Elk Grove Village, Ill., has expanded its European operations to meet increasing customer demand. A new facility has been built in Olen, Belgium, and houses 11,600 square feet for assembly and warehousing space, sales, marketing and distribution. According to Mike Kopacz, Erie’s executive vice president, “Since being acquired by Aquion Partners last year, we’ve realized new growth and significant interest from both existing and prospective customers throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We needed to upgrade our infrastructure in order to meet that increased demand and to serve our customers more efficiently. With major product rollouts scheduled for later this year, we’ve positioned ourselves to take full advantage of the new facility.” The operation is under the guidance of Nick Govaert and Roel Gilissen with the support of Kopacz and his Chicago-based staff. Besides Erie, other major Aquion brands include RainSoft and ClearWater Tech.

Memcor sues over membranes
Memcor Limited has started patent infringement proceedings against Norit Membraan Technologie BV, of Hengelo, Netherlands. The suit, filed in the U.K., alleges that Norit infringed Memcor’s European patent number 0666774, which relates to a membrane integrity testing method. The infringement proceedings relate to a patented testing method that verifies membrane system integrity. The water displacement test allows the operator to monitor the performance of the membrane to detect membrane system defects or failures within the membranes. Membrane filters are increasingly being used at municipal drinking water plants to remove microorganisms from water. Memcor is a subsidiary of Vivendi Water.

NSF gains presence in Asia
NSF International has expanded its third-party certification services for Taiwan and China-based customers through a partnership with NSF-ISR South Asia, which provides management systems registrations in Asia under a licensing agreement with NSF International Strategic Registrations Ltd. NSF-ISR is acting as a local liaison for Taiwan and China-based manufacturers seeking NSF certification for drinking water treatment units, plumbing and plastic piping components, bottled water and foodservice equipment. NSF-ISR will develop business relationships with current and potential customers, collect their product samples and work with them to obtain certification. NSF will certify products and initiate ongoing reassessments. NSF-ISR employs about 100 employees and has approximately 20 offices in Tiawan and China. The company plans to open more offices this year including locations in Vietnam and Thailand.

Rhino charges into the U.S.
Ontario, Canada-based Rhino Ecosystems Inc. has acquired Indiana Rhino LLC. The purchase translates into six million more Americans using the company’s wet waste recovery technology. The deal is expected to net Rhino Ecosystems a minimum of $1.7 million over five years. Florida and 13 million more customers are expected to be covered by a similar dealership still in discussion. The plan is directed at establishing new dealerships over a three-month period with a target market of 145 million people, resulting in a minimum of $290 million in sales over a five-year period.

Mirant bids for desal plant
Singapore water treatment firm Hyflux Ltd. and U.S. power firm Mirant Corp. announced in September that they would jointly bid to build the city-state’s first seawater desalination project. Fresh water for industry and public use is a critical issue in resource-scarce Singapore, which now relies on Malaysia to pipe in much of its supply. The new plant is expected to be operational by 2005. Hyflux specializes in designing and manufacturing membranes to pre-treat seawater used in desalination process, while Mirant is a global independent power producer.

WEDECO spreads its wings
WEDECO AG Water Technology has upgraded its presence in Europe with its own company in the Netherlands. To manage the new office, the company has successfully recruited an employee with more than 10 years management experience. In other news, WEDECO has established a Brazilian subsidiary, WEDECO Tecnológico Águas Ltda., which has headquarters in Sao Paulo. The company will operate as the South American head office for WEDECO and support existing agents in South and Central America. Meanwhile, WEDECO reported in mid-October that the world’s largest wastewater disinfection system is operating in Manukau, New Zealand.




Sunday, December 16th, 2001

BYOB & water a blustery mix

Dear Editor:

Your Dealer Profile article of August 2001 used our trademark in a wrongful manor for the common use of BYOB is in reference to the use of alcoholic beverages. Our trademark is in using the mark in reference with as tea-totaling a manor as possible and that is why it is such an effective trademark. Someone using our trademark wrongfully steals a good deal of our highly valued property and good will. Following is a description of our trademark to help you understand our trademark so you can correct the problem.

The BYOB Water Store trademark and design was first registered in Texas under registration #45786 in 1985. Nationally, the all capital letters B.Y.O.B. WATER STORE was registered so as to register claim to any use of BYOB in our field of operation and not just with the use of a specific design. The national registration gives a very broad claim. The national registration is #1,485,777, filed in 1988. Our newest registered trade mark (sic) is much like the national trademark in that it is BYOB Water Store—words only, no design, in the State of Texas #55832.

Although the BYOB Water Store trademark consists of the name and the design, including coloration, the BYOB in BYOB Water Store is the largest value of our trademark. As evidenced by Gail Research Inc.’s book Acronyms, Initialisms and Abbreviations Dictionary, the use of BYOB in connection with the sale of water to the consumer in his own container was an innovation. The definition given for BYOB was: 1. Bring Your Own Beef, 2. Bring Your Own Boat, 3. Bring Your Own Booze or Bottle. Note: The third definition means that the “Bottle” was a bottle of liquor, not anything else.

To use an initialism which suggests to most people the use of alcoholic beverages in connection with the sale of a product which is about as tea-totaling as you can get is indeed an ingenious innovation. Once people understand that BYOB stands for Bring Your Own Bottle and that this use is so opposite the usual connotation, they quite often laugh, and they rarely forge the store’s name.

In checking the Dun & Bradstreet listings of 800,000 names for any use of BYOB in the name of a business, there was only one business besides the BYOB Water Stores listed which used BYOB in their name. That business used BYOB for Build Your Own Burger and sells hamburgers. The point being that there is no possibility of confusing the public between a BYOB Water Store which sells water and related products and a BYOB Build Your Own Burger which sells hamburgers because the two businesses deal in different trades. But when a business in the retail business of selling water uses BYOB designating to the public (our concept of doing business), they have at that point tied the name BYOB to our stores and there is no escaping the fact that the public will be confused and liability will result.

