Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine


Saturday, March 24th, 2001

ClearWater adds to sales
San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based ClearWater Tech LLC introduced Paul Vervalle to its sales team. Vervalle brings 10 years of experience in commercial plumbing along with 13 years of experience in ozone application with emphasis in food processing, problem water and wastewater treatment. He will be a field sales representative for California, Nevada and Arizona. Previously, he worked with ClearWater from 1994 to 1998 before leaving to help start a family business.

Gorden fills VP slot
American Water Works Co., of Voorhees, N.J., has named Stephen  Gorden as vice president of corporate development. Gorden has 30 years of experience in the water utility industry. Since 1994, he has served as director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, the third largest water and sewerage utility in the United States.

WQA picks education head
The WQA named Mark Rowzee as the new director of education and certification. He has both a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in civil (environmental) engineering from Iowa State University. Previously, Rowzee was the quality assurance manager for Chevron Chemical Co., Plexco Performance Pipe Division.

Change at VerticalNet top
VerticalNet said its chief executive, Joseph Galli, is leaving to become president and CEO of Newell Rubbermaid, and will be replaced by co-founder Michael Hagan. VerticalNet is an owner and operator of online marketplaces, including Wateronline.com, for industries ranging from solid waste to adhesives and sealants. As of January, the company’s stock had fallen 96 percent to $5.31 from a 52-week high of $148.38.

Watts loses friend, worker
Tony Arthur, director of marketing for Watts Regulator Co., passed away Dec. 14 after a brief illness. Arthur worked at Watts for 11 years, holding the positions of backflow product manager and national sales manager before becoming marketing director. Arthur was an officer of the American Backflow Prevention Association, an active member of the Backflow Prevention Manufacturers’ Association and participated in a number of steering committees for the AWWA and the ASPE.
‘Encyclopedia’ has editors
John Wiley & Sons has commissioned Jack Keeley and Dr. Jay Lehr as editors of “The Encyclopedia of Water,” a three-year collaboration of works by scientists, educators and water professionals to form one of the largest and most comprehensive assortments of information on water. Keeley is the former head of Groundwater Research of the USEPA Water Resource Research Lab. Lehr is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News. The encyclopedia will be published in 2004.  

Hargy assists in UV guide
The National Water Research Institute and the AWWA Research Foundation have released “Ultraviolet Disinfection Guidelines for Drinking Water and Water Reuse.” Among the 10 writers who contributed to the effort is Thomas Hargy of Clancy Environmental Consultants. The guide is geared toward regulatory agencies who review applications for the use of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection systems for drinking water and water reuse, and water utilities who are considering use of UV technology for disinfection purposes. Included are protocols for testing and validating UV equipment performance.

Great Lakes CFO moves on
Specialty chemicals producer Great Lakes Chemical Corp. said in January that its chief financial officer, Mark Tomkins, will leave to become chief financial officer for Vulcan Materials Co. in Alabama. Indianapolis-based Great Lakes said Kevin Mulcrone, who was vice president and controller, will assume the role of CFO on an interim basis. Great Lakes produces chemicals for water treatment among other applications.

Shuffling at Pentair
Minneapolis-based Pentair has named Richard Cathcart as its president and COO of the company’s Water Technologies segment, effective immediately. Cathcart was formerly executive vice president and president of Water Technologies. He has led the division since October 1996. Cathcart joined Pentair in March 1995 as executive vice president of business development. In addition, George Danko was named president and COO of the company’s Enclosures segment, effective immediately. Danko had been senior vice president of corporate development and central operating services. Meanwhile, Joseph Collins has retired from the company. He will retain his seat on the company’s board of directors. Collins was named vice chairman in November 1998, after having led Pentair’s Tool and Equipment businesses since 1991.

Ask the Expert

Saturday, March 24th, 2001

Getting started in the Sunshine State
Question: My company is considering purchasing a water conditioning company, and I am looking for industry info. I need to review any market projections, governmental issues, etc. The company does primarily homes and restaurants in South Florida. Can you help me with sources of this info? I am not in the industry currently, so I don’t know where to start. I am looking for industry trade organizations, etc.

Garrett Gerst, Marketing Manager
DH Supply Company, Inc.
Suwanee, Ga.

Answer: We would recommend you contact a few organizations for the information you’re seeking. First, the association for this particular industry is the Water Quality Association, which serves the point-of-use/point-of-entry water quality improvement market. In addition to other resources, WQA can link you to the POU/POE dealer association in Florida and give you a list of WQA members in Florida. It can be reached at (630) 505-0160 or www.wqa.org. The primary third-party product testing and certification organization is NSF International: (800) 673-6275 or www.nsf.org. Its website includes listings of products certified to ANSI/ NSF standards. For more marketing statistics and demographics, we suggest you contact Frost & Sullivan (www.frost.com/), The McIlvaine Company (www.mcilvainecompany.com/) or the Freedonia Group (freedonia.imrmall.com/). Other information sources that may prove helpful include:

Hope that helps. Welcome to the industry.

Canada: UV & log reduction

Question: We just acquired WC&P’s March 2000 issue in which you review various ultraviolet (UV) systems and their effectiveness against Cryptosporidium oocysts (T.M. Hargy, “UV Equipment Proven Against Cryptosporidium,” pp. 36). Your article has great relevance for the people of Erickson, British Columbia. Here in Canada, we are, as a community, resisting chlorination that’s insisted upon by our Medical Health Officer. We’re instead trying to have approved a UV system, and articles like yours further strengthen our resolve and give us increased data with which to argue our position. Because I’m not a scientist, I don’t know what “log” means when quoting success rates for the various technologies. Does it mean a certain number of cysts are inactivated but not all, so infection doesn’t occur in normal healthy individuals? I ask this because in the same issue Dr. Kelly Reynolds, in her article on high-risk segments of the population, writes that UV isn’t sufficient as a treatment method for immunocompromised individuals.

Sam Moore
Erickson, Canada

Answer: Thank you for your questions. The term “log,” as in log removal or inactivation (reduction) refers to an order of magnitude of change. For example, if a given volume of water containing 1,000,000 organisms is treated so that it now only contains 1,000 organisms, this is a 3-log reduction. If the 1,000,000 were reduced to 10, this would be a 5-log reduction. And if it’s treated so only one remains, this is 6-log reduction. If the original water only contains 100 organisms, and is treated to the point where it contains only one, this is 2-log reduction. Another way to state this is:

90% = 1 log
99% = 2 log
99.9 % = 3 log…

The studies discussed in the Hargy article, as well as more recent ones by other researchers, indicate greater than a 4 log (99.99%) inactivation of Crypto can be achieved by as little as 10 milliJoules per square centimeter (mJ/cm2)—a unit of measure of UV light exposure. UV systems for drinking water typically apply 16-to-40 mJ/cm2, which would be quite effective. Dr. Reynolds’ article included advice from the Centers for Disease Control, regarding dependability provided by various bottled water treatments with respect to Crypto. This was published in 1997, or just about the time research by Clancy Environmental Consulting found UV to be very effective at inactivating the parasite. Hargy’s article notes  earlier (pre-1996) research into UV and Crypto used analytical methods that severely understated UV’s effect. Unfortunately, this outdated misinformation is still widely cited. For instance, a recently released Sierra Legal Defense Fund document, “Canada’s Drinking Water Report Card,” published in January 2001, states UV isn’t effective against Crypto.

Still, regulators are moving to accept UV in drinking water systems based on new awareness of its effect on Crypto and Giardia. See Hargy’s ”New California Guidelines Drafted for UV System Installations” (WC&P, October 2000, pp. 82) for a discussion of California’s initiative to incorporate UV for drinking water. The USEPA is following suit. In Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Environment is also looking favorably on a plan to install UV as the primary disinfectant at Waterloo’s treatment plant, where a Cryptosporidium outbreak occurred in 1992.

