Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

People

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

Culligan icon, WQA Hall of Famer remembered
George Klumb passed away on Feb. 25 at the age of 86. His career at Culligan began in 1942 when he moved to Northbrook, Ill., to teach science at a high school and took a part-time job with the company analyzing water samples. From there, he went on to become Culligan’s chief chemist, technical director, director of public relations and vice president and director of environmental affairs before retiring in 1981 after 38 years of service. The WQA also recognized his efforts by honoring him with the Award of Merit in 1979, the Hall of Fame in 1981, and as a Lifetime Member in 1987. Doug Oberhammer, former WQA executive director, gave the eulogy at services for Klumb. Oberhammer said in part, “I choose to look at it this way—this week we lost someone we love but gained an angel we know. Ecclesiastes reminds us, ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven; a time to be born, a time to die.’” In lieu of flowers, the Klumb family would like memorials sent to the sender’s charity of choice or St. Peter Community Church, 2700 Willow Rd., Northbrook, IL 60062.

So-Safe welcomes Piracha
So-Safe Products LLC, of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, has a new marketing manager. Dr. M. Naveed Piracha replaces Ahsanullah Asim, who left the company. So-Safe Products is a manufacturer of housings, countertop units, reverse osmosis units, cartridges, ultraviolet sterilizers and systems. Piracha can be reached at: so~safe@emirates.net.ae

NSF looks to expand in Asia
NSF International, of Ann Arbor, Mich., appointed Michael Farnsworth as operations manager in Asia. Farnsworth is responsible for establishing laboratories, developing partnerships and identifying new business opportunities in Asia. He will also act as a business liaison for companies within Asia. Farnsworth has worked at NSF for 16 years. Previously, he served as field service manager where he oversaw conformity assessment audits for certified clients to ensure product compliance against the appropriate standards, secured product samples for testing, and engaged in witness testing on certified products. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental health and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan. In other news, NSF appointed Chandana Kathuria as senior director of information technology (IT) and chief information officer. Kathuria will focus on IT solutions that support and service the needs of NSF’s clients.  

Institute gains director
The Salt Institute, of Alexandria, Va., appointed Susan Feldman as its new technical director. She succeeds Bruce Bertram, who is retiring after 17 years. Feldman joins the Salt Institute with over 20 years of technical experience in the salt business and served for six years as quality services manager (North America) for Akzo Nobel Chemicals, of Chicago. In that capacity, she was corporate change agent and lead facilitator for the chemicals group and oversaw quality policy, quality training, and continuous improvement efforts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Douglass College and a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Scranton.

Water prize goes to German
German scientist Peter Wilderer won this year’s $150,000 Stockholm Water Prize for his research on sustainable water use and sanitation. Wilderer, a professor at the Technical University of Munich, will receive the award from King Carl XVI Gustaf on Aug. 14 in the Swedish capital. Wilderer’s discoveries have helped treatment facilities worldwide to clean and recycle wastewater from homes, businesses and industries, the Stockholm Water Foundation said.

Ask the Expert

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

Under the bamboo tree

Question: We are sourcing for bamboo activated carbon in China. We’re a U.S. company and manufacture water dispensers in a China factory in nearby Guangzshou. We’re currently sourcing for pelletized bamboo activated carbon for the Chinese factory.

We’re seeking to contact Mr. Walsh at the company that you featured on your website which is located in Oceanside, Calif. Do you have their contact information?

We would like him to contact us or have his China contact call us so that our Hong Kong office may obtain samples and pricing ASAP.

Anthiony O’Rourke
Macke International Trade, Inc.
Malibu, Calif.

Answer: We assume you’re referring to Kimberly Walsh, vice president of Carbon Resources LLC, for which an item appeared on our website July 8 regarding the opening in mid-May of a new bamboo activated carbon plant in China and signing of an exclusive agreement for marketing the product in North America. You can find a profile of Carbon Resources LLC at: http://www. petropages.com/vendors/v17000.htm

Meanwhile, the company’s contact info is as follows:
19671 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Tel: 714-960-4072
Fax: 714-960-9352
Email: kim@carbonresources.com
Web: www.carbonresources.com

Hope that helps.

Global Spotlight

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

Due to terrorist alerts announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Water Quality & Health Council has offered tips for storing water to help families and individuals prepare for emergency situations. Among other things, home water storage is important in preparing for natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes and ice storms. 💧

The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is accepting applications for the Paul L. Busch Award, which carries a $100,000 research grant. Applications must be postmarked by June 1. For more information, email WERF at werf@werf.org or see www.werf.org 💧

Multi-Pure Drinking Water Systems, of Las Vegas, said its Plus-As models, which use solid carbon block filters, was the first commercially available filters to be tested to demonstrate effective removal of Arsenic V under NSF International’s recently adopted ANSI/NSF Standard 53. 💧

As reported in the March 3 edition of The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) introduced legislation requiring the USEPA to set a standard for perchlorate in drinking water by July 1, 2004, or at least two years before the USEPA’s current timetable would allow. 💧

Las Vegas-based American Water Star added 15 new distributors in March to carry its full line of beverages. The additional distributors will market the Geyser Fruit & Geyser Fruta beverages, Hawaiian Tropic beverages, Power Punch and purified water under the H2O brand. 💧

Sorbent Products Co., of Somerset, N.J., acquired National Sorbents Inc., of Cincinnati, in March. Sorbent Products is a producer of meltblown polypropylene sorbents. 💧

Water claims accounted for 32 percent of all home insurance claims in 2001, the April issue of Money magazine reported. In Texas, insurers paid out $850 million for mold-related damage in 2001. In Florida, meanwhile, an insurer just struck a deal with regulators to cap mold payouts at $10,000 per incident with a $20,000 maximum policy. 💧

HRO Systems, of Gardena, Calif., announced the launch of its revised website, www.hrosystems.com. It now features comprehensive listings of its entire product line; downloadable, full-color versions of its brochures; company news, and boat show schedule. 💧

On March 11, the WateReuse Association launched the first issue of Water Reuse News—an electronic newsletter focusing on the latest information, reports and happenings in water reuse. Past issues of the newsletter will be archived on the association’s website at www.watereuse.org. 💧

The World Health Organization introduced its latest publication—The Right to Water. According to WHO’s website, www.who.int, the publication “outlines the scope and content of the legal definition of the human right to water…” 💧


State sets PHG on arsenic
On March 7, the California EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released its draft public health goal (PHG) for arsenic that proposed at 4 parts per trillion (ppt). It’s set (technically, “prepared and published”) based exclusively on public health considerations without any weight given to practical factors such as laboratory capability to analyze, availability of effective treatment systems, or costs to address. The Drinking Water Division of the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) is charged with establishing a legally enforceable maximum contaminant level (MCL) that’s as close to the PHG as is “technologically and economically” feasible. Even though California is required to adopt an MCL at least as stringent as the USEPA’s 10 ppb MCL by 2006, the California legislature passed a law that requires the state MCL be adopted by July 1, 2004. It’s not expected that utilities will be required to come into compliance with the new California MCL earlier than the federal regulation. Under California law, the PHG is somewhat parallel to the USEPA’s maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG); however, for carcinogens such as arsenic, the USEPA is required to set the MCLG at zero. The OEHHA’s PHG for arsenic was based on a theoretical risk of cancer based on epidemiological studies from China, Argentina and Chile. The CDHS is in the process of completing a series of stakeholders’ meetings getting input from the public on the arsenic standard setting.

Author keys on public water
Writing in the June 2002 issue of Dairy, Food, and Environmental Sanitation, Susan McKnight reports that although the role water quality plays in food safety has been seriously underestimated in the past, it’s emerging as a critical public health issue. The vice president of Quality Flow Inc., of Northbrook, Ill., cited statistics that show 17 waterborne disease outbreaks in 1997-98 were traced to public water supplies in 13 states. She was appointed as chair of a professional development group on “Water Quality and Safety” for the International Association of Food Protection.

Hague takes to the seas
More than 250 people were hosted by Hague Quality Water International, of Groveport, Ohio, on a four-day convention cruise originating in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and traveling as far as Cozumel, Mexico. Hague dealers throughout the United States and Canada, and distributors from Europe attended the event that featured sales and service seminars and an informal awards ceremony. Charles Tackett, Hague’s national training director for over 40 years, was honored with its Golden Eagle Award for lifetime achievement.

Pentair buys pool outfit
Pentair, of St. Paul, Minn., acquired the assets of privately-held Letro Products Inc., of Redding, Calif. Letro Products designs and manufactures swimming pool accessories including pool cleaners, skimmer lids, skimmer thermometers, automatic water fillers, flow meters and replacement parts. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. Letro Products holds the second-largest share of the pressure-side, swimming pool cleaner category in North America. The company, which recorded 2002 sales of approximately $8 million, employs 80 people.

