Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine


Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

R-Can adds UV salesman
Guelph, Ontario-based R-Can Environmental Inc. named Robert Voitle as an ultraviolet (UV) technical salesperson. Voitle joins the company’s U.S. sales team promoting the Sterilight brand of UV disinfection equipment and new Advanced Water Products filtration line throughout the United States. He has over 14 years of UV experience and held posts with Ideal Horizons and, most recently, with Light Sources Inc. Voitle will work with Terry Robertson, R-Can’s U.S. sales manager, to promote the company’s products and technologies throughout the United States including the Platinum UV systems.

Insituform names new CFO
Insituform Technologies Inc., of Chesterfield, Mo., appointed Christian Farman as vice president and chief financial officer (CFO), effective in December. He served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Vivendi North America (previously Anjou International) from 1999 to 2001. It’s a $5 billion, New York City-based leader in water treatment, environmental services, bottled water and HVAC. The company was a subsidiary of Paris-based Vivendi Environment (now Veolia Environnement). Farman joined Vivendi/Anjou in 1989 as controller and became CFO in 1995 before adding the title of executive vice president. Farman, who received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Massachusetts, replaces Joseph White.

Irwin earns CEO appointment
Hawaiian Natural Water Co., of Honolulu, announced that, effective Oct. 1, Willard Irwin, chief financial officer (CFO) of the subsidiary, will become the new president and chief executive officer. Hawaiian Natural is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMCON Distributing Co. In related news, Michael James, CFO of AMCON, was also elected to the board of directors of Hawaiian Natural. AMCON is a wholesale distributor of consumer products in the Midwest. Hawaiian Natural, which was acquired in December 2001, produces and sells natural spring water under the Hawaiian Springs label. The Beverage Group, Inc., markets and distributes Hawaiian Springs and other beverage products in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Cranfield promotes Judd
Simon Judd was promoted to the chair of professor of membrane technology within the School of Water Sciences at Cranfield University in England. He joined the school as a lecturer in August 1992. During his time at Cranfield, Simon has conducted research into a wide a range of membrane processes in water and wastewater treatment including municipal and domestic wastewater reuse, low-cost membranes for membrane bioreactors, nanofiltration of dye waste for water recovery, and scale mitigation in reverse osmosis for flux enhancement. He is co-author of Membrane Bioreactors for Wastewater Treatment, released in June 2000 by IWA Publishing.

John Guest beefs up staff
John Guest USA, of Pine Brook, N.J., welcomed Keith DeVoe as territory sales manager, central Midwest sales. He brings to the company over 18 years of sales experience in pneumatics and other horizontal markets. In other news, the company promoted Wally Gentry to district sales manager, central Midwest sales. Gentry is responsible for the Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan districts, and will oversee DeVoe’s territory of Indiana and Illinois. Gentry’s promotion will maximize his experience with the company’s products in the “Chicagoland” area markets where he has worked in the past.

ZENON hires Chinn as VP
T. David Chinn joined ZENON Environmental, of Ontario, Canada, as vice president of global municipal business development. He’s responsible for directing the company’s efforts to expand use of innovative membrane technologies for municipalities worldwide. Previously, Chinn was senior vice president and national director of the drinking water program with consulting firm HDR Engineering. A veteran of the water industry, Chinn was assistant director of government affairs with the American Water Works Association in Washington, D.C.  He was responsible for monitoring, responding to, and influencing legislative and regulatory issues affecting the nation’s water utilities. With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in water resources from Texas A&M University, he has testified before numerous Congressional and USEPA panels concerning water supplies.

Jones becomes show manager
Messe Frankfurt Inc., of Atlanta, has appointed Jennifer Jones to trade fair manager for the ISH North America show. She’ll coordinate the marketing and sales efforts for the ISH North America Show produced by Messe Frankfurt Inc. in partnership with the American Supply Association, Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating, National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling-Contractors and the Radiant Panel Association. She has more than 18 years of trade show experience. The next ISH North America show will be Oct. 14-16 in Boston.

WEF names next 2 chiefs
Lawrence Jaworski, an active member of the Chesapeake Water Environment Association, was elected president of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) at October’s WEFTEC show. Jaworski, a 28-year WEF member, is a principal with the firm of Greeley & Hansen LLC, of Upper Marlboro, Md. He has been a member of the WEF executive committee (1998-2000), the board of directors (1995-1998), and a past chair of its government affairs committee. Jaworski received a master’s degree in environmental engineering and bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois. Meanwhile, Lynn Orphan, an active member of the Nevada Water Environment Association, was elected WEF president-elect. In 2004-2005, Orphan will become the third woman to serve as WEF president. Based in Reno, Nev., Orphan is senior engineer and regional business development manager at Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, a firm with 18 western U.S. offices. A federation member for 22 years, she served on the executive committee (1997-1999) and has been a member of the Water Reuse Committee since 1994. She received both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Nevada-Reno.

Son takes over for father
Effective Jan. 1, J.J. Troccoli joined his father’s agency, which is the exclusive sales representative for A.O. Smith’s Perma Tank Water Systems business, which includes sale of pump and expansion tanks in addition to other related products. Joe Troccoli has been the sales representative for this business for many years. The younger Troccoli has been northeastern region sales manager for State Water Heaters since 1998. He has over 20 years experience in water heaters and pump tanks.

Two join Hydroglobe team
Hydroglobe Inc., of Hoboken, N.J., has elected Hal Stillman to its board of directors. Stillman has over 30 years of hands-on experience in R&D and technology-based business development. He will help manage and apply Hydro-globe’s intellectual property used for arsenic and heavy metal removal from drinking water, groundwater, wastewater and landfill leachates. Meanwhile, the company named Robert Russo to its senior management team as vice president of business development. Russo brings over 30 years of commercial development and water treatment expertise to Hydroglobe. In his role, Russo will continue the commercialization of technologies, products, and services used for arsenic and heavy metal removal from drinking water, groundwater, wastewater and landfill leachates. Russo was formerly the commercial development manager of a water treatment business at Engelhard that focused on the remediation of heavy metal contaminants from water. Russo has served as a member of the technical advisory committee of the Water Quality Association. HydroGlobe provides innovative and affordable water purification technology to countries, municipalities and individuals.

WQA stalwart made mark on industry; N.J. native found success at every stop

Joel Edison’s curious love affair with the water conditioning industry spanned over 45 years and ended with his recent passing on New Year’s Eve at his home in Las Vegas. He was 76. Labeled as a “typical New Yorker” in a piece written in Water Conditioning (“California, Here I Am… Again!” July 1979), Edison was actually born in New Jersey. The son of a Jewish father who ran a textile conversion business and an Italian mother, Edison attended Yale University but soon joined the U.S. Navy. He left the service in 1946 at 19 to join his father’s company. In 1957, he moved to Tucson, Ariz., as a manufacturer’s representative—one of those products was a water softener from Bruner. When Bruner was purchased by Calgon Corp., Edison moved to Los Angeles as sales manager. Later, Edison moved to Anaheim, Calif., and established Water Rite Co. Then, in 1965, Edison surprised a few people when he accepted a position with Culligan Inc. as sales manager of its Anaheim dealership—the same operation he had competed against for years. In 1969, he joined Water Refining Co. Two years later, he moved to Middletown, Ohio, as vice president of national sales for Water Rite’s Miracle and ServiSoft brands. In 1974, Edison bought the ServiSoft dealer franchise in El Centro, Calif. After returning to Tucson, Edison sold Tucson Water Refining in the late 1970s and moved to Escondido, Calif.

In 1985, he founded KISS International and sold the company eight years later. His first hire at KISS was Theresa Hawks, who is currently with 21st Century Water Systems. She remembers Edison fondly: “He definitely stepped on some toes and upset people over the years, but I think the best advice he gave me besides showing me his excellent sales and buying tactics was to ‘organize, deputize and supervise.’ That was one of his famous sayings.” At last year’s WQA convention, Edison received the Ray E. Cross Award for his “pioneer spirit and unwavering commitment” to the industry. Duane “Doc” Nowlin, of The Marmon Group, mourned the passing of a “true friend.” He said, “If anyone deserves to be called ‘Mr. Water Conditioning,’ it’s probably Joel Edison… The industry has lost one of the few remaining pioneers in this wonderful business. If there wasn’t a water softener in heaven before Joel arrived, I’m sure they have one by now.” Sharon Peterson, president of Publicom, said, “Joel has been a friend to my late husband, Jerry, and I for a long time. He was definitely one of a kind. Joel was a kind and generous person who will be sorely missed. We send our condolences to his wife and best friend, Sherlee, who was always there for him.” Sherlee Edison asked that donations be made in honor of her husband at the following charities—Shriners Hospitals for Children or Zelzah Shriners Transportation Fund. For those wanting to send cards to the family, they can be mailed to: 1505 Ten Palms Court, Las Vegas, NV 89117.

Ask the Expert

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

Question: I’m the director of a water treatment company based in India. Ours is a manufacturing company involved in water solutions. We are the first one in India to develop a water vending machine for Thermax Culligan. We are OEM suppliers to Coke and Pepsi for commercial UV purifiers for their dispensing machines. We are coming up with a point-of-use UV purifier in which we wish to incorporate silverization as an added feature. I would like to know whether introducing silver by electrolysis in water will help in disinfection? If yes, will it be effective like chlorine and ozone? Also, can I measure the effect? For instance, if I put in some ppm of silver, how long will the water remain disinfected? Are there any kits available to measure silver content in water? I’m sure your suggestions will be of great value to me.

Nisha Ashutosh
Accord Watertech Pvt. Ltd.
Shivaji Nagar, India

Answer: Regarding the efficacy of ionic sil-
ver and water, although not as effective as ozone, we feel that it’s as good as chlorine. By using electrolysis, you’ll be putting ionic silver into the water, which will remain effective as long as it is present. There are test kits for silver and it’s also possible to measure the microbial content of the water. Silver is commonly used in pool water treatment and impregnated into carbon for use in drinking water filtration because of its bacteriostatic properties. For a few more specifics to your question, see:

We hope that helps.

RO & UV in Malta
Question: I have a couple of questions. Question 1—As a final polishing treatment of our undersink home RO unit, we have always used silver impregnated carbon cartridges. UV treatment has been recommended for some time now. One sales rep stated that following long idle periods, the water will be hot for the first pint or so but then the temperature will return to normal. What worries me is the fact that, like most home systems, our system is generally used only in the mornings and evenings, with long hours of idle or no flow. Will these thermal shocks affect, in any way, the UV system components? And what are the pros and cons of UV treatment vs. silver impregnated carbon as a polishing treatment? Question 2—We need to obtain about 20 meters of quarter-inch stainless steel tube in one length. Would you know of any suppliers? Thank you for a great magazine.