The use of the proprietary name doesn’t have to be used in a name to be in violation of a trademark. If BYOB is used in advertising in such a manner as to stand out and catch the public’s eye, then the consumer is likely to assume that BYOB is being used to designate a business name. Abbreviations stand out like sore thumbs and are therefore set apart and brought to the public’s attention making it next to impossible to use BYOB in connection with a retail operation selling water to the consumer in his own container, without confusing the consumer as to with whom he is doing business.

Our concern is that your using the mark in one of your articles may cause others to misuse the mark. Our interest is for you and your readers to understand that the use of BYOB in connection with alcoholic beverages is in the public domain, but that use of the mark connection with water is a violation of our trademark.

Richard Cure, President
BYOB Water Stores Inc.
Lewisville, Texas

Editor’s note: OK. We were not aware of that. By the way, the reference was made in “Dealer Profile: All About Water Treatment of Gilbert, Ariz.—Adjusting to Times in the Grand Canyon State,” p. 48. Our apologies for any confusion.

Water for Africa: Healthy Partnerships with the Urban Poor

Saturday, December 15th, 2001

By Paul Sobiech

Welcome to Kibera, the most densely populated, informal urban settlement in Africa. Located in Kenya’s capital city—Nairobi—between 500,000 and 750,000 people live in an area the size of a large city park, perhaps a mile or so in all directions. Walking the dirt paths of Kibera (it’s unfair to call them “streets”), you feel swept up in the mass of humanity.

Life on the streets
Individuals and families live on less than a dollar a day here. Innocent-looking plastic bags are strewn everywhere, the remnants of the infamous “flying toilets.” At night, people are too worried about being mugged to venture out to use a proper latrine, if one even exists, so a plastic bag has to suffice.

Drinking water comes from water kiosks—some run by families, some by self-help groups. Or, water comes in carts pushed by vendors who emerge out of nowhere to sell water of questionable quality at five to 50 times the price you might pay just outside the settlement.

Property rights are unclear, skewed and complicated. There are no sanitation services. Sewage and solid waste flows where gravity decides is best.

The world of Kibera is not unique to Africa. You’ll find these settlement conditions in the city centers throughout the developing world.

The water and sanitation needs of the world’s poor are staggering. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) estimate that the African urban population will more than double over the next 25 years, while that in Asia will almost double. In Latin America and the Caribbean, an increase of almost 50 percent is expected over the same time frame. This is according to the WHO/UNICEF Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report.

The World Bank’s water and sanitation program (see http://www.wsp.org) advocates the following as a shared response to urban water needs:

  • Established authorities need to plan new approaches and engage a wider array of players, in particular local communities themselves.
  • Increased participation of the private sector creates opportunities for efficiency and innovation, but this process needs to be managed to retain a focus on poverty alleviation.
  • Information about technical and institutional innovations should be shared within international professional circles and with field operators so that innovations can be improved and implemented.
  • At the household and community levels, there is a need to understand processes of decision making, the potential of different approaches to decentralized management of services, the type of intermediary services that can be effective both in driving reform, and securing sustained services.
  • At the level of the utility and local government, there is a need to find ways to stimulate and interact with community level initiatives and the informal sector.
  • At the level of state or national government, there is still a need to seek ways of setting incentives so that serving the poor is not only a priority but is also achievable, supported by adequate financial and human resources.
  • At the international level, there is an urgent need to put water and especially sanitation services for the poor at the top of what is already a very full developmental and political agenda.

Water For People
Water For People (WFP) is a U.S.-based international development organization that responds to the conditions associated with unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene resulting in 6,000 deaths (mostly children) every day. The American Water Works Association (AWWA), the largest and oldest water-related professional association in the world, established WFP in 1991.

In October 2000, WFP launched its “Water For Africa” initiative with a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). In light of many historic water programs, the Water For Africa initiative focuses on building local competencies, not building “bricks and mortar” projects. The approach is aimed at filling the knowledge gap that exists with urban drinking water and the urban poor.

Work includes supporting innovative approaches to assist the unserved and working with local nonprofit organizations and self-help groups to provide advocacy, training and community coordination on water-related issues. Work is also under way to foster water sector reform and strengthen local water associations as agents of change and resource centers for the respective water sector.

Initial efforts are focused in eastern and southern Africa. The following work in Zambia and Tanzania is provided to give a flavor for the Water For Africa effort.

A stronger water sector—Zambia
The water sector in Zambia has increasingly been unable to meet its customer expectations. For a number of years, the sector has been locked in a downward spiral of under-investment, declining service and increasing unwillingness to pay.

Nine commercial utilities have now been created from what were once municipal water departments. New managing directors have been recruited, all with sound business experience but some from outside the water sector.

A lack of financial resources is a major obstacle; at a minimum, there’s a need for an enabling institutional structure, well-trained staff and effective management. These must be in place before investors, public or private, can be confident in the viability of the utilities.

Water For Africa work in Zambia is focused on building capacity within the water sector through a unique partnership with the Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia (WASAZA), the University of Zambia and the International Water Association Foundation.

Project goals include:

  • Enable the managing directors to identify actions they can take to improve performance of their utilities by sharing experience with each other and with other experienced practitioners
  • Strengthen the Zambian water professional association, WASAZA, and the University of Zambia Civil Engineering Department
  • Create a more favorable climate for investment by developing a cadre of trained and effective staff

The planned workshops include topics such as reducing non-revenue water, developing billing systems, improving customer relations, identifying appropriate private-public partnerships, and learning the essentials of regulation in the water/sanitation sector.

