Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

People

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Pentair Director announced
Pentair, Inc. named Jerry W. Burris, President of Barnes Industrial, to a seat on its Board of Directors, to succeed Richard J. Cathcart, who retired in September. He will stand for election at Pentair’s annual shareholders’ meeting in May 2008. Burris was formerly President and CEO of Advanced Materials Quartz and Ceramics at General Electric Company, where he served for 20 years.

NSF managers named
NSF International announced three key management appointments that will expand the organization’s presence in new international markets.Tarik Bellahcene, as Managing Director of NSF’s Operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), will be responsible for developing and implementing short- and long-term strategies to increase growth of NSF’s operations and expand the recognition and acceptance of its services in the region. He holds a degree in civil engineering, hydraulics from the University of Science and Technology in Algeria and a Master’s in applied science from the University of Liège, Belgium.  He is fluent in French, English and Arabic, with a basic level of Spanish. Heather Taylor, appointed International Marketing Manager, will be in charge of managing, developing and implementing international marketing and communication programs to create and facilitate sales for all of NSF’s programs. She joined the organization in September 2003 and most recently served as Sales and Marketing Manager at the Brussels office. Taylor holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Swansea University, UK and is fluent in English, French and German. Ellen Go Yanko was promoted to Sales and Business Development Manager for the EMEA region, responsible for managing the sales force by implementing new strategies, strengthening support and reinforcing customer services in the region. She has worked at NSF for 11 years, serving most recently as Office Manager, European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) Secretariat, NSF Brussels. Yanko earned a Bachelor’s Degree in communications at the University of the Philippines and is fluent in English, French, Dutch and Pilipino.

Watts VP named
Watts Water Quality & Conditioning Products appointed 18-year industry veteran Michael Perkinson Vice President of Sales and Marketing effective October 1, responsible for managing the Watts Authorized Dealer Program and directing overall sales and marketing efforts. Previously, he served with Ecowater Systems, most recently as Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Crooks appointed at Antunes
A.J. Antunes & Co. named Rick Crooks Antunes Filtration Technologies (AFT) Technical Support Team Member. He assumes technical service and laboratory testing responsibilities for AFR Division. Previously, Crooks served with Everpure as Senior Research Engineer for 10 years and Manager of Technical Services for an additional 13 years, before spearheading responsibilities for the ultrafiltration product line for Aquest/Aquacore. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in environmental sciences from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

Harmon named Tri Palm Director
Richard Harmon has been named Director of Business Development for Tri Palm International. In this role, he will be actively involved in the development of new product strategies to meet the changing needs of the marketplace and with the sales launches of new products and the development of new sales channels for OASIS bottled water coolers and POU water coolers. Harmon has over 40 years experience selling water coolers and developing new distribution channels in the US and internationally. The investment funds managed by Patriarch Partners, LLC, owners of Tri Palm International, are committed to the future of Tri Palm and fully support its strategy to rebuild market share under the OASIS brand by providing quality products and solutions and building strong, long-lasting relationships with customers.

WaterLogic management team increased
The Waterlogic Management team has been strengthened with the addition Deborah Clark, a dedicated International Accounts Manager; Rikki Dinsmore, Director of Operations and Chris Garner, Director of Marketing. Clark has extensive, related industry experience and the sales acumen necessary to provide a point of contact for Waterlogic’s international distribution network, sales force and clients, with a view to addressing any issues regarding orders, sales, deliveries, training and development of the business. Dinsmore holds an MBA from Cranfield School of Management (UK) and has a varied background in third-party logistics and will be responsible for the operational aspects of logistics, supply chain and customer service. Garner brings to Waterlogic nearly 20 years of sales and marketing experience gained within the consumer products, electrical goods and certification industries.

Mills, Meek form management team
Good Water Warehouse Inc. announced that Brian Mills, formerly of Fresh Water Industries, will be joining the management team in the position of Branch Manager. Mills will be joined by George Meek, also formerly of Fresh Water Industries, as Warehouse Supervisor. They will form the management nucleus for the new eastern Canada sales/distribution center.

Saxman elected IBWA Chairman
The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) elected Chris Saxman to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the upcoming 2007–2008 term. Saxman represents IBWA member Shenandoah Valley Water Company based in Staunton, Va.  He is a member of the IBWA Executive Committee and Board of Directors and served as Treasurer in 2006 and Vice Chairman in 2007.
 
Delta and PHCC members honored
Delta Faucet Company and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCC) named Larry Lee 2007 Contractor of the Year and Orlando Zamora 2007 Apprentice of the Year. Lee, President of Lee Plumbing & Heating in Thief River, Minn., has over 20 years of continuous membership in the Minnesota PHCC. He has served as Treasurer for the past three years and on the Board of Directors for four years. Lee received a check for $5,000 and a Bacarat crystal sculpture at the awards ceremony. Zamoro of CTO, Inc., in Harlingen, Texas, is in his third year as an apprentice at Rio Grande Valley Independent Plumbers’ Alliance Apprenticeship program, where he was the recipient of a perfect attendance award and the highest GPA award. Zamoro received a $2,000 scholarship, a check for $500 and a plaque commemorating his hard work and dedication.

Clancy named Lenze-AC Manager
Lenze-AC Tech appointed Christine Clancy Customer Service Manager. She was previously the Customer Support Man-ager at Thermo Fisher Scientific. With more than 20 years of customer service experience, Clancy is a highly regarded trainer, supporter and leader in the industrial customer service field.

Craig Leonard Browark
Springsoft International lost President Craig Leonard Browark in early November. For over 40 years, Springsoft International, a multi-million dollar diversified manufacturer of high technology water treatment equipment, has delivered quality water treatment equipment to customers worldwide.

As President of the firm, Browark continued his father’s vision and expanded it with his own unique style. Most who knew him describe him as ‘larger than life’ and recall his lively approach to all outdoor activities. His dedication to family—his wife Anita, children Erick and Lauren (deceased) and grandson Sebastian—was just as legendary.

Springsoft employees were treated with the same outsize affection and dedication. At his death on November 3, Browark was only 57 years old. Funeral services were held in Schaum-burg, Ill. on November 8; memorials may be made in Browark’s memory to the Sebastian Noriega Gift Fund c/o Itasca Bank & Trust, 308 W. Irving Park Road, Itasca, Ill. 60143. For additional information, call (630) 529-5751.

Global Spotlight

Monday, December 17th, 2007

The Inversand Company began reducing production of its traditional manganese greensand filtration media at its mine in Gloucester County, NJ, in November. The cutback is the result of both the escalating demand for its newer and more advanced GreensandPlus™ product and the rising costs of producing manganese greensand, including the environmental factors of water use and waste discharge restrictions. 💧
Good Water Warehouse Inc. announced the planned opening of its new Ontario, Canada facility in Newmarket. This operation will warehouse a wide range of products including GE, Pentair (Fleck) and Clack water softeners and automatic filter components and finished goods. 💧

Performance Water Products’ new 5,000- square-foot, fully stocked Midwest branch opened on October 19. Located at 527 Mitchell Drive, Eagle, Wis. 53119, telephone numbers are toll free (800) 374-6428, local (262) 863-7038; fax (262) 594-2690. Mat Mecca, formerly of Pentair Water, directs the facility. 💧

Rohm and Haas Company announced a worldwide price increase of up to 10 percent across their range of ion exchange resins, adsorbents and catalysts. The increase will be effective November 15 or as contracts permit. The increase is needed to cover the continued escalation of raw materials, energy and freight costs. 💧

Due to continued high costs for raw materials, utilities and freight, Purolite has increased its prices from 10 to 15 percent worldwide for all products, effective December 1 or as contracts allow. 💧

The Dow Chemical Company announced a price increase for acrylates in all regions, effective November 1 or as otherwise allowed by individual contract terms. Dow Water Solutions increased the price of all DOWEX™ ion exchange resin, adsorbent and catalyst products an average of 10 percent across the product line, effective November 15 or as contracts allow. The global increase is the result of high and volatile energy and raw materials costs and rising transportation fees. 💧


North America

WQA certification policy changed
Previously, WQA-certified professionals who earned more credits than necessary lost them during regular three-year recertification. Not any longer! WQA’s Education/Certification Department has modified the policy to allow some carryover and still fulfill the certification program’s dedication to encouraging continuing education. All certifications earned in the Professional Certification Program must be kept current through the recertification process. Recertification credit can be obtained using WQA educational materials available in print and online, or by attending technical sessions at conferences such as the WQA Aquatech USA 2008 Convention, March 25-28, in Las Vegas, Nev. For more information, visit www.wqa.org.