AdEdge names distributors
AdEdge Technologies, of Atlanta, a company specializing in arsenic removal solutions, announced the formation of distribution partnerships including a number of key distributors across North America. They include United Pipe & Supply, of Lynnwood, Wash.; Duff Company, of Philadelphia; Atlantic Purification Systems of Nova Scotia, Canada; Artesian Inc., of Burton, Mich.; Nelsen Corp., of Norton, Ohio; Precision Installed Products, of Foothill Ranch, Calif., and Howard Gilliam Sales, of Ft. Wayne, Ind.

Mich. hands out free tests
The Michigan departments of Environmental Quality and Community Health, along with local health departments across the state, have teamed up to conduct free testing for arsenic. They will also notify residents of the level of arsenic in their well, discuss public health concerns, provide educational materials about arsenic contamination, and suggest ways to reduce arsenic levels. Through their local health department, Michigan residents are eligible to receive free arsenic test kits. The only cost to the resident is about $3 in postage to send the sample to the laboratory. The state legislature extended funding authorization for the free arsenic-testing program through Sept. 30, 2003.

Product kills Norwalk?
San Jose, Calif.-based EnviroSys-tems Inc. said two internationally recognized independent laboratories have performed testing of the company’s non-toxic, non-corrosive commercial disinfectant products. The revolutionary disinfectant cleaners achieved a kill as high as 99.99 percent of a Norwalk virus simulant. The Norwalk virus causes intestinal discomfort and illness in humans such as outbreaks, which occurred recently on several major cruise ship lines. The virus is known to be exceptionally resistant to commercial disinfectants. Some of the product’s customers include JetBlue Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Scotia Prince Cruises, the Stanford University Medical Center and the U.S. Navy. The company is currently targeting organizations such as WalMart, the U.S. Postal Service and the Red Cross.

Calgon targets perchlorate
Calgon Carbon Corp., of Pittsburgh, was awarded a contract from the West San Bernardino County Water District in California for the purchase of a modular ion exchange system. The system will be used for the removal of perchlorate in the county’s well water. The contract, valued at approximately $2 million, also includes a three-year service agreement. The project will treat 2.8 million gallons per day of water for the water district’s customers.

State sets meeting dates
The Missouri DNR’s Public Drinking Water Program is holding stakeholder meetings statewide to discuss bacteriological holding times, safe drinkingwater.com reported, with an increased emphasis on getting bacteriological samples analyzed within 30 hours. The reason behind the shorter holding times is concern that coliforms die off over time, therefore, potentially giving false negative results. In effect, sample results may indicate a sample is negative but, in fact, the sample may contain total coliforms or E. coli when collected. It’s still more than a year or so before state public health laboratories will reject samples over 30 hours. Meanwhile, the Safe Drinking Water Commission scheduled these meetings dates—May 22, July 24, Sept. 4, and Nov. 13—usually in Jefferson City. For more information, call Cynthia Bowser at (573) 751-5331.

N.J. studies arsenic, wells
New Jersey passed a law requiring residential well water to be tested at a change of deed. The results are for information-gathering purposes only and not to force remediation. One element showing up is arsenic. This focused attention on best methods available to remediate it since buyers insist on correction. As such, the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is conducting a detailed study on arsenic in well water and preparing a circular on water treatment guidelines for residential wells. NJDEP doesn’t recommend any specific brand of adsorption medium, but acknowledges pros and cons of a few methods such as granular ferric hydroxide as potential tools. NJDEP’s Steve Spayd was a scheduled speaker at the WQA convention in Las Vegas.

WQA gains ANSI endorsement
On March 6, the ANSI Accreditation Committee approved accreditation of the Water Quality Association (WQA) Gold Seal Product Certification Program for evaluations and certifications of water treatment devices, components and additives. WQA submitted its Gold Seal in an application for accreditation to ANSI last year. ANSI conducted thorough reviews and on-site audits of WQA’s documents and facilities through the fall of 2002 and during the first two months of this year. WQA’s technical director Joe Harrison said, “This is another great milestone for the association, for our industry, and for consumers.” The WQA Gold Seal Product Certification Program is ANSI-accredited for the following Drinking Water Treatment Unit (DWTU) standards—42, 44, 53, 55, 58, 62, WQA S-100, WQA S-200, WQA S-300 and WQA S-400. The Gold Seal program is also ANSI-accredited for the following material safety standards for drinking water treatment components and additives—Standards 60 and 61.

International

Water crisis looms in Iraq
Red Cross experts struggled in late March to get clean water flowing in Iraq’s second city of Basra and avert a humanitarian crisis as aid agencies waited anxiously for access to the south of the country, Reuters reported. The World Health Organization (WHO) said as many as 60 percent of the 2 million people in Basra, scene of heavy fighting between United States and British forces against Iraqi troops, had been without clean water for several or more days, prompting fears of epidemics. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called a meeting of U.N. aid agency chiefs in New York on March 26 to discuss Iraq’s humanitarian situation. The U.N. prepared to launch an appeal for over $1 billion in aid for Iraq. WHO said the lack of clean water could lead to a rapid rise in respiratory infections, diarrhea diseases and measles, which are already major killers of children in Iraq.

Dosmatic expands down under
Dosmatic U.S.A./International Inc. announced the opening of its newest office location in Wamberal, Australia. The office will provide sales, customer service and technical support. The address is Dosmatic Australia, 10 Somerset Close, Wamberal, NSW 2260 Australia. The phone number is +61 2 4385 2631 and the fax number is +61 2 4385 1898. The company’s water-driven injectors are used to dose precise percentages of medicines, fertilizers, chemicals and other solutions into a water line in the animal health, horticultural and industrial markets.

Hanovia installs UV systems
Hanovia, of Berkshire, England, installed two medium-pressure UV disinfection systems at one of its pumping stations. UV was chosen as the optimum treatment process for borehole water with a small risk of contamination from farmland run-off and a sewage pipe located within the catchment area. The UV installation formed part of a $923,000 refurbishment that also included new borehole pumps, control/starter panels, a treatment building and pipework modifications.

Dow deals in Spain, China
In February, the Dow Chemical Company announced Ondeo Degrémont, one of the largest water management firms in Spain, and Abensur, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in Spain, chose Dow reverse osmosis (RO) elements for a major municipal water desalination project in the Málaga region. Acusur, the main water utility in the region, will use the treated water to supplement and upgrade the existing potable municipal water supply. The plant will commence production this month and be in total production by year-end. The Málaga plant will desalinate approximately 165,000 m3/day for the local municipal supply. In other news, Dow said China Blue Star Membrane Technology Co. Ltd. chose the former’s RO elements for an advanced wastewater reclamation project in the TaiYuan ShanXi province in China. The Chinese government has given the Shanxi Taiyaun Steel Co. approval to use national funds to build a new $600 million stainless steel production line with high purity water treatment needs spearheaded by China Blue Star.

Suntory opens bidding war
Japan’s Suntory Ltd. has put its water-delivery business, Suntory Water Group, on the auction block, triggering a battle for control of a hot sector of the U.S. beverage industry, The Wall Street Journal reported. The business, which could fetch between $800 million to $1 billion, is the second-largest, bottled water delivery company in the United States and operates under brand names such as Belmont Springs and Hinckley Springs. The sale doesn’t include Suntory’s retail brands. While low-profile, the business of supplying water jugs and coolers to homes and offices is attracting attention from beverage companies looking to cash in on Americans’ growing thirst for better water. People familiar with the matter say Groupe Danone SA is the most likely buyer; however, Nestle SA and Cadbury Schweppes PLC may also take a look at the business. Formal bids were expected in December 2002, and a deal could be announced this year.

Powwow bought by Nestlé
Nestlé Waters, of Paris, signed an agreement with Hutchison Whampoa’s subsidiary, A.S. Watson, for the acquisition of the Powwow company, a leading player in the home and office delivery (HOD) water business in Europe. The purchase price was $602.7 million. Powwow started its European HOD business in September 1998. In the last three years, Powwow developed its activities across Western Europe through a series of acquisitions and organic growth. Powwow brings together 1,500 employees in seven countries—France, Germany, the Netherlands, UK, Denmark, Italy and Portugal. In addition, Nestlé Waters acquired Clear Water group, the leader in bottled water HOD in Russia. Created by the Arrowhead brand, HOD represents approximately 40 percent of the total U.S. bottled water business.

Danone hits the HOD market
Paris-based Groupe Danone and Eden Springs have signed an agreement to create a joint venture, bringing together both groups’ current and future HOD (home and office delivery) activities in Europe. Initially, Danone will hold a 53.2 percent stake in the new organization. Furthermore, Danone has an option to acquire 100 percent of the company’s capital, which it may invoke beginning in Jan. 1, 2008. Present in 18 countries, the joint venture will have the widest geographical coverage in the sector with 11 countries including France, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden and strong local positions in Germany, UK, Italy and Poland. It will operate more than 350,000 coolers and hold a 20 percent share of the European market. The joint venture will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and managed by Mike Hecker, currently general manager of Eden Springs Europe.