Global Spotlight

Saturday, March 24th, 2001

General Chemical Group Inc.’s subsidiaries, General Chemical Industrial Products and General Chemical Canada Ltd., are increasing prices for flake calcium chloride by $10 per short ton due to rising energy costs, effective in January. This follows a previous $10 increase on Aug. 23. 💧

The town of Goderich, Ontario, awarded USF Canada, a USFilter Operating Services affiliate, a five-year operations and maintenance contract in October to operate the town’s water and wastewater systems, including treatment facilities and collection/distribution systems. 💧

Benguet Corp. signed an agreement with the Metro Roxas Water District in the Philippines to study and develop groundwater sources within the latter’s service area. Roxas City is a growing small metropolis with a population of 250,000. 💧

Oceanside, Calif.-based Hydranautics has raised its prices across the board by 8 percent, effective last September. The increase is based on the significant investment it’s making in new technology, developing new products and increasing its manufacturing capacity. 💧

Groupe Danone has agreed to acquire 50 percent of Shanghai-based Aquarius Water Co. Ltd., the largest hands-on delivery water company in China. Aquarius had sales of RMB (China’s currency) 170 million in 1999. 💧

About 5 million liters—20 percent of the 24 million liters of bottled water sold in México every day—fail to meet government health standards, according to Alberto Helguera Resendiz, president of the Latin American Water Quality Institute (ICLA). 💧

Calgon Carbon Corp., of Pittsburgh, has received a $14 million contract for commercial installation of its ISEP system for removal and on-site destruction of perchlorate. 💧

Pentair Inc. reported sales from continuing businesses totaled $2.7 billion for the year ending Dec. 31, an increase of 30 percent from 1999. 💧

According to a report by the Freedonia Group Inc. of Cleveland, U.S. demand for activated carbon is forecast to increase 4.6 percent per year to 455 million pounds in 2004, with market value expanding 6 percent per year to $380 million. 💧

In December, ARAMARK introduced a water filtration system that claims 99 percent lead reduction and bacteria control, and reduces harmful sediments like dirt, rust and many parasitic organisms. 💧

Trojan wins N.Y. UV contract
The town of Ontario, N.Y., has awarded Trojan Technologies Inc. with a contract to supply the UVSwift™ Municipal Drinking Water Disinfection System. The contract calls for two ultraviolet (UV) units. The systems will disinfect drinking water supplied to a service area of approximately 30,000 people. The two units have been designed to be installed in an existing drinking water facility in order to implement a multi-barrier disinfection strategy, combining UV technology with traditional chemical disinfection.

Culligan talks stalled
Discussions in mid-January over an updated contract for the Culligan Dealers Association of North America (CDANA), the point-of-use industry’s largest franchise, have hit a roadblock. A group of six dealers selected by the CDANA board had been in talks with management from the company’s headquarters in Northbrook, Ill., for more than a year. Some dealers are predicting that many of the highest-grossing dealers will refuse to sign a revised contract drawn up and presented in December by Culligan’s president, Mike Reardon, industry sources confirmed.

WQA inks deal, tackles HPC
Peter Censky, WQA executive director, and Tom Castino, president of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), were among those present at a signing ceremony signaling a new WQA/UL agreement. Similar to the one reached by WQA and NSF International last year, the pact will provide the water industry with one-stop servicing for product testing and certification. The signing event took place on Jan. 10 at UL’s headquarters in the Chicago area. In other news, Censky met with members of Aqua Europa and others in December to discuss the HPC bacteria issue. European officials are beginning to use HPC as a regulatory threat to the industry, attempting to require testing even when there is no proof that HPC is a health hazard. As a result, the WQA and Aqua Europa are trying to convince the World Health Organization (WHO) to help sponsor a conference on the issue. Censky feels the WHO would reaffirm that HPC is harmless.

Salem’s No. 1 in water
For water quality, no city in the country tops Salem, Ore., according to the December issue of Money magazine. Coming in second was Pueblo, Colo., and third went to Panama City, Fla. Salem gets its water out of the North Santiam River.
CPVC OK’d for Calif. homes
The California Department of Housing & Community Development incorporated a major change in the California building standard in November that approves postchlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) plastic pipes for the state’s plumbing code. FlowGuard® Gold™ CPVC is produced by BFGoodrich, which has over 40 years of experience in plumbing applications, and exceeds ANSI/NSF Standard 61 for water quality with no pH level restrictions as found in copper pipe.
Study: Cutting cancer risk
A six-year study in Colombia indicated elimination of an ulcer-causing bacteria with antibiotics can stop or even reverse the growth of precancerous stomach lesions. Infection with H. pylori has been linked to ulcers and stomach cancer, but whether treating the infection prevents cancer is questionable. The study—conducted by the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans—found the lesions were about three to five times more likely to regress in people who received a two-week course of drugs designed to eliminate H. pylori, compared with participants who received a placebo that didn’t contain any medication. The study included 852 patients, 97 percent of whom were infected with H. pylori.  

Fluoride in Superior
Beginning in November, the town board of Superior, Colo., decided to add fluoride to the town’s drinking water. A 1999 survey indicated a majority of residents favored the move. Superior officials will bring the water’s fluoride total to 0.9 milligrams per liter, which equals the recommendation of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The town’s drinking water naturally has about 0.3 mg/L of fluoride. According to many experts, fluoridated water helps reduce tooth decay.
Solar City takes big step
To launch its entry into distribution of water treatment products, Solar City Inc., of Tampa, Fla., acquired Filter Equipment Wholesale (FEW) in December. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. With four locations and over 20 years of experience, Solar City plans to bring consumer finance programs to water treatment professionals in Florida. By acquiring FEW, Solar City has gained access to customers and vendors. Bill Diamond, former president of FEW, has joined Solar City to lead its water division.

CCC backs USEPA rule
The Chlorine Chemistry Council offered its support in January for the Stage 2 Microbial and Disinfection By-products Agreement by the USEPA and a diverse group of stakeholders. The agreement, announced in late December 2000, represents an important step in improving microbial protection while reducing disinfection by-product levels in U.S. drinking water supplies.

USEPA updates UCMR
The USEPA has finalized analytical methods for 14 contaminants on the List 2 Screening Survey of the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. It’s also requiring monitoring for those contaminants in drinking water. And the agency modified the UCMR to improve implementation of monitoring for both List 1 and List 2 contaminants. The UCMR Monitoring List is comprised of three separate lists based on analytical methods readiness and current contaminant occurrence data: List 1 for Assessment Monitoring, List 2 for the Screening Survey and List 3 for Pre-Screen Testing.

Haliant launches RO line
Haliant Technologies has introduced its complete line of water purification equipment, including reverse osmosis, nanofiltration and electrodeionization products. Haliant Technologies is led by Edward Closuit, former president of Environmental Products USA Inc., and operations are headed up at a 20,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Sarasota, Fla.

Genes mapped for E. coli
Scientists have mapped the full genetic sequence of E. coli 0157:H7 that causes sometimes-deadly foodborne illnesses. They say the research lays the groundwork for stopping the bug before it ever reaches humans. The findings are reported in the Jan. 25th edition of Nature. E. coli infects about 73,000 Americans each year, usually through undercooked contaminated ground beef. The bacteria can also lurk in unpasteurized milk and juices, contaminated water, and fruits and vegetables.

AWWA funds major project; early tests block pathogens
Becker and O’Melia LLC has received major funding from the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) to investigate a new water treatment strategy that in preliminary studies has shown protection against pathogens in drinking water, said Becker president Bill Becker in mid-January. He said that while some filtration products are moving away from pre-chlorine because of concerns over disinfection by-products, which have been linked to cancer and birth defects, this research on the use of oxidants in enhancing filtration is promising.

The proper use of pre- and immediate oxidants can minimize the chance of future waterborne disease outbreaks. AWWARF will provide $150,000 to the research and consulting firm for the project, “The Use of Oxidants to Minimize the Passage of Pathogenic Particles Through Granular Media Filters.” The research follows up on another project announced by Becker and O’Melia with AWWARF entitled, “Impacts of Major Point and Nonpoint Sources on Raw Water Treatability.” In related news, the AWWARF sent out a request for proposals to demonstrate a “Point-of-Use/Point-of-Entry Implementation Feasibility Study for Arsenic Treatment” at public water systems. The deadline for response was Feb. 15, 2001.