Capacity building in Tanzania
Dar es Salaam is a city of 3.5 million residents, with a daytime population estimated at 5 million. Most people in Dar es Salaam obtain water through informal supplies, often of questionable quality and always at a price well above that paid to the utility. Sewer coverage is mostly in the city center, leaving people in the settlement areas to use pit latrines or simply a spot along a road or footpath.

Under the Water For Africa effort, WFP is partnering on two projects in seven city communities (known as “streets”) with WaterAid/Tanzania (see http://www.wateraid.org.uk) and the People’s Voice for Development (PEVODE). PEVODE is a fledgling umbrella organization that the seven communities have established to better manage and expand their water systems, and to speak with a common voice on water issues for the urban poor.

The first project focuses on helping WaterAid enhance its system of community-based management systems. These are the day-to-day “tool kits” that enable communities like the seven mentioned above to undertake integrated water projects and to carry out research activities to support their advocacy work and decision-making processes.

The second project complements the first by focusing on the institutional development of PEVODE. The project will help the group become a formal non-governmental organization (NGO) with an established office, a trained board of trustee members and, ultimately, positioning PEVODE to fill a void in Dar es Salaam as a fully functioning, indigenous NGO focusing on urban issues.

One path forward
Because of the high population densities, poor people in urban areas are faced with incredible health risks every day, arguably living a more marginalized lifestyle than their rural, subsistence farmer counterparts. The obstacles facing the urban poor in obtaining safe drinking water are, at their core, educational issues.

The path forward then is one of increased capacity building, collaboration and education. It entails bringing all the stakeholders to the table to find collaborative solutions to their drinking water problems. There is a dire need to share lessons and successes with other agencies and practitioners.

Water-related organizations need to find better ways to connect local people with global resources. New and sustained networks are necessary and, in the information age, can provide the access local groups need to leverage the immense human and financial resources they need to change the world, one settlement at a time.

About the author
Paul A. Sobiech is executive director for both Water For People, a Denver-based international non-profit non-governmental organization helping impoverished people worldwide to obtain safe drinking water, as well as its Canadian affiliate, Water For People-Canada. He’s been with WFP since a year after its inception. A former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and a registered professional engineer, he holds a civil engineering degree from Purdue University and a master’s degree in public affairs from Indiana University. He can be contacted at (303) 734-3491, (303) 734-3499 (fax), email: psobiech@waterforpeople.org or website: http://www.waterforpeople.org.

Kenya: An overview

Area: 349,590 square miles (slightly more than twice the size of Nevada)
Climate: varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior
Environment-current issues: water pollution from urban and industrial wastes; degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers, water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching
Population: 30,765,916
Religions: Protestant 38 percent, Roman Catholic 28 percent, indigenous beliefs 26 percent, Muslim 7 percent, other 1 percent
Languages: English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
Government type: republic
Capital: Nairobi
Exports: $1.7 billion (2000 est.); tea, coffee, horticultural products, petroleum products, fish, cement
Imports: $3 billion (2000 est.); machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, iron and steel

Taking the Softener Approach to Brine: Why Dealers Have Nothing to Lose

Saturday, December 15th, 2001

By Bill Hall Jr.

Summary: The concept of regenerating water softeners causes some trepidation for water treatment dealers all too familiar with related restrictions on such devices around the country. Have no fear. Turning a negative into a positive, here’s a proposal that will not only help recycle water, but may even produce a beautiful lawn at the same time.

There has been—well, let’s call it what it is—an old-fashioned dogfight in certain localities about the use, regulation and banning of automatic regenerating water softeners. It seems that some folks feel that the amount of brine water being discharged by these devices is causing problems in municipal wastewater systems. I have an idea to submit for your approval and see if y’all think it has some merit.

What if you didn’t connect the drain line of the water softener to the city sewer system? Could the local controlling entity have a problem with the fact that you aren’t introducing brine to its system? After all, that’s what they want in the first place. So don’t do it. By not connecting to the sewer system, you don’t have to install an air gap device in the drain line because you aren’t connecting the potable water from the city to the sewer system in any way. Does this make sense so far? So what are you going to do with the discharge water? I don’t believe that there’s a controlling entity anywhere that can regulate what a private homeowner uses to water his lawn.

Approval from the top
The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) is one of the largest regulatory agencies in the United States. The TNRCC program administrator I discussed this with thought that it was great idea. Put the discharge water on the lawn. Stay with me now.

I have just felt a huge disturbance ripple through the masses out there. It’s as if a million voices suddenly cried out, “It will kill the grass.” Well, I have proof to the contrary. Having lived in San Antonio for about 12 years, I had a water softener installed in my home. Heck, down there you don’t have a choice. The municipal water ran anywhere from 16 grains per gallon (gpg) to 23 gpg hardness depending on which well was being drawn from that day, the level of the aquifer, season of the year, etc. I didn’t connect the drain line to the city sewer. Instead, I ran the line to a PVC pipe with slots cut in it and allowed this water to drain on my lawn. Who needs Scott’s? It proved to be the greenest part of my entire lawn.

You see, in San Antonio, there are also lawn-watering restrictions. You can get hit with big fines as well as nasty looks from neighbors if they find you wasting the precious city water on something as menial as your lawn on the wrong day or at the wrong time. Lawns get pretty dry during the summer. Mine did, too, except for the part that was watered regularly by my water softener.