Letters

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

Peeved about perchlorate

Dear Editor:
Angela Wheland glossed over ion exchange as a proven treatment option for perchlorate (see “Perchlorate Contamination and Current Treatment Options,” WC&P, pp. 62, February 2003). She mentioned SBA resin (presumably polystyrene), perchlorate selective SBA resins and WBA resins, all of which seem to be difficult to regenerate. It should be noted that Montgomery Watson completed a report project on perchlorate removal for the San Gabriel Basin Watermaster in April 1999.

Quote from the Executive Summary [of that report]: “Polystyrene resins have extremely high capacities for perchlorate, but are very difficult to regenerate. Polyacrylic resins seem to have the right balance between moderate capacity and ease of regeneration.” Two polystyrene resins and two polyacrylic resins were evaluated. Influent concentration of perchlorate was ~90 µg/L. Purolite A-850 Strong Base Type 1 Acrylic Anion Exchange Resin (Cl form) achieved 725 bed volumes treated before perchlorate breakthrough (4 µg/L) occurred. A salt loading rate of 30 lbs/cu ft was consistently sufficient to fully regenerate the A-850 resin. It should be noted that at the time of that study, resin unit cost was $125/cu ft. These resins are now mass produced in China and may be purchased for between $72 and $82 per cu ft (CIF any West Coast port).

So there are no more excuses about cleaning up perchlorate. Ion exchange is a proven treatment method since 1999!

Laurence G. D’Alberti – ChE
United Manufacturing International 2000
Red Bluff, Calif.

The author responds: I agree with Mr. D’Alberti’s conclusion that ion exchange is a proven treatment method for perchlorate removal and I appreciate him emphasizing this in his letter. As he points out, polyacrylic resins are easier to regenerate than polysty-renic, but the perchlorate capacities are hardly comparable. The capacities of polystyrenic resins are typically 10-20 times greater than those of the acrylics, with the selective SBA resins potentially reaching capacities that are 100 times higher. Further, one cannot ignore the brine disposal and/or treatment technology issues that accompany the use of any regenerable resin. The economics of these factors—regenerable vs. non-regenerable resin, capacity for perchlorate, brine disposal—are quite complex and certainly cannot be reduced to a cost analysis of resin “mass produced in China.” Instead, I would recommend a thorough assessment of the objectives and limitations of the perchlorate project.

Angela Wheland
Sybron Chemicals Inc., a Bayer Company
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Hanging on the phone

Dear Editor:
In your May 2002 Ask the Expert section, you had an item entitled “Water Software 101” (see p. 18) and answered in an excellent and unbiased way where these people need to look for software designed for water treatment dealers. Nevada Computer happened to be the first one named and we never had a call from that lady or the one from Canada who wrote you in your August edition (Letters, “Dealer Seeks Software Solution,” p. 8) and I would guess that she did not call the others either. All of us listed in the May article have software that can assist this lady. Nevada Computer just happens to offer the best, in our opinion.  

Dick McHose
Nevada Computer Systems
Des Moines, Iowa

A fan for 40 years and going

Dear Editor:
Kudos to your staff on the article, “N-Halamine Technology for Developing Nations: Providing Clean Water to Impoverished Homes,” (D. Duane Dunk and Jeffrey F. Williams, WC&P, pp. 70, March 2003).
Also thank you for your magazine, I have been in water treatment sales, service and installation for 41 years, and owned a chemical business and water treatment business at the same time. Your magazine is great!  

At my age to look forward to ANY publication once a month should be unusual. But, like a little kid, I can’t wait till next month after I have read every word.
Again, thanks.

Dick James
R.M. Crossan Inc.
Avondale, Pa.

Viewpoint

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

California dreamin’ (or is it a nightmare?)

As if we didn’t already have enough on our plate as an industry, once again, we’re confronted by the prospects of fighting legislation on all fronts in California.

Last month, we told you about the decision by the city of Santa Clarita to pass a softener ban effective March 25 because the city was out of compliance with federal wastewater guidelines on chloride discharges into the Santa Clara River. Of course, in many areas of California—particularly in these times of drought—simply running your tap will put a community in violation of these guidelines.

That was a point acknowledged at the WQA Convention in Las Vegas also in March, where it was mentioned also the city of Fillmore is mulling a $185 water use surcharge for homes with softeners. You can find a comprehensive review—the most detailed you’ll find anywhere—of the event in this issue with a meeting-by-meeting “synopsis” on our website: www.wcponline.com

Now, we find out legislation, Assembly Bill 334, was reintroduced April 10 by Jackie Goldberg (Dist. 45-L.A.) to repeal portions of 1999’s Senate Bill 1006 that the WQA lobbied for successfully to prevent unrestricted bans on softeners and drinking water treatment devices. These restrictions were included as part of a compromise in SB1006’s passage whereby the industry agreed to meet stricter brine efficiency guidelines in exchange for freeing communities to ban equipment once they met a series of conditions that showed a good faith effort to assess all brine contributors and police them as well. AB334 would lift many of those restrictions, allowing bans virtually regardless of whether a community was in violation of federal regulations. As such, homeowners would lose the right to improve the water in their homes.

We wonder sometimes if other industries are approached in the same manner as the POU/POE market and what restrictions have been placed on dish and clothes washers, laundromats, dry cleaners, toilets, pools and spas. WQA government affairs liaison Carlyn Meyer points out some are being restricted in California, particularly home appliances such as clothes washers. One market avoided is led by the Soap & Detergent Association—www.sdahq.org—some of whose members we know: Bayer, Clorox, Colgate-Palmolive, Dial, Dow, Dupont, Ecolab, P&G, Rohm & Haas, Unilever… Ironically, she adds, the attack on SB1006 comes at just the point when it’s proven effective: “SB1006 works… This bill was carefully crafted and serves as almost a textbook example of how an effective compromise with industry can be reached.” She notes Santa Clarita followed all the guidelines in assessing chloride contributors, unlike Fillmore (which now has funded such a study), and pushed for reductions across the board before banning softeners. A bedroom community without much industry to speak of, Santa Clarita has about 11 percent market penetration in softener use with much higher figures—as high as 70 percent—for newer developments. The only question is whether a softener ban will put it into federal compliance, another stipulation of SB1006. We’ll keep an eye on the issue and keep you informed. Meanwhile, if you feel like commenting on AB334, send your opinion to Ms. Goldberg at: assemblymember.goldberg@assembly.ca.gov

To learn more about related legislation in California, see:

In addition to California, we also have septic system discharge, plumbing code and building permit issues to track elsewhere in the country. The lobbying campaigns—and expense—for all of these underscore the need for a WQA (as well as local chapters) that is fiscally solvent and strong.
Lastly, we’d like to point out that you have a promotion included with this issue (in the polybag cover) for Water For People. In these times of economic austerity, let’s not forget to help organizations like this that give some sense of hope for clean water to those living in remote areas of Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, India and Malawi. For details, see www.waterforpeople.org

Carlos David Mogollón
WC&P Executive Editor

New Advances in UV Water Treatment

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

By Ron Hallett

Summary: Once tagged as a relatively unknown and potentially expensive water treatment, UV has gained a firmer place in the industry through education and certification. Moreover, advances in the field have made it a more attractive option for many water treatment professionals.


Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection has long been recognized as one of the most effective, least complicated and least expensive technologies to use for water purification. Recent advancements in UV technology for rural residential, commercial and small community water treatment applications have shown to dramatically improve UV water disinfection effectiveness and safety.

For decades, the industry has relied on conventional UV technologies for water purification. Unfortunately, the design of these systems hasn’t changed all that radically and there’s risk with problems inherent in conventional, small-scale, drinking water purification systems (see Table 1). Today, a next generation system technology is being introduced to eliminate the risk associated with conventional UV systems.

Below is a discussion of the two distinct technologies, how UV systems that treat drinking water are becoming increasingly advanced, and how safety is taking priority.

Conventional system design
The conventional design of pressurized UV systems relies on a single UV lamp or group of lamps installed in a pipe. Each lamp is enclosed in a watertight quartz sleeve. The sleeve is used to protect the lamp from the flowing water for it to operate at its design temperature. The design of these conventional UV systems has some challenges (see Table 1) and this, unfortunately, means safety isn’t always completely assured. The system may be “on” but not working, which could put health at risk. Plus, maintenance may be difficult at best.