Saudi Arabia rep for Dow
The A. Abunayyan Trading Corp., an affiliate of the A. Abunayyan Group, will act as representative and distributor for Dow Chemical’s FILMTEC® membranes for Saudia Arabia. The membranes are used to convert brackish and salt water into fresh water for drinking, agriculture and industrial processes.

Bottler capitalizes on fad
Aqua Terrena, a Swedish spring water bottler, announced in mid-January  it would set up a U.S. subsidiary to deliver imported pure Scandinavian drinking water to Florida’s hospitals and nursing homes. The move plans to take advantage of a growing fad in the Sunshine State. The company also has had discussions with U.S. disaster relief authorities over a technology for airlifting drinking water into disaster zones.

Polio strikes island  
A mini-outbreak of polio occurred in late December on Hispaniola, the island that includes the Dominican Republic and Haiti. At least six people in Dominica and one in Haiti have contracted confirmed cases of polio, and 26 others are suspected of having the virus, health officials said. Dominica was declared free of wild polio in 1994, and the latest cases are believed to have sprung from mutant strains of virus used in the oral—or Sabin—vaccine, which uses a live but weakened form of the microbe.

Degrémont plant in India
Degrémont, a subsidiary of Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux Water Division, was awarded a 2 billion rupee contract (US$1=46.4 rupees) for the design, building and operation of a 635 million liters per day drinking water production plant at Sonia Vihar in New Delhi, India. Operational in three years, the plant will be equipped with the company’s technologies of pre-settling, settling, sand filtration and sludge treatment.

Illness fells racers
Dozens of people who paddled rivers and climbed mountains in Borneo as part of an adventure race contracted a sometimes-fatal bacterial illness often transmitted by rat urine, the government said in January. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has confirmed 68 cases of leptospirosis, which lurks in contaminated water and soil, among participants in the race. None of the cases was fatal. About half of the racers were Americans.

India regs put clamp down
Due to increasing demand, the number of small regional players in the India bottled water market has been growing by 70-to-100 percent per year. The growth rate has attracted international brands such as Coca-Cola’s Kinley and PepsiCo’s Aquafina. Other international players hoping to crack the market include Levers, Nestlé and Danone. Confusion over new regulations, however, could hinder their plans. The Indian government has been forced to tighten bottled water standards after sample tests taken by consumer groups revealed some smaller producers were selling little more than tap water.

Cholera gains momentum
The World Health Organization said in January that it sent specialists to South Africa to help it control a spreading cholera epidemic that has killed 58 people, as local officials announced they had a case of the disease in a fourth province. The outbreak began in the northeastern province of Kwa-Zulu Natal in August, where it has also sickened 14,512.

Liquitek buys Distech
Liquitek Enterprises Inc. acquired 74 percent of Distech Limited from its six largest shareholders in exchange for 11,359,593 shares of Liquitek stock. Distech of Auckland, New Zealand, owns a patented, state-of-the-art vacuum distillation technology capable of producing purified water from sources containing harmful chemicals such as MTBE, TCE, PCE, BTEX, PCB, arsenic and salt.

Rhino charges into S. Korea
Rhino Ecosystems Inc. of Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, has signed its largest international distributor for the sale of a patented line of Wet Waste Interceptors to the Republic of South Korea. The December agreement assigns Kint and Associates Inc. the exclusive right to market all current and future Rhino products to South Korea and totals US$1 million in annual purchases from Rhino.

Celebrating dam’s 30 years
With much fanfare in January, Egypt marked the 30th anniversary of the Aswan High Dam opening. Packing 17 times as much sand and stone as the greatest pyramid at Giza, the 366-foot high dam on the Nile once supplied as much as 80 percent of the country’s electricity. New facilities have been built, and it now supplies about 20 percent. Progress has its price, however. Tens of thousands of Nubians have been displaced and the farmland has become less fertile.

Disease forces showers ban
A Paris hospital banned showers and ordered water pipes disinfected after four people were diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease in late December. Officials suspect that the waterborne bacterium developed in unused sections of water pipes in the newly opened Georges Pompidou European Hospital. Legionella can be inhaled when water is released into the air through air conditioners, steam or other means. Disinfecting with chlorine or heat usually kills the bacterium, which causes a form of pneumonia.


Saturday, March 24th, 2001

Ozone generator test protocol debated

Dear Editor:

I spoke with Joe Harrison, Water Quality Association technical director, and there was clearly a misunderstanding between WQA staff and a competing trade journal for the POU/POE market on the WQA Ozone Task Force objectives for producing ozone standards with regard to a recent article the journal published.

Mr. Harrison confirmed the WQA, through its Ozone Task Force, supports development of an ozone generator performance test protocol, to allow ozone generator performance verification by accredited testing firms and issuance of the WQA Gold Seal. However, the WQA does not plan to create a standard specifically for ozone generation equipment.

As a bit of background, the WQA determined several years ago, through member feedback, that there was insufficient technical information available for its members to employ ozone correctly and with confidence in markets they serve. Therefore, the Ozone Task Force was formed in 1993 under the WQA Science Advisory Committee. Simply stated, the objective of the task force is to educate WQA membership on benefits and proper use of ozone in water treatment applications in which WQA membership participates. More specifically, the focus is on residential point-of-use (POU), point-of-entry (POE) and small municipal water treatment applications.

One of the issues creating a confidence crisis was and still is ozone generator performance ratings and lack of “third-party” verification of performance claims. WQA dealers weren’t confident they could properly apply ozone to accomplish treatment goals as most vendors offered insufficient performance information. Customer dissatisfaction from under-performance of many installations resulted from a lack of detailed ozone generator performance specifications. The resulting “black eye” for ozone slowed its use as a valuable tool to meet market needs.

The WQA has sponsored and supported development and use of product performance test protocols for many years. In 1996, thus, the task force created “A Testing Methodology Guideline for Performance Measurement of Ozone Generators…” for use by ozone generator manufacturers. Only a few manufacturers chose to test their generators and present product literature and technical data using this guideline because it was voluntary and some considered it an unnecessary added expense.

After a few years evaluating the voluntary response, the Ozone Task Force determined a stronger position was needed to educate and build confidence by leveling the playing field. Thus, it was recommended the test guideline be expanded to an Ozone Test Protocol (standard) that could employ a third-party testing firm to verify advertised product performance. Performance verification under this test protocol was viewed as a marketing advantage for ozone generator manufacturers through product differentiation. More recently, NSF International has agreed to take on this project as a third-party, standards-writing organization and to register the protocol with the American National Standards Institute. These are developments long overdue but welcome by the industry and water treatment professionals in the field.

Paul K. Overbeck, President
GDT Water Process Corp.


Saturday, March 24th, 2001

Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor

Another California compromise, European summits & dealer contract

It appears a reasonable conclusion is possible in a California controversy that could have caused industry standards to be rewritten and require water filter companies retest equipment simply for making a chlorine reduction claim.
An agreement on the Stage 1 D/DBP Rule last fall set maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs) for a group of disinfectants including chlorine (4 ppm), which California said made it a health-related rather than an aesthetic contaminant reduction claim. As such, new rules were applicable that could cost drinking water treatment unit (DWTU) makers a bundle, delay products getting to market and/or put a big dent in efforts to get companies to have products independently certified, particularly smaller ones least able to afford it. Keep in mind, chlorine’s taste and odor are two of the most common consumer complaints of drinking water.

WQA executive director Peter Censky said he and others were “cautiously hopeful” after meeting with California health officials in January. “They’re sympathetic to our point and, if their lawyers think it’s doable, they’ll work out a way to resolve this,” he said. “It’s very simple… Anything below [4 ppm] and we should be able to make the same taste and odor claims using the same testing parameters we use now… A health claim doesn’t exist unless you’re claiming to remove chlorine over 4 ppm. We don’t know of any manufacturers or equipment that make such a claim.”