Jimmy Sant

Answer: A UV system sitting idle for hours
will increase water temp as heat from the lamp is absorbed by the water. Typically, the lamp may be as hot as about 50°C (assuming a low-pressure lamp). We can only suggest you check with the UV manufacturer to have them confirm that it would not overheat and, if overheated, would it:

  • Cause premature lamp failure?
  • Cause gaskets or any plastic materials, etc., to become so hot that they may distort and allow water to leak?
  • If the RO unit is properly serviced (i.e., filter changes, etc.), you shouldn’t require silver impregnated carbon downstream.
  • UV is a good choice over a membrane as it should require less servicing and, if sized properly, will provide a barrier against waterborne pathogens. If the system is run frequently, you shouldn’t have biological buildup downstream of the RO as bacteria-sized particles would be removed at that stage.

However, UV is a good extra protective barrier downstream.

Global Spotlight

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

SORB 33 is the name of a process that uses granules to remove arsenic from drinking water and developed by Severn Trent Services, of Fort Washington, Pa., and Bayer Chemicals AG. The USEPA plans to use it in six of 12 demonstration projects for removing arsenic in drinking water. 💧

Information on Canada’s Focus–CIPHEX Ontario 2004 is online at: www.focus2004.ca. The visitor information link contains details on the seminar program and celebrity appearances schedule. The trade show (March 4-6, 2004) is scheduled to have 300 exhibit booths and attendance of 6,000. 💧

Meriden, Conn.-based CUNO Inc. reported record results for the fourth quarter ended Oct. 31 including sales of $77.5 million, up 15 percent from $67.5 million in 2002. 💧

Barnebey Sutcliffe Corp., owned by Water-link, of Columbus, Ohio, has executed an agreement with Barnebey Acquisition Corp. to purchase Waterlink including operations of Barnebey Sutcliffe Corp. The agreement is for $25.75 million. 💧

Environmental Safety Technologies Inc. has merged its offices. Its new address is: 1815 Brownsboro Road, Suite 200, Louisville, KY 40206-2111. The company conducts indoor air investigations and offers environmental testing and laboratory analyses. 💧

The 2004 International Pool & Spa Expo and the NSPI Retailers Council issued a call for entries for the first NSPI Retailer of Excellence Concept Store Design competition. The 2,400-square-foot concept store will be unveiled at the expo on Dec. 1-3 in Las Vegas. 💧

The book Heterotrophic Plate Counts and Drinking-Water Safety has been released by London-based IWA Publishing (on behalf of the World Health Organization) detailing the significance of HPCs for water quality and human health. It provides a critical assessment of the role of HPC measurement in drinking water quality management. 💧

In its June 13th edition, The Ann Arbor (Mich.) News’ Don Faber wrote a feature story on Ray Cross, WQA member, WQA Hall of Fame Award winner and namesake of its Ray E. Cross Award for POU/POE industry pioneers. 💧

Denver-based American Water Works Association (AWWA) is helping to rebuild Iraq’s aging and war-torn water system. The AWWA has delivered to the Baghdad Water Authority thousands of dollars in DVDs, books, manuals, journals, etc., to assist water engineers and operators working to restore Iraq’s water operations. 💧

The Water Environment Research Foundation has released three new research reports to help guide states, municipalities and water quality professionals through the total maximum daily load (TMDL) development process. For more information, contact Margaret Stewart at (703) 684-2470 ext. 7147 or email: mstewart@werf.org 💧

Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway announced that Goulds Pumps will continue to serve as title sponsor for the annual NASCAR Busch Series event for the next two years. 💧

Dealer looks to sue Fla. newspaper; questions linger about sales tactics

Responding to a two-part article that culminated with a Dec. 5 story by the Naples Daily News that questioned his business acumen and selling tactics, Michael Nunn is intimating that a lawsuit may be filed against the newspaper. The publication reported that a preliminary investigation had begun into Nunn’s water treatment company, Fort Myers-based Oasis Systems Inc., an independent dealer. According to the paper, the names of 72 families who may have been misled prior to purchasing water systems were released to local officials by the president of the local Haitian community center. Nunn agreed to meet the reporter, Denise Zoldan, to discuss these customer complaints at which time, she produced six names. As of this writing, no complaint list had been sent to the state attorney’s office nor has Nunn been contacted by anyone at the office. “I believe it’s going to go away because if it doesn’t, I am going to sue the (Naples Daily News) big time because they have really damaged my business… The reporter has destroyed my name,” Nunn says. He adds that several customers have since asked him to service their equipment and then refused to pay by citing the article. His business, which made between $60,000 to $70,000 a month before the article, only tallied sales of $11,000 in December, Nunn claims.

The Oasis sales staff has been reduced from 11 to just one. This allows for some clarification, says Gary Lukoski, sales manager for Tampa-based ISPC, which provides Oasis with its financing. (ISPC’s parent company, Tampa-based Leveredge, also sells water filtration products to Oasis). Lukoski believes that Nunn was approached by several businessmen who told him they could get him “involved” in the Haitian community—a growing market—and Nunn hired them without much background scrutiny. Nevertheless, the new Oasis representatives brought him new customers as well as service work. In Nunn’s defense, however, Lukoski says that the majority of the customers’ complaints have to do with equipment that wasn’t sold by Nunn but that he serviced for someone else. To Lukoski’s knowledge, the Haitian salespeople have been let go by Nunn.  

Bad press like this doesn’t make is easy for ISPC, which has been in the water financing business for over 20 years, to collect from its merchants’ customers, he adds. Lukoski agrees with Nunn in that he senses a “pack mentality” whereby certain customers are refusing to pay for their water equipment because of what they read in the newspaper article. Oasis, which has been in business for seven years, has 2,590 customer accounts, 97 of them are Haitian. Several families told the newspaper, through interpreters, that Oasis sales representatives said the water in the county isn’t safe to drink and can make them sick. Nunn vehemently denies these claims. Whether or not Nunn sues the Naples Daily News or not, Lukoski sees a bumpy road ahead for Oasis: “It’s going to be hard for him… with all the bad press.”
—Ronald Y. Pérez

N.Y. Post study: Bottled vs. tap
Armed with municipal data, the New York Post recently commissioned a study that concluded bottled water isn’t necessarily better than tap water for one’s health. Still, bottled brands were found to have some advantages over the city’s supply. None contained any measurable amount of lead, and nine of the 10 tested had no measurable trihalo-methanes (THMs), which at high levels have been associated with cancer and miscarriages. Some bottled waters surveyed had slightly higher concentrations of arsenic than tap water, which can raise one’s chances of getting lung or bladder cancer. The newspaper looked at the 10 best-selling bottled brands in a study done by the Environmental Quality Institute at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. It compared those results with a 2002 report by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, which tested for dozens of typical drinking water contaminants. Yet, tap water came out higher than bottled water in tests for lead, which showed up in about 10 percent of New York homes sampled at 15 parts per billion or more. There was no lead or coliform bacteria found in the bottled waters. None of the contaminants in city water or bottled brands were above federal public health standards set by the USEPA. Two of the bottled waters in the study, Aquafina and Dasani, were “purified drinking water”—municipal water that’s been filtered. The other eight waters were spring waters.  

Firm names representative
Appleton, Wis.-based Water Right Inc., a manufacturer of water treatment systems for residential, industrial and commercial markets, welcomes Dick Johnson & Associates of Portland, Ore., as a manufacturer’s representative. With over 30 years of experience in the plumbing and water well industries, it offers a knowledgeable and experienced staff to represent Water Right’s full line of water conditioning equipment to wholesale distributors in Oregon and Washington. The agreement went into effect Dec. 1.

GE and Pall strike deal
General Electric, of Trevose, Pa., (NYSE: GE) and Pall Corporation, of East Hills, N.Y., announced in January that Pall’s high performance microfil-tration/ultrafiltration technologies will be integrated with GE Water Technologies’ advanced design reverse osmosis/nanofiltration systems and services to provide total water management solutions to the industrial marketplace. In other news, Pall and W. L. Gore & Associates, of Newark, Del., have entered into a strategic alliance that gives Pall exclusive worldwide rights to Gore-Tex filter technology to be utilized in back-washable filtration systems for such applications as brine, catalyst recovery and wastewater treatment. Perhaps best known by consumers as a component of water and windproof clothing, Gore-Tex membranes are also widely used as a high performance filter material.

WET moves to new building
ITT Sanitaire–Water Equipment Technologies (WET) has moved. The newly constructed facility includes over 45,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space and will serve as headquarters for the WET Pure Water Products division of ITT Sanitaire. The building is designed to further improve production flow and overall efficiency throughout the manufacturing plant. The new address is 3610 Quantum Boulevard, Boynton Beach, FL 33426. Both phone and fax numbers remain the same.

AWS goes back to school
In late December, American Water Star Inc. (AWS), of Las Vegas, announced that 40 school districts in Minnesota have joined in a healthier nutrition program for their students and will begin serving AWS beverages in their schools effective immediately. Diversified Snack Distribution Inc., of Prior Lake, Minn., will deliver the AWS beverages. The first truckload of beverage was delivered on Jan. 5. The school districts have accepted AWS’ Hawaiian Tropic Beverage line as a new drink.

Tropical fills large order
Santa Ana, Calif.-based Tropical Beverage Inc. has received an order for over 500 truckloads of spring water to be delivered in the next year. The company will produce the brand in a number of size bottles. Co-packing fees during the year will average about $1 per case. Tropical Beverage, through co-packing arrangements, produces a number of brands under the Tropical brand as well as private label. The company recently signed an exclusive agreement with Vivo to produce and distribute the enhanced water worldwide.

Nicotine water gets pulled
Bottles of nicotine-laced water were pulled from the shelves of Rite Aid drug stores in Maine as legislators considered whether to ban the product, the Associated Press said. A company spokeswoman said the company removed bottles of NicoWater for sale in its 80 Maine stores in early January shortly after a legislative health committee voted 6-5 for a measure to outlaw the product until it’s approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bill would need full Senate and House approval to become law. Rite Aid, of Camp Hill, Pa., has 3,400 stores nationwide. State Sen. John Martin took aim at NicoWater last spring when he saw ads touting the product as a cigarette substitute for people who have nicotine cravings in non-smoking environments. The product is sold in four-packs of half-liter bottles, each of which has four milligrams of nicotine, an amount equal to that in two cigarettes. Martin said NicoWater poses a threat, especially to children, and carries no health benefits. California-based QT 5 Inc. manufactures the water. The FDA initially blocked the sale of NicoWater in 2002, saying what producers called a dietary supplement was actually a drug. The water went on the market after QT 5 reclassified NicoWater as a “homeopathic nicotinum formula.”