WQA’s online Water Information Library now offers Supply House Times, Plumbing & Mechanical, PM Engineer, Reeves Journal and National Driller from BNP Publishing. These additions provide comprehensive information about plumbing, engineering and drilling issues.

Ozone joins the MRSA battle
Sanitizing towels, linens and surfaces with ozonated water has been shown to be extremely effective in the reduction of Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria and the more drug-resistant and harder-to-treat strain, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to the International Ozone Association. Both rapidly spreading bacteria can cause serious skin infections, lead to pneumonia or infections of the bloodstream, ear, urinary tract or lining of the brain. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that previously, MRSA was found primarily in health care settings; however, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 15 percent of US cases are found in public areas such as schools, athletic facilities, health clubs and hospitality industries.

NSF news
NSF International has developed a new protocol that addresses the health impact and environmental protection of septic tank and grease trap (solid and liquid) separating technology. Labrie Environmental Group is the first manufacturer to certify its pumping and liquid-solid separating system to the protocol. NSF Protocol P340: Septic Tank or Grease Trap Solid and Liquid Separating Devices was developed for equipment that separates septic waste solids from liquids in septic tanks or grease and solids from liquids in grease traps. The protocol contains requirements to evaluate the materials, design, manufacturing and performance of these types of equipment. Technologies have been developed to separate the solids from the liquids in septic tanks and grease traps and then return the treated water. P340 now provides a means to test the effectiveness and efficacy of these devices.

US EPA/NSF collaborate on WaterSense faucets
NSF will provide testing and certification of high-efficiency lavatory faucets for the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) WaterSenseSM program. The agency has released a product specification for faucets that use about 30 percent less water than conventional models; the WaterSense label can already be found on more than 60 high-efficiency toilets. American homes can save more than 11,000 gallons each year by installing a WaterSense-labeled, high-efficiency toilet and faucet or aerator.

CWA awards announced
US EPA announced the recipients of its 2007 National Clean Water Act Recognition Awards lauding municipalities and industries for outstanding and creative technological achievements in wastewater treatment and pollution abatement programs. Winners were chosen based on water quality compliance screenings and satisfactory environmental quality records. There were nine winners in the operations and maintenance category; five under exemplary biosolids management; six in the national pre-treatment area and two in the stormwater management category. The awards are announced annually during the Water Environment Federations Technical Exposition and Conference (WEFTEC). The 35th anniversary of the Clean Water Act was October 18, 2007.

Export certification for A.J. Antunes
William G. Sutton, Assistant Secretary for US Department of Commerce, Manufacturing and Services, presented an Export Achievement Certificate to Antunes Filtration Technologies, a division of A.J. Antunes & Co., in a September ceremony at the company’s Carol Stream, Ill. headquarters and manufacturing plant. The certificate recognizes the firm’s successful entry into four markets (India, Russia, Israel and Ireland) with its advanced water filtration systems for residential, food service and commercial applications. After the presentation, attendees were given a tour of the plant to observe production of the company’s diverse products.

Modeling software lauded by engineers
Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that its Haestad Methods product line has been selected as the number one water resources modeling software in a national survey conducted across the readership of a leading civil engineering newsletter and commissioned by the firm. The WaterGEMS product also received the People’s Choice Award at the American Water Works Association Annual Conference and Exposition.

Warehouse expansion
Holiday House Distributing celebrated its first year anniversary at its expanded warehouse. With 22,000 square feet for an inventory of more than 5,000 products, the new space allows the company to stock and ship more directly, reducing back orders and insuring faster delivery. Construction is under way on an additional 10,000+ square feet of space.

Siemens to expand CAP plant
Siemens Water Technologies was awarded an $8.45 million contract by Archer Western Contractors to expand the Scottsdale Water Campus Central Arizona Project (CAP) drinking water treatment plant. The company will supply a 30-million gpd (113.5 million L/d) system with the latest Memcor CP membrane technology. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2009.

Design group addresses Arizona projects
CH2M HILL announced the expansion of its regional design group in Phoenix, Ariz. to support a growing number of local and regional projects. The Phoenix group is currently supporting design for a well conveyance system; design of a treatment facility for water to be removed from a former underground copper mine and the Southern Avra Valley Storage and Recovery Project for Tucson Water, which will design a canal turnout, flowmeter vaults and a conveyance pipeline to transport water to new recharge basins.

LANXESS reorganization announced
Beginning last October as part of a systematic market orientation, LANXESS AG organized its 13 business units into three segments, following the divestment of its Lustran Polymers division. The new units are Performance Polymers, Advanced Intermediates and Performance Chemicals. Engineering Plastics ceased to exist under the new organizational plan.

GE ecomagination awards announced
GE Water & Process Technologies awarded Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) with the 2007 Global ecomagination Leadership Award for its innovative environmental and business efforts. More than a decade ago, ADM’s Decatur, Ill. corn plant implemented a sustainable water management program, conserving 150 million gallons of water each year and realizing one million dollars in annual operational savings. GE honored German water management company Erftverband with an ecomagination Leadership Award for its role in improving the environmental, public health and aesthetic water qualities of the Nordkanal. For nearly four years, Erftverband has used GE’s ecomagination-certified ZeeWeed membrane bioreactor technology at the Kaarst Wastewater Treatment Plant in North Rhine Westphalia.

DeMitri to represent Pure1
Pure1 Systems announced the expansion of its coverage to vending and office coffee systems companies through an exclusive arrangement with DeMitri Chesapeake Sales, Inc. to represent Pure1 in the territories they serve. Current customers will be encouraged to purchase Pure1 equipment to expand their offerings to customers with point of use (POU) water systems. DeMitri specializes in vending, office coffee service and mobile catering from metropolitan New York through Virginia.

Glass media making gains
ECOsmarte® has taken 18th century European technology (slow sand filtration using glass) and refined its Glass Pack® technology for drinking, swimming pool and wastewater filtration. Over 2,500 residential and commercial swimming pools report better than DE filtration results with only one-half of the backwash of zeolite and one-fourth that of sand. The product utilizes 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled glass in a sand filter platform. It replaces sand, zeolite, cartridges and DE filtration. Glass Pack is a registered trademark in 26 countries with bagging operations on three continents.

WorldWater, ENTECH merge
WorldWater & Solar Technologies Corp. and ENTECH, Inc. executed an Agreement and Plan of Merger in which ENTECH will merge with and into a wholly owned subsidiary of WorldWater. ENTECH will maintain its identity, location and business operations in both terrestrial and space solar energy.

Bayer product certification announced
Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) LLC’s Baytec® SPR 092A polyurethane, hybrid thick-film coating system has passed the NSF-61 standard, making it a good fit for potable water applications. The standard certifies that a product complies with the health effects requirements for materials designed for contact with potable water. The Baytec SPR 092A spray system, which has a Shore A hardness of 92, is impervious to acids and effluent and effectively separates the acid from the surface that could be attacked, making it ideal for protecting water and wastewater infrastructure.

NSPF grants awarded
The National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF®) has awarded two new Injury Prevention Grants to be paid out over the next 18 months to Purdue University (Ind.) and New York Medical College. A grant of $135,954 to Ernest Blatchley III, Ph.D., P.E., Jing Li, Ph.D. and Changhe Xia, Ph.D. of Purdue University (Indiana) will extend the team’s 2006/2007 research to address some of the important knowledge gaps that exist relative to UV and chlorine applications in recreational water. The research focuses on chemical and photochemical reactions that form and destroy disinfection byproducts. The new grant will test the air of indoor aquatic facilities to verify the laboratory experiments. A new Health Benefit Research Grant was also awarded to the University of Idaho.

NGWA funds traveling exhibit
The National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation funded a grant for the inclusion of wells and ground water in a traveling water exhibit that will tour the world’s leading science museums. Water: H2O=Life, a 7,000 square-foot exhibit, opened at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City.  The exhibit will travel to the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM), Chicago’s Field Museum, the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.  Other destinations include the Singapore Science Center; Instituto Sangari of São Paulo, Brazil and the National Museum of Australia (Canberra). Exhibit organizers AMNH and SMM expect more than three million visitors during the exhibit’s several-year run.  Additional stops are being explored.