Meanwhile, a group of industry heavies have met twice in Europe—Bologna, Italy, in December; London in February—to discuss ongoing threats to use heterotrophic (HPC) bacteria reduction requirements to restrict trade there, confirmed WQA World Assembly Division director Dan Wyckoff. Present were members of Aqua Europa—which acts as European Union secretariat on water standards harmonization—officials of Culligan, EcoWater, Kinetico and Amway; and WQA’s Wyckoff, Censky and technical director Joe Harrison. Wyckoff said it’s been determined the best approach is to co-sponsor a major conference on HPC issues in Europe—in early 2002—and attract leading scientific researchers to determine true risks of the broad bacterial group. World Health Organization participation is being solicited.

The HPC debate has prevented adoption of uniform DWTU standards because Austria and Germany have HPC restrictions in their national standards. Austria’s BWT has led those dragging their feet on the issue, which threatens to derail adoption of any such EU standards. “I think BWT truly wants to come up with a solution good for all,” Wyckoff said. “If they don’t find a resolution, then they don’t have a standard at all—and that doesn’t help anybody.”

Lastly, ongoing negotiations between industry leader Culligan and its dealer network—always an indicator of things to come—erupted early this year into public dissension over a new franchise contract. Seems it voids pre-existing contract rights, which is bad for those under the original 1957 version that allows dealerships to be bequeathed to children under existing terms, industry sources indicate. It shortens contract life from 10 to five years. And it allows Culligan to approach new channels to market without dealer protection or say for that matter, i.e., with respect to Internet sales or sales through mass merchandisers in a protected territory. Incoming WQA President C.R. Hall, who owns a Culligan dealership in Wichita, Kan., said 20 percent of the company’s dealer network—600+ strong—are up for renewal this year and next. Many are its prime movers of product. A number were uncomfortable signing a 1991 contract and likely will be even less inclined to sign this one, he said. Positions hardened on both sides and, as of Feb. 12, Culligan will distribute the more restrictive version and refused to go to its dealer association show because outside core products vendors were invited to exhibit. The impact of such negotiations could be compared to a UAW contract with General Motors. All others are likely to follow suit.

Water on the Net: Making Online Distribution Work Wonders for Bottled Water

Saturday, March 24th, 2001

By Jeff Dunn

With the advent of the Internet as the next marketing tool for various businesses, the bottled water market is seizing the opportunity as a means to reach out to a greater consumer base. Constraints that discouraged people from purchasing online before are being reduced as cost has given way to a yearning for purified water at their doorsteps.

A quick tour through Internet search engines will reveal many websites displaying bottled water. As Internet usage grows—currently 28 million households have Internet access in the United States alone, according to Nielsen Media Research—more and more consumers will have and use the technology to purchase goods and services online.

While services such as travel and financial planning have proven to be successful e-businesses, food and beverage marketing direct to consumers maintains a respectable presence. Water is a category of “Food and Wine,” which this past holiday season experienced the third-highest level growth in sales, said BizRate. com. Indeed, this category has been experiencing steady growth and is expected to have a significant impact on the way people purchase food and beverages in the 21st century.

Online presence
Major bottlers, i.e. Perrier, Suntory, McKesson, have impressive sites that promote corporate image. There are also many sites created by regional bottlers and distributors. These sites promote their products in local territories and many sell 5-gallon bottle delivery services online. Other small market bottlers offer their line of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle products for local delivery or UPS shipment.

From my interviews with industry professionals, I’ve learned that there still exists the perception that no one will purchase bottled water online due to the high cost of shipping. The reality is that while the cost of shipping water may deter some shoppers, a great many bottled water consumers find the availability and the convenience of shopping online worth the extra cost. Consider—that with one click of a mouse—you can have a case or more of unique bottled water delivered anywhere you want at about the price one would pay for a bottle at a convenience store or restaurant.

There are websites with bottled water products for dogs, cats and other pets as well as bottled water for people. Some products available for pets include a self-watering pet dish that dispenses bottled water automatically. There’s also a product that consists of purified water packaged in a dog bowl and the cover, once removed, becomes a Frisbee for your dog to play with.

Many websites have maintained slow and steady growth by following their mission of providing web surfers and bottled water consumers with the opportunity to learn about and optionally purchase online, unique and high quality bottled water that, otherwise, they wouldn’t have access to where they live or work.  

Consumer profile
Who buys bottled water online? Examples of some of the more glamorous are rock stars who may want their favorite brand of bottled water delivered to their next concert stop; and movie stars who demand their favorite brand on the set where they’re filming their next blockbuster movie. Less glamorous, but a major category, are families and individuals that drink a great deal of water and desire variety. For the same reason, some company purchasing agents continually rotate brands of water in the company cafeteria for their employees as a company “perk.”

In a mobile society like ours, web surfers may discover water bottled in the town or region where they grew up and purchase it in order to remember the taste of back home. Or, even more often, online ordering presents an opportunity for a customer to taste a part of another country or region of America. Each summer, several customers of one particular website purchase a case of bottled water for a child for delivery directly to the cabin at the sleep-away camp where they’ll be spending their school vacation.

Women comprise a large segment of the bottled water market and, for the first time, made up the majority
of the 2000 holiday season online shoppers, reported BizRate.com.

The Bottled Water Boutique (www.bottledwaterboutique.com) is an online distributor of bottled water that went online in 1999. Its mission has been to offer the “World’s Best Bottled Waters.” The products found on this site—there were eight at the time of this writing—are only offered for online ordering after a panel of experts has determined that the products pass a 50 point quality test. The site’s motto says it all: “Everything from the shipping box, the bottle, the label, the cap and closure to the taste, mouth feel, and after taste is rated.”

Hooking the visitor
For online bottled water distributors to succeed, the site must offer content that will interest a visiting web surfer. The content offered should be of sufficient quality so that the visitor will bookmark the site and hopefully return to it repeatedly. According to Arthur von Wiesenberger, founder of the BottledWaterWeb.com and author of four books on bottled water, “Surfers are looking for a number of things when they turn on their computers. Many are looking for entertainment, some are looking for information and others are looking for a place to belong, a sense of community. If a site can combine all three elements, then it has a good chance of success.”

One way websites instill a sense of community is by providing a bulletin board or forum, where visitors can post questions and comments and share their interest on bottled water with other visitors or with web hosts. At least one website provides an interactive water game that visitors can play and learn about bottled water. At another website, members of the Water of the Month club are automatically shipped a case of the selection of the month at prearranged discount pricing.

Online distribution of bottled water should increase steadily as more consumers become aware of the existence of opportunity and convenience of online ordering. Additionally, online distributors offer an opportunity for regional bottlers to market their products to consumers nationally and worldwide. Small bottlers and brick and mortar distributors of imported brands now have the opportunity to market their brands online without having to build and maintain an e-commerce site of their own. As the popularity of ordering bottled water online grows, established online distribution sites will surely attract the attention of large companies who will recognize them as another excellent channel by which to advertise and market their products.

About the author
Jeff Dunn is founder and managing director of the BottledWaterStore.com. He has been a water treatment industry consultant for the past 10 years and specializes in the design and application of membrane process systems for the bottled water industry. He also serves as executive vice president for the Water Management Group Inc., a company that provides professional outsource services for municipal and industrial water treatment systems. He can be reached at (888) 225-6222, 209-755-6446 (fax) or email: jdunn@bottledwaterstore.com

Boiler Feed Water—Reducing Scale and Corrision, Part 1 of 2

Saturday, March 24th, 2001

By C.F. “Chubb” Michaud, CWS-VI

Summary: A big part of ion exchange’s use in commercial/industrial applications involves boiler feed water. This series takes a look at treatment methods using salt regeneration in Part 1 and more advanced chemical regeneration and treatment techniques in Part 2.

While taste, color and odor are the primary customer concerns with regard to residential water treatment, water quality is more than a matter of aesthetics when it comes to commercial/industrial uses.

What is clean water?
The truth is, our municipal water is safe for the most part and enhancement is a matter of taste. However, the human body is far more tolerant of many “impurities” contained in our water than are many industrial applications that use water in their manufacturing processes. This series addresses some of the limitations of raw water for use as boiler feed and common methods of treatment for reduction of scale and corrosion. Discussions are limited to treatment by ion exchange.