The Lone Star experiment
When I moved to Fort Worth, Texas, I did the same thing. The water here is about 18 gpg hardness. Again, instead of connecting to the sewer, I am watering my lawn with it. Once again, this area of my lawn is the greenest and healthiest part of my whole lawn. I repeat, I am advising one and all to place the discharge water on the lawn. Do not spray it on Mrs. McGillicuty’s prize roses or her bed of petunias that are the envy of all the blue hairs in the community’s horticulture society. Don’t put it on fruit trees or any other vegetation. I don’t know what the net result will be if you do this. Nor am I responsible for any resulting reactions. What I am saying is, put the discharge on the turf. At both of my homes, I planted St Augustine. Actually, I raked out the rocks on the dirt and laid sod over the whole thing. Anyone who has had this experience knows that you have to water a freshly sodded lawn faithfully so that it will take root and grow. Otherwise, you have the privilege of laying down new sod over the dead stuff put down previously. Once again, the area sodded with St. Augustine and watered regularly by my water softener is the greenest part of the whole lawn and has been for three years now. Coincidence? I think not.

OK, I can hear you slide-rule guys out there saying, “Give me some facts.” Why won’t the sodium or chloride concentration of the water kill the grass and what do you do about the possibility of the constant buildup of sodium and chloride concentration in one area? I know that the actual concentration of these constituents in the drain stream is fairly low compared to where it started. A concentrated brine solution is when salt is dissolved in water to approximately 26 percent by weight. One gallon of saturated brine can contain about 2.6 pounds of salt at about 80° F. One gallon of water can dissolve about 3.0 pounds of NaCl salt, but one gallon of brine can contain only 2.6 pounds of NaCl salt. You then educt this solution into the water softener control head, thus diluting the solution by at least 50 percent or more by the action of the venturi.

As the brine solution flows through the softener bed, it’s further diluted by the rinse water. At the beginning of the regeneration process, you’ll see a higher concentration of sodium and chloride than you’ll as the regeneration progresses. This continual dilution process means that you aren’t dumping a full concentrated brine solution on the lawn. The device I’m using currently is a big improvement over the stationary slotted PVC pipe system that can cause some back pressure, which prevents the venturi from working correctly. My current system uses a small vessel containing an automatic pump system feeding a garden hose with a sprinkler attached. The garden hose allows me to move the sprinkler around the lawn to keep from building up the concentration of sodium and chloride in one spot. Although, in 15 years of continually watering in one location, my lawn has never showed any signs of a problem.

Some skeptics may say that the brine solution may be further diluted by additional lawn waterings or by rainfall. This area of my lawn isn’t watered by anything other than water softener discharge and by Mother Nature. The area of North Texas is currently in a drought condition so we haven’t benefited from much rainfall for about three years now. I still maintain that this area of my lawn is nurtured mainly by water softener discharge.

OK, here comes the caveat. This system worked for me in two different locations over a period of 15 years without a problem. You need to check the local codes to insure compliance in your area. Also, I am not a horticulturist nor do I pretend to be. There may be those water treatment professionals out there who have exotic grasses or a type of grass that may not do as well as my St. Augustine did. I would tell them to get one of these systems and try it out for yourself. If anything, you can also try regenerating with potassium chloride (KCl) instead of regular salt, which KCl proponents claim is better for plants anyway (although resulting headaches of blocking at the bottom of your brine tank are difficult to avoid and chlorides still wind up in your reject water).

Once you’re convinced it will work, you can confidently promote it in your business. You can purchase and install one of the systems for less than $140. After all, the alternative may be that you lose softener sales due to discharge restrictions. This just may turn out to be a way that you can legally provide your customers with the benefits of soft water as well as giving a thirsty lawn a healthy drink with water that otherwise would have been flushed down the drain.

About the author
With 15 years experience in the wholesale water treatment market, Bill Hall Jr. is sales manager for Applied Membranes of Vista, Calif., in its Fort Worth, Texas, operation, providing commercial/ industrial and residential RO systems, components, and related equipment and services. A past president of the Texas Water Quality Association, Hall has organized and taught a number of water treatment short courses over the years. He can be reached at (817) 270-8689, (817) 270-0790 (fax) or email: bhall@appliedmembranestexas.com.

Braving the Cold Winter in Coal Country: Advanced Water Treatment of West Virginia

Saturday, December 15th, 2001

By Ronald Y. Pérez, WC&P Senior Editor

Like many water treatment dealers around the country, Gordie Amsdill, CWS-VI, CI, CSR, owner and president of Advanced Water Treatment/EcoWater Inc., recognizes why sales this year won’t meet his expectations. The Hinton, W.V., water treatment dealer sums it up in a word.

“The economy,” he says. “One of the other problems is that we had a major flood that wiped out a lot of southwest West Virginia in the summer. Of course, all of the terrorist stuff has got everyone paranoid, and sales are dropping.”

More than most states, West Virginia is affected by the economy as its three major industries—coal, lumber and tourism—have been dealt a big blow. It seems economic conditions have forced even the general public to tighten its purse strings.

Taking the brunt
“Basically, (people) are holding on to their money and staying home. They’re afraid of getting laid off,” says Amsdill. “As these factories lay off, production is cut back and coal sales come down. Meanwhile, builders aren’t constructing new homes, affecting lumber sales. All three industries are really hurting.”

Eighty percent of Amsdill’s business is residential, 15 percent commercial and 5 percent industrial. His primary pieces of residential water treatment equipment are softeners, and iron and sulfur filters. Among his commercial clients include state government agencies, coal companies and lumber companies. Still, residential is his fastest growing segment, he says.

One part of the business Amsdill would like to increase would be his rental number, which currently stands at 5 percent of total revenues. He explains that it can be difficult to stay on top of which customers are paying on time and who aren’t. EcoWater has a rental program that places the responsibility of bill collection and equipment maintenance on the individual dealer.