Firm expands on both coasts
Forest Hill, Md.-based ACM Co. has appointed IDSC Inc., of Lighthouse Point, Fla., to market and sell ACM’s line of resin regeneration and wastewater treatment services to metal finishing customers in the Southeast Region. IDSC sells chemicals and equipment to plating and metal finishing process companies. ACM, an ion exchange resin regeneration and resource recovery plant, is aligning itself with other major manu-facturer’s representative organizations in the United States and Canada. ACM is a subsidiary of ResinTech Inc., a manufacturer of ion exchange resins and specialty media based in West Berlin, N.J. In related news, the Aries Division of ResinTech Inc. acquired American Filterworks (AFW) of Los Angeles. The company’s products will be integrated into the Aries product line and the entire division will be renamed Aries Filterworks. Meanwhile, David Nasrin, former president of AFW, joins Aries as director of sales of point-of-use/point-of-entry. AFW designs, produces and markets cartridges, water systems and related equipment for commercial, residential and industrial applications.
Utility drops 2 more assets
Dover, Del.-based Chesapeake Utilities Corp.’s Water Business Unit has sold Carroll Water Systems Inc., of West-minster, Md., to Ronald Smith, its former owner. Chesapeake purchased Carroll Water Systems from Smith in January 2000. Including the sale of these assets, Chesapeake has disposed of all but one water dealership—EcoWater of Stuart, of Stuart, Fla.—that was part of its water services business unit. In addition, Chesapeake sold Sam Shannahan Well Co., with locations in Salisbury, Md. and Dover, Del., to D.J. and Cindy Shanna-han, son and daughter-in-law of the former owner. Chesapeake purchased Sam Shannahan Well in March 1998. The Tullius Co., a merchant-banking firm located in Portland, Ore., specializing in the water treatment and bottled water industries, acted as exclusive financial advisor to Chesapeake.

BioLab merges with group
Great Lakes Chemical Corp., of Indianapolis, announced that its BioLab Inc. subsidiary has entered into a strategic alliance with MYCELX Technologies to market a broad range of environmental products for use in pool and spa care and industrial water treatment applications. The MYCELX product is a polymeric composition that directly bonds to hydrocarbons, making them hydrophobic and viscoelastic so they can be completely removed from water and air. 

Industrial show hits jackpot

WC&P Technical Review Committee member Peter S. Cartwright, P.E., CWS-VI, of
Minneapolis’ Cartwright Consulting Co., filed this report from Las Vegas in December—The editors.

The Second Annual Industrial Water Conference, held Dec. 9-11, combined with Power-Gen International to take up two floors at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Power-Gen, as the name implies, is a huge exhibition devoted to electrical generation with more than 1,200 exhibitors. The exhibition, as well as the conference, is sponsored by Pennwell Publishing Co. Power-Gen also had its own conference; however, everything related to water was presented in the Industrial Water Conference, which Pennwell sought to expand by going beyond topics related to power generation. In my opinion, there’s a need for a conference addressing industrial applications of water purification and wastewater treatment technologies. This year’s conference had three major themes—“Make Up and Process Water,” “Cooling Water” and “Wastewater.” Although some presentations in each category were related to power generation, many addressed other industrial and municipal water and wastewater treatment applications. Pennwell did an excellent job in organizing and running the conference; the staff was well trained and very responsive to needs of the presenters as well as “delegates.” Refreshments and meals were both timely and tasty, and everything went off smoothly. Pennwell plans to “spin” this conference off from Power-Gen in the next couple of years or so, and make it independent. Next year, the conference will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Orlando, Fla., again in conjunction with Power-Gen.

It’s Miller time: WC&P sales rep reels in Big Fish story at Classic

When he’s not pitching the benefits of advertising in WC&P Magazine, John Miller enjoys one of his favorite pastimes: fishing. Well, now it has paid off for him in the form of winning a prestigious amateur award in California in November—the 2003 WON Bass Miller High Life Mercury Cup. WON stands for Western Outdoor News (www.wonbass.com), the largest hunting and fishing newspaper in the United States based in San Clemente, Calif. WON Bass has sponsored the event for the past 16 years. To qualify for the Western Classic, Miller fished in four tournaments and accumulated enough points along the way to be one of the 50 amateurs to compete. Western Classic participants include professional athletes, CEOs, construction workers, bank tellers, state senators and truck drivers.

Miller won the Mercury Cup—consisting of the top three amateurs from the southern and northern divisions—that represents the “amateur angler of the year,” according to Mike Kennedy, the tournament director for the past 10 years. By the time Miller had qualified for the Classic, the Mercury Cup was a given. “He would have to had finished about last to lose the Cup,” Kennedy said. Miller is the only Arizonan to win the Cup, which began in 1996. Miller has his sights set on another goal now—no one has ever won the Mercury Cup twice. About winning the cup, he said: “The two things that were so gratifying about winning this award were how proud it made my stepfather, Bill Weiss, who introduced me to fishing, and my mother, Marilyn, and dedicating the Mercury Cup to Darrell Goll, a longtime friend and fellow angler we lost to cancer last July.”


Veolia buys Shenzhen stake
Veolia Water, a unit of France’s Veolia Environnement, has signed a 50-year water management contract with the city of Shenzhen, one of China’s financial centers. Veolia said the contract covers production and distribution of water as well as collection and treatment of wastewater in the southern city. Veolia said it expects the 50-year deal to generate over $10.5 billion in revenue. Under the contract, Veolia Water and its partner, Beijing Capital Group, will acquire 45 percent of Shenzhen Water Group Co. The remaining 55 percent stake will be owned by the Shenzhen municipal government. Veolia Envi-ronnement manages water services projects in several Chinese cities including Shanghai, Tianjin, Qingdao, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Coca-Cola says ‘oui’ at last
Coca-Cola will enter the French bottled water market this spring with its Dasani brand. Meanwhile, Dasani will be sold in Britain as purified water beginning in February. Yet, the Dasani sold in France will be a non-carbonated natural mineral water. Coca-Cola has been operating since 1933 in France, where it markets a range of soft drinks, fruit juices, teas and sports drinks with annual sales of $1.6 billion. One of the more sought-after markets is Western Europe, where 38 gallons of bottled water are consumed per capita per year. Coca-Cola has been active in the sector since 1986 and hopes to gain ground against giants Nestlé—which markets such brands as Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Perrier, Contrex, Vittel and San Pellegrino—and Danone of France, which sells Evian, Acqua, Volvic, Badoit and other brands.

Trojan buys peroxide maker
Ontario, Canada-based Trojan Technologies Inc. has acquired a 51 percent interest in US Peroxide LLC, of Laguna Niguel, Calif. US Peroxide is the largest North American supplier of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) for environmental service applications and also offers equipment and services related to hydrogen peroxide. An oxidant, hydrogen peroxide is used for odor reduction and corrosion control in municipal wastewater treatment applications. Trojan uses hydrogen peroxide in its existing environmental contaminant treatment solutions, which are designed to reduce chemicals found in contaminated water supplies.

Water unsafe in Pakistan
A national water quality monitoring survey has shown at least 21 Pakistani cities supply polluted water unfit for consumption, according to officials. The National Water Quality Monitoring Program was launched in the spring of 2001 with the objective of establishing a permanent water quality monitoring network in the country to observe changes in surface water and groundwater quality. The country’s six main rivers along with dams, reservoirs, natural lakes and two major drainage areas were also included in the survey. Overall, almost 50 percent of water samples in 17 cities were found unfit for human consumption. The remaining four cities had supplies that were also bacterially contaminated and considered unsafe for human consumption. Arsenic and lead were found in considerable quantities in the samples. For more information, see www.most.gov.pk/frames/organizations/PCRWR.htm

Echo slashes 20 jobs
Toronto, Canada-based Echo Springs Water Corp. is cutting 20 jobs and ending several leases and supplier contracts as the insolvent water bottler works to restructure its business. The company, operating under bankruptcy court protection, also agreed to out-source its production to CJC Bottling Ltd., a supplier of private-label bottled water based in Grafton, Ontario. Echo Springs markets water in Canada and the United States under its Echo Springs and Canada’s Choice brands as well as private label brands.

Cryptosporidium case settled in Saskatchewan
A $425,000, out-of-court settlement was reached with a group of about 100 people made ill by a parasite in their drinking water in Saskatchewan, Cana-da, two years ago. The settlement comes on the heels of a $3.2 million settlement reached with another group of about 700 people last August. Both settlements include compensation for pain and suffering, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses and legal fees. Costs will be shared equally between the province and the city of North Battleford. Payments will be made to individuals based on the extent of their suffering. An estimated 7,000 people experienced vomiting, diarrhea and high fever in 2001 when Cryptospo-ridium got into North Battleford’s drinking water after maintenance work was done on a filter at the treatment plant. Lab tests confirmed 361 cases of the illness. No one died. It was later learned the city’s water treatment plant hadn’t been inspected by the province for 10 years.

B.C.: Canada’s worst water
British Columbia has some of the worst drinking water in Canada and some of the country’s lowest standards governing quality, provincial reports show. At least 29 waterborne disease outbreaks were confirmed since 1980, caused by such microorganisms as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, toxoplasma and Campylobacter. The provincial government is working on a “drinking water action plan” in which 3,500 source-to-tap water systems across the province will be studied. Results, including fixes, will take five to 10 years to implement. Water systems in Vancouver and Victoria were found to be of good quality and will improve as new systems are put in place. A new $500 million water filtration plant is being built in North Vancouver using ultraviolet light to disinfect drinking water. A $40 million ozone water treatment plant opened in Coquitlam last year. It’s smaller, older systems run by people with little training that are at risk. The United States, Quebec and Ontario have roughly 80 standards governing chemical and other contaminates while B.C. has only three.


Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

Wells: a deeper answer

Dear editor:
Thanks for an interesting article (see “When Your Customer’s Water Well Can’t Keep Up—A New Look at an Old Problem,” WC&P, December 2003, pp. 28).

It appears that Figures 1 and 2 got reversed? (Correction runs of page 14.) In the pressure tank example, the author states “the well pump will not come on to replace any of the water used from storage until nearly all the stored water is used.” That depends on how the well tanks are set up. A typical setup for a higher yield well will have the air charge in the tank set close to the cut in pressure of the pump and the author is correct. However, pressure tanks can, and have been, set up where this is not at all true. In one installation, a pressure tank was originally set up to run between 30/50 psig with the air pre-charge at 28 psig. At that pressure range, the (86 gallon pressure) tank held 29.2 gallons with only 2.8 gallons in reserve. The well was low yield, so extra stored water was desirable for that reason and extra water during power outages. Setting the pressure switch at 50/70 and the air precharge at 30 psig meant, when the pump turned on at 50 psig, there was still water in the tank, which was available to be delivered to meet demand. In this installation, the volume held between 50/70 psig is 14 gallons and the reserve volume held between 30/50 psig is 26.5 gallons (total: 40.5 gallons). Obviously, if three tanks were used, as shown in the article, you’d have a total of about 121.5 gallons of usable water [(14+26.5) x 3 = 121.5)]. With three tanks set up like that, the pump will turn on after 42 gallons (14×3) of water have been used still leaving 79.5 gallons (26.5 x 3) in reserve! With this higher pressure set up, the well pump runs more frequently and pumps less each time (same idea as the atmospheric tank) since there’s less water held in the tank between 50/70 than between 20/40 psig. At the higher pressure range, pump output is reduced so excessive start/stops on the pump are prevented.

