Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine


Thursday, June 20th, 2002

Water Right gains sales rep
Frank Stevens has been appointed sales representative for Water Right Inc., of Appleton, Wis. Stevens brings over nine years of experience in water treatment sales, service and general management roles. He represents the company in the southeast U.S. region including Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and parts of Arkansas and Louisiana. He is responsible for promoting products and securing distribution through traditional wholesale and dealer channels. Water Right Inc. is a full-line manufacturer of water conditioning equipment. 

Bates moves up in sales
In early April, the D&L Manufacturing Division of Kempsmith Machine Co., of Milwaukee, said Mike Bates was promoted from contract machining salesperson to the sales department of D&L Machinery by CEO Robert Burris. The D&L Division, formerly Dostal & Lowey, of Menomonee Falls, manufactures machinery for washing, filling and capping large 3 and 5 gallon bottled water containers as well as washers for all reusable bottles. 

UE greets new VP of sales
Peter Schwartz has joined United Electric (UE) Controls, of Watertown, Mass., as vice president of sales. Schwartz will be responsible for the sale of UE and Trans-Metrics products within the United States, Mexico, Latin America and overseas. He holds a degree in engineering management from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. UE’s international customers include major energy and chemical producers such as hydrocarbon processing plants, power generation plants, pharmaceutical, food and beverage processors as well as water treatment facilities and OEMs.

Two take posts in Europe
Black & Veatch appointed two directors in the company’s London-based Europe division. David Nickols was appointed managing director of Binnie Black & Veatch Ltd. He will be responsible for the division’s consultancy business, which serves the water, energy and information markets. He is a member of the Institution of Water and Environmental Management, the International Water Association, and the American Water Works Association. Meanwhile, Mike Hinge was appointed managing director of Paterson Candy that provides refurbishment and asset renewal services to the United Kingdom water and wastewater industry. Hinge will lead the asset management business within the division.

Company appoints Thraikill
OASE Pumps Inc., of Irvine, Calif., a designer and manufacturer of water gardening, pond and fountain equipment for both residential and commercial applications, announces the appointment of David Thraikill as eastern regional sales manager for the company’s commercial division. He will be responsible for managing sales and distribution of the complete line of commercial fountain and aerator products. His territory includes wholesale supply and distribution accounts and commercial landscape architects and contractors located in states east of, and including, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi, and all eastern Canadian provinces bordering the adjacent eastern U.S. states. Thraikill will be working out of the Atlanta office.

Alamo hires industrial GM
Alamo Water Refiners Inc., of San Antonio, announced Patrick O’Neill as general manager for its industrial division, located in Naperville, Ill. Previously, O’Neill was director of sales/marketing for Water One/Calco. He brings over 19 years of commercial/industrial water experience to Alamo. Prior employers include EcoWater and Ecodyne Water Treatment (now Alamo Water Industrial). He is presently on the board of directors for the Illinois WQA. Alamo Water Refiners Inc. is a member of The Marmon Group of companies, an international association of more than 100 autonomous manufacturing and service companies.

Perkins begins new term
Nathalie Perkins, business development manager for The Bionetics Corp., of Newport News, Va., has begun a new term as chairman of ASTM Committee D19 on Water. Perkins graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in analytical chemistry from the University of Richmond.

CEO receives IWA honor
Bill Alexander, CEO of Thames Water, was presented with the International Water Association (IWA) award for outstanding contribution to water management and science. He received the award—an engraved bronze medal—at the opening of the IWA World Congress in Melbourne, Australia. Under Alexander’s term, Thames Water has grown from a regional water company serving London and the Thames Valley to the world’s third largest water company, with 43 million customers and a presence in 44 countries.

Think tank gets Faeth
The World Resources Institute appointed Paul Faeth as executive vice president and managing director, effective April 15, 2002. Recently, Faeth developed the first website to trade water quality improvements as a means of cleaning up water pollution in the United States. This idea was adopted by the U.S. Senate in its 2002 Farm Bill. The World Resources Institute is an environmental think tank.

Ion exchange pioneer dies
Stanley M. Ziarkowski, 68, of Mount Laurel, N.J. passed away May 3.  A past president of the Eastern Water Quality Association and former Water Quality Association Board of Directors member, he was head of household ion exchange at Sybron Chemicals Inc. A full obituary will appear in WC&P’s July issue. Meanwhile, contributions can be made in his name to the American Cancer Society, 1851 Old Cuthbert Road, Cherry Hill, N.J. 08034; and the Water Quality Research Council—call the WQA at (630) 505-0160.

Ask the Expert

Thursday, June 20th, 2002

Clamp-on water treatment

Question: Does anyone know if the Clearwave system, which clamps onto the copper pipe and minimizes scale, actually works? I’ve heard of this type of system but I can’t find out if it is a legitimate water conditioner that does what it claims. Thanks for your help.

Don DiSimone
Northridge, Calif.

Answer: There’s only one standard for testing such equipment, which are said to work on magnetic, electromagnetic or electrophysical properties. It’s a German standard by the organization, DVGW. Only one or two devices have earned the standard that we know of, one of which was in dispute for some time based on competitor allegations that what was tested wasn’t put on the market and testing had been mishandled. There are now a number of such devices based on that first unit approved, mostly from European companies promising to offer scale prevention while maintaining the “mineral” levels in your water as an added health benefit. The only problem with such marketing is that our bodies get only a very small fraction of the minerals it needs from water. The vast majority of such minerals come from the foods we eat. One would have to drink thousands of glasses of water a day to achieve the same level from water (by the way, you’d drown first before being able to assimilate that much water). While some studies have shown there to be some effect from some of this equipment (primarily the electro-physical devices similar to the one approved by the DVGW), there has yet to be an effective, widely accepted scientific explanation for the physical processes involved. There also are few scientifically accepted studies, if any, to indicate what specific applications are more appropriate than others and under what conditions or variables is that the case. (The Water Quality Association did a survey of literature in regard to this, but stopped short of providing any scientific analyses of the studies it reviewed; many tended to fall into the category of customer testimonials or advertising jargon.) Conversely, advertising claims of those purveyors of such equipment tend to be rather broad, often claiming to “soften” water without the salt or chemical requirements of conventional water treatment. This is clearly untrue since—even by the claims made—the equipment does not remove scale; it simply holds it in suspension allowing it to pass through without coming out of solution and precipitating on the interior surface of piping in the distribution system or hot water heaters, dishwashers and clothes washers, etc. That, at least, is what is claimed, as we understand it. Since there is no U.S. standard (although an effort was made to enlist the financial support of the equipment manufacturers themselves for one a few years ago to very little effect), there’s no way of proving the above claims. Even the German standard simply is a measure of scale prevention; it goes no further in detailing additional properties or under what variable conditions the equipment might be effective. As such, WC&P’s position on this is neutral. Whether or not the adage “buyer beware” is appropriate here is anyone’s guess. You buy at your own risk.

Postscript: Your response to my questions regarding electronic clamp on water purification systems was the best information I have found anywhere. The general public should read your outstanding report regarding the Clear-wave type products before considering a purchase. Feel free to quote me as a consumer advocate. Thanks again for your complete information on this subject. —Don DiSimone

Global Spotlight

Thursday, June 20th, 2002

Pure Water Engineering, of Long Beach, Calif., manufacturers and suppliers of water purification and bottling equipment, changed its name to Aquatyzer Engineering. 💧

Effective March 28, Canada’s Choice Spring Water Inc. changed its name to Echo Springs Water Corp. The company bottles, markets and distributes natural spring water in Canada and the United States under Echo Springs, Canada’s Choice and private label brands. 💧

CET Environmental Services Inc., of Englewood, Colo., reported revenues for the year ending Dec. 31, 2001, were $14.2 million, down 42 percent from the $24.4 million posted for the prior year. 💧

The Chlorine Institute Inc., of Washington, D.C., introduces an instructor’s kit that provides a framework for a chlorine safety training program—“The Safe Handling of Chlorine”—to be used in water and wastewater treatment facilities that use cylinders or ton containers of chlorine. 💧

Canada-based Trojan Technologies Inc. has an agreement with an underwriting group led by Canaccord Capital Corp. for the sale of 1.5 million common shares at $10 apiece. 💧