IBWA news
The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) issued a policy statement reaffirming its position on the safety and health benefits of bottled water in spite of the continued efforts of Corporate Accountability International to sway consumers. IBWA’s 2007 Convention and Tradeshow, co-located with PACK EXPO 2007, claimed success with a host of exhibitors, speakers and qualified buyers who participated in seminars, education sessions, networking events and the tabletop trade show. In 2008, IBWA and the American Beverage Association (ABA) will combine InterBev 2008 and the 2008 IBWA Tradeshow at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, October 20-22. After the show, IBWA’s 50th Annual Convention will continue through October 24. Exhibitors are urged to book space early. Contact the InterBev and IBWA sales team at (703) 934-4700 or visit www.interbev.com.

2007 Economic Census forms coming your way
According to our friends at the US Census Bureau, chances are, yours is one of the businesses that will receive a 2007 Economic Census form this month. Forms go to all but the very smallest businesses in this tally done once every five years. The forms ask for basic information like your location, employment, payroll and sales by type of product or service. Businesses that receive a form are required by law (Title 13, U.S. Code) to respond. Businesses, communities and governments use Economic Census data for planning and market development. Statistics are published for more than a thousand industries as well as for states, counties, cities and metropolitan areas at www.business.census.gov.

New websites
Hawk Measurement launched a newly redesigned website (www.hawk measure.com) to provide users with an in-depth view of the company and its products using a highly intuitive navigation system and rich multimedia content. Visitors can view company news and upcoming events; press releases; data sheets; manuals and brochures; software and market-specific solutions; learn about various distributors and educate themselves on the frequently updated featured product.

Millipore Corporation’s new state-of-the-art website (www.millipore.com) is powered by a fast, robust search engine that integrates scientific taxonomy and content to assist customers in finding what they need by application, product type, pathway diagrams or research topic. Features include a comprehensive product catalog of over 25,000 items; a technical library of all product brochures and user guides; learning centers with information about the latest technologies, trends, applications and procedures; 24/7 support center and quick links for order tracking and quick order options.

PlayPumps International launched KnowH2O (www.knowh20.org) in response to interest expressed by an increasing number of schools working with the organization to bring access to clean water to rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. The website was designed for schools and community organizations to build student awareness of global water issues and how they can work to help address the world’s water crisis.

Asia

Dow membranes in Singapore
Dow Water Solutions and Singa-pore’s national water agency PUB, have signed an agreement to test-bed Dow’s next-generation FILMTEC™ membranes for use in water reclamation. The joint collaborative research effort commenced at PUB’s Bedok NEWater plant in early October and is expected to validate preliminary data indicating that Dow’s newer 16-inch FILMTEC membrane modules are more efficient in water reclamation than current standard eight-inch modules. Once validated, the next-generation membrane technology will allow for more efficient and affordable water reclamation and reuse processes at large-scale treatment facilities.

Water-saving scheme announced
The International Water Association reported a new scheme from the South Australian government will encourage householders to take advantage of a series of rebates for installing water-saving devices. The rebate for low-flow shower heads will increase to AUD$30 ($270). In addition, there will be a refund of AUD$50 ($45) for every $150 spent on water-efficient garden products, up to AUD$150 to install dual-flush toilets and AUD$200 for water-efficient washing machines. From 2008, AUD$100 will be available for home water audits. The scheme aims to save some five billion liters of water over three years.

Liqui-Cel in Korea
Membrana will ship another Liqui-Cel® Membrane Contactor System for oxygen removal to Korea. The 130 m3/hr (572 gpm) system utilizes Liqui-Cel 10 x 28 Membrane Contactors to provide a dissolved oxygen outlet of no greater than one ppb. The system will operate in combination mode using nitrogen and vacuum.

Europe

Top distributor named
Eden Springs has emerged as West Europe’s top bottled water cooler distributor, displacing Nestlé Waters from its number one spot, according to the 2007 West Europe Water Coolers report from beverage consultancy Zenith International. Eden Springs pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy during 2006 and early 2007, completing 18 transactions in western Europe. Six of these were in the UK, the company’s biggest national market. The group is now responsible for almost one-fifth of western Europe’s 1.86 million bottled water cooler placements.

Siemens distributor for inge AG
Siemens Water Technologies and inge AG of Greifenberg, Germany have entered into a cooperation agreement to supply and distribute ultrafilter membrane modules. Siemens will have exclusive rights to distribute the patented water treatment modules of inge AG in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. With its existing product line and the dizzer modules of inge AG, Siemens will have the most comprehensive range of products for water treatment in the world.

Viewpoint

Monday, December 17th, 2007

By Karen R. Smith

Year-end musings

Hard to say yet what kind of year 2007 has been for the water treatment industry. I’ve attended a bevy of events lately and most participants tell me business is good. There are plenty of orders on the manufacturing/OEM side and plenty of customers on the dealer side. So if we’re all so busy, why aren’t we happier?

For good reasons, actually. On the waste water side, global warming means reconsidering greener ways to treat used water. On the potable water side, finding new sources—whether desalination or reclamation—is becoming critical in more and more places. Who’d have thought the American southlands would find themselves staring at the bottom of Lake Lanier? And between those two ends of the bigger water world, there’s us—impacted by those factors, both positively and negatively.

While municipal water meets or exceeds EPA mandates here in the US, the declining taste/odor qualities in many regions due to aging infrastructures have driven many to seek home treatment, which is good for us. But since the most common home treatments either increase water use (RO) or discharge brine (softeners), we often become the only possible target (the proverbial low-hanging fruit) when either conservation or TDS levels become critical for regulators. Bad for us. The homebuilding boom of the past five years meant lots of business for those in growth areas—good for us; the decline in that market has hurt those who specialized therein. (You get the idea.)

How we as an industry respond to the changes in the other aspects of water will in large part dictate our role in the future. In regions where the average customer is connected to the municipal water supply, it is the quality of that delivered water—or more importantly, the perception of quality or the lack thereof—that determines whether they call their local water softener/RO dealer and arrange for POU treatment. I know of no dealership mounting an advertising or public relations campaign that tackles this head-on. Most note the problems consumers are likely to encounter—rust stains in the driveway, or clogged shower heads, or dingy laundry—rather than acknowledge that the city’s water supply is such that ancillary treatment in the home is desirable, if not downright necessary.

This being the holiday season, let’s put those factors aside for just a moment. Whatever 2007 meant in your business, take the time now in the fullness of the season to decide what you want next year to be. Because if we have learned anything in the past 12 months, it is that planning ahead can mean the difference between success and failure; that long-range goals can be achieved with long-range planning and that now is the time to determine the course you will follow in the weeks and months to come.

I hope your plans will include reaching out to the communities where you do business. One of the best promotions I received this year came from my Realtor® friend, Mary Diaz. It came with a book of 2¢ stamps and read as follows: I just wanted to remind you that the price of stamps will be going up 2¢ beginning Monday, May 14th. Here is a book of 2¢ stamps to save you the trouble of waiting in those long lines at the post office. If you know someone who would like my ‘2¢ worth’ about real estate, please let me know. I promise that I will make you proud that you sent them to me. I am eternally grateful for your continued support.

I put that handy book of two-centers right on my desk and each time I wrote a friend or paid a bill using an old 39¢ stamp, I grabbed one and thought of Diaz. It kept her name right out front in all the months since; as a result, I have referred all who have crossed my path looking to buy, sell or rent a house. That’s a perfect promotional piece. What was yours? Did it succeed as well? Or are you reading this sheepishly admitting you didn’t reach out to your customers in any creative way at all?

Make this coming year different. If not with a book of stamps—perhaps with a bottle of water? Or a coupon for a free car wash so folks can enjoy spot-free water at another of your installations? Find a way to be memorable—and to get them to refer enough new clients for a month of Sundays.

From all of us here at WC&P, we wish you Happy Holidays and a New Year of peace, joy and prosperity.

Women and the Water Quality Industry II: More Voices To Be Heard

Monday, December 17th, 2007

By Denise M. Roberts

In December 2006, WC&P featured five women who are prominent in the water quality industry. This year, in response to your requests, we’ve interviewed five more! Herewith, our 2007 dialog about what it takes to break through the glass ceiling, gain recognition and achieve success in the industry.

About the participants
More than half of our 2007 participants have earned certifications through the Water Quality Association. Their duties are as diverse and important as any in the industry; their contributions have made them standout performers.

Andrea Swiney, Marketing Manager for Aqua Finance, Inc. is primarily responsible for the promotion of Aqua’s programs, managing internal and external communications, advertising, trade shows, dealer communications, dealer setup and training and creation of sales, marketing and training materials. Promoted from a sales position, Swiney still engages in many new dealer sales and is also involved in business development, although those activities are no longer her primary responsibilities.