By enclosing the lamp inside the quartz sleeve in the water flow, 100 percent of the light may enter the water—but efficiency of the UV chamber has been a major challenge for UV manufacturers. The problem of getting as many of the produced UV photons to hit a pathogen in the water requires complicated flow dynamic calculations, and any UV light that gets through the water and hits the side walls of the chamber is absorbed by the walls. The quartz sleeve in a conventional system is inherently strong from the external water pressure and allows for very thin quartz to be used; however, the delicate quartz tubes often break during even routine maintenance. Discoloration, or solarization, is very slow with low-pressure UV lamps and considered insignificant over the life of the system. In addition, small municipal applications raise what they consider to be legitimate concerns regarding precautions that need to be taken in the event that the quartz sleeve and lamps break, and the mercury from the lamps enter into the water stream (regardless of how negligible the amount).

Situations by design
Single-lamp design also seems attractive at first for low-annualized usage costs. Still, dangerous pathogens can clump together and escape UV rays entirely or, alternatively, small particles in the water could shade the pathogens from the light and lead to UV “shadowing” to prevent complete UV disinfection in many of these units. This affects proper transmittance of the UV dose to effectively inactivate targeted microorganisms. Unless this pre-treatment is very fine (less than 2 micron), viruses can still be shielded by much larger contaminants.

Since the UV lamp in conventional systems is mounted inside the quartz tube, the lamp overheats when water flow has stopped (overnight, for example) and causes the UV output to drop to unsafe levels. Many systems have been designed to recirculate flows to prevent this from happening. Recirculation loops are complicated and expensive, especially in a home environment. The severe drop in UV output can remain low for several minutes even after water flow starts again. This also limits the system’s ability to effectively inactivate targeted microorganisms. Most systems don’t have a shut-off valve controlled to a UV sensor because the drop in UV on no-flow conditions would shut off water flow and make it impossible to re-start the flow. Systems that turn off lamps on no-flow conditions would rely on flow switches that aren’t fail safe. Plus, homeowners wouldn’t like to wait a few minutes every time they wanted water. Finally, lamp on/off cycles cause reduced lamp life.

Other systems lack sensors or alarms entirely, and have no fail-safe, shut-off valves. As a result, unsafe water can enter the water system with no prevention or warning. UV sensors cannot distinguish between low UV lamp output, quartz and sensor fouling, and low water transmittance to UV light. Small municipal applications are increasingly requiring UV transmittance readings. For example, the Ontario (Canada) Ministry of Environment’s new proposed guidelines require continual, water transmittance monitoring for community systems.

In addition, conventional system design also necessitates UV sensors be mounted in watertight enclosures prone to fouling. Those systems with UV sensors suffer from false alarms due to sensor fouling caused by suspended particles, minerals and metals1.

Since the lamp is mounted in a quartz sleeve, changing a lamp takes a long time and may require system drainage and removal of the quartz tube. Fouled quartz tubes need to be removed and cleaned periodically with acid or scrubbed to remove mineral build-up. Some systems employ moving wiping assemblies that must be powered by expensive linear actuators or air cylinders. Others use a hand-powered wiper that the owner pulls back and forth to clean the quartz.

Most UV systems on the market, which use automatic quartz cleaning, incorporate a reciprocating device with a Teflon or Viton scraper that moves along the outside circumference of the quartz tube. If the coating is slightly covering the quartz tube, this type of cleaner works well. If the minerals have had time to bake onto the quartz surface, however, they become much more difficult to remove with this type of wiper. Other systems use a stainless steel brush instead of Teflon, and yet another uses a container of acid enclosed in a movable capsule to clean the quartz. Without cleaning assemblies, maintenance is difficult and must be done frequently, particularly if the treated water has high mineral content.

Next generation UV design
New advances in UV treatment have emerged that differ radically from conventional UV system design. By turning existing UV system design inside-out, water is pumped inside the quartz tube for treatment instead of outside the tube. In addition, UV lamps are mounted outside the quartz in air.

It has also been found that a higher UV dose can be obtained by using two lamps in conjunction with elliptical reflectors. This technique of mounting the lamps outside the quartz tube has proven to be a very efficient use of UV light since 95 percent of the UV light will reflect back into the quartz tube for a second or third time. Light is, therefore, maintained by hitting a non-reflecting wall as in conventional design. A comparison of efficiencies between the two technologies shows a more-than-double UV dose for each watt of electrical power consumed.

Automatic quartz cleaning devices have also been introduced to minimize and, in most cases, eliminate quartz fouling completely. The unique advantages of passing the water inside the quartz tube make the automatic cleaning device both affordable and effective. By using a built-in mechanical device consisting of a simple central turning shaft and stainless steel wiping blades, the necessity for the complicated reciprocating motion used in conventional systems is eliminated.

An additional innovation in UV system design includes use of multiple sensors capable of monitoring both UV lamp output and water UV transmittance separately. UV sensors can also be mounted in air to prevent fouling and need for high-pressure housings. Percentage of UV transmittance can be calculated with assistance of a microprocessor to compare sensor readings of one UV lamp output with output of the second lamp sensor readings as seen through the water and quartz tube.

Having lamps mounted outside the quartz tube ensures lamp output isn’t dependent on water temperature. The lamps are cooled by natural convection, which means water is always treated at the maximum dose from the first glass in the morning until the last one at night. Lamp changing becomes a quick two-minute task requiring only a screwdriver; and the quartz tube doesn’t have to be removed or water drained.

Next generation UV system technologies also eliminate the need for a water softener. Water doesn’t need to be pre-treated to remove iron, manganese, total dissolved solids (TDS) or reduce hardness since the automatic quartz cleaner works for most water conditions. As required by all UV systems, however, the water must be checked for low UV transmittance. If the water has been found to have less than 75 percent transmittance, then UV may not be a good choice for disinfection or a pre-treatment device must be installed to remove the cause of low UV transmittance. Most drinking water supplies in North America are in the range of 85-95 percent transmittance.2

Safety first
Given dramatic advancements in UV technology, how does one begin the process of researching how to obtain the safest, most reliable system available? All UV systems should be tested and certified so their dose and UV transmittance sensors meet NSF Standard 55A – Ultraviolet Microbiological Water Treatment Systems. This standard ensures the UV system will deliver a minimum dose of 40 milliJoules per square centimeter (mJ/cm2)—40 milliwatt-seconds per square centimeter (µW-sec/cm2)—at the end of lamp life, and the UV sensor will detect if the transmittance in the water drops below safe levels. Next generation systems have been tested by NSF under Standard 55A and found to exceed dose requirements by 60 percent at a flow rate of 13 gallons per minute (gpm).

Any UV system that’s used to protect people from drinking contaminated water must have a method to detect when the water isn’t being treated with sufficient UV dose. Preferably, the system should incorporate a normally closed electric solenoid valve that shuts off the water if a problem occurs with the UV system. A normally closed valve is one that closes on loss of power. This is called a “fail safe” valve since its mode of failure is in the safe condition.

Most conventional systems rely solely on a visual and/or audio alarm to warn if a problem occurs. A blown fuse in the UV system or a loss of power to the UV system, however, would shut down both lamps and warning devices, but still allow the water to flow untreated. It’s also possible a system owner may not hear the alarm if it’s coming from a remote part of the home.

Some UV monitor devices utilize a current or voltage sensor that ensures the lamp is powered. Yet, this type of lamp detector device doesn’t take into account quartz fouling, low UV output or low UV transmittance of the water. Water could still be passing through a UV system with this kind of lamp monitor with little or no treatment.

Conclusion
Today, UV is the only NSF certifiable biological water purification system. With increasing awareness of NSF standards and a related new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruling on groundwater for release in spring 2003 (see www.epa.gov/safewater/gwr.html and www.epa.gov/safewater/mdbp/alternative_disinfectants_guidance.pdf), the adoption of UV will continue to flourish as an integral component of a multi-barrier water purification system. Undoubtedly, we will continue to see increasing developments in UV technology for even greater safety and performance.

References

  1. ETV report, Trojan Technologies, May 2002.
  2. website: http://www.trojanuvmax. com/business/disinfection_article3.html

About the author
Ron Hallett, founder of UV Pure Technologies Inc., of Toronto, Canada, is a professional engineer and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Waterloo, Canada, in mechanical engineering. He holds memberships in the American Society of Industrial Engineers, the Association of Professional Engineers in Ontario, the American Water Works Association and serves on the NSF-55 Task Force with NSF International, a global certification authority for drinking water safety systems. He can be reached at (416) 208-9884, (416) 208-5808 (fax), email: info@uvpure.ca or website: www.uvpure.ca

Virology 101

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, Ph.D.

Polio, hepatitis, herpes, measles, heart disease, arthritis, diarrhea, flu, the common cold, the dreaded SARS, and many other illnesses are caused by viruses in our environment. How much do we really know about these organisms, their transmission routes, prevention and treatment? The following article is a crash course in viruses and their impact on public health.