Flexible Solutions, of Canada, and Ondeo Nalco Company, a subsidiary of Suez, have agreed to provide global manufacturing capacity for Flexible Solutions’ WaterSavr product. It’s an evaporative control powder that’s self-spreading over the surface of reservoirs, canals and rivers. 💧

The San Manuel Bottled Water Group, Southern California’s newest bottled water producer, has launched Big Bear Mountain Premium Spring Water. 💧

Westbrook, Maine-based IDEXX Laboratories Inc. reported net income of $7.185 million for the quarter ending March 31, 2002, compared to net income of $7.609 for the same period last year. 💧

Calgon Carbon Corp., of Pittsburgh, received a contract from California Domestic Water Co. in Southern California to greatly reduce perchlorate from groundwater. The contract is valued at $6.5 million. 💧

Sybron Chemicals Inc., of Birmingham, N.J., has received NSF certification for its Ionac SR 7 nitrate selective anion exchange resin. It’s the first nitrate selective resin to receive NSF certification under Standard 61 for potable water municipal installations as a process media. 💧

The Technical Practice Committee of the Water Environment Federation is updating the 1985 manual of practice titled Clarifier of Design. The publication is scheduled to be released in July 2003. 💧

Badger Meter Inc., of Milwaukee, reported sales for the first quarter ending March 31, 2002, were $37,454,000, a 5.6 percent increase from sales of $35,454,000 for the same period last year. 💧

The National Ground Water Association debuted its new website, www.ngwa.org, in April. It now reflects the new brand and includes the association’s updated logo and tagline, “It’s more than just water.” 💧

ALON USA LP and USFilter Operating Services Inc. have signed a 20-year, $76.6 million outsourcing agreement for water and wastewater services. ALON’s refinery is located in Big Springs, Texas. 💧

L’eaux Francaise: Vivendi downgraded, utility arm up
Vivendi Universal continued to reel in May with downgrades in its stock by both Standard & Poor and Moodys to just above “junk” status based on doubts about debt reduction. Plans for Vivendi Universal SA to cut its stake in its spun-off utilities unit Vivendi Environnement from 63 percent to 49 percent were shelved after turmoil at an April shareholders meeting deemed “le fracas Francais” by the media. Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier had his feet held to the fire by investors over dismissal of the head of its French TV and film subsidiary Canal Plus and a huge writedown of the value of investments related to Canal Plus and Vivendi’s acquisition of Seagrams, which it bought to get Universal Studios. It was reported the net loss from the writedowns ballooned to nearly $15.4 billion rather than the $13 billion announced earlier in the year. Vivendi is still expected to reduce its ownership in VE, which it already cut from 72 percent in December 2001, but will likely look for a French investor to that end. Meanwhile, Vivendi Environnement earned $316.1 million, compared with $258.7 million a year earlier, and revenue gained 12 percent to $5.47 billion from $4.91 billion. VE also reiterated growth projections through 2004 of more than 35 percent. No taker has yet to be announced on its plan to sell off VE’s USFilter/Plymouth Products division. USFilter, which also owns Culligan, has said it has no further plans to sell other units.

Coke lands deal with Evian; Danone puts spin on results
The Coca-Cola Co. will handle marketing, sales and distribution of Evian bottled water in the United States and Canada under an agreement with France’s Groupe Danone, the Paris-based owner of the brand. Financial terms of the agreement announced late in April weren’t disclosed. Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. and other independent bottlers of the Atlanta-based Coke currently distribute more than half of all Evian bottled water in North America. Coca-Cola will honor all existing contracts with bottlers not affiliated with Coke that currently distribute Evian. While Coke’s largest bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises, already distributes Evian in 60 percent of the United States, an import deal gives Coke total control over U.S. distribution of Evian. Coke, which entered the U.S. bottled water market in 1999 with Dasani—a purified water brand—is the No. 3 company in the $3.5 billion U.S. bottled market behind Nestle and Pepsi. Danone, which owns the Evian, Dannon and Volvic water brands and the Waters of North America business, holds the No. 4 position. In other related news, Danone said it’s reviewing options for its Dannon water as it responds to problems that led to an 8 percent drop in revenues at its U.S. water operations in the first quarter. The company, however, played down concerns over U.S. water businesses, saying its focus is on developing emerging markets in Asia. Despite flat sales in North America, Danone said its revenues rose 4.7 percent. Moreover, the company sees internal revenue growth of 5.2 percent this year. As well as Coca-Cola, Danone’s U.S. water businesses have also attracted the interest of U.K.’s drinks company Cadbury Schweppes PLC.

Severn, Bayer team up to  tackle arsenic with media
Severn Trent Services, of Fort Washington, Pa., and Bayer AG announced an exclusive agreement between the two companies to distribute a media that removes arsenic from drinking water. This long-term agreement provides Severn Trent with global distribution rights for Bayer’s Bayoxide E33 media. Developed and produced by Bayer, the granular and ferric oxide media help to adsorb trivalent arsenite (As III) and pentavalent arsenate (As V) from water sources and can be used in a range of treatment applications from large-scale municipal facilities to rural well sites to point-of-use systems. Variations of the media, which can adsorb other contaminants including antimony, chromate, lead, selenium and vanadium, are under development. High levels of arsenic concentrations are found in groundwater in many countries. It’s estimated that over 100 million people worldwide—approximately 13 million in the United States, according to the USEPA—drink water contaminated with arsenic. Medical studies have shown that long-term contamination can lead to serious health problems, including hyperkeratosis and carcinoma. As a result of these studies, the World Health Organization recommended in 1992 a standard for arsenic in drinking water of 10 parts per billion (ppb). A European Union directive introduced in 1998 established this standard, and it will be compulsory in England beginning next year. The U.S. has also recently committed to achieving this threshold by 2006.

Firm finds sales outlet
AquaCell Technologies Inc., of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., said its Global Water-Aquacell subsidiary has hired its first manufacturers’ sales rep firm, B3W Inc.—with a sales force of 24 people—to sell the company’s self-filling Purific water cooler to office supply retailers and wholesalers in the western United States. B3W, based in southern California, was established in 1970 and has regional offices in northern California, Arizona and Colorado. AquaCell manufactures products for water filtration and purification through its operating subsidiaries, Global Water-AquaCell Inc. and recently-purchased Water Science Technologies Inc.

USEPA lauds POU/POE devices; some concerns to be quelled
The USEPA has issued an industry-critical guidance and interpretation, which states that compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) can be achieved using practical implementation of home water treatment technologies. It was written as part of the “Arsenic Guidance” but, in the future, the same principles can be transferred to other contaminants and other point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) technologies as well. This release should remove public water systems and state concerns about meeting the letter of the law when considering POU/POE treatment strategies by municipalities. Some of the key points include:

  1. “If the water system and state have developed a rigorous maintenance program, strong public education and representative monitoring regime, POU (and POE) devices can (be used to) provide the public health benefits required by SDWA.”
  2. Federal recognition that proper unit operation can be confirmed with a rapid fleet test (i.e., a conductivity meter for RO or hardness test kit for a softener).
  3. SDWA regulatory monitoring requirements in CFR 141.23 can be met with compliance monitoring at a percentage of homes annually that statistically represents the full community, or by sampling a ninth of the units a year.
  4. Recognition that the requirement of a device to be in each customer’s home may be satisfied by use of ordinances and compliance agreements to address the small number of customers who may be reluctant to allow installation of or access to a household treatment unit.

A companion document, “Guidance for Implementing a Point-of-Use or Point-of-Entry Treatment Strategy for Compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act,” is also being planned by the USEPA. It was to be available for WQA’s comments recently. It will also be more specific as to programs (sample ordinances and homeowner agreements, for example) that public water systems will be advised to utilize.

Society sets top priority
The Water Quality Society (WQS) has made the creation for a technical articles archive for its website, www.water qualitysociety.org, a top priority this year. Articles will be assigned to one of three levels of difficulty—beginning, intermediate and advanced—and reviewed by a panel including Orville Schaeffer, CWS-V, CCO; Peter Cartwright, P.E., CWS-VI, and a third member to be named later. Cartwright, also a WQS board member, said the society is an “absolutely essential” organization within the WQA. He added, though, that it “hasn’t been effectively publicized” by WQA nor the society. The archive will consist both of previously published articles and newly submitted papers. A “kit” will be developed for new submissions. As part of a submission, authors will be asked to identify the application covered, suggest a level of difficulty, and describe why the article should be included in the archives. Another important part of the development process will be to design a comprehensive search mechanism so articles from a variety of sources on the website can quickly be found and ranked by subject matter.