Ryanne Hamilton, Graphic Designer/Marketing Coordinator at R-Can Environmental, Inc., is responsible for the creation of artwork/graphics from concept through to final production. This includes advertisements, brochures, literature, manuals, price catalogues, etc. Day-to-day marketing tasks (quote solicitation, research for new marketing material, website maintenance, production scheduling, writing and coordinating project briefs, etc.) are also prominent aspects of her position.

Ana-Maria Bogatan, CWS-IV, Mechanical Designer, also with R-Can Environmental, Inc., is responsible for the design and management of current and in-development products.

Kathleen Srygley, CWS-V1, Regional Accounts Manager, GE Water & Process Technologies, manages Mid-Atlantic accounts in addition to some Mid-Western and West Coast clients. Her strategic duties include enhancing OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) capabilities by partnering with GE’s Water Process Technologies, allowing them to expand their base with quality products and training along with follow-through support for solutions. Srygley is Secretary/Treasurer of Eastern Water Quality Association (www.ewqa.org) and a volunteer for the Water Systems Council* for Children’s Waterfest Program in Delaware and Maryland.

Dawn Rineer, CWS-V, an Engineering Technician with Lancaster Water Treatment for 10 years, earned her Associates Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Pennsylvania State University (York, Pa.). Her varied responsibilities include producing and maintaining engineering drawings for the water treatment department; making equipment recommendations based on a water analysis; technical support and equipment troubleshooting; recommendation and design of commercial systems; compiling and conducting educational seminars and supervising/conducting equipment testing.

Successful choices
Myths about women in the industry are numerous and common but our respondents have dealt with them in a positive way. They noted that the most obvious myths (women aren’t capable of handling the technical roles and many are sitting behind a desk answering the phone, serving coffee and typing) are being overcome with the entry of more women as knowledgeable and competent professionals. Though still outnumbered, these women have made positive strides in shattering the preconceptions that might otherwise have kept them from becoming successful dealers, technicians and managers. Swiney reiterates the positive. “I think a lot of women are realizing that they can have success in the water business and that the guys they’ll work with will help them achieve it.”

Most find themselves in the industry by chance. Srygley became aware of water quality issues in the 80s when she had her first home RO system installed. She switched her focus from computer science to water treatment and became a sales associate for a local company. Experience convinced her that she made a very sound decision. Hamilton, who holds a degree in fashion marketing, said her entry opportunity was purely by chance. Swiney worked for another finance company; she joined Aqua after a few conversations with management members. She had no clue about water treatment or any concept of how big it actually was. I knew financing and was able to transition easily.” Bogatan noted her entry into the technical field was by choice, though to water was by chance, while Rineer believes it was fate. “The job was posted on the bulletin board at the university that I was attending and the location was less than five miles from my home,” she said.

Gender roles
How do they feel about being part of a male-dominated industry? According to Swiney, it’s a lot of fun. “There is a different way that you have to approach males and females when it comes to sales of any type. Joking around with the guys can help break the ice, but you have to know where to draw the line and make it clear when that line has been crossed. Most of the men I’ve worked with have been very professional and supportive. But you do have to be able to show that you can handle yourself.” Hamilton doesn’t see a gender issue, nor does she think it has an affect on who she is. “Most of my experience prior to this position was working in the fashion industry, which oddly enough is male dominated as well!” Bogatan notes that working in any gender-dominated industry can be intimidating until you find out the best way to converse with your peers. For her, it was learning a few golfing terms. “Overall, I would say that it’s easier for women in this industry because there is less gossip, competition and emotion involved,” Bogatan offered. Syrgley quickly became aware of the gender issue but life experiences taught her to resolve these types of obstacles. “I’ve had great mentors. One was Stan Zairkowski from Sybron Chemicals who always said ‘Follow your gut and keep doing the right thing’ in order to be successful,” she said. “I’ve been very privileged to know my male mentors. They patiently guided me along in my career growth and I will always be grateful for their assistance. Now, I consider my male peers and customers more as friendly partners. This allows me to continue to grow in this industry and have a positive and proactive impact on all I serve.” Rineer, hired by a company with a progressive leadership, acknowledges there are situations that continue the myth of male-domination. “Internally, gender did not play any part in the hiring decision but externally, there are still many old-school thinkers out there. Often, there is a pause on the other end of the line when I answer calls to the technical department,” she said. “Sometimes people are honest and blunt. ‘Oh, I was expecting a man to answer.’ Sometimes they are just confused and wondering if the department secretary was about to transfer their call again.”

Overall, being a woman isn’t considered a handicap by the group, though Hamilton notes it could be, depending on a person’s role. “It’s more about mental, rather than physical ability,” says Bogatan. “Being a woman in any industry has always been a challenge,” Srygley opines. “However, I firmly believe the industry has helped me to grow in ways I could not imagine. I know as a woman I make a difference when strangers are referred to me for solutions.” Rineer believes that she was hired for previous draftsman positions because the companies needed to show diversity in employment to maintain their contracts. “In those situations, being a woman helped me to obtain a job,” she notes. “I think it is absolutely a help,” Swiney says. “It would probably be fair to say that most guys like talking with women. I think I have an advantage in catching someone’s attention whether it is at a trade show or industry event or even on a phone call.”

For all of the advances made in the modern corporate world, women still face certain hurdles based on their gender. Equality of pay hasn’t been realized, though entry to the corner office has become a reality for many. In the water industry, the exception seems to be the rule, though. Almost to a number, our respondents agreed that the changes in society have led to a more level playing field for women interested in the challenges. Application of skills, positive attitudes, continued training and team spirit have fostered advances to the loftier goals of ownership and management of companies small and large.

If a woman believes she would find satisfaction in the challenges and rewards of the water quality trades, there is a resounding ‘Do it’ encouragement from everyone. “It’s an extremely interesting field to work in and there are a lot of great women in a variety of positions—everything from water sales, to media, to trade associations, to legal, to marketing—to look up to,” Swiney advises. “Clean water is something people will always need, so there is good security in the industry as well.” Hamilton encourages “If you are a self-confident individual with a drive to succeed you will do just that, regardless of your gender.”

What lies ahead
With their fingers firmly on the pulse of the industry, our participants offered their assessment of the future. Swiney says increased consumer awareness and new government regulations may make it more difficult for dealerships to find new customers. With the Internet, consumers have access to more information than ever before on the products, the reputations of dealers, the prices being charged, etc. Dealerships will have to figure out how to make that information work for them. And the government may regulate even further both the products offered and the ways in which they may be marketed to consumers. It will be a challenge that dealers have to overcome. Getting more women involved in a variety of roles will help bring new, different viewpoints and creative ideas they can use to help keep their sales growing. “10 years from now, I think there will be a lot more women in prominent roles in the industry” she predicts. “Maybe we’ll even outnumber the men by then!” Hamilton’s view is upbeat. “Over the past few decades there have been numerous changes in many industries. Females are being embraced and welcomed in the workplace more often. I believe that there is always room for change especially when it’s going to improve workplace behavior and productivity.”

“In future, I see men and women working together in every field,” Bogatan surmises. “We use computers, automated assembly lines and machinery. Work will require skill rather than power.” According to Srygley, “Change is always happening and for me to speculate on the next five or 10 years is not easy. For example, GE Water Technologies is working on the next generation of water quality solutions worldwide. A company as passionate as GE means a dedication to continue to improve with time. I see more global industries also striving for improved water quality solutions because of the worldwide concerns over water quality and scarcity. I’m excited about the possibilities and eagerly look forward to the future.”

Rineer is very positive about the future. “I would love to see more women become involved in the industry, to take part in the educational opportunities that are available in the form of seminars and panels. Water treatment is ever-evolving. I hope that the dialogues in the industry continue to be as open and informative as they are now and that industry leaders continue to share their knowledge with their colleagues.”

The industry welcomes more new women to its ranks every year. Mothers and fathers encourage both sexes of their children and other relatives to take a serious look at a career in water. The diversity this offers the industry is a win-win situation for everyone, as a larger pool of qualified technicians and specialists, regardless of gender, bodes well for all markets. The world is, after all, a place for all of us to work, play, grow, succeed and take care of one another. It’s everybody’s job to make the best use of the planet’s resources to ensure our future and our survival.

Editorial note
When WC&P contacted the respondents to request their participation, an unexpected letter about Dawn Rineer arrived. It outlines the important qualities this successful water specialist embodies and how she has made a difference.