It should be noted that the atmospheric storage option has a few drawbacks:

  1. Since the atmospheric tanks need to be vented they can get contaminated (airborne bacteria, viruses and mold) unless a sub micron air filter is installed and maintained. (It is hard to tell from the picture in the article whether one is installed.)
  2. Higher energy usage. (Once the water is pumped into the atmospheric tanks, another pump needs to be added to deliver the water to the house.)
  3. Added expense of extra pump and associated controls.

For extremely low-yield wells, atmospheric storage tanks may be the only option—but many wells with low yield can be successfully handled by pressure tanks. My advice would be to review each installation looking at both options to pick the optimum solution for the customer.

David Beretta, Senior Product Engineer
Amtrol Inc.
West Warwick, R.I.

The author responds: Of course, Mr. Beretta is correct both about the mislabeling of Figures 1 & 2 [Our apologies; see corrected version online—Eds.] and ability of pressure tanks to hold water in reserve when the pressure switch settings and air charge are as he suggests. With a set-up as detailed in his letter, there’s more of a safety margin when the well pump comes on and withdrawals from the well are smaller and more frequent, which is a good thing when well yield is low.

Still, there’s no way to schedule withdrawals from the well and no way to prevent over-pumping (pumping the well down). As many geologists will tell you, over-pumping can lead to the early demise of a well. In addition, plumbing performance will deteriorate the longer demand continues because pumps of the size most often installed in low-yield wells cannot provide the flow rates required to make a modern plumbing system function properly and their capacity to deliver will diminish as the water level in the well recedes.

Timed pumping systems don’t over-pump wells when they’re set to collect at a rate equal to or less than the well yield and collecting water this way can keep a well producing as long as necessary—up to and including 1,440 minutes per day.

Dave correctly points out atmospheric tanks need to be vented, but so do wells. The suggestion that water in atmospheric storage leads to contamination from airborne bacteria, viruses and mold is one that I hear often. Rather than start a debate as to whether or not this is true, let’s look at the dynamics of a low-yield well.

When a low-yield well is pumped, the water level drops fairly rapidly. The greater the pump capacity and the poorer the yield, the faster the water level drops. If you think about the receding water as a 6-inch diameter piston being withdrawn from a 6-inch diameter bore (the well), you quickly realize the well must be vented or the pressure in it will drop into the negative numbers, making it more and more difficult for the pump to withdraw water. That’s why well caps have vents in them.

A well with a 10-gpm yield and a 10-gpm pump doesn’t draw in much air because the water level stays relatively constant. A 10-gpm pump in a 1-gpm well is a different story. Water levels can vary greatly, drawing in air when the pump runs and expelling it when the pump shuts off and the static level rises.

The air a well breathes passes through screened openings in the underside of most well caps—too often only inches above the ground and frequently overgrown with grass and weeds. There’s no sub-micron air filter involved in this arrangement and there’s very little to prevent airborne bacteria, viruses, mold, lawn care chemicals, fertilizers, fumes from lawn mower and weed whip motors, and many other contaminants from being drawn in with the air.

If water in atmospheric storage is contaminated in this way, then so is the water in a low-yield well operated with a pressure tank. I don’t believe either is necessarily the case. Contamination in aboveground atmospheric storage most often originates in the well water itself and becomes a problem because too much storage is provided. When large amounts of water are held for long periods in an inactive tank—especially when exposed to the sun—water warms and growth begins. In time-based pumping, water is added to storage at regular intervals keeping the tank cool and active and, if storage is properly sized, the entire content is turned over at least once per day. The vents in the atmospheric tanks pictured are screened in the same manner as a well cap, elevated and in view at all times. We have atmospheric storage systems in operation for many years and the water in their tanks is as clear as it was on day one. There are others that showed signs of contamination with iron bacteria, or some other biological agent that needed to be addressed. Because the owners could see their water these problems were detected immediately and resolved quickly. Problems like this often go unnoticed in well systems operated by pressure tanks.

Mr. Beretta’s assertion that this kind of system requires more energy (electricity) is also correct. However, cost of operation is a secondary consideration for those tired of running out of water or just fed up with poor plumbing performance. And I would agree with his statement that atmospheric storage systems are more expensive than adding a pressure tank—but experience demonstrates it’s difficult, often impossible, to address the health of a well and make plumbing perform as it should using a low-yield well unless you separate the collection and delivery processes. To date, we’ve been unable to come up with a way to do that using one pump.

In conclusion, I would like to say we’re in agreement on two more points:

  1. Always look at all the options and select a system that will provide the performance your customer is looking for, and

 Amtrol makes a great product (we use lots of their tanks).

J. Andrew Reid, CEO
Reid Plumbing Products, LLC
Hopewell, N.J.

Sharing housing statistics

Dear Editor:
In the article on “Shared Mail” by David Martin in the December issue, it states that Advo distributes “mailers to over 60 million households weekly, reaching nine percent of the households in… the top 150 markets.” With a population of nearly 300 million in the US, either the 60 million or the 9% must be incorrect, or the households outside the 150 top markets are completely saturated.

Alan Sayler
Sayler WaterCare
St. Petersburg, Fla.

Editor’s note: Actually, the figure was correct. The issue was not population, but households. As pointed out in U.S. Census Bureau reports, the number of U.S. households totaled 106.3 million1 in 2001 and is projected to reach 115 million by 2010.2  The nine percent refers to the top 150 markets, not the entire country or the “60 million.” To be fair, though, I had to look at the question a couple of times before figuring out what you were trying to point out was a bit off. We’ll try to be more clear in how we present such data. Thanks for the tip.

  1. “American Housing Survey,” (see National Data, 2001, Introductory Characteristics, All Housing), U.S. Census Bureau, April 8, 2003: www.census.gov/hhes/www/ahs.html
  2. Current Population Reports: Projections of the Number of Households and Families in the United States—1995-2010,” Document No. P25-1129, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census, April 1996: www.census. gov/prod/1/pop/p25-1129.pdf

Corrections: In WC&P’s December issue (“When Your Customer’s Water Well Can’t Keep Up: A New Look at an Old Problem”), captions for Figures 1 and 2 were reversed on pages 29 and 31. Also, in the January issue, a table was incorrectly labeled in Evan Koslow’s article, “Carbon Breakthrough: New Microbiological Reduction Capabilities Overcome Market Barriers.” It should have read, “Table 1. Microbiological reduction targets.” We apologize for any confusion. These are corrected in the online versions of the articles.

The Waters of Jamaica

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

By Dick Chmielewski

Summary: According to PAHO’s Evaluation 2000 report, 80.52 percent of Jamaica’s population had access to drinking water, second from the bottom among the eight largest islands in the Caribbean. A “2002 Water Poverty Index,” comparing 147 countries, ranked it 73rd overall—again, second to last among those same islands (resources, 79th; access, 45th; capacity, 59th; use, 122nd; environment, 124th). Needless to say, there are challenges.

Jamaica, the third largest island in the Caribbean, is blessed with abundant water supplies compared to several other island countries.

Discovered by Columbus on his second voyage in 1494, it’s a tropical island located approximately 90 miles south of Cuba, and comprises 4,411 square miles with a population of approximately
2.7 million inhabitants. The capital, Kingston, is the island’s largest city with a population of approximately 700,000. Located on the southeast coast, Kingston has one of the largest and most active harbors in the Caribbean region. Major tourist areas are located on both the north (Ocho Rios and Montego Bay) and west coasts (Negril). Agriculture remains a major employer and is responsible for significant export products. Major crops include sugar cane, coffee (Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is considered perhaps the world’s finest) and bananas. Other industries include bauxite (aluminum ore commonly formed in deeply weathered rocks) and—naturally—tourism.

True blue
While limited, Jamaica can be justifiably proud that, among the Caribbean countries, its water supply is considered the safest and most reliable. Jamaica has been free from major outbreaks in waterborne diseases such as cholera, Giardia and hemitha-loids. Residents and tourists can be confident that the water from essentially any potable supply is safe and disease-free.

The topography of the island is dominated by the John Crow and Blue Mountains located in the eastern parishes of Portland and St. Thomas, respectively. These mountains, which are primarily preserved by a national park, rise in elevation from 3,281 to 7,382 feet—1,000 to 2,250 meters. This mountain range, volcanic in origin, is sufficiently high and brings significant rainfall to the eastern and northern portions of the island. The average annual rainfall along the northeastern slopes of the Blue Mountains ranges from 118 to 197 inches (300-500 cm) while the southern coastal plains generally get less than 59 inches (150 cm). The island-wide average rainfall is nearly 80 inches (200 cm). Jamaica is regularly subject to tropical storms and occasional hurricanes, which are characterized by intense rainfall capable of causing localized flooding.

Relying on groundwater
The water balance for the island is shown in Table 1. As shown, the estimated usage in 2000 was just under 1,500 millions of centimeters per year (mcm/yr). This represents only about 7 percent of the annual rainfall. In terms of usage, agriculture dominates the water consumption with current demand taking 80 percent of water produced. In terms of supply, groundwater makes up the greatest reliable resource. This occurs primarily because of the hydrogeology of Jamaica. Much of the island consists of limestone (60 percent) with high permeability and significant karstification, the solution of rocks (typically limestone) by rain water, producing fissures, sinkholes and underground streams and caverns.

Another 15 percent of the land mass consists of alluvial deposits, most of which contain significant groundwater aquifers. The balance of the land mass, primarily the mountain ranges, is volcanic in origin and not suitable for storing water. Natural springs are common along much of the island including the aptly named town of Porous, where heavy rainfalls can lead to emergence of surface water in nearly any location. While there are a number of rivers and streams, as shown by the large surface runoff, the utilization of this surface water supply hasn’t been extensively practiced. The generally available good quality groundwater has been exploited to a larger extent.