IBWA has pavilion on tap
The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) will add a bottled water pavilion to showcase a variety of bottled water and other beverage products at the association’s convention and trade show on Oct. 10-11 in Phoenix. Usually an all equipment and services exposition, the show is adding the pavilion as a showcase for new products desired by consumers. At the center of the pavilion will be a bottled water bar, which will be hosted by industry experts such as Arthur von Wiesenberger, founder of the BottledWaterWeb, and numerous popular experts on bottled water. The bar will provide an opportunity to sample a menu of different waters. The pavilion will be open during trade show hours. J. Darius Bikoff, president of Energy Brands Inc., the parent company of Glaceau Water+, will present, “The Move from Category Creator to Category Owner in the Nutrient Enhanced Water Supercategory,” at 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. on Oct. 11.

Waterlink adds and sells
A Columbus, Ohio, activated carbon company, Barnebey Sutcliffe—a Waterlink subsidiary—expanded its engineering capabilities to include a business unit focused on design and supply of control systems for diverse air and water purification applications. The unit targets integrated well water treatment, air filtration for protection against chemical agents, odor and emission control, soil vapor extraction, solvent recovery, and distillation systems. Meanwhile, Waterlink Inc. announced an agreement April 4 with an unnamed, large multinational firm to sell its Pure Water Division. The deal is expected to close within 60 days. TechKNOWLEDGEy Strategic Group, of Boulder, Colo., is advising Waterlink on the transaction.

CDs help Conseco programs
Paying heed to efficiency and cost savings, St. Paul, Minn.-based Conseco Finance Corp. is using CD-ROM technology to streamline communications for its dealer-based credit programs. Two projects completed with OneDisc.com Inc., of St. Paul, highlight Conseco’s new approach to reaching current and prospective home improvement product and service dealers. Conseco initiated the first CD-ROM project after one of its retail credit program partners, a national manufacturer and distributor of water treatment products, wanted to increase dealer program enrollment and provide training materials at the same time. Conseco, with assets of $43 billion, is one of America’s largest finance companies and a leader in the home equity, home improvement, manufactured housing and private label credit card businesses.

Seven win cruise to Mexico
Chesapeake Utilities Corp. announced that seven employees in the water business unit have earned a trip to a free EcoWater convention cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to Cozumel, Mexico. The annual convention attracts dealers from the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and South America. The managers who achieved their goal for last year and will be on the cruise—D.J. Shannahan, John Sensi and Steve Cropper of Sharp Water, of Salisbury, Md.; Jon McDuffie of Absolute Water, of Venice, Fla.; Chuck Bartman and Scott Shepherd of Douglas Water, of Waterford, Mich.; and Scott Gengler of EcoWater Systems, of Rochester, Minn. EcoWater Systems Inc., of St. Paul, Minn., is a member of The Marmon Group.


Canada: New regulations; best  water; and water coolers get
Health Canada is considering new and stricter regulations and guidelines to prevent bacterial and chemical contamination, reported the Canadian Water Quality Association. For example, the department may introduce additional sampling plans and microbial limits for bottled water at the source and at various stages in the bottling process. In addition, the department is looking into more stringent regulations to limit levels of specific chemical contaminants for all bottled waters, including spring and mineral waters. Health Canada is working in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

In related news, two towns in Quebec have the best municipal water, Sweden produces the best bottled water and Bosnians drink the best carbonated water, according to judges at the 12th annual Berkley Springs International Water Tasting contest in West Virginia. Six countries, 18 states and the District of Columbia competed for the best tasting water in four categories—municipal, bottled, purified and carbonated bottled. The municipal category was won by Barraute, Quebec, and second place went to Senneterre, Quebec.

Meanwhile, a Canadian company is recalling about 12,000 hot and cold water coolers because their heaters can short-circuit, posing a fire hazard. Crystal Mountain Cooler Corp., of Edmon-ton, has received about 20 reports of water cooler insulation smoking or catching fire, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in April. About 80 percent of the coolers were sold in the United States. The recalled coolers have serial numbers between 1199125 and 1100175 located on a plate on the back of the cooler near the top. Crystal Mountain and its distributors sold these water coolers in the United States and Canada from May 1999 through July 2000 for about $300. The government said consumers should turn off the hot tank power switch or unplug the units and contact the company at (866) 678-4886 for repair information.

Bye-bye, Perrier; hello, Nestle Water
The Perrier Group of America changed its name April 12 to Nestle Waters North America Inc. Likewise, Perrier Vittel S.A. in Paris was renamed Nestle Waters S.A., as Nestle S.A. stamps its brand on the world’s largest water bottler which it’s owned since 1992. Nestle Waters accounts for 8.8 percent of the company’s revenue (up from 4.7 percent 10 years ago) and markets 72 bottled water brands in 160 countries. Perrier Group of America, formed in 1976, grew 23.5 percent in 2001 with $2.1 billion in sales. Global revenues from bottled water in 2001 totaled $4.5 billion.

Firm dumps water branch
The European Commission in late April cleared Scottish Power PLC’s sale of its water unit, Southern Water, to a consortium of investors called First Aqua. The deal, worth $2.9 billion, makes it the sixth largest transaction in Europe during the first quarter of 2002. The sale provides a timely cash injection for the debt-ridden Scottish energy company. It also completes the company’s divestments from the water and waste industry so it can focus on its core business. Southern Water’s ultimate fate remains unclear. French utilities Vivendi Environnement SA has confirmed that it’s holding talks with First Aqua about acquiring Southern Water. But antitrust regulators could block Vivendi from buying all of Southern Water because the French company already owns some other British water operations.

Kinetico gets into Europe
Kinetico Inc., of Newbury, Ohio, acquired manufacturing, sales and distribution facilities in Denmark, England and France. All three were independent Kinetico distributorships and were purchased to allow the company to take a more direct approach in the European market. The newly acquired businesses will support and supply a European network of distributors and dealers. Kinetico Denmark ApS, directed by Jim Corbett and Jan Gelineck, has been set up as a manufacturing and distribution center and will service the entire European market. The facility recently expanded to meet higher demand and increase production efficiencies. Kinetico UK Ltd. is overseen by managing director Grant Audemard and will handle assembly and sales of commercial/industrial equipment in the UK. It will be run from Southampton and will support a network of more than 80 dealerships. Kinetico France, managed by Jean-Pierre Lebacq and Salha Bakhti, will be a distribution and sales office for residential and light commercial equipment and will help increase Kinetico’s market share in France. The country is one of the largest residential water treatment markets in the world making Kinetico’s presence a priority.

Groups join forces in Asia
WaterPartners International, of Columbia, Mo., has joined forces with the ClearWater Project—a program of recording artist Jewel and her Higher Ground for Humanity organization—to maximize a fundraising campaign to support water projects in Bangladesh, India and the Philippines. Both groups expect to raise $300,000 that will enable WaterPartners to fund several projects through its partner organizations in Asia. The need on that continent for safe water and improved sanitation facilities is urgent. In Bangladesh, it’s estimated that more than one-sixth of the country’s 125 million residents are drinking water with arsenic levels ranging from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 500 ppb—levels the human body cannot naturally purge. With a grant from ClearWater, WaterPartners last year conducted extensive on-site evaluations of more than two dozen potential organizations in Asia. Of the 108 initially asked to apply, only four partner organizations met WaterPartners’ rigorous criteria for facilitating water and sanitation projects.


Thursday, June 20th, 2002

A cold glass of pool water?

Dear Editor:
The article entitled “Water in an Emergency” (Chris Floyd, WC&P, pp. 68-69) in the April issue was an excellent cookbook on how to purify stored water sources in the event of an unforeseen emergency. Definitely a keeper to file away.