Water treatment needs
Manufacturers who heat or cool water in their processes soon discover strange things can happen to water when solubility parameters of salts and gasses it contains are exceeded. Ice becomes cloudy, cooling loops fill with sludge, soap curdles, boilers develop an insulating layer of scale, condensers plug with corrosion and foods develop an off taste and color. Most, if not all, industrial processes require some form of water treatment for system efficiency.

Volumes have been written on the various methods of pre-treating industrial water and none are complete. This article addresses only a few treatment processes—namely softening, dealkalizing and desilicizing raw feed water. The techniques described in this article are also applicable to laundries, ice and beverage production, food processing and others. It basically addresses removal of calcium, magnesium, alkalinity and silica to prevent scale and corrosion.

Causing the problem
The two most important reasons for pre-treating boiler feed water are for reduction of scale and prevention of corrosion. Scale is caused by the precipitation of hardness and/or silica that’s present in feed water. Corrosion is generally caused by presence of alkalinity that converts to carbonic acid in the steam. While corrosion can also stem from dissolved oxygen and/or other acid formers, we won’t address those here.

Scale formation can stem from temporary hardness—that is 1) calcium, magnesium or ferrous bicarbonate; 2) permanent hardness, such as from calcium sulfate; or 3) hardness caused by precipitation of silica (see Reactions 1, 2&3).

These are explained as follows. Calcium and magnesium bicarbonate decompose to carbonates upon heating. Calcium sulfate di-hydrate (natural gypsum)—which has fair solubility in cold water (2,400 milligrams per liter or mg/L)—can precipitate out as gypsum scale in hot water above 100oF as it converts to the anhydrite form. Silica, which exists as a hydrated substance at room temperature, can form a glassy-like precipitate at elevated temperatures. Silica can also volatilize and carry over with steam.

Further, carbonic acid (from Reaction 1) volatilizes as CO2 gas and water, which can re-condense as carbonic acid in the steam (see Reaction  4). Even softened water containing alkalinity (as bicarbonate) will produce corrosive steam, although the resulting Na2CO3 won’t form scale (see Reaction 5). The carbonate salt can further react to form the hydroxide and CO2 (see Reaction 6).

Therefore, most applications that produce hot water or steam find it’s better to limit both hardness and alkalinity and in some cases, silica.

If we consider the purpose of treating boiler feed is to produce high purity steam, we can more readily appreciate that the higher the pressure and temperature the more likely we are to carry over contaminants to the steam. In addition, we have more energy invested in producing higher temperature steam and would like to minimize the “blow down”—dumping part of the boiling water to reduce total dissolved solids (TDS)—to save money. It follows that the higher the boiler pressure the more we must limit the contaminants in the feed water. Keep in mind that boiling water can concentrate residual salts by a factor of 20:1 or higher. If we can only tolerate 1 part per million (ppm) of a particular contaminant in the boiler, we can only tolerate 0.05 ppm in the feed to the boiler.

Table 1 demonstrates the guideline requirements recommended by the American Boiler Manufacturers Association—see www.abma.com—for boiler feed water based on a blow down of 5 percent (20:1 concentration):

It can be noted that low and medium high-pressure boilers will not require complete demineralization. Scale control via softening or chemical injection with dealkalization will usually suffice. Silica can also be controlled by chemical addition or desilicization by ion exchange.

Hardness & alkalinity sources
Falling rain and surface waters absorb carbon dioxide and other gasses to form dilute acids (see Reactions 7 & 8). As this water percolates into the soil, it will dissolve minerals and build in TDS (see Reaction 9).

Alkalinity represents acid neutralizing or buffering capabilities in water. It can come from the presence of CO3-2 or OH ions as well as HCO3 in water. With the exception of HCO3, alkaline salts of divalent ions such as Ca+2 and Fe+2 are almost completely insoluble. Therefore, the alkalinity we experience in most feed water with a pH of 6.5 to 8.5 will be HCO3 if hardness is present. Natural water rarely contains hydroxyl alkalinity (OH). Depending upon pH, the relationship between CO2, HCO3 and CO3-2 changes (see Figure 1).

The hardness associated with bicarbonate alkalinity is termed temporary hardness. While this may sound like a minor problem, it isn’t. When this water is heated, the HCO3 ion decomposes to CO2 and CO3-2 ion and the CO2 goes off with the steam and becomes carbonic acid (see Reaction 1). The carbonate that’s left behind precipitates as insoluble calcium carbonate scale directly onto the heating surfaces. You now have a scaled up boiler and a corroded heat exchanger (but very little soluble hardness in the blow down). Needless to say, this isn’t a good thing. Scale buildup in any heat transfer vessel can reduce the heat exchange efficiency by 50 percent or more. In hot water heaters, the build up of scale will reduce the heater volume over time.

Silica comes from the partial breakdown of natural alumino-silicates contained in the soil. Silica is more soluble in hot water than in cold and generally doesn’t present a problem in water heaters or low-pressure boilers. At elevated temperatures, however, silica actually volatilizes with the steam. It can then deposit in condensers or on turbine blades causing mechanical problems and costly shutdowns. The amount of silica contained in the steam becomes significant, above 600 pounds per square inch (psi) of steam pressure. Silica is less soluble in low TDS waters than in high TDS water, thus a boiler requiring deionized (DI) water—generally above 1,000 psi—may also have limits for silica lower than might otherwise be expected.

There are both economic as well as efficiency reasons to soften and dealkalize boiler feed water. Unless there’s a need for TDS or silica reduction along with hardness and alkalinity reductions, simple salt regenerated ion exchange provides a complete and economical choice. Silica, however, cannot be removed with a salt regenerated system.

Pretreatment designs
Hardness removal uses a strong acid cation exchanger. Sizing of the softening unit will vary with the flow rate and desired run length (see Reaction 10). Calculate grain removal capacity as: gpm × gpg × 60 × hrs = grains removal capacity between cycles. Divide this number by the capacity of the softening resin to get the number of cubic feet of resin required (see Reaction 11).

The ability of a softener to produce very low hardness leakage will depend upon the TDS and regeneration salt level. Ten pounds of salt will produce 1 ppm of hardness leakage in water up to about 700 ppm in TDS, and 5 ppm leakage in water up to about 1,600 ppm in TDS. Fifteen pounds or more can be used for lower leakages or to treat water at higher TDS (see Figure 2).

Co-current strong acid cation (SAC) softeners are limited to TDS in the feed of about 3,000 ppm but can be run effectively at TDS in excess of 5,000 ppm with high brine doses—30 pounds per cubic foot (lbs/ft3) or more.

Series softeners
Counter-flow regenerated SAC allows for more effective usage of brine and produces lower leakage in higher TDS feed water. Because of the complexity and expense of a proper counter-current system, units are often designed with only the polisher of a two-in-tandem softener design. This is referred to as series softening, which utilizes a co-flow primary and a counter-flow polisher. This design has been effectively used for softening “produced waters” from oil field steam floods that are 5,000+ TDS and deliver leakages of less than 1 ppm hardness (see Figure 3).

Strong brine at 15-to-18 percent is pumped into the bottom of the polisher. A blocking flow of primary
softened water is pumped to the top. The partially spent and diluted brine is taken off at the regenerant collector (now at about 10 percent strength) and pumped to the top of the primary. The total amount of brine is based on a stoichiometric quantity for the polisher plus the normal level for the primary. The polisher, however, sees all the brine, which is what produces very low leakages. Additional efficiency benefits can be gained by running both the primary and the polisher in a counter-flow mode. Most of the benefit of counter-flow regeneration is lost if the resin bed isn’t held in place during brining.

Anion softening
Hardness salts don’t form scale unless they have the appropriate counter-ions present (CO3-2, SO4-2). The process of using a salt-regenerated strong base anion exchanger to remove those ions has been termed “anion softening.”  Here, strong base anion (SBA) resins—usually a Type II—in the chloride form will exchange bicarbonates and carbonates (alkalinity) along with sulfates for chlorides (see Reaction 12).
All hardness chlorides are soluble, eliminating scale formers. Plus, alkalinity is reduced. Regeneration is with salt (see Reaction 13).