What are viruses?
Viruses are primarily composed of a nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) strand and an outside capsid, or coat, of protein. Some viruses are also surrounded by an additional lipid membrane and are known as enveloped viruses. Viruses don’t contain the structures necessary for cellular functions of metabolism and replication and thus must rely on a host cell to aid in their multiplication. Although viruses can survive outside of a host cell, they cannot replicate on their own in the environment. Thus, viruses aren’t thought of as living things, but rather as viable structures known as virions. Viable viruses, or virions, are able to initiate an infection in a host. For every virion in the environment, there may be tenfold or higher non-viable viruses known as particles. Non-viable viruses lack one or more key structural components and thus aren’t able to cause an infection in a host.

Viruses are simple in structural composition and vary widely in appearance; some with very complex shapes resembling spiked balls or lunar space landers. On the outside surface of viruses are receptor sites highly adept at recognizing specific host cells suitable for supporting the growth of particular viruses. Because of these receptors, viruses are largely species-specific, meaning human viruses infect humans, plant viruses infect plants and animal viruses infect animals, although a handful of viruses have been shown to cross the species barrier and jump from animal to human hosts.

The surfaces of viruses are charged due to the presence of amino acid functional groups. In neutral solutions, such as most natural waters, viruses are negatively charged but, as the solution becomes more acidic (i.e., the pH is lowered), viruses exhibit a conformational shift in the structure of their surface proteins, resulting in an overall positive charge on their surfaces. The pH at which this shift occurs is known as the isoelectric point, and can be different for various viruses. Historically, viruses were defined as “non-filterable agents” because they were able to pass through filters with pore sizes small enough to capture bacteria. Today, we know that by using oppositely charged filter media, viruses can be captured from suspending solutions. Knowledge of virus isoelectric points has played a major role in the development of charged filtration equipment aimed at isolating viruses from the environment.

Host invaders
Viruses are commonly present in the environment, insect vectors, on surfaces, and in the air, food and water we ingest. Once inside the human host, viruses adsorb to the host cell and are either wholly engulfed into the host cell or effectively inject their nucleic acid into the cell wall. Next, the virus genetic material takes over the host cell mechanics, forcing it to create more virus parts.

Following replication, virus parts are assembled and released from the cell, now able to invade neighboring cells and repeat the process (see Figure 1). Exiting the host cell may be violent and destroy the cell itself, or the virus may bud out of the cell and leave it intact. Because one virus can enter a single cell and thousands may leave that same cell, virus infections can spread very rapidly throughout the body.

Infection of a cell by a virus is often, but not always, debilitating to the cell’s regular functions. Viral infections may be asymptomatic (causing no noticeable symptoms in the host), or cause acute or chronic illness. Acute illness is an episode directly associated with infection such as the common cold. A chronic illness may be slow, gradually increasing in effects and reoccur at some interval. Even asymptomatic infections can be contagious to others. Some viruses, known as latent viruses, have evolved to remain dormant in the body, replicating slowly or intermittently (i.e., HIV and herpes viruses). Oncogenic viruses are known to cause cancer. These viruses don’t destroy the host cell but rather alter its functionality, directing the production of malignant cancer cells. Viruses that kill the cell in which they replicate are called cytopathogenic. These viruses are often detectable in the laboratory as their destructive effects are highly visible in cell cultures. Many important public health viruses haven’t been grown outside of a living human host, making their study very difficult.

Treatment and prevention
Treatments for virus infections are limited and often supportive therapy—treating the symptoms rather than the infection—is the only option. Antibiotics are generally not effective against viruses. Antiviral agents have been developed to slow the progress of viruses, but are rarely a fast or complete cure.

Vaccines are frequently used for the prevention of virus infection. These immunizations are designed to expose the host to controlled levels and altered states of viruses to elicit the production of antibodies. Upon re-exposure, the host cell remembers the agent and acts more quickly and pointedly in response. Unfortunately, viruses can rapidly mutate and be unrecognizable to the host defenses even in immunized populations. Predicting which virus strain will emerge in a given season is difficult. This is why the flu shot doesn’t always “work.” Vaccines have aided in the worldwide eradication of smallpox and virtually eliminated polio, measles and rubella in developed nations. Although rare, complications from vaccines have been documented and can be severe. In addition, vaccine exposure to pregnant and other immunocompromised populations may have increased risks.

Prevention of virus exposure and infection is the safest and possibly most effective means of control for these organisms. Many human viruses can be avoided by reducing exposure factors such as shared needles or sexual contact, while others are widespread in the environment and difficult to avoid. Human viruses can be spread by the aerosol route via sneezing, coughing and vomiting; however, surface contamination is thought to play a major role in their transmission. Consider the study of a room full of people that has one person with a cold. After hours of exposure in an enclosed area with a symptomatic person, few contracted the disease unless they shook hands with the ill person upon entering the room. The bottom line is the benefits of frequent and diligent hand washing cannot be over-emphasized. In fact, scientists estimate proper hand washing could reduce the infectious disease rate by approximately one-half.

The waterborne route
Most viruses of concern in food and water are known as enteric viruses, meaning they’re able to recognize and invade the gastrointestinal tract. Proper handling and treatment of food and water is vital to the prevention of enteric viral disease transmission. These viruses include enteroviruses, adenoviruses, rotavirus, hepatitis A virus, and caliciviruses and are spread by the fecal/oral route, commonly via contaminated food and water. In aquatic and subsurface environments, viruses can attach to sediments where they’re protected and able to survive for months. Their long survival time and small size (0.08-500 microns or roughly a millionth of an inch) aid in their ability to travel long distances through soil and water.

Enteric viruses typically survive longer in the environment than most enteric bacteria. Viable human viruses have been detected in surface waters, groundwaters and even treated drinking waters. A recent nationwide survey, using molecular detection methods, found a third of all drinking water wells used by utilities contained evidence of contamination by pathogenic human enteric viruses.1 Although the molecular methods used don’t determine if the viruses were infectious, there’s much concern over the presence of viruses in groundwater as many well water sources aren’t treated.

Although only 8 percent of documented drinking water outbreaks from 1971 to 1994 were determined to be due to viruses, many more cases of infection are known to occur unnoticed.2 Typically, only acute, severe, and/or widespread outbreaks are documented. Conventional treatment is effective for eliminating most viruses from drinking water; however, various strains are known to be more resistant. Norwalk virus, one of the major causes of waterborne disease in the United States, remained infectious to humans after exposure to 3.75 milligrams per liter of chlorine with 30 minutes of contact time.3 Others have found infectious viruses in drinking water that received what was believed to be adequate disinfection.4

Conclusion
Studies of viruses and immunity of humans began as early as the late 1700s with the smallpox virus. Since then, we’ve learned much about these agents and the diseases they cause. Unfortunately, we’ve progressed little in finding a cure for viruses once they invade a host. Therefore, efforts are largely focused on prevention of exposure and infection. Advanced water treatment technology including distillation, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet light and ozone, can dramatically reduce the presence of human viruses in drinking water.

References

  1. Abbaszadegan, M., “Viruses in Drinking Water and Ground Water,” Encyclopedia of Environmental Microbiology, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 2002.
  2. Craun, G.F., ed., “Waterborne diseases in the United States,” Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press, 1986.
  3. Keswick, B.H., et al., “Inactivation of Norwalk virus in drinking water by chlorine,” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 1985.
  4. Payment, P., M. Tremblay, and M. Trudel, “Relative resistance to chlorine of poliovirus and coxsackievirus isolates from environmental sources and drinking water,” Applied Environmental Microbiology, 49:981-983, 1985.
  5. Kramer, M.H., et al., “Surveillance for waterborne-disease outbreaks United States, 1993-1994,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Atlanta, Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 45(SS-1); 1-33, 1996.
  6. Rose, J. B., et al., “Isolating viruses from finished water,” Journal of American Water Works Association, 78:56-61, 1986.

About the author
Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds is a research scientist at the University of Arizona with a focus on development of rapid methods for detecting human pathogenic viruses in drinking water. She holds a master of science degree in public health (MSPH) from the University of South Florida and doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arizona. Reynolds has also been a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee since 1997.

WQA Exhibitors Beat Odds in Las Vegas

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

By David H. Martin

After last year’s disappointing attendance in New Orleans (down 19 percent from the year before), many water treatment exhibitors felt that returning to the WQA trade show in 2003 was a real gamble. Then, as the Las Vegas event approached this March, the odds seemed even worse as the nation prepared for war. Would the pre-war publicity scare away even pre-registered dealers?

Well, no, actually. Dealers defied the odds and came out West in greater numbers than last year’s journey south—a 24 percent increase to be exact. WQA officials said there were 3,717 attendees, up from 3,007 at the 2002 convention in New Orleans. Naturally, the 236 exhibitors and the WQA were the big winners. The winning tide became apparent on the first day of the trade show when dozens of exhibitors reported strong booth traffic as dealers literally tripped over each other in the tighter aisles.