The one source of water that I began to think about, however, was not addressed. That would be water stored in a permanent pool. I would have several questions regarding this water source:

  1. I have heard conflicting opinions as to the viability of pool water for human consumption. Some say that the chemicals used to clarify the water can cause damage to internal organs (i.e., kidneys, liver, etc.). Is this a valid concern?
  2. Can these chemicals be rendered harmless using any of the purification techniques mentioned in the article?

Jim Ellison, Senior Estimator
Can-Am Plumbing Inc.
Pleasanton, Calif.

WC&P Technical Review Committee: The answer to both questions is yes. On the first, though, some pool chemicals are relatively benign. In other words, if you’re using just chlorine, hydrochloric acid and soda ash, chances are you could drink the pool water if the chlorine wasn’t terribly high. A pool test kit will give you an indication of this. If you’re using a chlorine beach that is buffered, that’s not the case. Sometimes they’re buffered with cyanate—or cyanuric acid—which prevents the chlorine from swinging the pH too broadly. These chlorine pool products are known as trichlor and dichlor. If you’re using anything other than straight chlorine (i.e., household bleach), one shouldn’t drink the water. It’s generally assumed that some pool water inevitably will be ingested from time to time, which in small quantities wouldn’t be harmful. It’s like drinking out of the bathtub. However, reverse osmosis and distillation would clean up the water nicely for potable purposes. In an emergency, one could use carbon filters to reduce bleach to some degree, but this wouldn’t be as effective on pool water with buffered chlorine. You would need relatively long contact times in carbon and still would be somewhat unsure whether you’re removing it all—again, in an emergency. Don’t forget, though, that if the emergency is flooding or some other disaster that may compromise the water in the pool, all bets may be off regarding its safety.

WQA Expands the Arsenic Issues

Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

By Henry Nowicki, Ph.D., and Barbara Sherman

Our goal in this article is to be a messenger for some of the “new facts and ideas” about the arsenic problem in drinking water supplies presented at the Water Quality Association (WQA) Convention & Exhibition in New Orleans, March 5-9, 2002. The WQA’s presenters and vendors did an excellent job in educating conference attendees and brought in many experts from different disciplines on the arsenic issues. About 16 hours of continuing education was available on the subject. The interconnectivity of experts from several scientific areas brings to mind a quote from famous naturalist John Muir: “When one tugs at a single thing in Nature, he finds it hitched to the rest of the Universe.”

Importance of regulations
What a difference an official new federal regulation makes on speaker presentations, vendor and conference attendee participation. At an April 2001 NSF International conference, much momentum was moving on the drinking water arsenic problem until President George W. Bush delayed the final new maximum contaminant level (MCL) and called for the re-evaluation of studies used to justify the 10 parts per billion (ppb) MCL.1 It wasn’t until Oct. 31 that we actually got the final rule for the new MCL, which was lowered from 50 ppb. Regulation appears to be critical in driving this subject. Now, everyone appears to be pulling together to meet the January 2006 mandatory compliance date.

Firms supplying solutions to the problem now have a few years to develop products to see who gets the market share for solving customer problems. Many new product claims will be tested and evaluated in the future. A number are already on the market. Presently, no one has the universal simple low-cost fix to the problem. It has a wide variety of solutions because of the complexity of the hydrochemistry of arsenic and the importance of the water matrix to be treated. The consensus of opinion is that one vendor product won’t solve all problems and several products or product combinations may be required.

Unfortunately, many think arsenic isn’t a U.S. problem because our drinking water concentrations are relatively low compared to more critical areas such as Bangladesh, India and Taiwan. The human health effects from drinking water contaminated with arsenic, due to natural geology or manmade pollution, depends on the general health of the exposed population. The arsenic problem has long been ignored because it’s been difficult to address. In the 1600s, there’s good evidence arsenic may have caused the deaths of more than 90 percent of the original settlers in Jamestown, Va.2 Not until 1942 did the U.S. government promulgate a regulation of arsenic in drinking water. The 50 ppb limit stood until the Clinton Administration made it 10 ppb. The Bush Administration’s delay of this new MCL helped to raise the public awareness and confirm the need for a lower MCL. The original Clinton compliance date—as set by the 1996 Reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)—hasn’t changed.

Need for lab testing
Vendors are supplying a wide variety of remediation technologies. The identification of the natural forms of arsenic (As III and As V) and the matrix components in the contaminated water will be needed to determine the best technology to solve individual drinking water arsenic problems. Often, between the time of sampling and laboratory analysis, there’s a large conversion of As III to As V—the first being more soluble and more difficult to remove, the second more of a precipitate form and more easily filterable. Thus, sample preparation methods are needed to preserve the actual natural species and concentrations at each sampling site. The best sampling preservative appears to be EDTA and acetic acid. The EDTA ties up the iron in the water and thus decreases conversion to As V. This species is the easiest to treat and less toxic form of arsenic; As III is more difficult to treat and about 60 times more toxic than the As V species.

Municipalities and individuals need to test their water to determine the arsenic species and concentrations as well as the matrix of competing ions and the pH. The individual water quality will determine the best technology to solve the individual’s problems. There are many available products for arsenic remedia-tion but not a single one product that solves all of the different water types. Testing information will also help specify the treatment sizing and filter change-out frequency.

Annual arsenic testing by municipalities with inclusion in Consumer Confidence Reports this July is mandated by the SDWA. Wisconsin regulators pointed out that wells previously tested arsenic negative are now positive and reaching 1,500 ppb. These levels in the drinking water are believed to cause observed skin lesions. The regulators reported skin lesions that are typical for millions in lesser-developed countries. They attributed the changes in aqueous arsenic going positive to lowering of the water table. Falling groundwater levels are a common global phenomena. The Wisconsin case had lowered groundwater coupled with atmospheric oxygen oxidation of rock-exposed, sulfur-bound compounds to sulfuric acid. This phenomena was described as causing the high arsenic levels in wells that previously tested negative. Leaching of rock-bound arsenicals can occur by many different chemical and mechanical processes.3 Geologists, microbiologists and other scientific experts will play important roles in elucidating the pathways and chemistries for arsenicals. It was pointed out that areas near volcanoes, which provide rich agricultural resources, may also provide fine grain arsenic dust that becomes water soluble, i.e., the Bangladesh case.

Subsurface bioremediaton of pollutants sometimes use oxygen or hydrogen releasing compounds to stimulate the activity of selected microorganisms. The environmental impact of this practice on the arsenic hydrochemistry should be studied. Where oxygen has been added to groundwater, arsenic compounds should be determined. We need to know if this causes problems similar to those in the Wisconsin case.

Geochemists estimate that the average crustal rocks around the world contain about two parts per million (ppm) of arsenic by weight.3 Arsenic bound in rock is harmless; it’s merely a dark stain. But several mechanical and chemical processes can release the rock-bound arsenic to the mobile groundwater phase. These complex detachment mechanisms may account for the spotty and dynamic changes in the presence of dissolved toxic arsenic above the new MCL.

Liabilities and risks
Risks of arsenic exposure globally are at the epidemic level. There has never been a water contaminant to cause this much misery. Arsenic laboratory testing continues to increase the size of the global population affected. In the United States, much testing needs to be done to complete the total groundwater survey for this toxic material. Even drinking water supplies not presently exhibiting this problem need to continue monitoring, as pointed out by the Wisconsin regulators. Property sales in the near future may include arsenic water quality assessments. The public is developing a strong awareness and realtors don’t want the liability.

The arsenic issues will be attractive to legal professionals because of its well-documented, broad-spectrum human toxicity. About 5 percent of the 55,000 U.S. municipal community water supplies don’t currently meet the 10 ppb MCL. Many of the present non-compliant municipalities are small and will have the most problems complying. With their professional staff and budgetary resource limitations, the point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) solutions become economically the best option. The 1996 SDWA provides the municipal supplier with the POU option by recognizing its efficacy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) will need to do some background research to facilitate POU, even with the upcoming budgetary cuts at the agency; however, the municipality maintains the liability because it owns, operates and maintains the POU devices. This option requires the cooperation of homeowners, municipal officials and contractors to install and maintain water supply remediation technologies. While some conclusions can be drawn based on already completed studies, we’re still in the discovery phase of determining what technologies work best with different types of water. The use of large-scale POU devices to comply with legally enforceable drinking water standards hasn’t been done in the past. Many individuals won’t be willing to wait until January 2006. They’ll install POU devices to fix their immediate arsenic problems, as they should.