A secondary source of softened water should be used for regeneration to eliminate the possible precipitation of CaCO3, CaSO4 and MgCO3.

When an anion softener is used purely for the reduction of alkalinity, it’s referred to as a dealkalizer. Here, our service reaction involves only the removal of bicarbonates, although CO3-2 and SO4-2 will still be removed (with reactions similar to Reaction 12). Capacity can be enhanced by adding a small amount of caustic soda (NaOH) to the brine. A comparison of capacities for a typical Type II SBA is shown in Figure 4.

Use of a small amount of caustic with regenerant brine will improve performance of a dealkalizer by elevating pH slightly during service. Some HCO3 will convert to CO3-2, which is picked up better by the chloride form SBA resin. Feed water should be pre-softened if your design includes use of caustic with brine for regeneration.

Inclusion of SAC and SBA in the same vessel for simultaneous reduction of hardness and alkalinity in a single tank, although commonly done, is not recommended. The waste regenerant, which will be high in both hardness and alkalinity, will surely precipitate and cause fouling. The same holds true if the same regenerant is used for regenerating two separate vessels simultaneously. Acidified brine has been successfully employed. If the regenerant pH is held below 5.5 with addition of citric acid (1.0 lbs citric acid/100 lbs of salt), CO3-2 ions will be converted to HCO3 and carbonate precipitation can be avoided. HCO3 to SO4-2 ratios should be at least 10:1. Otherwise, CaSO4 precipitation may still occur (see Reaction 2).

This article dealt with boiler feed water treatment and scale prevention methods using ion exchange that involve salt regeneration only. Part 2 of this series next month will review use of weak acid resins, de-carbonators and silica removal.

About the author
C.F. “Chubb” Michaud, CWS-VI, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Maine and has more than 30 years of professional experience in water and fluid treatment processes. Michaud is technical director for Systematix Inc. of Buena Park, Calif. He also is chairman of the Water Quality Association’s Ion Exchange Task Force, sits on the Science Advisory Committee and is a founding member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee. Michaud can be reached at (714) 522-5453, (714) 522-5443 (fax) or email: cmichaud@systematixUSA.com

Fluoride & Water Treatment: History and Role in the Great Debate

Saturday, March 24th, 2001

By William S. “Bill” Siegmnd

Summary: While some point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) equipment can effectively remove fluoride—reverse osmosis, distillation and some filtration systems (see www.nsf.org/Certified/DWTU/), the larger debate over fluoride as a drinking water additive remains a volatile one. The following article represents the opinion of the author and doesn’t necessarily reflect that of the publisher of WC&P.

Over 55 years ago Grand Rapids, Mich., was the first city in the world to treat a municipal water supply with fluoride.

As innocuous as it sounds today, this one act created a debate that still rages. It’s been called everything from a communist plot by John Birch Society members to the greatest single health benefit ever achieved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Whatever your position on this issue, you wind up squarely in another great debate over water quality.

Today, an estimated 144 million Americans drink water with fluoride added to it, pouring over 39,000 tons of fluoride into the environment. Not before or since has water supplied to the general population been chemically altered for a debated health effect based on debated science and the captive public, agreeing or not, been forced to swallow it.

“What about chlorine?” you might say. Chlorine has been added to many municipal water supplies since the early 1900s and today the entire class of chemicals (organo-chlorines) is debated regarding their environmental impact (see “Chlorine: History and Role in the Great Debate for Water Disinfection,” WC&P, June 2000). No one can debate the need, social impact and health benefit of disinfecting drinking water. The method of disinfection can be questioned—but not the need. Fluoride as treatment of water has piggy-backed it’s way into municipal water supplies with little regard to the environmental impact. New evidence shows there may be even greater potential health threats.

It’s elemental
Fluorine is a chemical element or atom and does not exist in nature in a free and unmixed state as it readily unites with other elements to form fluoride compounds. The 13th most abundant element on earth, fluorides are present as inorganic compounds throughout the Earth’s surface. Some organic fluorides occur naturally as well. Small amounts of fluorides are found in almost all foods and water supplies (see Figure 1). Fluoride is considered by some—the ADA, American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization included—to be an essential element in humans that aids in development and maintenance of strong bones, teeth and even growth.
At the 138th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Klaus Schwartz, M.D., reported in 1972 that “recent results of systemic studies to identify new essential trace elements for mammals is the discovery that fluorine is an essential trace element.” Adds Dr. Richard Foulkes, “Fluoride is not an essential element so far as human nutrition is concerned. It is not recognized as such by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has never been demonstrated as essential by animal experimentation.” And so begins the true element of a “great debate” whereby one group looks at research and sees one thing. The other side, looking at the same research, sees the opposite.

History of fluoridation
In 1916, Dr. Frederick McCay reported on a study of mottled teeth—mottled describes a discoloration and pitting of tooth enamel—with this observation: “Some individuals of the population that exhibited teeth with stains and pitting, exhibited less tooth decay.” He advanced the theory that this condition may be due to some substance in the water.

In the 1930s, it was discovered that the substance in the water was fluoride. This led to analyses of fluoride in drinking water throughout the United States. A series of studies by the U.S. Public Health Service in 1938 found a direct correlation between the concentration of fluoride in water and the amount of tooth decay in children who drank the water. An optimum level was determined to be 1 part per million (ppm). Two ppm-plus was known to contribute to dental fluorosis—a mottling of the teeth—and the potentially more dangerous skeletal fluorosis—a concentration of fluoride in the bones making them porous and brittle.

The first ever study conducted on the effectiveness of fluoridation was completed in 1956. In the final Public Health Report on the Grand Rapids study, Drs. F.A. Arnold and H.T. Dean stated: “In children born since fluoridation was put into effect, the caries (cavities) rate for permanent teeth was reduced on the average by about 60%.” More recent studies by the U.S. Public Health Service looked at dental records of over 39,000 schoolchildren, ages 5-to-17, from 84 areas around the United States. These showed that the number of decayed, missing and filled teeth per child was virtually the same in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas.

Fluoride vs. fluoridation
The importance of dental cavities as a national health concern or fluorides effectiveness at preventing them aside, there are issues of some concern. The most common “naturally occurring” fluoride compound is calcium fluoride. Many fluoride proponents would have you believe: “Natural fluorides have been present in the water supply of millions of people for generations and fluoridation only adds an identical fluoride ion to the same level in community water supplies as the concentration in the naturally fluoridated waters.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Originally and today, sodium fluoride variations—predominantly silicofluorate, fluorisilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride (see Table 1)—are the chemical of choice for the fluoridation of water supplies in the United States. All are un-tested, none are FDA approved and they are by-products of industrial processes. Such fluoride compounds are wastes from the production of aluminum, phosphate fertilizer, steel, uranium, beryllium, bricks, cement, pottery, enamel and plastics. This begs the question—who makes a profit selling fluoride to our municipalities that would otherwise be very costly to dispose? “Silicofluo-rides are largely untested,” said Dartmouth Professor Emeritus Roger Masters who points out that over 90 percent of America’s fluoridated drinking water supplies are treated with silicofluorides. “Virtually all research on fluoridation safety has focused on sodium fluoride. Even though the studies in the 1930s showed important biological differences between the chemicals.”
Silicofluorides and lead intake
New information from recent studies found a correlation between use of silicofluorides in water fluoridation and lead uptake. In analyzing over 280,000 Massachusetts children, investigators found levels of lead in the children’s blood significantly higher in communities using the silicofluorides, fluorisilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride than in towns where water is treated with sodium fluoride or not fluoridated at all. The study by Masters was published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies’ September 1999 issue and showed a corresponding increase in attention deficit disorder/attention deficit-hypersensitivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) and other learning and behavioral problems.  

In light of such new data regarding use of the more toxic silicofluoride, it may be time to take a fresh look at fluoridation. The 1-ppm optimum level established for fluoridation as well as arbitrary raising of the maximum allowable level from 2-to-4 ppm fail to consider total exposure to fluorides from food and soft drinks processed with fluoridated water to foods grown with fertilizers containing fluoride, not to mention toothpaste and mouthwash.

