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:
- “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.”
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.