Serving half the state
Hinton is located in the southeast corner of West Virginia. Amsdill’s business covers 18 counties and a radius of about 200 miles from Huntington to Snowshoe and all points south within the state. A great majority of his customers (90 percent) are on private water sources, which mainly consists of wells and springs. The remainder is municipal water. He quickly adds, “We’re actively trying to increase the city water customers.”

With municipal water, Amsdill encounters chlorine and hardness. One of his more popular systems is a chemical-free pump air system that’s used on low to moderate iron and sulfur levels. Water refiners and softeners are also used for hardness. West Virginia is home to plenty of limestone (creating hardness issues), high iron and sulfides, and low pH. For upper iron and sulfur levels, Amsdill frequently uses a chlorination process.

Since 1994, EcoWater has provided Amsdill with most of the equipment used on his systems. For those occasions he must go outside EcoWater, he turns to Ecodyne, Watermaster, Hydrotec and Mountain Filtration, among others. Prior to 1994, Amsdill—who has a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from DeVry’s Institute of Technology—built his own systems.

Making the rounds
Logistics can also be an issue, Amsdill admits: “Being a cold state, iron and sulfur are everywhere. There are often strips of coal on the mountains. A 20-to-25 mile service call can take 45 minutes because there are no straight roads and it’s a matter of going around mountains and rivers.”

With 1,500 accounts currently, that can be a lot of traveling. Before starting his own business in 1988, Amsdill spent six years in the Air Force in power production and seven more years as an electronic field service engineer.

“I didn’t like what I was doing. I wanted to be outside and meeting people. I’m not the office-type person,” he says. “I had been following EcoWater for a few years before 1994. I really liked their product. I bought out the existing dealership from another EcoWater dealer.”

Presently, Amsdill has six on staff including a certified installer, two service technicians, an office manager and his wife, Valerie, who’s vice president. Advertising is done through word-of-mouth and a steady complement of direct mailings, space in various phone books, and radio advertising on three stations that cater to the baby boom generation (’60s and ’70s music).

No room for mistakes
Amsdill explains his philosophy when he says, “Do the water treatment right the first time and word-of-mouth gets passed around about the (not-so-legitimate) companies that can only result in just unhappy customers. Word-of-mouth is your best advertiser anyway. If you do it right every time, that’ll take care of the skepticism some people have.

“We either do it right the first time or we walk away. We don’t do anything halfway and I’ve lost business because of that.”

One way that Amsdill makes his business more accessible to the general public is by attending Water Quality Association (WQA) shows and several local home shows. Along with the state fair every August, Advanced Water Treatment looks to six shows during the springtime as “beneficial” to his business’ reputation and bottom line.

“With any show we attend, it’s a great symbol of awareness for people and to get them thinking about water,” says the eight-year WQA member. “People are hearing more about it on TV, radio and magazines. Even with the city water scenario and all this chlorine and chemicals and terrorist-type stuff, we’re starting to get calls about that, especially in the major metropolitan areas.”

For the short term, Amsdill has grudgingly accepted the numbers for 2001. His goal was $750,000 in sales; he will fall significantly short of that mark. Last year was his best ever when final sales figures topped $708,000. To make matters worse, his slow time of the year is now, between mid-November and the beginning of February. Still, the fire continues to smolder inside him. “I am not going to accept where we’re at now,” he promises. In 10 years, he sees a business twice the size with twice the customers.

Advanced Water Treatment/EcoWater Inc.
P.O. Box 847
Hinton, WV 25951
(800) 985-2000 or (304) 466-2000
(304) 466-0405 (fax)

Owner and president: Gordie Amsdill, CWS-VI, CI, CSR

Founded: 1988

Staff: 6; vice president; one certified installer; two service technicians; and an office manager

Sales: $708,000 in sales in 2000; projected for 2001 is $600,000

Quotable: “I’ve always been into environmental-type stuff. Water treatment is doing something good for the environment. It’s also doing something good for everyone we contact. It’s saving them money on plumbing and improving their health. All of that combined makes you feel like you’re able to help people’s health and saving money in repairs.” —Gordie Amsdill

Getting it Right with Water-Right’s Gruetts

Saturday, December 15th, 2001

By Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor

Hard times during a recession nearly 20 years ago convinced Kurt Gruett to drop out of the University of Wisconsin after his freshman year and join the family business his father had launched in 1960, Water-Right Inc. It was early in the Reagan Administration and things had gotten worse before they were to get better with double-digit unemployment across large swathes of the Midwest.

“We lost three of our five largest wholesalers due to them going out of business. We also lost key personnel in the manufacturing end. So I decided to stay on and help the business struggle through it. That was a rough period for us. I’m sure other companies went through similar troubles at the time,” said Gruett, now vice president and secretary/treasurer of the family owned business.

Born in 1960 and incorporated three years later, Water-Right was another garage-based operation that grew into a substantial business in the point-of-use/point-of-entry water treatment industry. It was founded by Kurt’s father, Glenn, who sold softeners to local plumbers and well drillers. In 1967, he began the switch to wholesalers with his first distributor, Kretchmer-Tredway of Dubuque, Iowa.

The product line revolves around zeolites, a crystal gel media with good filtration and softening properties that was the basis of the early water conditioning industry. It was supplied by Arizona Mineral, a California subsidiary of Culligan, until 1985, when Culligan’s then-parent, Beatrice Corp., decided to close down production because of environmental problems.

Since Water-Right was the largest outside customer, it bid on the company and acquired it in 1986, renaming it Mineral-Right and moving production to Phillipsburg, Kan., where the Crystal-Right media is still produced today. Additional media with oxidative and other water treatment properties also are processed at the 17-acre production facility. But the company is kept separate from Water-Right, now its biggest customer. Both are wholly owned by the Gruetts.