In February 2000, an independent review of the 1993-94 California Oral Health Needs Assessment—basis for the state’s 1995 order to fluoridate all community supplies serving over 10,000 people—was delivered to the Escondido City Council. The review’s author refuted the state study, saying it failed to take into account the mentioned alternative sources of fluoride for children, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Nearby San Diego defied a citizen initiative and approved fluoridation of water supplies delivered by the city little more than two months later due to the state mandate.

My childhood home of Grand Rapids, Mich., has an extremely higher than average ADD ratio in the student population. In tribute to the 50th anniversary celebration of fluoridation in 1995, an ADA committee proposed a monument to the success of fluoridation be constructed on a natural formation of rocks in the Grand River that runs through Grand Rapids. Ironically, that’s where most of the fluoride ends up. Most of the water coming into the home never contacts anyone’s teeth. Flushing the toilet is a major water user in any home and the porcelain enamel in the bowl is as hard as it gets! The question of the environmental impact of more than 39,000 tons of fluoride dumped into U.S. waterways each year is one that needs to be explored.

Irrespective of the above debate—which may never be settled to either side’s satisfaction—POU/POE equipment removes fluoride. The residential dealer doesn’t need to play this issue up. The concerns are there. They simply need to state their products’ capability. There’s no need to editorialize in the field on the topic because it’s unnecessary to take a position to win customers, as is illustrated by the following scenario:

Dealer—”If you’re concerned about fluoride in your water, this removes it.”
Customer—”Why? Should I be concerned?”
Dealer—”Well, there is a debate that the form of fluoride commonly used to fluoridate municipal supplies may create more problems than it solves. You can do a simple search on the topic on the Internet if you’d like and you’ll find a host of resources on both sides. Regardless, though, use of this equipment makes the matter moot.”
Customer—”But I do think we should have fluoride in our water.”
Dealer—”Then you and your family can use mouthwash or toothpaste with fluoride, which should offer you adequate protection for dental care.”


  1. American Dental Association, “Oral Health Topic: Fluoride & Fluoridation,” website: www.ada.org
  2. Arnold, F.A., H.T. Dean and J.W. Knutson, “Effect of fluoridated public water supplies on dental caries prevalance,” Public Health Report, 68: 141-148, 1953.
  3. Centers for Disease Control, “Public Health Focus: Fluoridation of Community Water Systems,” Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 41 (21); 372-375, 381, May 29, 1992.
  4. Centers for Disease Control, “Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Fluoridation of Drinking Water to Prevent Dental Caries,” MMWR, 48 (41); 933-940, Oct. 22, 1999.
  5. Foulkes, R.G., and A.C. Anderson, “Impact of Artificial Fluoridation on Salmon Species in the Northwest USA and British Columbia, Canada,” Fluoride, 27 (4) 220-226, 1994.
  6. Glasser, G., “Fluoride: A Toxic Tort Perspective—Panacea or Poison?” Third Edition, December 1996; Fluoride Action Network website: http://www.fluoridealert.org
  7. McKay, F.S., et al., “An investigation of mottled teeth,” Dental Cosmos, 58:477-84, 1916.
  8. Public Health Service, “Review of fluoride benefits & risks,” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Washington, D.C., 1991.
  9. International Society for Fluoride Research, “Editorial: Historic 22nd Conference,” Fluoride, 31(4) p. 175, 1998.

About the author
William S. “Bill” Siegmund is founder and president of Pure Water Works Inc., an independent dealership in Traverse City and Gaylord, Mich. Siegmund is a member of the Water Quality Association, American Water Works Association and WC&P Technical Review Committee. He holds the WQA’s Certified Water Specialist-Level 5 designation and has served on a number of its technical committees. Siegmund can be reached at (231) 941-7873, (231) 941-7874 (fax) or email: pww@frontiernet.net

Water Vending: From Vended Water to Restaurants to Car Washes, Transferring Small Water System Technology for Niche Mark...

Saturday, March 24th, 2001

By Jon Goodman

Summary: Purified water is being demanded by virtually every sector of the population—from households to major corporations. Finding a practical and affordable way to treat water has become paramount. The following discusses how certain segments are handling the situation and what benefits may result from proposed solutions.

No matter the season or how strong the economy, there’s always demand for cleaner, purified water. More people are demanding better tasting water. This is water that’s free of chlorine odor and low in sodium and other dissolved solids. These elements are the unappetizing features of municipal water supplies across the United States. Nationwide sales of non-sparkling pure water in vending machines, retail outlets, and office and home deliveries grew at double-digit rates during the last half of the 1990s.

Water is among the fastest growing beverage sectors, outpacing most liquor, beer and soft drinks. Because of ever increasing consumer awareness of potential health concerns and the poor aesthetic quality of tap water, the industry for water purification systems is growing. But, as we’ll see, the demand for pure water isn’t only limited to drinking water. To meet the increasing demand, the water purification industry is looking for and introducing flexible technology in a variety of markets.

Ensuring quality performance
Carbon filters are available and well known for their filtration abilities. But according to published reports when activated carbon filters are used alone, they are less likely to do a very good job of reducing dissolved minerals. Carbon filters can make “cloudy” water look and taste better but they’re not capable of thoroughly purifying water. Similarly, distillation units will turn water into steam and condense it into a purer state. But even this can carry over harmful chemicals due to low boiling points.

Reverse osmosis (RO) membrane technology has proven to be reliable and effective for everything from households to municipalities. RO is a pressure driven process where water passes through a semi-permeable barrier that removes dissolved minerals and other solutes. The main advantage of using RO technology is that it typically removes 98 percent of all dissolved minerals, depending on the system and feed water. RO membranes manufactured today operate at lower pressures than those from even a few years ago. Some of today’s membranes are designed to operate at pressures as low as 100 pounds per square inch (psi) in commercial and industrial systems. While the home drinking water market is the highest volume for RO systems, there’s a large and growing demand for commercial drinking water systems and pure water systems for business and industry. Here are a few examples.

Inside a vending machine
Water vending has been a tremendous success since its beginning. Vending machines use municipal water hooked up to the back of the machine. As it enters, it travels first through a five-micron (µm) filter and a carbon filter. These remove particles, chlorine and some organics. From there, the water moves to the RO membrane, which removes many undesirable elements including sodium, iron, lead, mercury and nitrates. The water goes through a metering device and then through an ultraviolet (UV) light that further disinfects the water. When the water exits the machine, it’s approximately 99.9 percent bacteria-free and, because of the RO membrane, virus-free. Others may incorporate ion exchange and even ozone as alternative or additional treatment methods.

Water vending machines can appear as stand-alone units outside a supermarket, convenience store and other retail locations—even a water treatment dealer’s office. They can appear as smaller end-of-aisle units inside similar retail locations. They can appear as compact units inset in a wall facing either inside or outside, depending upon conditions such as climate—i.e., in northern areas where it’s colder in winter, inside; in the Sunbelt, outside. They can be permanent kiosks located in parking lots anywhere a car, van or truck may be driven up to so customers can conveniently fill up bottles.

As such, water vending machines are everywhere today and increasing in popularity in countries where clean water isn’t readily available. For those people, taste is less an issue than safety. Domestically, safety is an issue but taste is more so, which leads to restaurants using small RO systems in their daily operations.

For the discriminating patron
Restaurants are switching to purified water because so many of their customers have purification equipment at home or the office and don’t like the taste of municipal tap water. Municipal water goes into restaurants and runs through a water softener. This process uses ion exchange to remove most particles and minerals including lead and reduces dissolved ions. The next step in the purification process is an activated carbon filter that removes chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and trihalo-methanes (THMs). THMs are disinfection by-products (DBPs) of chlorination, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) says have been linked to some forms of cancer and other medical problems.

As described earlier, the RO process removes almost all chemical contaminants including dissolved minerals and small organics such as THM precursors and pesticides. The result is a glass of water that looks and tastes like bottled water. Ice is frozen clear because it’s virtually impurity free and coffee and tea taste better, but the benefits of softening and RO accrue to the owner as well. In areas where water is really hard, residue build-up on dishwashers, pipes and other equipment in this water intensive industry is reduced. In addition to restaurants, some industries are using water treatment for spot-free rinsing. The leading users for this application are car washes.