Dear Ms. Roberts,

I have strongly encouraged Dawn to participate in your article on women in the water treatment industry. Dawn is a unique individual with excellent problem solving ability, great skill in communicating with all types of people, and a love and appreciation of the water treatment industry.

As you can see I am a Dawn Rineer fan. I am a fan of who she is because of what she does. In the water treatment world, as with all industries, people have a tendency to treat the symptom and not the problem. Dawn is a problem solver. She defines the problem and makes the necessary suggestions to solve the problem once and for all.

In order to effectively solve the problem she has to communicate with all types of people; homeowners, plumbing contractors, plumbing wholesale personnel, and engineers.  She communicates all these people in such a way as to make them part of the process and to feel comfortable with the final decision.

Dawn has many attributes but her concern for taking care of the customer is first and foremost. She is a great attribute for Lancaster Pump and Water Treatment, but she is also a great attribute for the water treatment industry.

Best Regards,

John D. Wenzel, Jr.
President
C-B Tool Co.
Phone: 717-393-3953
Fax: 717-393-4940
E-mail: jwenzel@lancasterpump.com

Working Paradise: In Costa Rica, Opportunities Abound

Monday, December 17th, 2007

By Karen R. Smith & Denise M. Roberts

The Province of Guanacaste, on the north Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is known for beautiful beaches, superb snorkeling, a shoreline that is home to a diverse population of birds and a lake-filled mountain region ideal for windsurfing. Water, water and more water—until the annual six-month dry season arrives.

Experiencing that first dry season back in 2001, seeing how it compromised both the availability and quality of drinking water, vacationer Jim Ryan recognized a new opportunity.

A graduate of Stanford University, he had entered the water industry with his very first job at American Digital Systems, better known as ADS. Ryan rose to become President of the company’s Long Term Water Monitoring Division. The firm designed, built and operated remote sensor and microcomputer networks that gave governments and utilities real time data on hydrological and environmental factors for the very first time.

Years later he entered Europe’s newly emerging competitive utility markets. Ryan established one of the first private utility supply and consultancy companies in London in 1992 and worked on projects throughout the EU. After selling the company in 2001, he welcomed a vacation under the sunny skies of Costa Rica and Nicaragua to recharge and determine his next direction.

The vacation passed, yet Ryan remained, enchanted by the region’s natural beauty, especially the waterways. As a sailor, windsurfer and diver, he felt there could be no better place for him to settle.

“There’s a very unique atmosphere here, a combination of incredible biodiversity and volcanic geology, that creates a beauty unlike anywhere else I’ve been. Besides, where else but on this narrow isthmus can you wake up in the morning and decide whether you want to visit a beach on the Atlantic or the Pacific coast or stay in the middle and go white-water river rafting?” Ryan asked.

Having lived and worked in the US and the UK, as well as in Italy and Hungary—and completed projects in most of the other countries of the world as a temporary resident—it is obvious he found a personal resonance in the Costa Rican landscape. All the more reason, he notes, for wanting to help the inhabitants exist sustainably.

The need for sustainable water practices was obvious to Ryan from his very first Costa Rican dry season. “Coincident with the end of our annual rains, colder temperatures in the northern latitudes and seasonal holidays bring visitors in droves to Central America’s beaches and mountains. The combination of peak agricultural irrigation and peak tourism with a booming construction sector, accompanied by diminishing water resources, create a series of annual water shortages and contamination events. Ironically, the natural environment that attracts so many visitors is, in turn, threatened by their very presence.”

Nowhere are these problems more pronounced than the popular but fragile coastal environments where most of Agua Solutions’ clients are located. Hotels, resorts, private homeowners and large developers that seek out Agua Solutions’ services recognize that responsible (i.e., sustainable) development makes good sense and is a good investment. Gradually, the firm’s Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) design and build services expanded into a full range of water related services, including water quality testing, storage, grey water recovery and re-use, water conservation, solar-/wind- powered pumping systems, storm water management, evaporation inhibitors for pools and lakes and, finally, water purification. However, the company’s primary focus is sustainable rainwater (for potable and non-potable use) and its purification. Said Ryan, “The 120 inches or so of intense tropical rain we receive each year must be managed carefully to avoid flooding and property destruction and to  sustain us through the long dry season.”

Shortly after Ryan formed Agua Solutions International, he invited his sister Terry to join the firm. Her education in the sciences (undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry, a Master’s of Science in ecology and a Doctorate of veterinary medicine) combined with her broad experience in conservation projects throughout Africa, Mexico and Central America (including disaster medicine) made her a valuable addition to the firm. Her public health experiences led to her special focus upon humanitarian projects providing safe drinking water to rural schools and clinics. A percentage of the company’s revenues fund these projects. Terry is also an instrument-rated pilot (with US and Costa Rica licenses), which means the company can accept projects well off the beaten path.

Ryan’s passion for combining the best of cutting-edge technology with environmental stewardship has led him to introduce the GE Homespring™ as the premier central water purification system for his upscale clients. He considers it the ideal ultrafiltration purification system since it doesn’t depend upon chemicals or even electricity to assure pure, safe drinking water from a wide range of sources (rain, well, surface or municipal waters). “We’re combining the best of GE’s ultrafiltration membrane technology with the ancient practice of rain water harvesting,” Ryan remarked.

Given that many of the firm’s customers desired renewable energy alternatives after their water needs were satisfied, Ryan added the energy company ASI Power & Telemetry to his offerings. He explained, “Many of our clients have a real pioneer spirit and don’t want to be confined to well-established or more ‘civilized’ locations”.

In many cases, clients build in remote scenic locations at or past the boundary of traditional water and energy utility services, so the combination of alternative water and power-supply strategies are the essential ingredients that allow such projects to succeed.

Jim and Terry are rightfully proud of the unique team of individuals they’ve attracted with the skills to make sustainability a reality for their customers and the commitment to contribute to their community. Today, the company is part of the design team for the first three projects in Central America to seek the LEED certification from the US Green Building Council. Agua Solutions’ and ASI Power’s variety of conservation and alternative technologies for water and energy allow them to contribute significantly to these world-class, sustainable projects.

Today, Ryan lives in Liberia, Costa Rica where Agua Solutions International’s Central American offices are based; the company also works in neighboring Nicaragua and Honduras and plans to expand to Panama. Direct flights from London to Liberia International Airport have just begun, so when he misses bangers and mash, Ryan can easily head to the UK to enjoy them and catch up with friends—and happily head back home to his personal paradise.

 

PWQA: A Golden Anniversary Celebration 1957-2007

Monday, December 17th, 2007

By Karen R. Smith

Despite raging wild fires across seven California counties, members of the Pacific Water Quality Association convened at the Pechanga Resort in Temecula, California to celebrate 50 years of representing the best in water treatment.

Trial by fire
The final Board of Directors meeting under outgoing President Terry Heckman (GE Water & Process Technologies) voted to lower the annual basic dues amount to $365 (from $381) both to share the organization’s prosperity with the membership and to enable recruitment efforts to capitalize on the ‘dollar-a-day’ advantages of belonging to PWQA.

Wednesday, the intrepid golfers looked at the glow of the fires, steeled themselves against the occasional gusts of smoke and headed for the Red Hawk Golf Course. The traditional four-player scramble, sponsored by Culligan, had nearly 40 golfers participating. While no one managed to capture the prize offered for a hole-in-one on the eighth hole, a good time was had by all. The winners were as follows:

  • Ladies’ longest drive: Judy Heckman
  • Men’s longest drive: Gerard McKeuwn
  • Closest to the pin: Mike Murphy
  • First place foursome: Pat Dalee, Frank DeSilva, Malcolm Kinnear and WC&P’s own John Miller.

Back at the hotel, Ann Parissidi proctored WQA certification exams (many had taken Joe Harrison’s Water Treatment Fundamentals full-day course on Tuesday to ready themselves for the test).

General meeting
California Assembly Leader Joel Anderson had been scheduled to speak at the annual meeting held Wednesday afternoon, but with many parts of his district affected by the fires he was out helping constituents in every way possible. When he called to cancel, he was busily making hundreds of sandwiches for evacuees. The membership approved a bylaw change enabling the association to broaden its base in all Colorado River Basin states, where there is obvious comradeship within the water treatment industry facing increasing regulatory attempts.

Guests enjoyed the singing of Sid Fly, who then led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Lobbyist Pete Conaty explained the political situation in California and encouraged all to get involved with the Adopt-A-Legislator program he has developed for PWQA.