Accustomed as I am to reporting on water treatment at major trade shows, this show overwhelmed me. With over 200 hundred exhibits to see in a shortened two-day show, I wasn’t able to get around to talk with everyone. The goal was to find out only about new products introduced after the last WQA convention. If we inadvertently failed to include any particular items, feel free to contact the editors at info@wcponline.com for future follow-up. Meanwhile, I did see enough to spot some trends and report on a few things including new exhibitors.

Trends and mini-trends
This was a show of multiple technologies, often packed into compact cartridges and systems of every imaginable configuration. Ultraviolet (UV) and even ozone were often key system components, owing to heightened concerns about biological contamination and sanitation. Hollow-fiber membranes and electronic deionization were center stage along with multi-function and specialty filters in every size, shape and color. Some dealt with arsenic (As-III and As-V); many with Cryptosporidium and MTBE. This year, new water testing tools emerged. Hi-tech countertop point-of-use (POU) units, chillers and coolers multiplied, many with electronic filter change monitors. At least two exhibitors ventured into whole house air filtration and wet vacuum systems as plus-profit opportunities for dealers. One couldn’t help but conclude—What once was a fairly straightforward, specialty plumbing business has become something of a science.

Deep subjects
According to engineer Bill Laidlaw, the new GE Osmonics polypropylene depth filter redefines all previous standards for commercial/industrial (C/I) process water, reverse osmosis (RO) pre-treatment performance, and filter construction. “Z.Plex technology integrates transverse Z-Fibers, smaller-diameter fibers, increased layer spacing and a three-dimensional fiber matrix,” said Laidlaw. “This means up to 50 percent decreased pressure drop, up to 100 percent longer filter life, and up to 100 percent grater dirt-holding capacity. That allows the pre-filter to extend RO membrane life by reducing fouling from fine silt particles, and it saves money by reducing investment in membrane elements.”

Dow Chemical introduced a new high-quality, low-pressure element for commercial applications, the Filmtec™ LP-4040, which replaces many “first generation” low-pressure membrane elements. Rated at 145 psi (pounds per square inch) pressure, it fits between the TW30-4040 (200 psi) and the XLE-4040 (100 psi) membrane, offering up to 63 percent more flow than the TW30. (The XLE was introduced at the WQA Orlando show in 2001.) “You get more water, especially on cold water feed such as in a carwash” with more favorable energy costs, said Jon Goodman, Filmtec North America market manager. Other applications for the LP-4040, he mentioned, include water vending, dialysis and food service. Dow also launched its XUS-43597 solvent-free Dowex™ resin, offering the highest salt regeneration efficiency in the home water softening industry. Dow technical service specialist Jim Summer-field said ANSI/NSF Standard 44 certification is pending for the new resin, the third solvent-free resin available on the market whose development “was primarily driven by California’s Proposition 65.” Although positioned as a value-added resin, it will be priced the same as Dow’s HCR-S cation resin.

Filters for every reason
Pentair showed its newly acquired Plymouth Products line of filters, including a new arsenic filtration unit that uses ferric hydroxide, a leading absorbent for As-V that also works with As-III, according to Plymouth’s Gary Hatch. “It’s an all-in-one arsenic removal cartridge designed for export,” explained Hatch, “that will be certified for U.S. sales as soon as NSF writes protocol to include As-III under Standard 53.”

Omnipure exhibited a revolutionary new replacement filter head with a patented proprietary “key” mechanism that can protect an OEM’s filter replacement business, according to the company’s Mike Long. “This new flexible head will fit Everpure filter housings, giving customers freedom to use an alternative product. But, perhaps more importantly, our OEMs will be able prevent their customers from shopping elsewhere, locking in the replacement business,” said Long.

Sta-Rite showed its new F-Series wet-mold carbon block filters, said to last three to five times longer than traditional blocks. Futamura Chemical Industries Co., of Japan, introduced its MOF E series activated carbon block filter—a wet-molded product made from activated coconut shell carbon and synthetic fiber said to reduce chloroform by 95 percent. The company also introduced a new line of chloramine cartridges. AdEdge Technologies Inc. introduced two new POU cartridges for arsenic reduction. Iron oxide media reduces both As-V and As-III, according to the manufacturer. With similar claims, Engelhard Corp. showed its new ARM 200™ adsorbent, available in coarse granular or fine granular forms for municipal or household use, respectively. Engelhard also underscored that its Aseptrol® chlorine dioxide-based biocide was granted antimicrobial registration for use in water treatment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last fall.

Taiwan-based Multiply Industry Co. showed its multi-colored line of S-T33 RO post-filter cartridges, said to reduce chlorine, VOC and organic chemicals. FilterCor launched its Series PE-CG pleated non-woven polyester fabric filters as “an economical solution for cyst reduction.” Harmsco showed its high-capacity upflow filter using five 170 sq. ft. filter cartridges. The company also featured its WaterBetter whole house water filtration system featured activated carbon block with five micron pre-filter, all in a 316 stainless steel housing. Shelco showed its C/I stainless steel filters. Graver Technologies showed its line of Powerguard C/I filters. Housing Systems introduced a patented housing system design that takes the mess and fuss out of filter changes and disposal.

Pumped for the show
Stenner showed its Series SVP metering pump system and Series BDF chemical feeders. Pulsafeeder Inc. launched its Nutralizer metering pump. “The low number of moving parts and the fact there are no tubes to change, as there are with peristaltic pumps, makes for a superior product for a wide range of applications,” said Steve Ebersol, director of new business development. Davey showed its HS Series of booster pumps, said to increase pressure by 40-50 psi. Goulds Pumps showed its AquaBoost booster pump for constant whole house water pressure. The company also showed its Aquavar microprocessor-based pump controller. Aquajet exhibited its beverage industry automatic demand pumps capable of monitoring any pressure fluctuations and that instantly adjust operating speeds as required. Webtrol showed its line of variable speed pumps—ranging from 1-40 horsepower, horizontal to vertical—in thermoplastic and stainless steel housings.

Involved with valves in Vegas
Rusco launched its new automatic flush valve. Tomlinson Industries showed its QuadFlo brass bypass valve with Teflon seals. Hellenbrand showed its new Iron Curtain System 2.0 for sulfur and iron featuring a new aeration head design with bypass valve. STMC valve products were shown in the Good Water Warehouse booth. Norgren exhibited its lines of solenoid valves. G.A. Murdock showed its new line of Mur-Lok R/O Pal®  ball valves, plus leading-brand fittings and housings. Blue-White showed metering injectors, flow meters and accessories. The company’s Digi-Flo F-1000 digital meter provides the advantages of an electric meter from a battery power source. John Guest introduced its new 1/2” shutoff valves that feature the same simplicity as its fittings for providing a fast and secure method of connecting plastic and soft metal tubing. John Guest also displayed its 3/8” Acetal shutoff valves, available with long or short handles. And it unveiled its “Genuine JG” symbol in a new program to help customers identify distributors, OEMs and installers who carry authentic NSF-listed John Guest product made with FDA-approved materials—and not unwanted substitutes.

Some alternative answers
Haliant Technologies showed its Electro-Deionization (EDI) systems for high-purity applications from 15,000 to over 150,000 gallons per day (gpd). Omexell exhibited its compact EzDi system that combines RO with EDI. Hydranautics showed its innovative low-fouling composite C/I membrane. AirSep showed its PSA oxygen systems for industrial applications.

Hyzlyk Membrane Technologies Ltd., of Hong Kong, introduced its hollow fiber membrane technology used in Asia for diverse applications as RO pre-filtration, wastewater treatment, municipal water, beverage production, pharmaceutical and medical dialysis. Hollow fiber microfiltration and ultrafiltration are said to provide effective separation of suspended solids, bacteria, colloids, organisms and some viruses.

Testing and demonstrations
LaMotte unveiled its new 4053 arsenic test for As-V and As-III. It’s a 10-minute test strip that permits fast, in-home analysis. The company also showed its new Duo-Soft water softener demo unit with twin chambers, and its first pocket-sized ISE meter for measuring total chlorine. Pro Products exhibited its three demo kits as well as its line of water treatment chemicals. CHEMetrics showed its new (Indigo Method) Vacu-vials, which react instantly and quantitatively with ozone. Hanna Instruments showed its C 200 series multi-parameter photometers that let the user select the parameter, zero the instrument, add reagents, and measure. HM Digital showed its compact pocket size TDS meters. Sprite Industries showed its water testing kits for dealer demonstrations. It also showed conductivity meters, pocket probes, and TDS indicators along with a new line of all-brass shower filters for the upscale market.

National Testing Laboratories introduced a new “Complete RO-Screen”—a complete lab test with a five-day turnaround with results on metals and other inorganics. Industrial Test Systems Inc. showed new arsenic test kits with reagents in powder form.