Typical water quality for both groundwater and surface water is shown in Table 2. The relative good quality, reliability and advantage of not having to treat groundwater (except for chlorination) have led to it being the primary water supply for Jamaica. It’s estimated that approximately 90 percent of the current usage is groundwater.
Water quality
One developing concern for Jamaica is the potential for contamination of its groundwater resources. In the past, the prevalence of individual, onsite sewage treatment systems (septic tanks and adsorption pits) has lead to areas with nitrate contamination. Currently, while nearly 100 percent of the population is served by treated drinking water, only about a quarter of the population is connected to municipal sewage systems. As Jamaica develops, modern sewage treatment systems are being installed and groundwater systems are routinely monitored for evidence of contamination by nitrates, phosphates and other contaminants. Another concern in the coastal areas is seawater intrusion caused by over-pumping of the aquifers. This situation is being addressed by an established permit system, which regulates the groundwater withdrawal to control over pumping.

As seen in Table 2, water can be classified as hard to very hard with the primary constituents being calcium, magnesium and sodium bicarbonates. There are generally low levels of chlorides, sulfates and nitrates. The high hardness isn’t unexpected considering the extensive limestone geology of much of the island. Occasionally, one finds a spring water supply with soft water but most Jamaican waters can be classified as hard.

Water treatment and supply
For groundwater sources, treatment consists of chlorination. For surface supplies, the treatment process consists of filtration and generally slow sand filtration followed by chlorination. The public supplies are developed, owned and operated by either the National Water Commission (NWC) or local parish councils. Jamaica is comprised of 14 parishes, which are the local governing body roughly equivalent to counties in America. Administratively, parishes are run by the local Parish Council with councilmen and women elected in local elections. For the most part, the councils are responsible for the majority of the smaller capacity rural water systems on the island. These are typically small capacity wells, entombed springs or water catchments, which are treated with chlorine and pumped and/or stored for local use.

The NWC as the name implies is a quasi-government agency, which owns and operates larger water systems in Jamaica. It’s set up as a statutory agency and falls under the providence of the Ministry of Water and Housing, which is a national agency; however, it operates under its own budget and performs similar to a regulated water utility in the United States. There are a few private water suppliers providing public water, all of which are small in capacity.

Meeting the criteria
Whatever the management and ownership, the water is required to meet Jamaica’s Water Quality Criteria, which generally conform to World Health Organization (WHO) standards for purity. Water is routinely tested by the water provider and local health inspectors. The Ministry of Health—which is charged with developing the water quality standards and the monitoring of water quality—performs water testing in its environmental health laboratory, which is a part of the National Health Laboratory in Kingston.

Most industrial uses, including hotels, beverage bottlers, breweries, power generation stations, etc., require treatment. Industrial softeners are common as are reverse osmosis (RO) systems. For production of boiler feed water, RO/DI (deionization) systems are also common. Most of these industrial systems—especially the larger ones—are sourced either through the United States or the United Kingdom.

There exists in Jamaica a handful of companies capable of providing water treatment equipment and support services such as ion exchange resin, RO membranes and water treatment chemicals. When larger projects are required, these local companies may partner or represent larger equipment suppliers from outside the island. Most large projects such as power plant or industrial boiler systems have high enough visibility to be identified and pursued by American or multinational water treatment companies.

For the residential market, household water softeners are available and typically standard in the luxury custom home market. These systems are typically imported into Jamaica by U.S. suppliers. For the average Jamaican, water heaters and washing machines are luxuries, so the market for household softening hasn’t developed beyond the luxury home market. With an average air temperature of 82°F (28°C), water heaters or home heating systems aren’t common. Jamaica is blessed with abundant water supplies, and the government of Jamaica—through the NWC and various parish councils—has endeavored to provide safe drinking water to most, if not all, of its citizens and visitors.

About the author

Dick Chmielewski is currently serving a term as a senior sanitary engineer with the U.S. Peace Corps assigned to the Ministry of Health in Kingston, Jamaica. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of California and has more than 25 years experience in the water industry, specializing in membrane systems and ion exchange technologies as well as conventional treatment systems. Chmielewski is working on water quality issues as well as design and inspection of wastewater systems. He previously worked for ResinTech, Hydranautics and Memcor. He can be reached at email: chmielewski@moh.gov.jm

Wanted—A Few Good Salespeople in Big Sky Country: Pettyjohn’s TheWater Store Inc., of Kalispell, Mont.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

By Ronald Y. Pérez, WC&P Managing Editor

Pettyjohn’s The Water Store Inc.
124 2nd Street W
P.O. Box 153
Kalispell, MT 59903-0153
(406) 755-3674; (406) 755-3888 (fax)
email: PWS@centurytel.net
Co-owners: Gary J. Fetveit, CWS-II, and Malcolm Pettyjohn
Founded: 1957
Staff: 9
Sales: Down 10 percent in 2003 vs. 2002; expecting a 20 percent increase this year over 2003
Quotable: “One struggle has been getting the business restructured. Once you get to a certain level, if you don’t move forward, you move backward. So, you have to create the structure to move forward. None of us here are highly organized so it has been difficult. Also, getting people that want to work… and that’s pretty much standard throughout the industry.”
—Gary Fetveit, CWS-II

Before he picks up the phone in his office to speak with a reporter, Gary Fetveit, CWS-II, puts down a pile of résumés he has received over the last couple of weeks. For Fetveit and his company—Pettyjohn’s The Water Store Inc., of Kalispell, Mont.—which he co-owns with his brother-in-law, Malcolm Pettyjohn, the task of finding good help has been an arduous one.

In fact, according to Fetveit, not being able to employ qualified people for staff openings—in particular, salespeople positions—was the primary reason why revenues for 2003 were down 10 percent from the previous year: “We just had a lack of personnel to cover all the activity that’s going on over here.” He accentuates this point by stating that the Kalispell region is “a booming area of baby boomers who are wanting to retire and this is one of the places they are going to want to come to because we have skiing, the Glacier National Park, wilderness… It’s just a beautiful area with a big lake.”

…Got to wear shades
And then, displaying his customary optimistic outlook, Fetveit says, “Actually, the outlook for the future in the next 10 to 15 years is quite bright.” How bright? Fetveit says he expects a 20 percent increase in revenues this year over 2003.

The Water Store, founded by Fetveit’s father-in-law in 1957, offers customers many areas of water treatment technologies/products such as bottled water, water softening and water purification. In addition, Fetveit plans to explore the possibilities of ice machines, water vending and private label bottling in the near future.  

Whereas the original founder of the company began the business out of his home, The Water Store now boasts a 3,000-square-foot facility that houses its showroom, offices, service area and a small bottling plant. More than anything else, the business relies on its water softeners and reverse osmosis (RO) units to carry the load of the company’s fiscal health.

Spreading the word
“People have become more aware of their water than what it used to be,” Fetveit, 49, says. “We spent a lot of years educating people because they used to say, ‘I’ve been drinking this water forever and it hasn’t killed me yet.’ But now we’ve noticed the market is much more aware.” The media, he adds, has been the major reason for such heightened awareness, whether reporting has been good or bad.

As a water treatment dealer with a special emphasis on Kinetico equipment, Fetveit also relies on ultraviolet lights from Trojan Technologies and Aquafine as well as Ametek filters. Meanwhile, bottling products are purchased from Sun Pacific and Sunroc (which is now owned by Oasis). At The Water Store, being flexible to meet customer needs is job No. 1, Fetveit says: “To be here and away from everything, we have to be pretty diversified and try to get the products needed in our area.”

If a manufacturer treats him and the business well, Fetveit is not adverse to paying a few dollars more for equipment to secure that comfort level of trust. “You have to develop a reputation—one people trust, and we’ve worked on that for years,” he continues. “It’s paid its fruits to us.” The Water Store spends very little on advertising—the yellow pages and an occasional spot on local radio or TV. Most business is gleaned from word of mouth.

Even in a relatively small market like Kalispell (population: 65,000), The Water Store can increase its number of accounts from the current number of 4,000, Fetveit says. Its main competition is Culligan and two or three smaller water treatment dealers in the area, but the businesses enjoy a “good relationship” with each other.

Rentals as stabilizer
When all else fails (or at least ebbs and flows), equipment rentals—including RO, filters and filter housings—serve as the company’s revenue backbone. It offers stability and takes some of the pressure off the sales staff, Fetveit says.

The Water Store stakes 75 percent of its business in the residential market while the balance is strictly commercial. He says about half his customers are on private water (wells) with the other half on municipal water. According to Fetveit, who studied chemical engineering at Montana State University for 2-½ years, water quality problems facing municipal customers are mostly related to hardness. Total dissolved solids, however, are relatively low at 220 parts per million. Private water problems range from manganese, iron and bacterial iron to alkalinity and silica.

Montana’s topography is also a concern for water treatment dealers as troubles with runoff cause contamination in some wells. Other matters of keen interest include fluctuations of iron concentrations in wells as a result of water tables going up and down, glacial silt problems, and the mineral base varying due to the mountainous region.

In the past decade, Fetveit says, nitrate levels increased in the valley and some wells have almost exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum levels. This is due to years of farming in the area, which has caused some chemicals to seep into the aquifer. Other local industries include cattle, timber and even an aluminum plant.

Fight over septic tanks
But perhaps the biggest issue on Fetveit’s plate—along with all Montana water treatment dealers—is the water industry’s battle against the state’s Department of Environmental Quality over septic tanks. Fetveit says he has found helpful support from the national Water Quality Association (WQA). The business has been a WQA member since its inception in 1957. Fetveit and Pettyjohn bought out the latter’s father in 1991, and have owned the shop ever since.

Montana has a “loose state association,” Fetveit says, but he plans to establish a website presence and “get it solid again.” He serves as the de facto leader of the movement to restore a state association. In the mid-90s, there was an association with about 30 members but it shut down when support and consequently dues waned. “The septic tank issue has brought it (state association) to the forefront and I’m going to use that as a catapult to get everybody back together again,” he says.

First things first, Fetveit has specific goals for the business, and his five-year plan includes entering the private label water niche. If nothing else, he would like to make his father-in-law proud by taking the business to “the next level.” Fetveit explains, “He only had an eighth-grade education yet he managed the business as well as he could. I feel a little pressure to succeed and take the business to a higher mark since he gave me an opportunity when I needed one.”

With growth inevitable, Fetveit foresees expansion to the point where more space will need to be added to the current office building. To this end, he even contemplates one day buying nearby, independent water treatment dealerships. Of course, he also points again to the hope to find “stable and knowledgeable help, in particular sales.” If he had his druthers, The Water Store would have 10 to 12 employees by now. With an apparent uptick in the economy recently, the urgency has been heightened and it’s noticeable in Fetveit’s voice.

“There’s not a big enough work-force pool plus there are a lot of people working around here (in an area with low unemployment),” he says. “There’s just not a lot of freed-up people who would take on a commission-type job… I’ve had to go to base salary plus commission to drum up enough interest to get any reaction out of anybody. The days of commission-only aren’t there anymore.”