Yours truly was inducted as President, having made the way through Chairs over the past several years. My Presidency begins on November 1. My remarks were as follows:

“I am honored to stand before you as PWQA’s new President. We are privileged to have with us tonight many of the men and women who built this organization and nurtured it through times of growth and prosperity—and through difficulties and challenges.

Very few undertakings reach the half-century mark—and fewer still are trade organizations. Tonight should rightfully be spent celebrating that rare accomplishment—but for a moment, let’s talk about the future.

If you check the Yellow Pages or search the Internet, you’ll find out that we, the members of PWQA, are in the minority. Water treatment companies who are NOT members of this august group outnumber us here in California—by about 10 to one. I ask for your help to begin to reverse those odds this year.

I know that’s a tall order, but these are perilous times—and there is strength in numbers. How perilous? You be the judge. During the past 12 months, there were constant threats to your ability to do business:

  • Beaumont
  • Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Coachella Valley Water District
  • Corona
  • Dixon
  • Fillmore
  • Fresno
  • Hollister
  • Lake Parris
  • Las Virgenes
  • Live Oak
  • Los Angeles County Sanitation District
  • City of Orange
  • San Benito County
  • San Juan Batista
  • Santa Paula
  • Solana Beach
  • Ventura

Every one of them has threatened your ability to do business during the past year, until PWQA board members, past presidents and rank-and-file members jumped in to reverse those attempts so you can continue to prosper.

And don’t think it’s only California. The western states that are becoming increasingly dependent on CAP water are becoming increasingly concerned with rising TDS levels.

Arizona and Nevada newspapers have both reported municipal discussions about those rising TDS levels and there have been a couple of articles that mentioned softener use in that regard. It does not take a psychic to predict what lies ahead.

Each time a challenge arises, PWQA stands firm on what our predecessors built: SB 1006 and AB 334. And I am sure many of you are thinking that those hard-fought legal protections must surely be enough.
They may be—but only through our vigilance. It is not the government that enforces those statutes; it is PWQA and its members, working to protect your rights.

Each and every time a challenge arises, members of this association rise to meet it. PWQA members educate legislators. We contact city attorneys and sit down with district leaders. We speak before city councils. We talk to the mayors and to the aldermen. We even talk to the city engineers.

Most often, what we do is educate local governments about SB1006 and AB 334—the laws that preserve the consumer’s right to the best drinking water possible—and the right of our industry to provide it.
We go forth on your behalf no matter where we personally do business and whether or not there’s a paid member in a particular area. In fact, while there are many ways to view your trade association, education and law enforcement have been two of our main functions lately on your behalf.

Acquainting legislators with our business is our best long-term strategy, so that when challenges arise, we will have their support. Legislators with no real interest in this industry may have a significant interest in upholding the laws that ensure free enterprise or guarantee consumer choice, particularly when it comes to something as precious as drinking water. Those legislators need to make our acquaintance.

We head to Sacramento in March to do just that—and numbers speak loudest in the halls of government. A crowd shows commitment and strength.

This coming year, our Legislative Days will be more important than ever before, given the increasing and ongoing challenges raised here in California. You have all traveled to Temecula for this conference and celebration; I challenge each and every person here tonight to travel to Sacramento in March, so we can continue to celebrate in the years ahead.

I know it is difficult to get away from your businesses and harder still to bring family and staff members along. But I assure you, this challenge has a reward. Of course, the true reward is being able to continue to do business—but I have another, more immediate one in mind.
Join me in Sacramento in March—and I will buy dinner. It seems the state capitol has two very appropriate restaurants for us…so I’ll let you choose.

We can dine at Moxie in Sacramento—because it definitely takes moxie to be in this business in the west! Or—and I’m not making this up!—we can dine at The WaterBoy! If you doubted that you belong with us at this important event, surely that name shows you that it’s destiny!
Let’s start the next 50 years with a strong showing in Sacramento in March. I’ll see you there—and I’m buying.”

Sid Fly sang at the welcome reception that followed, as guests mingled in a lovely open space enjoying hors d’œuvres and beverages enhanced by beautiful ice sculptures.

Thursday
Attendees had a choice of technical seminars for WQA credit throughout the morning, followed by business operations presentations in the afternoon. The sessions were scheduled so as not to conflict with the tradeshow hours—a design feature other conferences should definitely consider adopting. Nearly 50 vendors made the tradeshow exciting and informative; Raymond Gregory (son of Jerry and Dana Horner) delighted all attendees with his vocals and guitar playing.

That evening, PWQA executive board members donned black tie and formed a receiving line to welcome all to the improvised dining room. As the fires worsened, Pechanga became host to hundreds of evacuees forced from their homes by the inferno. The resort itself is owned by the Luiseno Indians and their reservation lands were burning. Pechanga staff rose to the crisis with grace and efficiency, managing to continue guest and business operations perfectly while creating housing for many hundreds of people; setting up emergency kitchens and bringing in Red Cross personnel, doctors and nurses to help those suffering from smoke inhalation or needing medications left behind in burning buildings.

After a wonderful dinner, the annual event really got underway, first with the presentation of association awards to deserving members. The Robert Gans Technology Award went to ResinTech’s Frank DeSilva for his commitment to sharing knowledge throughout the industry. Puronics and Topway Global each earned a Special Service Award for hosting membership barbecues during the past year. All rose in a standing ovation when C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud was given the prestigious Hall of Fame Award for decades of service in every aspect of the industry.

Then, the lovely Vanna (Morton Salt’s Ron Reuff) joined auctioneer Mark Smith (Smith Claims/West Valley Claims Service) to raise money for the PWQA PAC. Donated items ranged from a case of Bastard Ale (won by Bill Fritsche, who was not in attendance!) to a complete WQA Aquatech 2008 package with many fun and interesting items in between. Nearly $11,000 was raised by the winsome pair to the delight of all.

Friday, as WQA exams continued, the association’s Salinity Task Force updated members on activities and actions throughout the state. All were pleased to learn that WQA is working with other cities using PWQA’s “Pinch the Salt” outreach as a template. Developed with California’s Inland Empire, dealers work with their customers to upgrade older units and switch them to demand-initiated regeneration (or to portable exchange, if they prefer).

The tradeshow continued until afternoon, when vendors broke down their booths and headed home. Pentair, host of the ice cream social on the trade show floor, brought the remaining ice cream to the staging area for evacuees and gave out treats to all the children.

It was the fervent hope of all who attended that evacuees would find their homes safe and be able to return to them for joyous holidays.

 

WEFTEC: the 80th Annual Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference

Monday, December 17th, 2007

By Karen R. Smith

If you have never attended a really large conference, the sheer size of 267,000 square feet of exhibit space is stunning. Everything about this year’s WEFTEC in San Diego, Calif. was larger-than-life. In fact, it was the largest exhibit and educational forum on water and wastewater technologies in the world.

The conference, held from October 13-17, featured over a hundred technical sessions, dozens of specialty workshops and eight off-site facility tours. 18,000 attendees from all over the globe made their way to San Diego for the event. This year’s theme was sustainability—which, although not a new concept here, is receiving new attention. The first meeting of WEF’s Community of Practice on Sustainability convened on the second day of the gathering and is planning a specialty conference, Sustainability 2008 for June which will feature green practices for energy conservation as well as climate change adaptation for the water environment. Debates and guides to policy development will be offered as well.

Outgoing WEF President Mohamed Dahab officially opened the event at the General Session and San Diego’s Mayor, Jerry Sanders, welcomed participants to his city. Technical keynote speaker Dr. Perry L. McCarty, winner of the 2007 Stockholm Water Prize, gave a fascinating presentation urging the audience to adopt more sustainable waste treatment practices while providing an overview of the growth of WEF and of WEFTEC during his years in the industry. A stunning photographic presentation by David Doubilet (of National Geographic fame) brought the beauty of the deep to all in the auditorium. Incoming President Adam Zabinski challenged members to assess water needs in a national effort much as they had 35 years ago with the Clean Water Act. Dr. McCarty was not the only Stockholm prize winner on stage; most of the Junior Water Prize winners were in attendance as well. It was delightful to meet the young inventors in person (see WC&P Oct. 07 by Laura Mirviss): Adriana Alcantara Ruiz, Dalia Diaz Gomez and Carlos Hernandez Mejia from Mexico; US finalists Jordyn Wolfand from Maryland; Kelydra Welcker from West Virginia and Yupeng Liu from South Carolina. US winner Jingyuan Luo from Arizona was unable to attend. All the young winners’ work was on display in the poster session later that day.