The arsenic issues will challenge the drinking water industry for several years. The full understanding of arsenic will require many scientists of different expertise to connect and work together. Examples of needed connectivity is expected to come from chemists and biochemists, product developers and manufacturers, third-party product validation and certification experts, risk assessors and toxicologists, geologists and geo-chemists, microbiologists, funding of R&D and financial aid for small communities down to the private well-owner, educating the public about point-of-use devices, water chemistries and others. Synergy obtained from this connectivity and discipline cooperation are expected to facilitate solving this problem and opening the door for many other opportunities for the water conditioning and purification industry.


  1. Nowicki, H., “NSF Covers the Arsenic Debate,” WC&P, pg. 38-41, July 2001.
  2. Public Broadcasting Services, “Secrets of the Dead, Death at Jamestown,” July 2001, website: www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets2/case3_clues.html
  3. Morrison, P., and P. Morrison, “No One Checked Natural Arsenic in Wells,” American Scientist, Vol. 90, March-April 2002.

About the authors
Dr. Henry G. Nowicki directs PACS Inc., of Pittsburgh, a laboratory testing and consulting service. He has published over 100 articles about environmental issues and activated carbon adsorption and has been an expert witness in over 30 legal cases. He’s also a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee.

Barbara Sherman directs PACS short course and focused conference programs. PACS provides 57 different courses and four annual conferences. Four short courses are on activated carbon and PACS hosts the International Activated Carbon Conference in Pittsburgh in September.

Both authors can be reached at (724) 457-6576, email: HNpacs@aol.com or website: www.pacslabs.com

Instrumentation: Flow Measurement with Impeller Flow Sensor

Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

Summary: This article describes flow measurement terminology and definitions pertaining to the operation of impeller flow sensors. A comparison between impeller flow sensors from different manufacturers is included along with useful equations to aid in the decision-making process.

There are a number of flow measurement techniques. One category of flow meters is the direct measurement type. These are positive displacement meters that sample discrete, specifically-sized batches of liquid and count the batches. A rate of flow or total volume is then calculated. Full flow isn’t normally required for this measuring technique. It’s used for low flow applications or when high measurement accuracy is required. Direct measuring flow meters include piston, rotary vane and oval gear types.

Another category of flow meters uses an indirect measurement technique where the flow is determined by measuring the liquid’s velocity or change in kinetic energy and by applying an appropriate formula. Types of indirect measuring flow meters include differential pressure devices, turbines, impellers, vortex shedding, magnetic and ultrasonic. The flow rate can be calculated by multiplying the pipe’s cross-sectional area (assuming it to be constant) by the average velocity:

Equation 1: Flow = Area × Velocity ×
    Scaling Factor

Other factors that influence the flow of the liquid include viscosity, density, temperature, and the friction of the liquid in contact with the wall of the pipe. A dimensionless unit called the Reynolds Number has been created to quantify these factors:

Equation 2: Reynolds Number =     
         Velocity × I.D.    
     Kinematic Viscosity

Where: I.D. = interior diameter

At very low velocities (flow rates) or high viscosities (thick liquids), the Reynolds Number is low—and the liquid flows in smooth layers with the highest velocity at the center of the pipe. The lowest velocity is at the pipe wall, where the adhesion to the wall (friction) tends to restrain it. This is called laminar flow and is associated with a Reynolds Number below 2,000. A characteristic of laminar flow is the parabolic shape of its velocity profile, shown at the top of Figure 1.

Most applications involving turbulent flow have Reynolds Numbers above 5,000. Turbulent flow occurs at higher velocities and/or lower viscosities. The liquid breaks up into turbulent eddies that flow through the pipe with the same average velocity. The velocity profile for turbulent flow is more uniform than laminar flow. Transitional flow occurs between laminar and turbulent flow, depending on pipe roughness and a combination of other factors such as velocity, viscosity, temperature and solids content.

Viscosity effects on flow
Viscosity is one of the most critical factors affecting liquid flow. Conceptually, viscosity is the “thickness” of the fluid. Viscosity is greatly influenced by temperature—thicker viscosity at lower temperatures and thinner viscosity at higher temperatures. Two important terms relating to viscosity are “relative” viscosity and “kinematic” viscosity.

Relative viscosity is the ratio of the liquid’s absolute viscosity with respect to the viscosity of water. The unit of measurement for relative viscosity is centipoise (cP).

Kinematic viscosity is defined as the ratio of the liquid’s relative viscosity to its relative density. It’s measured in units of centistokes (cS). Table 1 lists kinematic viscosities for specific concentrations of common acids, bases and solvents. (Water has a value of 1.000 centistokes at 20°C.)

Understanding impeller flow sensors
Impeller flow sensor blades are perpendicular to the flow. A turbine flow meter’s shaft and blades, which have a helical twist, are in line with the flow. An impeller flow sensor is relatively inexpensive, with a large turndown ratio of about 30 to 1. It maintains about 99 percent accuracy over its full range. Figure 2 shows the practical lower and upper limits.

At flow rates below 1 foot per second (ft./sec.), the inertia needed to overcome the bearing friction, impeller mass and fluid drag is greater than the fluid can generate. Cavitation can occur at rates above 30 ft/sec, which causes an increase in reading (and may cause excessive parts wear). As the velocity increases, the reading will eventually decrease with respect to true velocity.

Comparing impeller flow sensors
Impeller flow sensors may appear nearly identical in principle; however, there are significant differences that make a sensor preferable. In addition to superior construction, a flow sensor may use a more efficient sensing method to convert flow velocity into an electronic signal.

Other sensors may use a multi-bladed impeller with a magnet imbedded in each blade. A pickup coil located inside the sensor housing generates an electrical pulse each time a blade passes it. This same principle is used in electrical generators; a changing magnetic field in a coil of wire produces a changing voltage measured at the ends of the coil. Figure 3 illustrates this magnetic generator principle.

This principle is simple, but it has drawbacks. A sensor using the generator principle emits a weak signal that cannot be transmitted over great distances and is easily disrupted by other changing magnetic fields in the vicinity of the coil. Also, ferrous contamination is common in industrial installations, causing the magnet in each blade to attract iron particles in the stream. This not only affects sensor accuracy but can impede or stop the rotating impeller. At low flows, the magnetic attraction between each rotating blade and the pick-up coil increases the force required to turn the impeller. This results in poor linearity. The force of this magnetic attraction can be demonstrated by spinning the impeller blade on the magnetic sensor. The impeller always stops with a blade directly in line with the sensor body.

The impeller of a more efficient flow sensor has six, forward-swept blades to provide more uniform force distribution with smoother rotation. A non-ferrous, conductive encoder is sealed inside the impeller of the sensor. Since the encoder is non-magnetic, there’s no magnetic drag to impede the impeller as it rotates.

This sensor has encapsulated electronics that sense, condition and output a pulse train proportional to impeller rotational velocity. An RF oscillator and sensing coil, integral to the electronic circuit, induce current into the impeller encoder as it passes within close proximity to the coil. The induced current causes the amplitude of the RF oscillator to decrease as the encoder passes. This amplitude modulation is conditioned and transmitted as a low impedance square-ware signal, suitable for transmission over great distances without further amplification (see Figure 4).

The advantages of this pulse signal method are significant. The sensor electronics produce a strong, clean signal that can be easily transmitted over long distances on inexpensive cable. Since magnets aren’t used, ferrous particles aren’t attracted from the fluid; and impeller movement isn’t impeded at low flows, resulting in improved linearity throughout the sensor flow range.

There are many different types of flow sensors available. No one style is able to handle all applications. It’s important to consider the system requirements and choose the most appropriate technology to attain optimum measurement results.

About the author
The above article appears as Technical Bulletin No. TB-F1, Rev. 3-201, for Milwaukee’s GLI International, which became a subsidiary of Danaher Corp. as part of its acquisition of the Viridor Instrumentation Group in February. It’s reprinted with permission here. GLI can be contacted at (800) 454-0263, (414) 355-3601, (414) 355-8346 (fax), email: info@gliint.com or website: www.gliint.com

Reality-Based Strategic Planning

Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

By Lynn Kahn

Summary: Periodic reassessments of any organization are important to evaluating its goals and mission, how best to meet them and how to adjust them to current realities and needs of its members. This article is adapted with permission of the author and the Association Forum of Chicagoland, FORUM, August 2000, in which it first appeared.

Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar? Your strategic planning committee was visionary and inspired; it produced a strategic plan that sets the stage for great, new things. Too bad you don’t have the financial or human resources needed for implementation.

The new plan has 50-plus initiatives for you to accomplish over the next three years. Unfortunately, the strategic planning committee didn’t prioritize these tasks or identify activities, programs or services to be discontinued.

Management staff complains that the new plan bears little resemblance to their day-to-day responsibilities.
You involved the management team in the plan’s development, but those who report directly to it and support staff don’t think the plan is relevant to their jobs. Many of them may not even know such a plan exists.

Three years have passed and it’s time to initiate the strategic planning process once again. You determine the last time around “fell short of expectations,” so you decide to reinvent the process and hope for a better outcome.
Familiar territory

It’s a safe bet that at least several of these scenarios hit home. That’s because, for many associations, strategic planning has become so process-driven that they have overlooked the fact that the process is often broken. In our quest to become visionaries, we have lost touch with reality.

We’ve mistakenly assumed if we undertake an environmental analysis and perform the tried-and-true SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, we’re in touch with reality. Certainly, these activities are an important part of the strategic planning process, but they’re only part of what must be done to ensure this process is reality-based.

Simply put, reality-based strategic planning is a process that bridges the gap between what we hope our associations will be in the future and the realities that we must contend with today. Reality-based strategic planning is based on some fundamental premises, which are as follows:

Premise 1Strategic planning and financial planning must be inter-related processes: If you think I am stating the obvious, that’s a good thing. This means your planning cycle is already in sync with your budgeting cycle and long-range financial planning. My experience suggests, though, that’s often not the case. You would be surprised at how many associations conduct strategic planning in a vacuum of sorts without consideration to the financial implications of the plan. In other words, the finance committee isn’t involved in the strategic planning process but must play the “heavy” after the plan is set in stone, saying “no” to specific initiatives that it knows are financially unfeasible.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to involve the finance committee during the strategic planning process itself? This isn’t to suggest that the finance committee attend each and every meeting of the planning committee. But finance committee members should be invited to planning committee meetings at key junctures, such as the first planning meeting (so everyone is on the same page about the process) and once the strategic plan is reasonably assembled but not finalized. In other words, it should be involved in advance of presenting the plan to the board for approval.

Premise 2Delusions of grandeur are just that. “Being at the top of your game” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re assured of being the market leader (and that’s OK): Let’s face it, given the choice, we would all probably like to be brilliant, rich and gorgeous. In reality, most of us are lucky to be even one of the three. So what does that have to do with associations? Most associations would like to have people or organizations beating down their doors to join, be masters of making all members happy all of the time and, at the same time, have no competition for their programs, products or services. In reality, few associations can claim even one of the three.

The point here is that your strategic planning committee should aspire to chart a course that will lead your association to bigger and better things, but it also needs to be realistic. That’s probably the biggest challenge. In reality, the job of managing expectations will fall to the CEO or staff liaison to the strategic planning committee. This individual must speak up tactfully when the committee starts talking as if it had the staff the size of a Fortune 500 company and the market presence to match.

Think realistically
The best way to temper such delusions of grandeur is with data and figures about the industry or field you serve, your competition and your association. Here’s an exaggerated example, but it serves to illustrate the point. Your association and a competitor association have roughly the same target market. The competitor association has been in existence for 50 years with high marketplace recognition, 28,000 members, a $14 million budget, and a staff of 100. In contrast, your association is 10 years old with growing name recognition, 8,000 members, a $4 million budget, and a staff of 35. Both associations are financially stable.

A member of your strategic planning committee maintains that your new strategic plan must be focused on unseating the competition. Other members of the committee agree, and they’re off and developing a plan that’s, more likely than not, predicated on an unrealistic aspiration (at least unrealistic for the three years the plan is likely to cover).

In this situation, it would have made sense to highlight for the strategic planning committee the disparity between the two associations’ financial and human resources. Confronted with the hard facts, the group probably wouldn’t have abandoned the notion of gaining market share. Hopefully, though, it would have felt compelled to consider the resource implications of such an ambitious plan and ultimately have been more realistic about what was achievable and what wasn’t.

Again, not every association has to be No. 1; in fact, not every association can be No. 1. This is often a difficult notion for planning committees (or boards and staff) to accept. Here is one way to think about it—Hertz may be No. 1 in the car rental business, but Avis doesn’t seem to be doing too badly either. Your association can be a first-class organization, and be second in a crowded field. In other words, it’s often more realistic to focus on “being the best you can be” rather than on being in the highest spot. In most cases, you’re a lot more likely to see real improvement if you plan for the future from this vantage point.

Premise 3The strategic planning committee must first understand its role and then acknowledge that all goals and strategies are not created equal: There are actually two parts to this premise. First, it’s the strategic planning committee’s job to set the organization’s strategic direction, and not to dictate specific activities to be undertaken. Remember the scenario that described staff seeing a disconnection between the strategic plan and their day-to-day responsibilities? That was probably a case of the planning committee going too far in specifying how staff should accomplish the plan’s strategies. But it’s virtually impossible for a committee of volunteers to discuss implementation tactics in any meaningful way given their lack of knowledge of the inner-workings of the association.
Part of the reason strategic planning committees stray into tactical development is because the committee, and occasionally staff, are unclear about who should do what. The problem is compounded by the fact that strategic planning consultants often use the words “goal,” “strategy,” “tactic,” and “objective” to mean different things and confuse strategic planning committees even more than they were initially.

In order to talk about the strategic planning committee’s role vs. staff’s role, provide everyone involved with the definitions that you’ll be using (see A Defining Strategy). The strategic plan will also be more reality-based if the strategic planning committee receives input from other groups of members as it develops goals and strategies. For example, the committee might rely on its environmental and SWOT analyses, the recent member satisfaction survey, and staff input to draft the initial goals and strategies. Then, this document can be circulated to various committees and/or constituency sections for comments and suggestions.

Learn to prioritize
Once the document has been refined, based on input from other groups, you’ll want to guide the strategic planning committee in prioritizing the goals and strategies it develops. The exercise of prioritizing is important for a number of reasons. First, it heightens the committee’s awareness that it’s unrealistic to expect staff to give every activity identified the same amount of time and attention.

Ideally, you and your staff will also propose to the committee that certain current programs, services and activities be discontinued, or scaled back, so you can charge ahead on new goals and strategies. The truth is that substantive new initiatives cannot be accomplished without taking other projects off the “to do” list. Of course, you cannot simply approach this from the perspective that you have “too much to do.” Instead, you should provide the facts and figures necessary to persuade the committee that those activities proposed to be discontinued aren’t highly valued or profitable.

Second, leading the strategic planning committee through the exercise of prioritizing will provide the finance committee and your finance staff with important direction in the budget preparation and long-range financial planning processes. Finally, by having the strategic planning committee prioritize, staff isn’t left second-guessing how and where to spend their time and energy.

Premise 4Management staff should be charged with determining how to operationalize the plan, aka “the annual action plan”: Once the strategic planning committee has finalized the vision, mission, goals and strategies, staff should ideally be the ones to make these ideals a reality. By charging staff with developing tactics to implement the plan’s goals and strategies, you’ll further minimize chances of a disconnection between the strategic plan and day-to-day activities. Further, by asking staff to tie measurable objectives to each tactic and reporting out to the board on a regular basis progress on meeting those objectives, you minimize the possibility that the strategic plan will become a dusty document on a bookshelf. Better yet, incorporate at least some of these objectives in your staff’s performance objectives. As you know, when salary increases are tied to performance, things get done faster and better.

For many associations, the tactics and objectives developed across the organization become the annual action plan, which is reviewed at every board meeting. While the goals and strategies in the strategic plan will likely remain constant for the duration of the plan, the tactics and objectives should be updated annually to reflect the changing landscape in which your association operates.