Exclusively Wet Stuff: A REal Portal for the Water Industry

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

By Salman A. Siddiqui

Today, the Internet is the prime medium to access and share information worldwide with millions of users logged online daily. On the worldwide web, there are also millions of websites and a number of search engines to explore any detailed or general data a viewer might seek. To better refine a search for particular information, meta-search engines have or are being developed. With respect to the water industry, there are thousands of sites available, although most are either related to a specific company or product or represent some particular agency or institution. That industry, however, is very broad and narrowing your search to get results relevant to a specific interest often becomes very difficult. One can rarely refer to a website that offers a comprehensive package of being business-oriented and supporting good technical information impartial to any certain commercial interest.

In the United Arab Emirates, one team of talented individuals has been developing an idea for the colossal global water industry, one which can fulfill the needs of potential users in virtually every manner possible. Hence, watergenius.com was born in 1999. One can find data and information about every single water purification company on this water portal, whether it’s engaged in manufacturing, distribution, wholesaling or retailing. And you can also reach a number of water professionals who are either owners, consultants, teachers, dealers and agents, etc. Surely, anyone browsing a few minutes for information on water companies, related events and industry professionals wouldn’t likely leave unsatisfied with the bulk of quality, precise data available at this water portal.

The most notable feature of this website is its popularity in the water world. It draws huge traffic to its website and this is the reason why Alexa.com—a division of Amazon.com that rates websites by popularity based on user traffic—has for several months ranked watergenius.com as the No. 1 website in the water category as well as in utility categories. This—for sure—highlights the wonderful achievement of the team at watergenius.com. In all, there are 38 main categories for the water industry spotlighted at the website, giving way to a further 779 sub-categories, thus helping any user to reach his or her pinpoint of information in no time. The icing on the cake is it’s an absolutely free-of-charge concept, as one doesn’t find any hidden expenses to get a business listed on this web portal, place classified advertisements, offer products in its “Storefront,” inclusion among water professionals in “Who’s Who,” or enlist in a free banner exchange program in all categories.

Why WaterGenius.com?
Today’s Internet is enriched with voluminous data about the water industry, but this jumbled data are so without organization that it doesn’t fulfill the needs of one of the world’s largest industries, i.e., water quality improvement, due to a number of reasons:

  • There’s a dearth of specific water categories on the Internet to help narrow the focus of an information search.
  • A lack of a universal water encyclopedia online.
  • Water companies don’t find any method or procedure to submit websites in various categories, as most search engines don’t allow them to submit a website in multiple categories.
  • An exclusive listing of water professionals is lacking on the Internet.
    WaterGenius offers the following:
  • A very powerful search engine that’s specially designed to provide a browser with pinpoint information on any specified subject related to water.
  • Complete database of manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers of all the water-related products for domestic, industrial and commercial applications worldwide.
  • Links to all the major organizations and agencies related to water with particular emphasis on specific topics.
  • Information section providing knowledge about water-related topics; this also includes ready-to-use presentations and detailed information’s on specific subjects.
  • Water news from around the world from all major newspapers and magazines.
  • Free personal emails with a user ID and a password.
  • Introduction of new products updated on a daily basis.
  • Online registration of websites.

This last feature is available for all companies that would like to register just by filling in a simple form with specific categories to select from and a hotlink to the company’s own website.

Salient features
Principal sections of watergenius. com include:

  1. Categories system
  2. Search and advance search options
  3. Encyclopedia section
  4. Storefront
  5. News
  6. Books
  7. Events
  8. Articles
  9. Banner Advertisement
  10. User Registration Page
  11. Classified
  12. Who’s Who

WaterGenius is the first and only water-related search engine that’s powered by a system of hierarchical categories and subcategories. Each and every category is well described and defined by the team of experts. This structure system is almost similar to what you’ve experienced at Yahoo! The difference is that Yahoo! covers a number of fields whereas WaterGenius covers only the water industry. These categories are focused and well defined as compared to other search engines.

Main categories—The whole water industry is distributed among 38 main divisions on the home page. Each main category is an umbrella to further sub- and root categories. The main categories don’t carry any data about companies or products. They simply lead you further into more detailed sub-categories, where you can find information on the specific topic you’re investigating.
Sub-categories—With 779 of these, here’s where you’ll have the option to narrow down your search for the desired root category.
Root Categories—Finally, the root categories carry the data of relevant manufacturers, dealers, wholesalers and retailers, etc.
Search & Advanced Search
Search—To access any information through the “search” function, one simply types in a few words and a list of related companies unfolds. Since the website only returns that data which contains just the words entered for a particular query, it would show a huge list of companies. As that could be confusing for a browser, it’s advisable to add more words to describe what you’re looking for more specifically and narrow the number of responses closer to your targeted topic.

For a quick search, it’s important to select proper keywords. For example, if you’re searching for UV lamps, enter “UV lamps” rather than “equipment.” Always use words that are likely to appear on a site with your specific search info. Never use superlative for your search, e.g., “High quality and economical RO units.” It’s needless to use “and” between words. The search results will only depend on the order in which you enter the terms. Also, never use common words and characters such as “how”, “what” and “where” as well as certain single letters and digits because they may slow down your search process. All letters should be deemed in lower case irrespective of how they are entered in search. The search results in popular general search engines are in the thousands, so a visitor finds it difficult to reach a short list of data.

Advance search—To expand your query even more, you can click on “Advance Search,” which allows you to select a specific country of residence, trading region, type of company, show exhibitor and/or type of products.

The name suggests this section offers some academic data but it offers a bit more. Almost all key words and terminologies used in the water industry are listed with definitions supported by appropriate images, besides a number of articles or press releases related to that particular key word. Hundreds of books on specific topics of water are also found under this category.

The most effective attribute of WaterPedia section is the role it plays in the sub- and root categories as linked off of the home page, which is the most informative and creative section of watergenius.com.

For instance, from the main categories of watergenius.com, i.e., “Bottled Water,” a visitor can find sub-categories with definition of bottled water on right side with image. They will also find articles and books on bottled water as well as featured equipment manufacturer listings and products.

Each and every category is designed in the same way, which is helpful to visitors to improve their knowledge while surfing watergenius.com. Indeed, this is the unique idea that was missing from the general web search scenario.

Other home page features include “What’s New,” “Today’s News,” “Feature Products,” “Latest Articles,” “Latest Events” and “Latest Books” sections.

Registration page
A simple, pre-defined format unfolds in front of you, which upon completion awards you a user identity along with a password and a hotlink to the website of your company.

Admin area
Once you get listed, you can enter an account administration area where you can add your website to different categories, etc. This is available to every registered member.

Edit profile
In this section, you can also:

  • Update your profile.
  • Edit the different categories for your website.
  • Add your products in storefront.
  • Access and manage all inquiries directly in your mail box
    (For registrations and other detailed features, you can visit the help section.)

As apparent from the name, this section offers a series of specific placements of advertisements. It may include free publicity for your products, invite applicants for any vacant job position, announce a course on water treatment, offer any specialized services, provide an instant reply button, or even inquire about a product one is interested in buying. Furthermore, this link can be used as a platform for announcing “XYZ” promotions and other related announcements or messages.

Who’s Who in Water
The idea here is certainly to promote key personnel of the water industry. Whether these are the owners or higher management officials of any commercial or non-commercial water firm as well as engineers, technicians and other related professionals. This section is also open to people in their individual capacity who excel in the water industry if they’re a consultant, scientist, professor, etc. And all the leading assemblers, distributors, dealers and agents of water purification products can also earn a berth by completing this form, which is also free of charge.

Compared to competitors’ efforts, this site excels by quite a significant margin. And being awarded No. 1 status by Alexa.com for so many months speaks volumes about its rich substance. Still, expect more useful additions over the coming years such as chat facilities, discussion forums, e-commerce facility, software for calculation of various water requirements and conversions, etc. To date, it remains one of the best referral, commercial and academic websites if one is researching anything about water.

About the author
Salman A. Siddiqui is general manager of watergenius.com, which is coordinated from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. Before that, he was with So-Safe Products LLC, also of the U.A.E., and a key partner in the website’s development. He has spent over 15 years in public relations, advertising, event management, professional training, exhibitions and corporate business management, having also written a number of articles published in newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at +(971) 6 542-1798 or email: salman@watergenius.com


Enhances Waters Threatened by UV Light—Absorbers Shield Bottled Contents

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

By Daniel Connor

Summary: Bottled water is usually assumed to be purified or spring water. Another segment of the market making a big splash lately is fortified water. Since most waters are packaged in PET, one chemical company ran some tests to see what effects UV had on waters with different additives. Here are results of the study.  

The growth of enhanced waters has been nothing less than phenomenal. The Beverage Marketing Corp., of New York, reports that enhanced water is the fastest growing segment of the water market, generating $250 million in wholesale sales during 2002 vs. $20 million during 2000.

Plus, this explosive growth continues with an amazing burst of innovation in water formulations that promise to make consumers healthier, “smarter” and more energetic as a result of a broad array of additives. Vitamins A, B-Complex, C and E, St. John’s Wort, chromium, selenium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, ginseng, nicotine (see Newsreel), vegetable flavors and colors, to name just a few, are being added to water in a drive to create unique formulations.

The timing for this innovation appears perfect for today’s consumer. The plastic water bottle has become a natural adjunct to today’s rapid, health-conscience lifestyles, joining the cell phone and the PDA device as essential to urban living. Consumers weary of plain bottled water can select fortified waters that not only hydrate but also promise to enhance one’s life.

Still, there’s a word of caution in this headlong drive to fortified waters. While plain water in PET bottles is safe and secure thanks to well-engineered containers, unique colors, flavors and nutrients added to water aren’t so safe because of potential damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Recent research has found many ingredients added to water may cause problems when exposed to UV light in a PET container. While a formulation is ideal when it leaves the bottling plant, its ingredients may degrade because of UV exposure during extended shelf life.
Recent research studies
To learn more about how UV light impacts beverages in PET packaging, an extensive research study was commissioned. Lab tests assessed the impact of various levels of UV light on formulation ingredients common to many of the new enhanced waters including FD&C colors, vitamins and flavor components. The testing was conducted with PET packaging with varying degrees of UV protection.
The goal was to learn more about how UV exposure at different wavelengths can impact color, flavor and nutritional content. The study also was intended to learn more about potential interactions between ingredients when exposed to UV light.

The tests were carried out on water containing a single beverage ingredient. Also tested were ingredients mixed with other common beverage components such as citric acid, vitamin C and trace minerals to examine the “matrix” effect, or interaction of beverage ingredients when formulated together in water.

The following were the test models:

  1. PET control—standard PET container,
  2. Unexposed—standard PET wrapped in aluminum foil,
  3. UV 370—PET container with a UV absorber at the 370 level providing <10 transmission up to 370 nanometers (nm), and
  4. UV 390—PET container with UV protection up to the 390 level providing <5 percent transmission at 390 nm.