One of the most interesting parts of WEFTEC is the annual Operations Challenge, where teams from different companies, utilities and municipal agencies compete in the physical activities that water and wastewater systems rely upon. Each team is sponsored by a WEF Member Association or by a recognized Operator Association. The competition is fierce and the teams earn points in a system weighted to reward speed, precision and safety. Events are divided into categories: collection systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance and safety. This year’s winners: Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association’s Commode Commandos; Virginia Water Environment Association’s HRSD G-Force team was a close second, followed by TRA CreWSers from Water Environment Association of Texas.

The size and scope of the show and educational offerings is made manageable by a daily newspaper distributed at the entrance each and every morning. While recapping the previous day’s activities, it’s an easy-to-handle guide to the current day’s activities and serves to remind attendees of what is going on at different times and venues within the conference. The first day’s paper also had a wonderful feature: a scavenger hunt. Inviting folks to make their way through the (considerable!) exhibit hall, classroom and workshop areas, the hunt had them go to specific locations, find a particular object and write down answers to questions which the objects contained. Dropping the completed hunt form off for a prize drawing gave the respondent an opportunity to win an iPod nano for their efforts. A nice way to get people to pro-actively wander the event and familiarize themselves with the offerings.

The global reuse plenary session was a prime example of the mix that makes this event so exciting. Debbie Best, Deputy Director General from Queensland, Australia; Kay Brothers, Deputy General Manager, Southern Nevada Water Authority; Dr. James Gill, Water Corporation of Western Australia and Chan Kuan Kum from PUB Singapore, each shared their local experience and perspectives on water reuse in a panel discussion moderated by Black & Veatch’s President and CEO, Dan McCarthy.

The Australian drought was explained as a long-term decrease: over 30 years, rainfall decreased by over 21 percent. They are moving forward with desalination plants, which are projected to fulfill one-third of supply. Best noted that 1,500 new residents arrived every week in Brisbane, Queenland’s largest city. The current population is four million; 5.5 million is projected by 2050. In Las Vegas, Brothers’ agency is continuing their cash-for-grass WaterSmart landscaping initiative. They ‘buy’ grass removal for $2 per square foot up to 1,500 square feet and a dollar a square foot thereafter. To date, 93 million square feet of grass has been removed through the program.

Salinity was discussed throughout this plenary session, notably the rising salt pollution in the Colorado River and the potential implications of that fact. One suggestion was to implement a TDS level of 60 mg/L; remove the rest of the salt and trade it for water.

A standing-room-only crowd listened to David Jenkins, Professor Emeritus in civil and environmental engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. From TSS to FISH was the first hour of technical sessions on Monday. He gave several examples of advances in activated sludge process design using molecular biology tools (MBTs) and told the audience that we stand at the brink of a new era in waste management.

The folks from IFAT held a gathering to acquaint attendees with this reknowned German trade fair. Perhaps the most important gathering for waste disposal and the environment in the world (the fair includes water, sewage, waste and recycling). Over 2,000 exhibitors from 39 countries and more than 97,000 visitors prove the expertise of the Munich Trade Fairs International Group at bringing the industry together at the crossroads of Europe.

Johannes Lohus, the Managing Director of the German Association for Water, Wastewater & Waste, described the show as the only place where all water disciplines meet under one roof.

In the main lobby, Water for People’s booth served as a focal point for those seeking to aid parts of the world still without this most basic of human necessities. Throughout the conference, WFP staff moderated sessions on global water challenges. Their annual fundraising event was, “A Taste of Latin America” with the foods, drinks and music from that part of the world as staff members shared their experiences in bringing water to those without it.

Attendees were reminded of Black & Veatch sessions (19 in all) through a unique marketing opportunity offered by the setting for this year’s conference: pedicab ads that brought the B&V message to all who took advantage of the weather to walk (or be peddled) around San Diego’s Old Town.

AIDIS (Inter-America Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering) members from all over the world were present at WEFTEC. Gesner de Oliveira, President of Companhia de Sanemento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, Brazil (SABESP); Emilio Rangel, General Director of Servicios de Agua y Drenaje de Monterrey, Mexico (SADM); Abelardo del Valle, Director of Empresa Publica de Medellin, Columbia (EPM) and Jorge Rodriguez, President of the Board and Jose Ortiz, CEO of Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados de Puerto Rico (AAA) presented an informative session entitled, Water and Wastewater Management in Latin America: Increasing challenges toward an achievable goal.

Gretchen McClain, President of ITT Fluid Technology, announced the firm’s new partnership with National Geographic to raise awareness of global water issues. Support will focus on Strange Days on Planet Earth, a two-part television series hosted by Edward Norton. In conjunction with the program, an educator packet of teaching materials targeting middle school students has been created, which will be made available to National Geographic educator newsletter. The partnership seems a good fit for ITT Corporation, a global leader in water and fluid transport, treatment and control technology employing approximately 35,000 people worldwide.

WEFTEC will be making a change in their conference/trade show sites; starting next year, the event will alternate between Chicago and New Orleans. For complete information, visit the website www.weftec.org

 

Water Quality Monitoring: Lessons from the Developing World

Monday, December 17th, 2007

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

At a minimum, state health departments recommend monitoring private water supplies for bacteria, nitrates and nitrites annually and arsenic, uranium, radon, lead and fluoride every three to five years. To ensure proper testing and quality assurance/quality control, laboratories certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), state and/or national accreditation programs are preferred. Although widely available, US consumers frequently opt out of routine monitoring of their individual water supplies. For much of the population in the developing world, however, such services are neither available nor affordable. Low-cost, user-friendly bacterial test kits are needed for water quality monitoring in the developing world and are expected to have a major impact on disease and death rates by helping people recognize when water sources are unsafe to drink or require treatment. These global initiatives serve to remind us of the importance of contaminant monitoring and treatment at the point of use (POU) to ensure the best quality water.

Saving lives around the world
Deaths due to waterborne infections (i.e., diarrhea) are estimated at 1.8 million per year globally. Most of these deaths (1.5 million) occur in children under the age of five.1 World Health Organization estimates that 94 percent of diarrhea cases are preventable through improvements in water quality, sanitation and hygiene. In recent decades, there has been a dramatic decrease in diarrhea deaths due to the global introduction of oral rehydration treatments, with an estimated 40 million lives saved since 1979. The oral rehydration therapy intervention has been called one of the most significant medical advances of the 20th century.

More recent advances in water quality maintenance are focused on ensuring that source water and POU water supplies are safe to drink. In November of 2007, an international consortium led by the University of Bristol (UK) released information on a product under development called Aquatest. Aquatest is reported to be “the world’s first low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostic tool giving a clear, reliable indication of water quality”.

Similar to the colorimetric tests used in the US to monitor municipal water supplies for the presence of E. coli (a fecal indicator bacterium), Aquatest is being designed as a small, hand-held, single-use device that requires no electricity, incubation or technical expertise to operate (see prototype design at www.bristol.ac.uk/aquatest/media/pressimates/device-large.jpg). A 100-milliliter water sample is simply added to the container and automatically divided into 10 separate tubes. After 24-36 hours of incubation at ambient temperature, a distinct color change indicates the presence of a minimum of 10 E. coli colony forming units in the 100-milliliters of water. Considered a marker of fecal contamination, water that tests positive for E. coli is not safe for consumption. The more tubes that test positive, the more contaminated the sample.

Aquatest is being designed for use in developing countries at an estimated cost of US $0.10 per test. Water sanitation engineers/advisors are expected to use the device to manage shared water supplies while individual consumers will be able to test their own water and evaluate treatment needs at the point of use.

The first phase of Aquatest was a preparatory project aimed at identifying various criteria for the diagnostic test. Now in the second phase of development and with increased funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (US $13 million), the international research consortium plans to move forward into the full research and development phase. Phase two is expected to extend from 2007-2011 toward the eventual goal of widespread use of Aquatest in 80 percent of developing countries within the next 10 years (www.prweb.com/releases/bristol/university/prweb569101.htm).

Groundwater contamination in the US
Improved water quality monitoring in the developing world is expected to reduce illness and deaths by informing consumers of contaminated water supplies to be avoided or treated prior to consumption. The developers of Aquatest point out that if even 10 percent of water-related deaths are avoided with increased monitoring and surveillance, as many as 180,000 lives could be saved.