Premise 5Staff at all levels deserve the opportunity to learn why what they do is integral to the achievement of the goals and strategies in the plan: Simply put, your strategic plan isn’t reality-based if staff at all levels don’t see how they fit into the plan’s achievement. This shouldn’t be a stretch. Just as I contend that membership recruitment and retention isn’t solely the responsibility of the membership department—as it requires the association as a whole to deliver value—I believe that achieving goals and strategies in the strategic plan requires the hard work and commitment from all staff.

Your job is to communicate that this is indeed true. It isn’t simply a function of putting copies of the plan in staff mailboxes. It’s taking the time to meet with all staff or groups of staff to discuss the plan and the part they play in breathing life into it. In other words, you must make the plan “real” for them as well as give them a “real” role to play in its implementation.

Finally, reality-based strategic planning can and should be rewarding for all involved. In today’s hectic world, no one wants to simply go through the motions. If we’re going to spend time on something, we want that something to be worthwhile. Reality-based strategic planning isn’t only worthwhile, but crucial to an association’s future success.

About the author
Lynn Kahn, CAE, is president of The Kahn Group Ltd., of Lincolnwood, Ill.  Kahn has been hired by the Water Quality Association to assist with the development of a new strategic plan for the association. Over the next several months she may be reached via e-mail: lkahn@aol.com

Microbial Issues: New Methods for Detention of Waterborne Microbial Contaminants

Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

By Troy M. Scott, Ph.D., and Joan B. Rose, Ph.D.

Summary: Sources of water in both developed and less developed countries are susceptible to waterborne contaminants. As research continues, detection methods have become more efficient in making water supplies safer for a wider range of populations.

Many bacterial, viral and protozoan pathogens may be present in the intestines of humans and animals and may impact a water supply in numerous ways including farm run-off, wildlife, agricultural waste, inadequate wastewater treatment, improper waste disposal, septic failure and, very recently, by a deliberate act of bioterrorism. To properly assess the microbiological quality and safety of any water supply, methods must be designed to detect even small numbers of these organisms. This task is especially important for water systems used for drinking, recreation or in the harvesting of seafood. Many of these organisms aren’t readily detectable in the environment by conventional methods as they’re often present in very low numbers. This is further complicated by the fact many have a considerably low infectious dose, which renders even a low prevalence in polluted waters hazardous to human health.

The usual suspects
Traditionally, prediction of the presence of human enteric pathogens in water has been achieved by monitoring for established microbial “indicators” of fecal pollution. There are many flaws in using this technique, however, as recent research has established an inability of many of these indicators to predict the presence of disease-causing viruses— such as Hepatitis A and E, Coxsackie viruses, Echoviruses, Adenoviruses and Norwalk viruses—as well as indigenous bacteria, such as Legionella and Helicobac-ter, not to mention parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. In addition, all indicators fail to predict the presence of naturally occurring, harmful aquatic organisms, such as toxic algae. Commonly used and alternative microbial indicators and the advantages and disadvantages of their use are listed in Table 1.

Conventional detection methods are outdated and don’t adequately assess the risk of waterborne disease, water quality or even treatment needs. The need for powerful new tools for the detection of pathogenic organisms in water is greater now than ever, as the potential risks to water supplies appear to be increasing. Specific rapid, sophisticated molecular methodologies are available, but only recently has this technology been applied in the field of water science and technology.

Because many microorganisms aren’t easily cultured or can enter a viable but non-culturable state, current methods focus on immunological or genetic/molecular characteristics to detect the presence of waterborne pathogenic microorganisms. Gene probes are being used that are highly specific and capable of detecting minute amounts of DNA or RNA common to, or conserved, in various pathogens including Salmonella spp. and E. coli O157:H7. In addition, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as well as various “DNA fingerprinting” techniques have been used to detect intestinal bacteria and viruses in water and seafood. These genetic techniques usually require the concentration and purification of an organism’s genetic material, followed by genetic analysis by a variety of methods. A summary of available technology for molecular detection and differentiation of microorganisms as well as their limitations is shown in Table 2.

Detection of pathogenic organisms provides information as to the safety and public health risks associated with a given water supply; however, it often does little to define the potential source(s) of the contamination. Recent research has elucidated molecular fingerprints, host-specific genes, and phenotypic characteristics—visible properties of an organism produced by interaction of the genotype and the environment—that are capable of providing direct evidence of source origin. Generally, because different enteric pathogens are present in the intestines of different animals, the identification of a contamination event as being of either human or animal source would provide information as to potential health risks and remediation efforts necessary after a problem has been identified. New technologies for “microbial source tracking” continue to emerge as viable techniques for use in pinpointing specific sources of fecal contamination and their use in risk assessment and development of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). This has proven invaluable to the regulatory community, industry, and risk managers who must continually conduct these comprehensive evaluations of their water supplies.

These new molecular tools could replace or augment cumbersome, inaccurate and often misleading fecal indicator tests. Change, however, has been slow in coming. Old tools are familiar and comfortable and, as is evident in Table 2, many of these new molecular tools haven’t yet been finely tuned. In addition, a common misconception is use of these methods requires advanced expertise when, in reality, many are much easier to perform than conventional tests. Overall, use of novel technology must be encouraged so techniques can be validated and continue to be used to build a record of success.

Microbiological quality of water systems in both developed and developing countries worldwide continues to decline. Furthermore, emergence of new and more virulent pathogens exacts a significant health risk to susceptible populations such as the young, elderly and immunocompromised. The issue of development, validation and implementation of novel methods to detect harmful microorganisms in water is complicated. Nevertheless, efforts in this field must be focused so the assumption of the availability of safe water by the general public can be fulfilled.


  1. Rose, J.B., and D.J. Grimes, “Reevaluation of Microbial Water Safety: Powerful New Tools for Microbial Risk Assessment,” 2000; Report from the American Academy of Microbiology, American Academy of Microbiology, Washington, D.C., 2001.

About the authors
Dr. Troy M. Scott is currently a visiting scientist in the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in environmental and molecular microbiology from the University of Florida. His areas of research include development of novel microbial source tracking methodologies as well as improvement of methods used for detection of pathogenic viruses and protozoa in the environment.

Dr. Joan B. Rose is currently a full professor of environmental microbiology in the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida. She received her master’s degree from the University of Wyoming and her doctorate from the University of Arizona. Dr. Rose has more than 11 years of experience, over 100 articles published in the field and has pioneered the development of assays designed to detect and measure viability of Cryptosporidium in environmental waters.

Tailor-Made Coagulants for Industrial Water Treatment

Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

By Jordi Batlle and Josep Lluis Bisbal

Summary: Coagulation and flocculation can be tricky topics for the professional water treatment dealer needing to incorporate them into industrial applications.

Coagulants can be adapted to different industrial processes in order to improve the efficiency of chemical treatment. The two cases presented here, one from textiles and one from the chemical industry, both illustrate the need for chemicals suitable for each process and situation.

Factory made
The use of water in industry—though decreasing with time—is still quite high, especially in sectors such as pulp and paper, textiles and tannery. Effluents coming from the mills become highly polluted and need to be treated in order to improve quality parameters such as turbidity, chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total phosphorus content. Moreover, more restrictive demands on the final quality of the effluents have led to additional steps to meet environmental legislation, such as reusing process water; replacing dirty processes with clean technologies; combining different treatment methods, i.e. chemical and biological; and improving existing methods.

The chemical way
Chemical treatment has been a technology widely used for this purpose, as has biological treatment. The former, however, has several advantages over other alternatives—high flexibility, easy to maintain, simple infrastructure and lower sensitivity to changes.

This treatment involves the precipitation of pollutants in a process of coagulation and flocculation. Metallic salts—usually iron and aluminium salts—are mainly used to coagulate particles, while high molecular weight polymers such as polyacrylamides are responsible for the subsequent flocculation.

Metallic salts may, however, have some disadvantages that are magnified when high doses need to be applied. These include an increase in sludge volume and production, a higher alkalinity consumption, as well as a rather high residual metal content in the treated water.

Customized products
One company with experience in the field of water treatment has been developing new coagulants to overcome or minimize such difficulties while improving the efficiency of the chemical treatment process. This has resulted in a broad range of products offering tailor-made products.
Two cases in which aluminum salts have been successfully replaced by new, tailor-made coagulants, are presented in the following.