Around the world with POU
Topway Global Inc. showed its lines of TGI Pure RO systems including countertop and cabinet RO systems. Seone Co. Ltd., of Korea, made its U.S. debut and showed its line of Partner cabinet RO systems. The Foundry promoted low prices with its four-stage FDM2 RO-50—$98.95 in one-dozen minimum quantities. Aqus from Korea exhibited for the first time, showing cabinet and undercounter RO systems. WaterWorld USA introduced its Proline Plus line of undercounter RO systems. Shen Hung, of Taiwan, introduced a line of ceramic cartridge and activated carbon POU undercounter and countertop systems. Lancer introduced its Pure Link commercial RO system in a compact stainless steel cabinet. Oasis offered a choice of cabinet POU systems with electronic filter life monitors and choice of RO or carbon filtration combined with optional UV lamp inside the cooler reservoir.

In other news, Alamo debuted HydraQuest cabinet style drinking water systems using a choice of RO or ultrafiltration, combined with in-line UV. CUNO showed its Water Factory System undercounter RO with automatic shut-off valve. Coway Co. Ltd., of Korea, showed a four-stage countertop filtration system combining ultrafiltration, activated carbon, carbon fiber and sediment filters. Hydrotech introduced its AquaSafe modular manifold system, combining mechanical filtration, RO and UV. Tana Industries, of Israel, showed its countertop and full cabinet POU systems combining UV, carbon and an anti-calcium treatment module. Stagon, of Italy, showed a countertop RO system with carbon and UV elements. Multi-Pure has added AdEdge arsenic adsorption to its carbon block countertop units.

innowave stole the show with a wildlife menagerie from parent company, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, posing for pictures with visitors at its booth. The innowave 270H is a true purifier combining distillation, UV and carbon filtration. It’s both a residential unit that’s also marketed to dentists for their offices.

UV and ozone exhibitors
Vortex Water Technologies showed its UV-generated ozone “bubble maker,” a countertop POU unit that also integrates carbon filtration. Ozotech showed its compact Home Bottled Water System and Surface Sanitizer. Trojan showed its UVMax system for home and commercial applications. Wedeco Ideal Horizons showed its DLR Series UV system for residential and commercial applications.

Tru-Pure Ozone Technologies Inc. launched a complete line of corona discharge ozone POU systems with models targeting the consumer, marine and commercial markets. The company plans to sell its combination sanitizer/drinking water systems through dealers looking for a more profitable alternative to RO.

Coster Engineering introduced a new look for its RO water vending machines, which combine five stages including UV. The company also showed its unique Window Water Vending unit that can be installed in a window, wall or kiosk.

Quality air from a Rainsoft dealer?
Aquion’s Don Miller says it’s true. The company has been training selected Rainsoft dealers to cross-sell AirMaster air purification systems, said Miller: “The AirMaster is made for us by ClearWater Tech and fits into the return air duct or plenum of a home’s forced-air central heating and cooling system. It contains two ultraviolet lights. One is a sterilizer and destroys such harmful airborne contaminants as mold, bacteria and viruses. The other creates ozone, which eliminates odors.” Miller said the reason dealers are embracing AirMaster is for the unusual profit opportunity it represents. Dealer cost is under $300 and they can sell them for $1,000 to $1,500.

Conclusion
The 2003 WQA trade show in Las Vegas reversed the downturn experienced last year in another famous casino town— New Orleans, albeit with riverboat gambling. The integration of multiple technologies in filters and POU systems shown in Las Vegas is a trend with legs. As such, returning for a trade show here will be no gamble.

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

Valuable Tips for Entry into the Membrane Water Treatment Market: Part 1

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

By David H. Paul

Summary: In the first installment of a three-part series, the author discusses important considerations when embarking into the choppy seas of the membrane water treatment industry. This article will expound on the first three of 10 tips for water treatment dealers to keep in mind when selecting the appropriate membrane system.  


If you’re like many utilities, looking at the possibility of upgrading and/or expanding your water treatment capabilities in the not-too-distant future, you may be evaluating the option of membrane water treatment technologies such as microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO). These technologies are significantly different from conventional water treatment technologies.

If you’re fortunate enough to have someone on staff with membrane water treatment experience, then the evaluation process will be easier. If you don’t, this three-part series of tips may be of value to you.

Part 1 here will cover the first three of 10 tips. They are:

  1. Identify your feed water for fouling and scaling threats;
  2. Select a proven membrane product;
  3. Be conservative in the design;
  4. Conduct a well-designed 2,000-hour (minimum) pilot test;
  5. Critically evaluate the pilot test data;
  6. Select an experienced designer/contractor;
  7. Train personnel very well;
  8. Don’t wet the membrane until you’re ready to run continuously;
  9. Take complete start-up data, and
  10. Implement and monitor performance trends.

We’ll address the balance of the tips in Parts 2 and 3 of this series.

Analyze feed water
One of the biggest problems in the membrane water treatment business is clients’ providing insufficient and/or inaccurate feed water analyses to the consultant or company performing a membrane water treatment feasibility study. Whatever water analysis provided is likely to later become the water analysis upon which the entire new water treatment system is designed.

Some consultants/companies don’t ask for additional feed water analysis, even if more is needed. If the full-scale system subsequently doesn’t perform as desired, the designer/contractor may say that the process was adequately designed for the feed water analysis provided. The client may have little recourse. If a small-scale, short-term pilot study was performed successfully, this would further bolster the designer/contractor’s claim that the system was designed properly for the water analysis provided.

As an example, the author was recently sent a lake water analysis report and asked to perform an initial feasibility study to determine which membrane technologies would produce drinking water that meets primary and secondary standards. The client sent a table that provided the ranges and averages of many inorganic and organic contaminants measured over a two-year period and at several depths and locations.

In short, a tremendous amount of analysis was performed. The client tested for typical finished water (drinking water) constituents. There was essentially no data, however, concerning the fouling and scaling constituents required for membrane water treatment. Additional analyses were recommended below…

Weighing the scale
Scaling causes a loss in performance of a membrane system due to dissolved solids that precipitate due to concentration of feed water within the units. MF and UF units don’t concentrate scaling compounds because the pore size of the membranes allows dissolved substances to readily pass through. Scaling, therefore, isn’t a problem with MF and UF units.

NF and RO units, however, reject the bulk of dissolved substances including scaling compounds. As water (permeate) passes through the membrane and dissolved substances are rejected, the feed water scaling compounds are concentrated. Above a certain point (100 percent saturation), scaling will occur.
Scaling is understood fairly well. There are many scale-predicting software programs for membrane water treatment. With good feed water analyses, a system is typically designed in which scaling is controlled. For surface water, “good” feed water analyses refer to multiple analyses taken at different times of the year under different circumstances, or the “worst case” analysis. For NF and RO units, Table 1 shows recommended inorganic analyses as a minimum.

While scaling is caused by dissolved substances that turn into solids (precipitate) within RO and NF units, fouling causes a loss in performance of a membrane system due primarily to suspended solids. Fouling is typically caused by living or dead particles such as bacteria and algae or non-living particles such as silt, clay and sand.

Unfortunately, we don’t have software programs that can predict fouling of membrane units based upon feed water analyses. The presence or absence of certain suspended contaminants doesn’t equate to the presence or absence of problems. There are many factors, including design ones (see below), that affect the fouling potential of a membrane unit.

Fouling potential is quantified most accurately during pilot testing. Examples of some valuable feed water analyses concerning fouling, however, are in Table 2. Total organic carbon (TOC) is important because most microorganisms “eat” pre-existing carbon compounds. TOC is a measurement of the concentration of dissolved organic compounds. Assimilable organic carbon (AOC) is better than TOC to determine how much of the dissolved organic carbon can be used (assimilated) by bacteria. Bacteria cannot assimilate all organic compounds. It’s the assimilable organic constituents that promote growth.

SDI test
For NF and RO units, there’s a test that’s a standard in the industry for measuring the fouling potential of a feed water. This is called the Silt Density Index (SDI). Feed water is passed through a 0.45-micron (µm) filter pad at 30 pounds per square inch (psi), or 2 bar of pressure for 15 minutes. The time it takes to pass 500 milliliters (ml) of feed water through the filter pad at the beginning and end of 15 minutes are recorded. The longer it takes for the second 500 ml to pass through, the more fouling particles that are present in the feed water. An equation converts the time difference into a plugging factor and then an SDI number. The lower the SDI number, the better. For NF or RO feasibility studies, the SDI of the feed water should be measured enough times to accurately categorize the fouling potential.

Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) and iron-related bacteria can cause fouling problems. They’re commonly found in certain well water. They’re sometimes found in membrane units operating on surface water depending upon upstream materials of construction and the process.

Slime-forming bacteria can cause rapid deterioration of performance. They can be found in many applications. Again, the presence or absence of fouling particles doesn’t necessarily mean that a membrane unit will experience unacceptably high fouling. Comprehensive pilot testing is the most important step in quantifying fouling potential.