In 1998, Water-Right introduced the Sanitizer softener, which includes a proprietary valve incorporating on-site chlorine generation to disinfect the media bed during regeneration. It also brought on Mike Hamberger, previously of Alamo Water Refiners, to launch a national dealer network to that now numbers nearly 300, not including customers of wholesale clients. Employing 28 people, and Water-Right has since doubled in size to $10 million-plus in revenue.

Another 15 people work at Mineral-Right, which Glenn Gruett oversees and for which revenues are roughly 30 percent of Water-Right’s but growing more rapidly. Shipments to a European distributor, for instance, are growing 25 percent a year. Kurt, 38, said he expects Water-Right to be about half that this year. He said the company’s focus on problem water in rural areas and unique attributes of zeolite media and a disinfection valve help distinguish it from competitors.

“Of course, Sept. 11 hurt everybody,” he said. “The phones quit ringing that week. Since then, it’s picked up. We’re having a very good year. We’re ahead of last year’s sales. We’re going to be probably 12 percent up over last year. From what our vendors tell us, that’s good because the industry might be down a little bit.”

Gruett also discusses challenges of material safety for small manufacturers, growing up in the water treatment industry, working with family, the importance of educating your distributors and dealers and expanding into China.

Water-Right Inc.
1900 Prospect Court
Appleton, WI 54915
Tel: (920) 739-9401
Fax: (920) 739-9406
Email: mail@water-right.com
Web: http://www.water-right.com

Officers: Glenn Gruett, President/chairman; Kurt Gruett, Vice President and secretary/treasurer; Greg Gruett, Vice President; Guy Gruett, Vice President

Operations: Manufactures water treatment equipment utilizing silica gel zeolite for problem waters.

Vendors: Mineral-Right, zeolite and other medias; Pentair, valves & tanks; Clack Corp., reverse osmosis systems; WEDECO-Ideal Horizon, ultraviolet systems

Key distributors: Poellet Water Group, Belgium; Western Water Products, California, and Water-Rite, Manitoba, Canada

When the Well Runs Dry: Keeping Fouling Under Check

Saturday, December 15th, 2001

By Mike Schnieders

Summary: Regardless of industry or product proclamations, there’s no universal cure to well rehabilitation. With so much safety and investment at stake, though, it’s paramount that each solution is uniquely designed for the present situation. Here are a few tips to keep the well from going dry.

While it’s not hard to imagine customer complaints of a rotten egg odor, the other effects of well fouling may be less conspicuous. A gradual loss in production can occur over time resulting in a well that’s both ineffective at meeting supply demands, but also too expensive to operate. Production loss is often associated with mineral scale, but can also be a result of a bacterial presence within the well. Screen bridging—the closing off of screen openings by biological slime—as well as heavy growth within the gravel pack can affect production rapidly. A corrosion condition could develop chemically or microbiologically within the lower portion of the well, rapidly degrading screen quality and shortening the life of the well considerably. Water quality is an aspect with an ever-increasing demand to address, both in consumer awareness and federal and state regulations. High turbidity, excessive iron, discoloration and odors are just a few of the lengthy list of parameters required for monitoring of potable water supplies.

Why does fouling occur? This is an often-asked question with many answers. Even though a pump house is clean and the pump runs efficiently with steady production, trouble could be brewing just beneath the surface. Water wells act as a great concentrator, taking on characteristics of multiple aquifer waters, lithologies (or rock types) and even the soil present. Ions and various influences, including biology, from throughout the supporting aquifers converge to a central point—the well. Here in this great gathering location, subsurface conditions are intermixed with air from the surface as well as the gravel pack material, screen and any other aquifer or rock material disrupted by the well. The concentration effect occurs at this point—the convergence of ions, temperatures and bacteria, often with diverse results.

No. 1 culprit
The most common occurrence is precipitation of a mineral scale. Minerals develop within the well such as alkalinity, pH, ion concentrations and temperature are altered to a level when the saturation point is reached and precipitation occurs. Carbonates, such as calcite, dolomite and magnesite, are common to the well environment. Just as frequent are metallic oxides such as iron oxide and manganese oxide. In some cases, sulfates can develop and include calcium sulfate.

Mineral scale development is often enhanced by the presence of a biofilm, slimy polysaccharide exopolymers extruded by sessile-type (or attached) bacteria. Bacteria exude this slime to attach themselves to a smooth surface. Biofilm acts as a suburban community within a well system, developing in numerous locations, sustaining life and rapidly expanding throughout the well environment.

Biofilm can coat gravel pack material and take up pore spaces between the granules, thereby decreasing porosity and water flow. Matter trapped in the biofilm matrix won’t readily release, requiring special treatment procedures. Present throughout nature, biofilm is an excellent source for adhesion of minerals within a well system. Biofilm can thus promote mineral buildup by providing an excellent surface for adhesion.

Biofilm and all it brings
Furthermore, biofilm can harbor troublesome bacteria. Sulfate reducing bacteria—anaerobes that reduce sulfate and produce hydrogen sulfide—can cause taste and odor problems with well water while corrosive environments “down hole” tend to inhabit biofilm. Coliforms, used as an indication of contamination, can often mask themselves by residing within biofilms and require additional efforts for disinfection. Biofilm isn’t exclusively one type of bacteria but a mixture of anaerobic and aerobic bacteria that can exist throughout the well system and nature.