Textile example
In this first example, chemical treatment was applied using aluminum sulfate as a coagulant. During the last two years, however, an increase in production has caused operational problems in the sewage water treatment with reduced efficiency as a result.

These problems were mainly related to the high coagulant doses needed to clean the water to the required levels of solids and turbidity removal.

The dose of 3-4 kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3) decreased the pH to below 5, and an addition of sodium hydroxide was necessary to restore the pH value, which in turn increased the treatment cost significantly. Other effects were a reduction of the floc size and a decrease in floc settle-ability, despite an anionic polymer addition, with important quantities of flocs being washed away during peak periods. Obviously, there was huge sludge production and the de-watering capacity was often exceeded.

The perfect blend
The target was to obtain a cost-effective coagulant, which allowed normal plant operation under present conditions. Laboratory tests were performed with several coagulants—ferric salts, PAX-XL—with negative results. Blends of inorganic salts and organic polymers were achieved with a modified aluminum-based coagulant, which also contains iron and cationic organic polymers. The coagulant was then tested in full-scale trials, which gave the following main conclusions:

  1. Up to 80 percent dose reduction compared to aluminum sulfate,
  2. Low influence on pH; no NaOH addition needed,
  3. Improved floc sedimentation
  4. Better turbidity and color removal,
  5. Fifty percent reduction in sludge produced,
  6. Sludge de-waterability decreased and FeCl3 had to be used as a sludge conditioner, and
  7. Cost-efficient solution.

Right chemistry
This second example refers to a chemical industrial company with a fermentation step as the main reaction process, and a flow of 100 cubic meters per day (m3/d). Flocculation takes place after this step. The supernatant—or clear liquid overlying settled or precipitated material—is extracted with an organic solvent to obtain the final product. The sludge is then de-watered in a centrifuge, re-suspended in water and re-flocculated. This second sludge is de-natured again either in a centrifuge or in a filter press and finally disposed in a landfill. Any supernatants and lixiviates—or soluble constituents—resulting from these steps are also extracted to increase the yield of the process.

The former treatment consisted of the successive addition of 70 kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3) of PAX-18 (liquid polyaluminum chloride, 16.8 percent Al203) as a coagulant, 31 kg/m3 of NaOH to overcome the dramatic fall in pH and reach an optimal value of 8.7, and 0.75 kg/m3 of an anionic polyacrylamide as a flocculant. The weak points of such a treatment were the high amount of coagulant needed, which necessitated use of sodium hydroxide to reach the optimal working pH; a high residual metal content in the supernatant, and a high financial cost. Moreover, fluctuations in the pH—as a consequence of the successive addition of PAX and NaOH—could also have a negative impact on the yield of the final product.

Hitting the mark
There were clearly defined aims when trying to improve the flocculation process—the need to minimize impact on the pH and residual metal content, and increase the overall coagulant efficiency. Any potential change, however, shouldn’t interfere with the rest of the process, namely the extraction step or the de-waterability of the produced sludge.

Laboratory trials with various coagulants in the flocculation showed a good performance from blends of inorganic coagulants and organic polymers. Analyses of floc formation and settle-ability, impact on pH, turbidity of the treated effluent, de-waterability of the sludge and the lack of influence in the extraction step, pointed out the good efficiency of UPAX-33, an aluminum-based development coagulant, which also contains cationic organic polymers.

Successive full-scale trials with the aforementioned coagulant led to successful results with significantly lower doses. Therefore, good flocculation performance was achieved with 12-15 kg/m3 of UPAX-33 as a coagulant, 4.4 kg/m3 of NaOH, and 0.38 kg/m3 of anionic PAM as flocculant. The decrease in pH was, in this case, much lower than in the former treatment, which improved the yield of the final product. A drastic residual aluminum reduction was also detected (over 76 percent). This tailor-made treatment turned out to reduce the cost by up to 15 percent without considerably affecting other stages such as sludge de-watering and organic extraction.

About the authors
Jordi Batlle and Josep Lluis Bisbal work for Kemira Kemwater. This article was reprinted with permission of Steve Minett, who heads Minett Media of Cambridge, England, an independent editorial production and placement agency, covering companies such as ITT Industries, Waterlink, Kemira Kemwater and Alfa Laval AB. This article refers to 14-stage vertical turbine pumps from Goulds Pumps, an ITT Industries subsidiary. For more information, contact: +44 1954 230 250, +44 1954 232 019 (fax), email: info@minettmedia.co.uk or website: www.minettmedia.co.uk

Small Systems: Enhancing Coagulation with Calcium Addition

Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

By Charles R. O’Melia and William C. Becker

The general goal of the following project was to develop an improved understanding of the interactions between natural organic matter (NOM), calcium and particles (turbidity). Some specific objectives were to:

  • Determine the effect of calcium addition on coagulant demand,
  • Determine the effect of calcium addition on removal of disinfection by-product (DBP) precursors, and
  • If beneficial effects occurred, determine conditions under which these effects were produced and, if beneficial effects were observed, develop recommendations for applications in practice.

It was hypothesized that interactions of calcium ions with NOM may lower the demand for conventional metal coagulants (alum, ferric salts), thereby reducing sludge production and perhaps increasing precursor removal. Stated another way, it was proposed that the addition of calcium to a surface water supply using coagulation may have beneficial effects on plant operation and performance.

Calcium positives
Beneficial effects of calcium addition, where observed, related to a reduction in coagulant dosage that can be achieved without loss in process performance. These effects were manifested for waters that contained moderate to high concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and low to moderate hardness levels. Calcium addition to waters low in DOC didn’t alter coagulant requirements.

The research plan involved three phases—batch laboratory jar tests using synthetic model waters and surface water supplies, pilot-scale experiments, and addition of calcium in a full-scale trial at one water treatment facility. The synthetic waters were prepared using inorganic particles and NOM isolated from natural waters. Following the studies with the synthetic waters, batch experiments were made with 10 surface water supplies. Based on the results of the batch jar tests, three supplies were selected for on-site pilot plant testing for possible beneficial effects of calcium addition. Finally, a full-scale treatment plant was operated with and without added calcium. This plant was selected from among the three systems tested in the pilot-scale studies.

EXTRA—Calcium, coagulation and water treatment

Reacting with coagulants
The addition of calcium to water allowed a reduction in coagulant dose in many, but not all cases. Calcium addition usually allowed a reduction in coagulant dose for waters that contained moderate to high concentrations of DOC and low to moderate hardness levels. Calcium addition to waters low in DOC didn’t alter coagulant requirements. The beneficial effects of calcium addition, when observed, can increase as the pH of coagulation increases. Based on limited testing, it appears that when the addition of calcium to water allows a dose reduction with one coagulant, it can do so with other coagulants.

The magnitude of the calcium effects appear to be in the order of alum ~ ferric chloride > Cat-Floc TL. Reducing coagulant dose is normally expected to reduce DOC removal and, in turn, increase the formation of DBPs. This was observed for waters in which calcium addition didn’t have a beneficial effect; however, for waters in which beneficial effects of calcium addition in lowering coagulant requirements were observed on the basis of settled or filtered water turbidities, there was little or no change in DOC removal or DBP formation potential.

Bench or pilot-scale tests should be made to determine if calcium addition can enhance coagulation (reduce coagulant dose). Target raw waters include those with low to moderate hardness and moderate to high levels of DOC. For plants where a base is added, consideration should be given to using lime since it adds calcium while increasing pH. Where calcium addition doesn’t demonstrate a favorable effect on coagulant dosage, reducing coagulant dosage may lead to higher DOC concentrations. Finished water DOC concentrations should be monitored whenever a change in the coagulation process is made.

The authors would like to thank the 32 surface water treatment plants of the Pennsylvania-American Water Company (Hershey, Pa.).

About the authors
Charles R. O’Melia and William C. Becker are principals in Becker and O’Melia LLC, a small, independent research and consulting firm focusing on drinking water treatment processes and technologies based in Severna Park, Md. Both are also environmental engineering professors at Johns Hopkins University. The above study was conducted for the AWWA Research Foundation of Denver. Becker and O’Melia can be reached at (410) 421-5276, (410) 421-5476 (fax) or email: jomelia@beckerandomelia.com

©2019 EIJ Company LLC, All Rights Reserved | tucson website design by Arizona Computer Guru