At the car wash
RO membranes are helping spot-free car washes deliver on the “spot free” promise. RO membranes and ion exchange softeners remove calcium and magnesium mineral salts that stay behind as white residue on newly washed cars. It’s the hardness from these dissolved minerals that, when dry, leaves white spots and streaks. In extreme cases, mineral deposits can clog valves, pipes and other equipment. More than half of self-service car wash operators in the United States use some type of water treatment system.

The primary motivator for investing in water treatment equipment is to provide a spot-free rinse. Even a full service, hand dried wash benefits from water treatment as well because of lower labor costs. Most water treatment systems are installed to reduce the amount of labor involved for towel drying cars as they emerge from the wash and rinse cycle. The speed and quality of the service can be improved while drying expenses are held down. The car wash operator and the customer both receive a better value. To address these and other applications from purified water, RO manufacturers are developing better products.

Membrane elements
To meet the increasing demand for applications like these, extra low energy water purification membrane products for commercial and light industrial applications are now becoming available. These new products are targeted for systems purifying as much as 10 gallons per minute (gpm) of water (about 2 cubic meters per hour, m3/hr) where low pressure operation is desired. The new technology operates at a nominal pressure of 100 pounds per square inch gauge (psig), or 6.9 bar, and has 99 percent stabilized salt rejection. The performance of dry elements stabilizes in about 30 minutes.

In addition, the new elements deliver more water at a higher purity than before. For example, at the same feed conditions the newest products can purify 2,400 gallons per day (gpd) of water with 99 percent salt rejection; older low energy products purified only 1,900 gpd with 98 percent salt rejection. The result of this new technology is more water that’s purer. Businesses like car washes and restaurants plus vending machine operators and other light industry end-users that require a source of purified water will immediately benefit from this new technology.

To address the increasing demand for purified water, RO manufacturers are developing better products. There’s a drive toward lower pressure operation, as commercial systems will ultimately operate off line pressure similar to point-of-use units for home drinking water. Lower operating pressure will reduce pump costs resulting in lower system costs. RO membranes capable of delivering a high flow of excellent water at pressures under 100 psi are currently being developed toward this end. While commercial applications offer water treatment professionals many sales opportunities, this is also a huge opportunity for service. Small business and building owners don’t have time or knowledge to service their RO systems. There’s a need for timely, professional, knowledgeable service at a reasonable price. Not only will this result in happy customers, it will also result in repeat sales and referrals.

About the author
Jon Goodman is a global marketing manager of FILMTEC® membranes for The Dow Chemical Co. He can be reached at jtgoodman@dow.com

Monitors, Meters & Controls: Monitoring for the OEM’s Replacement Element

Saturday, March 24th, 2001

By Loretta Trapp

Summary: As with anything else, consumers should know what kind of replacement filter or membrane element  they need to purchase beforehand. Now more than ever, consumers need to choose from a dazzling array of products. What to do? This article takes a look at some options and a recommendation.

How do consumers know when to change a replaceable element such as a reverse osmosis (RO) element or filter? For RO systems that make inorganic reduction claims, manufacturers supply the consumer with a comparative total dissolved solids (TDS) monitor or a test kit with instructions to test periodically, which will give the consumer an indication of performance. For products that use a filter that makes inorganic or organic contaminant reduction claims, manufacturers typically specify a certain number of gallons the cartridge will treat before replacement is needed. Some filter manufacturers also equip their systems with a performance indication device.

Performance indicators
Filter type systems typically only use performance indication when inorganic or organic health related contaminant reduction claims are made. An allowable performance indication device for filters is a device that usually measures remaining capacity in some way. Acceptable performance indication devices can measure capacity by a variety of methods including measuring the volume of treated water, by the time of flow (i.e., for how long the faucet is activated and convert that to gallonage) or by the number of batches processed. The performance indication device must give some visual or audio means of communicating to the consumer when the manufacturer’s rated capacity—the capacity stated in the manufacturer’s literature, which can be used before filter replacement is recommended—is reached. Visual means of alerting a consumer are the most common and include a green light (OK), yellow light (warning) or red light (stop) indicator that count down the number of gallons, or stops dispensing water altogether. Such a performance indication device, according to ANSI/NSF Standard 53, allows a manufacturer to test to only 120 percent of the system’s rated capacity (instead of 200 percent for systems without performance indication devices) for inorganic or organic health related claims.

Hopefully, a performance indication device prompts the consumer to change the replaceable element as specified by the manufacturer or the consumer follows some type of periodic schedule to determine when to change the replacement element.

…Or do they
At this point, the consumer may contact the manufacturer for the recommended replacement filter…or do they? Some consumers may go to their water treatment professional and ask for a replacement filter. Hopefully, the water treatment service provider sells the consumer a manufacturer recommended replacement filter…or do they? Some consumers may go to stores and look at numerous filters and purchase the manufacturer’s recommended filter… or do they? This is where the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) loses control. The consumer may purchase a cheaper filter sold by another manufacturer who claims it will fit the OEM’s system. A water treatment service provider may also purchase a supply of filters from an overseas manufacturer because they’re cheaper and resell them as replacement elements for the original system manufacturer’s device.

Some replacement filter manufacturers even advertise that filters fit a different manufacturer’s system. There’s a danger of a consumer purchasing, or a water treatment service provider selling, a replacement filter that won’t have the same capacity based on flow rate or water usage as OEM claims for contaminant reduction performance. The problem isn’t limited to inorganic and organic performance claims. If a claim for cyst reduction is made, the replacement filter manufacturer’s dimensional tolerances may not be the same as an OEM’s, which may allow cysts to bypass the filter. A replacement filter that’s not recommended by an OEM may also leach unacceptable contaminants into the water. A similar problem exists for RO elements if the particular element hasn’t undergone the same strenuous certification.

Transferring reduction claims
NSF International, one of the leading third party product certification organizations, does require replacement element manufacturers to indicate that claims of contaminant reduction performance not supported by NSF testing, and claims of replacement elements fitting other OEM’s systems, aren’t supported by the certification organization. For unsupported contaminant reduction claims, the manufacturer must state the advertised statement is “Not Performance Tested or Certified by NSF.” For claims of use in other manufac-turer’s systems, NSF requires a clear and conspicuous statement citing that the replacement elements are supported by the manufacturer’s internal testing or the name of the laboratory that supports such testing.

Do such methods go far enough? Will consumers—or perhaps uneducated water service providers—understand the filter may not perform as expected? If the replacement element isn’t listed with a certification organization, even this minimal protection isn’t afforded to the consumer.

Meeting requirements
Some OEMs try to eliminate the problem by making replacement elements with unique dimensions. Unfortunately, replacement element knock-offs usually catch up with such a ploy after a certain period of time especially if the system is a commercial success.

Why is it important to use replacement elements specified by the OEM? Manufacturers take great pains and make great expense to test their systems to ensure they meet performance claim requirements. Usually, the performance claims are based upon how fast (or, in the case of batch systems, how much) water flows through the filter and for how many gallons. Take an activated carbon filter as an example. Manufacturers know not all activated carbons are created equal. The manufacturer chooses an activated carbon that will do the job at both the stated flow rate and for the specified capacity—and they have the testing to prove it. In the case of RO elements, the membrane itself plays an important role.

Clearly, it’s best if the consumer only purchases or is only sold a replacement element that’s recommended by the OEM. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

So maybe it’s time for a new type of monitoring device. One that indicates to the consumer the correct replacement element is actually installed in the system. If an unauthorized replacement element is used, the consumer could be warned that it’s not the correct element. Such a monitoring device would indicate to consumers that unauthorized elements are attempting to be used in place of the OEM’s. Such a device not only protects the OEM from claims of poor product performance but would also protect the consumer. Monitoring for the OEM filter—it’s an idea whose time has come.

About the author
Loretta Trapp is the regulatory affairs project manager at Clack Corp., a manufacturer and distributor of a wide variety of water treatment products, components and media. A member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee, she can be reached at (608) 846-3010 or email: trapp@clackcorp.com

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