Sessile, or attached, bacteria are more abundant, but a variety of bacteria exist throughout the well. Planktonic, or free-swimming, bacteria abound within the open casing environment of the well. Aerobic bacteria, which require oxygen, exist in the upper portions as well as in any aerated zones. Anaerobes, bacteria that exist in anoxic (or oxygen-depleted) conditions, can be found in the deepest regions of the well in addition to areas around clay lenses or other aquitards where flow is restricted. Sumps—static areas in the bottom of the well which are commonly added to well designs—can be excellent locations for anaerobic bacteria buildup as conditions become static and little oxygen reaches the area. Iron-oxidizing bacteria are stalked bacteria that utilize iron as an energy source and secrete an iron oxy-hydroxide mass that can be very problematic in wells. Red water, metallic taste and slimey, stringy masses are commonly associated with iron bacteria problems. Corrosion is also an unwelcome problem associated with these bacteria. The iron oxy-hydroxide stalks can rapidly bridge screen openings and reduce flow in the system as well as cover the borehole wall.

Affecting new and old
Although highly dependent on the aquifer, wells can be susceptible to the infiltration of fine-grained sediments such as mud and silt. Often this occurs in older wells, but new wells placed in adjoining silt beds can be just as likely to develop this problem. These fines plug pore throats and open spaces in the gravel pack as well as screen openings, reducing flow into the well and increasing the energy spent in pumping. Residual drilling mud remaining within a well after development can aid in this type of fouling by providing a starting point for fines accumulation.

Often a well rehabilitation project follows a predetermined method or recipe based on contractor or operator experience. Commonly, little regard is given to the actual conditions occurring down hole, or that the possibility that differences do occur. When a patient visits the doctor, the doctor has a large selection of medicines available to treat the variety of conditions that the patient may have. The same is now true of the well professional. With proper diagnosis, almost any well can be saved and production restored, even increased beyond original pumping rates.

The first step for any well rehabilitation should be identifying the problem. This step includes an investigation of pumping and use records and a laboratory analysis. The analysis should include inorganic chemistry and a microbiological analysis. The analysis will determine the actual problem occurring within the well and then design the correct treatment. Treatment may require mechanical work or be more involved and could include chemical rehabilitation as well as mechanical methods. The use of laboratory analysis is often disregarded as wasted funds, but with municipal well rehabilitation projects ranging in cost from $50,000 to $150,000 or more; a small investment could ensure that the correct procedure is followed to address the actual problem.

Consult the contractor
With the investigation complete, the well rehabilitation should be continued with use of an experienced contractor. An experienced contractor shouldn’t only understand well construction but also chemical cleaning and the correct and safe use of chemicals and their disposal requirements. The “dump and run” method of applying well treatment chemicals won’t address a stubborn biofilm and likely will be ineffective against mineral deposits. Proper chemical use, paired with correct mechanical application, is essential to success of a rehabilitation project.

Use of biodispersants, relatively new to the well market, has increased the success of chemical rehabilitation projects. Biodispersants are utilized in conjunction with an acid or caustic wash to specifically address exopolymers involved in biofilm accumulation as well as improve prevention of the re-precipitation of minerals. Although numerous products have begun to appear on the market, the USFilter Johnson Screen product NW-310 and Layne Christensen’s QC-21 have proven most effective at enhancing well rehabilitation. The proper use and application of these chemicals are essential to their success. It should be noted that these two companies are currently the only ones in the market that provide technical assistance and support in the use of their chemistry, an important consideration for rehabilitation success.

Following rehabilitation, care should be taken in the disposal of waste removed from the well. Regulatory stipulations should be followed, with attention paid to neutralizing the chemical effluent as well as returning the well to normal operating conditions.

Well fouling occurs for a variety of reasons. Traditional efforts at a universal solution to curing problem wells are no longer acceptable. Investigation and the design of a proper treatment process are essential for the success of a well rehabilitation project. Just as important is the choice of chemistry utilized and use of an experienced contractor. With careful attention paid to both the problem and solution, wells can be rehabilitated and restored to acceptable operating levels.

About the author
Mike Schnieders is a hydrogeologist with Water Systems Engineering Inc., of Ottawa, Kan. His work involves troubleshooting, problem resolution and technical support of water well and surface water systems utilizing the firm’s specialized laboratory capabilities. The company specializes in the chemistry and microbiology, as well as the distribution and usage, of water production. Schnieders can be reached at (785) 242-6166 or email: geologist@h2osystems.com.

Advertising and Promotion in 2002: Waving the Flag in a Time of Uncertainty (or Not)?

Saturday, December 15th, 2001

By David H. Martin

One year ago, the nation was gripped by the uncertainty of who would become the 43rd president of the United States—not confirmed until more than a month after the election. If that seemed unsettling and a serious threat to our country’s beliefs, we never could have prepared for recent events.

Last December, water improvement equipment manufacturers and their dealers were forced to plan for 2001 in a very uncertain economic and political environment. One year later, a new world of terror has replaced one of temporary political chaos. And the economy is also more uncertain than last year.

How do you plan your 2002 advertising and promotion plan in an era “when everything has changed” and uncertainty threatens normal optimism and confidence? What marketing avenues should you consider to communicate, educate, motivate and generate leads in these troubled times?

Rethink what’s mailed
In an era of growing fear where bioterrorists are tampering with packages and sealed letters, marketers who mail to customers are wondering how they can reassure people that their mail-marketing pitches are safe.

Government and other office workers are being advised not to open sealed, mysterious packages and envelopes. In this fearful environment, make sure your business envelope mailings reveal your promotional intentions right on the envelope. This isn’t a good time to “tease” recipients with eye-catching envelopes or mailed packages that carry no return address or other company identification.

On the other hand, this is an excellent time to change your mailing vehicles from sealed envelopes to less threatening “self mailers” and color postcards. In some cases, you just might be able to lower your mailing costs as well.