Samples were subjected to accelerated UV light exposure in a refrigerated (4°C) chamber equipped with Q-Panel 351 UV bulbs, which were selected to simulate sunlight passing through glass, similar to a retail environment. Although oxygen wasn’t eliminated from test samples in the studies, the structure of tests enabled distinction between purely oxidative effects and photo-oxidative effects. Several important findings emerged from this research.

Pointing out drawbacks
The following are some of the effects UV had on bottled water in PET packaging:

  • UV light has a measurable negative impact on colors, flavors and nutritional content in PET packaging; while PET inherently offers some UV protection, it isn’t sufficient alone.
  • For many ingredients, the impact of UV light is greatly accelerated between 370 and 390 nm.
  • While color is the most easily observed change in beverage quality when exposed to UV light, it isn’t the most sensitive. Taste experiences the greatest impact from UV exposure, followed by nutritional content and then color.
  • The impact of UV exposure on ingredients is extremely complex. While some ingredients are stable in the presence of UV light, they become unstable when exposed to UV rays in certain formulations. This matrix effect can be unpredictable in its outcome.
  • UV protection at the 390 nm level is required to ensure consistent beverage quality over an extended shelf life.

Color is one of many defining attributes for some of the new enhanced water, and many UV absorbers incorporated into PET packaging today are designed to address color stability. Although many of today’s commonly used dyes are stable in the presence of UV light, they have been shown to be unstable to light when formulated with certain ingredients. For example, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is frequently added to beverages for nutritional value and to scavenge dissolved oxygen that can attack certain flavor components. The presence of ascorbic acid in beverages containing certain synthetic colorants, however, can result in rapid fading when exposed to UV light. The presence of trace metals can also have a destabilizing effect on the synthetic colorants.

UV exposure testing was conducted on the FD&C colorants Blue #1, Red #40 and Yellow #5. In these tests, the matrix effect was simulated by the addition of citric acid to a pH of 3.5 and 1 part per million (ppm) of iron. Over an exposure period of 14 hours, each of the colors showed substantially increased stability in PET bottles enhanced with 390 protection, and to a lesser extent with 370 protection.

Impact on vitamins
A key component in many of the new enhanced waters is vitamins, which we know are generally sensitive to the effects of temperature, oxygen and light. A slight change in the molecular structure of a nutrient can render vitamins biologically ineffective, i.e., they no longer serve a nutritional role in the body.

Many vitamins are known to be specifically vulnerable to degradation by UV light including Vitamin A, B2 (riboflavin), B6, B12 and folic acid. Light also accelerates the destructive interaction between vitamins.

To meet label declarations during anticipated shelf life, product formulators typically include an excess amount of nutrients based on the required shelf life. From a practical perspective, excessive amounts may introduce added cost and product quality concerns. Excessive levels of vitamins, or formation of their degradation products, may also result in off-flavors or shifts in the color of products.

UV testing was conducted on several vitamins, and they generally showed substantial sensitivity to UV. Each was significantly more stable in PET bottles enhanced with 390 coverage.

Effects on taste buds
Many of the newly enhanced waters offer unique flavors, created through the addition of components that may be sensitive to UV exposure. The degradation of these ingredients can lead to the formation of unpleasant qualities detectable by taste and smell at low concentrations. To establish an initial focal point in this area, the lemon aroma complex was investigated. A significant contributor to lemon flavor, and also one of the most photosensitive, is “citral.” When exposed to UV, citral degrades into by-products including “photocitral-A” and “photocitral-B,” which are readily detectable in the lab. Another compound is also formed that exhibits a strong off-flavor at levels not easily detectable by analytical methods.

Photocitral-A and photocitral-B were measured as indicators  for the degradation of the lemon flavor package. Formation of photocitral-A occurred rapidly in standard PET and green PET bottles while samples with 370 protection generated only slight levels of photocitral-A. Samples with 390 protection didn’t generate significant levels of photocitral-A.

Research has documented a complex matrix effect of ingredients and UV light. While some ingredients in isolation are stable when exposed to UV light, they become unstable when in combination with other ingredients. On the other hand, some ingredients that are inherently unstable to UV become stabilized by the presence of other components. The only way of determining matrix effects is through testing.

PET packaging is well established as the ideal container for bottled water, and there’s no reason it cannot continue to play this role with enhanced waters. The one caveat is that beverage companies must not only fortify their waters, they must also fortify their PET packaging with UV protection at the 390 level. This additional step will assure that promises of nutrition, energy and good taste will be delivered to the consumer each and every time.

About the author
Dr. Daniel Connor is a senior research and development chemist for Milliken Chemical, a division of Milliken & Company in Spartanburg, S.C. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a doctorate in organic/polymer chemistry from the Georgia Tech. For four years, he has performed polymer additives research for Milliken while focusing on design and synthesis of colorants and UV absorbers, effects of light on food ingredients and design and synthesis of nucleating agents for polymers. This contributed to Milliken’s ClearShield® UV absorber technology, the subject of this article. Connor holds eight patents in amorphous polyester resin compositions, novel chromophores for thermoplastics, and colorless UV absorbers for PET. He can be reached at (864) 503-6084, email: daniel.connor@milliken.com or website: www.millikenchemical.com

Computer Simulation Optimizes Design of UV Disinfection Reactors

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

By Eugen Nisipeanu and Muhammad Sami

Summary: This article introduces CFD—computational fluid dynamics—which allows users to, among other things, calculate UV energy used by various water qualities and disinfection efficiencies. In addition, a greater number of designs can be evaluated than can be tallied using other methods.

Computer simulation can substantially improve the design of ultraviolet (UV) technology used to disinfect water. In UV disinfection design, bacteria and viruses must flow in close proximity to a UV lamp for a sufficient period of time to greatly damage DNA, which adsorbs UV radiation. Without a method to determine the effectiveness of a proposed UV system design, engineers have often been forced to over-design systems to ensure their ability to meet regulatory requirements, substantially increasing their cost.

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) coupled with irradiance modeling can track trajectories of thousands of individual microorganisms and calculate their detailed motions and resultant UV dose—or fluence. CFD provides more detailed information than can be obtained from physical tests such as flow patterns through the disinfection system and UV dose received by various sections of the population of microorganisms. A key advantage of CFD is that engineers can evaluate alternative designs in much less time and at a lower cost than the traditional approach without having to build a physical prototype. This makes it possible to optimize design of the UV system and, in many cases, eliminates short-circuiting and dead zones that can result in inefficient use of power and reduced contact time. Using CFD in this manner, the overall cost of a system can usually be substantially reduced while still meeting all regulatory requirements.

All about regulations
To prevent transmission of waterborne diseases, disinfection of water is controlled by stringent regulations. These regulations typically specify water treatment processes, contaminant removals, final effluent quality and disinfection criteria. Chlorine, the traditional disinfection method, provides reliable results but presents environmental concerns and safety issues. One major concern is the formation of chlorinated hydrocarbons such as trihalo-methanes and organic halides. In addition, new safety regulations are driving up the cost of handling, transporting and storing chlorine. Regulations designed to address aquatic toxicity also require dechlorination of water before discharge, which further increases costs.

UV disinfection can potentially address all of these concerns. Recent findings have proven UV is effective in inactivating disease-causing pathogens found in drinking water that are resistant to conventional chemical disinfection. UV doesn’t alter the taste, color or odor of water, and doesn’t produce any harmful by-products. Over the past two decades, UV radiation has become an established disinfection technology. An extensive pilot and full-scale study sponsored by the state of California established that UV treatment generated no residual effluent toxicity and no significant by-product formation. It also showed that UV treatment was more effective than chlorination in the treatment of viruses.

Presently, there are more than 2,000 installations in the United States where UV radiation is used to disinfect primary, second, and filtered tertiary effluents. Designing these systems has become a major challenge due to the difficulty of ensuring efficient flows through the disinfection tank that will provide a relatively uniform dose to each microorganism. The traditional approach is to simply build a prototype disinfection system and perform tests designed to measure its efficiency with real microorganisms. But with an infinite number of possible designs and the high cost and time involved in the testing of each one, there’s a strong tendency to substantially over-design the disinfection unit to ensure that early tests provide positive results. The problem with this approach is the unit will probably cost far more than necessary to build and operate. For example, it’s difficult to accurately determine flow through a prototype, so it’s often impossible to detect short-circuiting. This phenomenon causes bacteria to move quickly through the unit and requires a high level of UV radiation to meet regulatory requirements, which drives up equipment and operating costs.

Improving design process
A new approach to designing UV disinfection systems has the potential to substantially improve the design process and reduce the cost of building and operating UV disinfection systems. The basic idea is to use CFD to simulate movement of microorganisms through the disinfection system and calculate their exposure time to UV light. This approach makes it possible to quickly determine effectiveness of any proposed design and to scale-up existing technology to large-scale systems, i.e., >50 million gallons a day (mgd). A CFD simulation provides fluid velocity, pressure, temperature and other variables, as appropriate, throughout the solution domain for problems with complex geometries and boundary conditions. As part of the analysis, an engineer may change the geometry of the system or boundary conditions and observe the effect of the changes on fluid flow patterns or distributions of other variables. The path an organism takes in the reactor is a key determinant in the amount of UV radiation exposure. The reactor can then be designed to eliminate short-circuiting and dead zones that can result in inefficient use of power and reduced contact time.

The position of microorganisms in the fluid can be tracked in one of two ways. One, using the particle tracking method, organisms are treated as discrete, micron-sized particles (see Figures 1-4). The flow and radiation fields are calculated to convergence. Computing the flow and radiation field is an iterative process starting from an initial guess. When convergence is reached, the solution doesn’t change iterating further. Particle tracking is performed in the post-processing mode. This part of the calculation is done after the flow and radiation field is computed. All the operations done after the flow solution was computed are part of post-processing. It can be contour plots, x-y plots, pathlines, etc., and their purpose is to present results in a certain format. Particle tracking is similar to these operations because it’s based on the existing flow field.

A user-defined function is used to calculate the UV dose along each particle track. The amount of UV dose accumulated by each particle is analyzed using statistical methods to assess the performance of the UV system. Another approach uses transport equations to model the bacteria as if they were a chemical species or compound. The software tracks concentration of the species through the domain and a user-defined function is used to model the destruction of microorganisms based on chemical composition of the organism and radiation field intensity (see Figure 5).

Developing the radiation model
The radiation model also plays a critical role in the simulation. The optimum wavelength to effectively inactivate microorganisms is in the range of 250 to 270 nanometers (nm). The intensity of the radiation emitted by the lamp is reduced as the distance from it increases (see Figure 1). Disinfection efficiency depends on lamp power and residence time of the bacteria in the water around the lamps. Ideally, a disinfection system should have uniform flow past the lamps with enough radial mixing to maximize exposure to UV radiation. The UV light-emitting tubes typically span the reactor zone. Baffles—obstructions forcing the flow to follow a certain path—placed in the UV reactor can be used to provide a more directed flow at the lamps.