Select a proven product
The membrane water treatment field is expanding rapidly. New products are being introduced, and more will be introduced in the future. Whatever membrane product or products your consultant or engineering company recommends, ask for references and performance guarantees. You usually don’t want to have the dubious honor of having a “guinea pig”-like serial number like 0001.

When evaluating references, be sure to find out the feed water and operating parameters. The ideal, though rare, is to find a nearby plant that has somewhat similar feed water and operating characteristics and note the performance of the membrane system.

Be conservative in design
One of the most important considerations in controlling fouling is to have a conservative water flux rate. Water flux refers to the water that passes through a given area of membrane in a given amount of time. In general, the higher the water flux rate, the higher the fouling rate, no matter which membrane technology is considered.

Water flux is measured as gallons of permeate per square foot of membrane per day (gfd) or liters per square meter of membrane per hour (l/m2/hr). Generally, the more membrane in a unit—given constant permeate flow rate—the lower the fouling rate. Pilot testing determines the fouling rate based upon a selected water flux rate. Higher fouling rates require more backwashing (MF and UF) and chemical cleaning (MF, UF, NF and RO).

If one bidder bids a system that has less membrane than other bidders, the projected capital cost for the proposed system may be less. The bid may be accepted based on lowest price. The operation and maintenance (O&M) costs, however, may be considerably higher due to increased backwashing and/or chemical cleaning requirements. Other important design considerations are flow velocity and demand variations. These are important considerations for all membrane technologies, but especially for NF and RO systems.

Fouling, especially biofouling, will typically occur faster at lower flow rates. Equipment that’s out of service for several hours or more at a time (especially on warm surface water) may experience high biofouling rates. Installing a lot of excess capacity needed for future use or for short-term, high-demand periods may require rotating operating units frequently to minimize fouling.

Conclusion
If you’re considering membrane water treatment for the first time, there are things to watch out for and consider. This series of three articles will cover 10 important tips. In this article, the most important tip discussed was to ensure an accurate characterization of the fouling and scaling characteristics of the feed water.

About the author
David Paul is president of David H. Paul Inc., an advanced water treatment training and technical services firm in Farmington, N.M.  He has over 25 years of experience in advanced water treatment. Paul has published over 100 technical articles and papers. He created and administers a 4,000-page, college-accredited correspondence training program plus three on-campus college degree programs in advanced water treatment. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in microbiology from New Mexico State University. Paul can be reached at (877) 711-4347, (505) 327-2934 (fax), email: dhp@dhptraining.com or website: www.dhptraining.com

Air Stripping

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

By Jeff Crider

Summary: One of the oldest water treatment technologies remains one of the most cost-effective methods of removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other contaminants including MTBE and radon.


 For years, Norway Water District in western Maine used potassium hydroxide to reduce the naturally high levels of carbon dioxide present in the district’s drinking water, virtually all of which is pumped from local groundwater sources.

Lowering carbon dioxide was important to reduce potential corrosion in the copper and lead pipes that are typically used by the district’s customers, said Ryan Lippincott, the district’s superintendent.

Still, while potassium hydroxide was effective in reducing carbon dioxide levels, Lippincott found it to be an expensive water treatment option for a relatively small water district that pumps 700 gallons per minute to 800 connections, and serves about 3,000-4,000 inhabitants. Lippincott also worried about the hazards of working with the chemical, which the district purchased in concentrated solutions. “The safety factor is tremendous,” he said. “We had to wear goggles, face shields, aprons and rubber gloves.”

Seeking an environmentally friendly solution, Lippincott discovered that he could eliminate the use of potassium hydroxide, lower his treatment and maintenance costs and improve employee safety by installing an air stripping system. In Norway Water District’s case, four Series 6 BREEZE compact air strippers and an accompanying set of air blowers were manufactured by Minneapolis-based Aeromix.

While the district’s electricity costs have climbed as a result of the increased pumping needed to run the air stripping system, costs are far less than the cost of purchasing potassium hydroxide, Lippincott said. As a result, the district has been able to reduce its carbon dioxide treatment costs by at least one-third. The air stripping system also removes radon, he added, which is an important bonus considering the anticipated strengthening of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) guidelines for radon during the next few years.

“It improved our overall system,” Lippincott said. “Our water quality has improved and we have less taste and odor problems.” While air stripping is one of the oldest water treatment technologies, it remains one of the most useful methods of cleaning drinking water, particularly from groundwater sources.

Many water districts across the country are finding that air stripping isn’t only a useful tool to reduce carbon dioxide and radon, but MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether), TCE (trichloroethylene), benzene and other contaminants are becoming increasingly problematic due to increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

“Air stripping is a very popular approach to removing contaminants from groundwater,” said Rey Rodriguez, president of H2O R2 Consulting Engineers in Glendora, Calif. “It’s an effective technology.” As a result, air stripping products remain a standard product offering for many companies in the water treatment business (see EXTRA: Stripped Bare).

While air stripping has a number of applications, Rodriguez said it has been found to be particularly effective at removing MTBE when found in water in relatively low concentrations of less than 1 mg/L. He cautioned, however, that MTBE is generally more difficult and costly to remove than other compounds, and that carbon filters are often needed to address spikes in MTBE concentrations, which can occur through sustained groundwater pumping.

Five categories
Rodriguez, who has studied the effectiveness of air stripping systems in removing MTBE and other contaminants, said these systems generally fall into five categories. They include: 

  1. Packed Tower Aeration: In this approach, contaminated water flows downward by gravity through a circular or rectangular column that’s filled with either randomly packed or structured packing material. Air is introduced into the tower below the packed bed and flows upward through the column against the flow of water. The packing material is designed to maximize the surface area for contact between the contaminated water and the process air, thereby maximizing the stripping of VOCs and other contaminants. Packed towers are used at many water treatment facilities across the United States with flow rates from less than 1 million gallons per day (or 694 gpm) to 20 million gallons per day (13,900 gpm).
  2. Low Profile Aeration: In this type of system, contaminated water is pumped to the top of the stripper where it flows into a baffled aeration tray. Air is forced up through perforations in the tray bottom, creating highly turbulent conditions to maximize the contact of water and air. Multiple trays may be vertically stacked. The contact time to achieve the desired VOC removal efficiency depends on the size of the tray, liquid flow rate and the number of stacked trays.
  3. Bubble Diffusion Aeration: In this system, air is released through fine bubble diffusers at the bottom of a water-filled tank. Rising bubbles create turbulent mixing, which provides the air/water contact area necessary for contaminant stripping. Multiple chambers can be used to increase the degree of contaminant stripping. Design variables include basin depth, number of aeration stages, air flow rate and water flow rates, and the selection of the bubble generators that define bubble size.
  4. Spray Towers: In this system, contaminated water is passed through one more nozzle and sprayed into a collection basin or tank. Spray aeration systems are typically used for degassing applications, although they have been used to remove VOCs from water.
  5. Aspiration: Aspiration or centrifugal stripping involves injection of the contaminated water into a co-current, tangential flow aspirator. Untreated and/or recirculated water is pumped into a collar and then through multiple orifices into the throat of the aspirator. As the water passes through the aspirator, the orifices act like turbulent jets, which create a large water surface area and enhance the rate of transfer of  VOCs to the air. The configuration of the collar and the type and number of orifices in the aspirator are designed to create a low air/water ratio.

Points to ponder
Consulting engineers and water treatment manufacturers recommend that, before deciding what kind of air stripping system to install, the following steps be considered:

  • Analyze your contaminants and assess their physical properties.
  • Perform a complete cost analysis comparing the difference between air stripping and carbon adsorption technologies.
  • Be sure to estimate the power consumption levels of various options.
  • Consider the visual or noise impacts of the systems that interest you. Some may not be suitable for treatment facilities located in or near residential areas.
  • Ask for actual test data to review the performance of the systems that interest you.
  • Consider what other kinds of water treatment systems will need to be used in conjunction with air stripping to ensure proper removal of all contaminants in your location.
  • Check case studies and review manufacturers’ references.
  • Pay attention not only to the upfront investment costs, but the long-term costs of maintaining the equipment.

“Ultimately,” said Ken Lanouette, president of Carbtrol Corp., “you have to consider the overall efficiency and maintenance costs.”

Conclusion
As with most things, the final determining factor in which type of air stripping system to employ is money. Yet, efficacy of the technology or method is just as important in determining whether the route you choose is cost effective. In addition, it’s wise to carry out appropriate pilot studies to directly measure the performance of the proposed aeration process. In many cases, manufacturers have mobile test rigs that can be used to gain direct practical experience and performance data.
 
About the author
Jeff Crider, formerly public relations manager for USFilter Corp., is a Temecula, Calif.-based writer specializing in water issues. He can be reached at (909) 699-7857 or email: jeffreycrider@aol.com

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