Revisit web marketing
If you thought Internet marketing “flamed out” last year when many dot-com stocks went south, think again. Times have changed. Marketing experts—including Peter Arnell, of Omnicom’s The Arnell Group—say your website can play an important role in “calming consumer worries” about your company. They advise mailing companies to include their websites prominently in their direct mail campaigns to “help remove anxiousness” and build company credibility.

Also, consider the following from a recent Howard Kurtz’ column in the Washington Post: “You have to wonder at this point about the future of mail delivery, a massive, decentralized operation that suddenly seems so vulnerable to terrorist attack. We move 680 million pieces of mail a day—how do you protect all the people who handle the stuff? Email suddenly seems so much easier and safer, if you’re not waiting for magazines or the occasional check.”

If you thought e-mail marketing would only annoy customers who consider it spam, think again. Now things are different. People are now more nervous about opening “snail mail” than reading legitimate e-mail offerings with thoughtful messages. It’s an excellent time to resume abandoned e-mail efforts, perhaps starting with a helpful e-newsletter that offers tips on “protecting your personal environment.”

Reinforce your previous efforts to capture prospects’ e-mail addresses through special drawings at home shows and other community promotions. Develop a database that includes the e-mail addresses of all current and past customers. E-mail marketing might never replace your direct mail efforts, but it’s destined to become a more important part of the mix. Plus, it’s far more economical.

Think outside promotions
Shopping malls have been threatened by terrorists. People are wary of crowds.

As a result of this fear, you may experience a decline in attendance at fairs and home shows—two traditional ways dealers meet prospects and set appointments. Look for additional avenues to capture leads and sample product water. Why not approach local fraternal and religious-based organizations? Offer an educational program on “local water issues” as a forum to meet people and sample product.

Call or write the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for a copy of “What’s Up With Our Nation’s Waters,” a new booklet designed primarily for middle-school children. It presents key findings in the USEPA’s National Water Quality Report and includes projects for school or fun—a water quiz, a glossary, and other resources for more information.

Form marketing coalitions
When times are prosperous, many businesses make the strategic mistake of thinking they are better off “going it alone” in their marketing programs. They become lazy and waste marketing dollars by overlooking logical cooperative advertising programs, in favor of more costly solo efforts. Solo marketing may feed your ego, but don’t make good business sense, especially when marketing dollars are short.

In times of economic uncertainty, look for compatible promotional partners at community events to share marketing costs and take advantage of synergies. Look into cost-effective “marriage mail” as a way to generate leads at less cost. Check out co-op advertising funds, available from vendors. Ask for additional support to promote vendors’ products.

‘One-to-one’ marketing strategy
Analyze and rate your key vendors and customers in uncertain times. Embrace computer-based technologies to establish more efficient databases for one-to-one marketing, whether by mail, e-mail or phone.

Remember that it’s three times more expensive to find a new customer than to retain a customer for repeat sales and qualified referrals. While nothing will replace personal attention, you need to use technology to help better understand your customers, meet their individual needs with targeted promotions, and make them feel valued.

Re-evaluate objectives?
For the short term, absolutely. Before the national tragedy of Sept. 11, you might have been targeting business growth of eight or 10 percent for next year. Expect some continuing disruption of business in the months to come. But don’t sell yourself short in the long term. Pay special attention to what products you’ll be selling tomorrow, not just the ones you’re selling today. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities as conditions change and be prepared to act accordingly.

Adversity as advantage
Thomas Doorley, III, CEO of Sage Partners, a consultancy specializing in strategic leadership, believes in the near term that worried people will seek alternative solutions to business air travel including e-mail, conference calls and video conferencing.

Indeed, video conferencing has been exploding, with more than 35,000 systems sold to businesses in the first half of 2001. Rapidly developing Internet protocol technology and dramatic price reductions in video conferencing systems are fueling 25-30 percent annual sales growth. For about $1,000, you can own a desktop plug-and-play system; and for $5,000 to $10,000, you can own a conference room system that would have cost up to $40,000 just three years ago. This powerful interactive communications medium can bring together groups of dealers for product training and other purposes. It’s a format that’s secure, effective and affordable. That adds up to an especially attractive investment in times of national concern about business travel safety.

If you and your staff aren’t overly concerned about this, now’s the time to pick up a good travel package. Since the hospitality and travel industry—particularly airlines—have been severely affected by cancellations, a number of destinations now are offering drastically discounted packages as incentives to spur business. Many use patriotic themes such as “These Colors Don’t Run” beneath a waving American flag. And charter buses and trains are now in vogue as alternate ways to get you there.

If the “war on terror” goes on indefinitely, Doorley believes that concerns over air safety will diminish travel substantially and lead to permanent replacement with the help of non-travel communications technology. He and others believe that in uncertain times like these, people will spend more on technologies that help them keep in touch, communicative and safe. Cocooning—popular in the 1980s—will be “in” again as people withdraw from the threatening outside world. Highly discretionary expenditures, such as expensive travel, will be “out.” But basic industries and products that promote personal safety will tend to do well.

Water improvement product manufacturers and their dealers should rethink their marketing strategies and tactics in planning for a highly uncertain year in 2002.

Be ready to embrace high-tech ways to communicate with other groups of dealers and vendors in an era of diminished business travel and lowered public confidence in some traditional media. Look for cost-effective ways to promote when consumer confidence is compromised. Practice one-to-one marketing and promote reassuring themes such as “protect your personal environment” and “new security for your home.”

About the author
David H. Martin is president of Lenzi Martin Marketing, of Oak Park, Ill., a firm specializing in water improvement and environmental marketing that integrates old and new media. He can be reached at (708) 848-8404, email: newage@mediaone.net or website: http://www.lenzimartin.com.

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