Fluent software has a number of radiation models, which can be coupled with flow simulation to model a UV system. One of the most often used is the discrete ordinates (DO) radiation model. This model offers the ability to incorporate reflection and shading effects, and a banded modeling option to differentiate effects of different wavelengths of UV light. It’s also possible to use other UV codes to calculate the radiation field and then import the radiation field onto the CFD grid using a proprietary user-defined function. The model can account for extinction of radiation in various wavelength bands. It is the user’s responsibility to set it up.  

Recently, there have been numerous studies comparing certain DO model results with leading UV-specific software. In one such study, engineers at Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California compared a DO model with a UV-specific code, UVCalc. The DO model’s results were within 4 percent for the fluence calculation. After this validation study, the MWD compared its actual UV reactor measured data with the model’s simulation, and results were very comparable. A kill rate for different bacteria types, calculated from experiments, was compared to the kill rate derived from the computed UV dose (fluence). Results were within 1 to 4 percent depending on the radiation field intensity.   

In conclusion, CFD makes it possible to compare multiple reactors with different geometries, hydraulic properties and levels of energy consumption using different levels of water quality, and compare the disinfection efficiencies. By giving engineers detailed information on performance of as many designs as they wish without the cost of prototyping and testing, CFD can help engineers optimize the design well before the prototype stage. This approach makes it possible to evaluate a much larger number of designs than in the past. As a result, engineers can optimize designs to a much higher level, eliminating short-circuiting, minimizing head losses, reducing energy consumption, and generally building a far more efficient disinfection system than is possible using experimental methods. The CFD approach has also been validated by other major water companies—such as Veolia Water, Maisons-Laffitte and Cedex—where CFD simulations have been compared to test results and found to provide excellent correlation with physical testing.

About the authors
Eugen Nisipeanu works for Fluent Inc., of Evanston, Ill., as a CFD engineer. He assists assigned customers working primarily in the nuclear power industry and water treatment in all aspects of their engineering flow analyses. Nisipeanu has a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University. He received his bachelor’s degree in power engineering from Politehnica University in Bucharest, Romania.

Muhammad Sami also works for Fluent Inc. as a CFD engineer with the same job capacity as Nisipeanu. He has a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. His research was related to coal combustion and NOx emissions.

Both authors can be reached at (847) 491-0200.


POU Filters for Refrigerators: A Hidden Market

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004

By Evan E. Koslow

Summary: Recent advances have led some to believe filter applications in household refrigerators will soon be a boon to the POU market. This increased emphasis on behalf of consumers for microbiologically safe water and improved designs can only help the industry as a whole.

Afew years ago, a major multiclient study was carried out on point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) products and markets. One of the striking omissions of this otherwise useful report was the absence of information on filters now pervasively installed within household refrigerators. This oversight wasn’t unique in those days as even major consumer companies ignored this rather subtle segment while formulating their marketing plans. Such is no longer the case. Refrigerator POU filters are now a major segment of the total consumer water filtration business and nobody in their right mind can afford to ignore this rapidly growing business.

Background and history
Ice makers have been a part of the North American refrigerator for decades and dispensing chilled water is also a feature that’s been around quite a long time. The former method used to protect this water from rust, sediment, chlorine, taste, and odor problems was usually use of an in-line filter installed behind the refrigerator on the water line coming into the unit. Indeed, this type of filter is still widely found collecting dust behind older refrigerator models and hundreds of thousands are sold each year for this application.

The “back-of-the-box” location of this in-line filter nearly guaranteed that, once installed, these filters were immediately forgotten and changeout was irregular or non-existent in most homes. These filters were primarily provided as an aftermarket product and usually by third-party installers rather than the refrigerator manufacturer. Hence, while there may be nearly 25 million refrigerators operating in North America with some type of ice or water dispensing equipment, the quantity of in-line filters being sold is only perhaps sufficient to correctly service 1 percent of the theoretical market. Obviously, these filters aren’t a great commercial success.

The idea of installing an improved water filter within the refrigerator rather than behind it has been studied for many years, but no manufacturer threw its weight behind the idea until 1995. That’s when Don Coates, an engineer at major appliance company Electrolux Home Products, formerly Frigidaire, started work on the design of a “dripless” filter housing for direct use in the refrigerator cabinet. This filter design eventually evolved to the device shown in Figure 1.

Design considerations
As it turns out, it’s not so easy to design a filter system for a refrigerator because of concerns about freezing water, shattered filter housings and flooded homes. Indeed, there were some previous attempts that led to a disastrous outcome. But Coates and his colleagues worked through these issues and eventually felt comfortable they had a system that worked. What they lacked was a filter, and so they elected to use a combination granular activated carbon (GAC) and hollow fiber membrane filter from Japan.

Toward the end of their development process, they began to realize the Japanese filter didn’t meet NSF/ANSI standards for soluble lead and select organic chemical reduction targets. Nor did it meet consumer cost expectations in North America. State regulators wouldn’t approve the proposed claims for the filter and, in fact, it wasn’t going to be satisfactory due to this and its high price—so a search for an alternative was launched.

The only thing worse than having a filter housing with nothing to put in it is a filter housing that’s tooled and extremely tiny. Not only do you not have a filter to put in the housing, but there’s insufficient space to put what you need into the housing—resulting in a situation not unlike the prince looking for Cinderella with a glass shoe too small for any ordinary woman. To “shoehorn” the filter with all of its attendant health claims (cyst reduction; high and low pH lead reduction; chlorine, taste, and odor reduction; Class I particulate reduction, and much more) into this tiny space and operate it at elevated flow rates is never desirable.

Needless to say, though, this filter did arrive on the market on the appointed date with all of the required properties (i.e., the above claims) and became an immediate commercial success. The resulting surprise about this product led to development of water filtration systems in essentially all side-by-side refrigerators sold by all major manufacturers in the United States by 1999. Today, roughly 30 percent of all refrigerators produced annually have a water filtration system (see Table 1); that is, roughly 90 percent of all side-by-side refrigerators equipped with ice and/or water dispensing systems. This equals approximately 2.8 million refrigerators in 2003.

Almost all of these devices are based upon sophisticated carbon blocks that provide a host of health claims such as mercury, lead, cyst, and organic chemicals reduction, Class I particulate, asbestos, and comprehensive chlorine, taste and odor reduction. A few models have GAC or fiber-carbon powder composites, usually with a reduced set of claims.

The product evolves
There has been a struggle to establish the best means to provide a water filter in a refrigerator. When walking around an appliance store, one might see refrigerators with either a cylindrical canister installed within the top right portion of the refrigeration cabinet, a long thin filter installed within the lower left portion of the grill at the bottom of the refrigerator, or a filter mounted in the front cabinet control box within the cabinet.

The problem with the positioning of cylindrical filters in the upper right portion of the refrigerator cabinet (see Figure 2) is the size of these devices and the need to remove the contents of the upper shelf of the refrigerator to gain access to the filter for changeout or handling. For a shorter person with reduced strength in their arms, one can forget about changeout by the homeowner without assistance. Whirlpool, Electrolux, Amana, General Electric, and Maytag all use this approach to some degree.

To eliminate the struggle with refrigerator contents, one manufacturer developed the concept of placing the filter into the grille at the bottom of the refrigerator (see Figure 3). At this location, the homeowner doesn’t need to remove a portion of the contents of the refrigerator during filter changeout and the unit is in the front so one doesn’t have to gain access to the rear of the refrigerator as with the old in-line devices. Despite increased convenience in some areas, this approach fails some people who may not be able to get on their hands and knees to twist this filter out of its hole. Such twisting has sometimes confounded people  because of occasional “stiction”—the increased adhesion between two parts as a result of a “set” within an O-ring or gasket where the lubricant is forced from the interface over an extended period of time.

The next approach implemented in 2001 was a push-to-eject filter design (see Figure 4). The filter element consists of dual carbon blocks within a flat, video-cassette size package. This fits into the front of the control cabinet when the refrigerator door is opened (see Figure 5) and ejects at the push of a button. The system is equipped with automatic shutoff valves so filter changeout is dry. Anyone can push this button and the filter ejects like a video-cassette into your waiting hand. Filter changeout problems are eliminated, but this is a more complex filter housing and design.

Markets and developments
The market for refrigerator filters is difficult to determine in exact terms because the price of the system isn’t calculated separately. By deduction, however, one can determine that these systems have an implied value of $50-80, i.e., subtract the price of the refrigerator sold with and without the filtration system. Replacement filters are sold at prices ranging from $25–50 at retail. Value of the retail market, therefore, appears to be approximately $175-185 million in 2003.

This market is currently confined largely to the higher-end, side-by-side products of the major manufacturers and even smaller brands—such as LG and Subzero—are now fitting filters to their products. Saturation of the market, i.e., all opportunities to sell and install filters—at least in side-by-side units—is expected to be effectively assured by the close of this year. In other words, manufacturers will install systems in essentially all models. Further evolution of the market is confined to refrigerators with water and ice capabilities, which aren’t popular options outside of North America. This steady flow of filtered systems, however, has the potential to directly reduce the number of homes that are candidates for the purchase of other POU products and must be taken into account when calculating future markets for alternative POU systems.

This year, it’s expected that at least two major refrigerator brands, Electrolux Home Products and Sears Kenmore, will release new water filtration systems with comprehensive microbiological purifier claims in addition to the broad range of health claims currently provided. The microbiological capabilities include viral (>99.99 percent reduction), bacterial (>99.9999 percent reduction) and protozoan oocyst (>99.95 percent reduction) claims demonstrated in both potable and non-potable water with high levels of turbidity, organics, total dissolved solids, high pH and high alkalinity (see “Carbon Breakthrough,” WC&P, January 2003). This further escalates the capabilities of these filters into a field of great interest to the consumer—microbiologically safe water.

With respect to advances in refrigerator ice and water filtration, the consumer can look forward to improved system monitoring and controls, improved filter designs, and further improvements in the ergonomics of filter changeout. This is a highly competitive field with only a small number of companies serving the needs of a relatively modest number of major appliance manufacturers. It confines OEM activity almost to the sidelines of the mainstream water industry and its hundreds of vendors and dealers. Still, don’t ignore refrigerator filters since they have great potential to influence the POU industry. The segment offers dealers an excellent potential opportunity for aftermarket filter sales.

About the author

Dr. Evan E. Koslow is chief executive officer of KX Industries of Orange, Conn., and a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee. He’s written over 100 articles and papers and holds over 35 patents. Koslow can be reached at (203) 799-9000, (203) 799-7000 (fax), email: ceo@kxindustries.com or website: www.kxindustries.com

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