Although deaths due to waterborne pathogens are relatively rare in the US, improved drinking water quality can be expected to reduce the illness incidence in developed countries. In the most recently published survey period (2003-2004), contaminated groundwater was associated with seven times more (n = seven) waterborne disease outbreaks than surface water (n = one).2 Of the documented outbreaks, 51 percent (17/33) were associated with water supplies that were not under the jurisdiction of a water utility (i.e., private water supplies and commercially bottled water). In the previous survey period (2001-2002), 92 percent (23/25) of outbreaks associated with drinking water were from a groundwater source and 39 percent (nine) of these were associated with individual homeowner systems not regulated by the US EPA.3

It is well known that many more cases of waterborne disease are not reported in the US. In fact, researchers estimate that the total number of waterborne illnesses per year in the US is 19.5 million. Of these, 5.4 million illnesses per year occur in populations served by community groundwater systems and 1.1 million illnesses per year occur in non-community groundwater systems.4 Recent surveys and risk estimates support the promulgation of the Ground Water Disinfection Rule by the US EPA in October of 2006, requiring increased monitoring and assurance of groundwater quality and vulnerability assessment as well as corrective action requirements. The Ground Water Disinfection Rule, however, applies to municipal water supplies currently regulated by the US EPA and offers no additional safeguards to homeowners with private or individual water supplies.

Conclusions
Routine monitoring of water supplies is important to accurately evaluate the safety of water for consumption. Per sample costs for private water supply monitoring can range from about $15 for single-contaminant monitoring (i.e., lead only) to hundreds of dollars for multi-contaminant monitoring (i.e., select pesticides, metals and bacteria). For many, POU water purification devices offer significant safeguards protecting consumers from contaminants that may be present in their water supplies whether the contamination potentially occurred during distribution from a municipal treatment plant or from unregulated, private water supplies that are not as extensively monitored. The development of low-cost methods for monitoring the presence of fecal contamination in some of the world’s most polluted water promises to reduce the mortality rate of waterborne disease globally and in the absence of advanced water treatment technology. While adverse health outcomes are less severe in developed countries, it is important to identify contaminant exposures in order to determine appropriate treatment actions.

References and additional information

  1. WHO, 2004. World Health Report (Geneva, World Health Organization)
  2. Liang, J.L., et al. (2004) Surveillance for waterborne disease and outbreaks associated with drinking water and water not intended for drinking–United States, 2003-2004. MMWR 55(SS-12): 31-68.
  3. Blackburn RS, et al. (2004) Surveillance for waterborne-disease outbreaks associated with drinking water–United States, 2001-2002. MMWR 53(SS-8):23-45.
  4. Reynolds, K.A., et al. 2007. Risk of waterborne illness via drinking water in the United States. Reviews in Environmental Contamination & Toxicology. 192:117–158.
  5. The University of Bristol. Water and Health Research Centre, Institute for Advanced Studies. www.bristol.ac.uk/aquatest/media
  6. Center for Environmental Quality, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA. www.water-research.net/homeowner.htm

About the author
Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds is an associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Public Health. She holds a Master of Science Degree in public health (MSPH) from the University of South Florida and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arizona. Reynolds has been a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee since 1997. She can be reached via email at reynolds@u.arizona.edu

 

NSPF World Aquatic Health Conference

Monday, December 17th, 2007

As told to WC&P

This year’s World Aquatic Health™ Conference (WAHC) drew nearly 300 attendees from 41 states and six countries, representing an increase of approximately 29 percent. With 45 seminars on every aspect of aquatic health, WAHC has become the foremost venue for science-based aquatic education.

In addition to those who attended the event in person, an equal number took advantage of the opportunity to register and attend seminars on the World Wide Web. This number will most likely continue to increase, as the complete educational content of the conference remains accessible online at www.ePro Academy.org. With a convenient, per-seminar fee structure which includes multi-session discounts, those unable to attend the event can learn at their own pace throughout the coming months as schedules and budgets allow. “This is an incredible opportunity for people around the world in the field of aquatic health,” noted National Swimming Pool Foundation’s (NSPF) Director of Educational Programs Alex Antonio.

Dr. Michael Beach of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave a powerful presentation entitled, “Recreational Water Illness: Lessons from Outbreaks” inspiring new vigor in the ongoing fight against recreational water illnesses. Three-time Olympic Gold medalist Debbie Meyer was the keynote speaker; her inspiring speech included video of her memorable win in the 1968 summer Olympics. Adolph Kiefer, who made Olympic gold history at the 1936 games in Berlin, shared his stories as well. Those at the event were delighted to be a part of the reminiscences and insights of these two atheletes.

Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of NSPF, summed up the event succinctly: “World experts presented new science and research; new industrial technologies were highlighted; and seven seminars were presented by NSPF grant recipients. Our commitment to bringing new science, advances and knowledge was made a reality at this conference.”

NSPF took a unique approach to ensuring that all voices would be heard at this year’s conference: the organization donated table-top display space to non-profit organizations including US CDC, the American Red Cross and the Swim For Life Foundation, among others. This enabled many groups to have a place in the discussions and fellowship of the event.

 

Farewell To A Friend

Monday, December 17th, 2007

WC&P sadly reports the loss of industry veteran F. Stuart ‘Stu’ Mitchell. Born May 29,1931 in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, he passed away October 18, 2007 in Punta Gorda, Florida. Well-known in the water treatment industry, his career spanned decades of change and association with many companies.

In 1964, Mitchell joined Lindsay in the Mec-O-Matic Division. He moved his family to St. Paul, Minn., when he became Lindsay’s Marketing Director in 1971. He was elected Lindsay’s Vice President in 1977 and President the following year. Retiring from Lindsay/Eco Water in 1987, he then joined Raytech of Milwaukee, Wis. In 1991, Mitchell moved to Punta Gorda, Florida to pursue his second love, water recreation. During his retirement, he was a partner in one of the oldest yacht brokerages in Southwest Florida.

Mitchell received WQA’s Award of Merit (1984), was inducted into the WQA Hall of Fame (1985) and was awarded Lifetime Membership (2001). He served as WQA’s President from 1982-1983, on the Board of Directors from 1982-1991 and as a Past President, became a Water Quality Research Foundation Director, holding that honor for several years. Mitchell also received Lifetime Membership in the Presidents Club for his recruitment activities.

When word of his death was received, his peers shared their memories of great times and old friendships. “Stu Mitchell made a large impact on the lives of many people in water conditioning,” said Bill Mears. “The term charismatic was invented for Stu. He was smart, tenacious, with a great sense of humor, yet serious when he wanted to be. Stu was a natural born leader. I will miss him.”

WC&P President Sharon Peterson said, “Stu never knew a stranger; he always had a lot of friends. In the ‘70s, at WQA conventions, Jerry (founder of WC&P) and I would invite Stu to dinner and often as many as six or eight additional people would show up with him. And yes, Stu picked up the tab. He will be missed by many and our love goes out to his family.”

Gerry Shannon worked with Mitchell for many years and has a storehouse of memories. “I met Stu Mitchell on January 2, 1972 and we spent 15-plus years working together in the water industry. We had a lot of good times together boating on the St. Croix River (Minn.) and Stu became a part of our family. When we were out of town and something went wrong at our house, or one of our kids had a fender-bender or my mother-in-law thought she couldn’t live without a cigarette, they called Stu and he always took care of them.” Shannon continued, “We rented a plane once and flew down to Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda, during the early construction phases. We both purchased condos that we still own. We’ve never spent a winter there without Stu. He was a great friend and we will all miss him very much.”

Dr. Duane D. Nowlin, retired Senior Vice President of R&D at Eco Water Systems remembered Mitchell as a tireless advocate for the industry. “Most people remember Stu for his work on the Board of Directors and as President of WQA. He served on many committees and was always quick to volunteer his time and financial support to solving industry problems.” Nowlin also reflected on Mitchell’s philanthropic and athletic abilities. “Stu and Walt Polens from Ionics ran the WQA golf tournament for years, raising tens of thousands of dollars for water-related research projects. He also championed ticket sales for the Tapemark Golf Tournament here in the Twin Cities, which raised several hundred thousand dollars for handicapped adults. I always enjoyed playing golf with Stu because he was the only golfer I knew that played worse than I do.”

Mitchell served in the Canadian Navy during the Korean War. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Patricia; daughters, Christine (Kevin) Dalton of Colorado Springs, Colo. and Kelly (Ted) Kern of Rotonda West, Fla.; sister, Joan Stewart of Canada; brother, Andrew Mitchell of Canada; grandchildren, Erica Dalton, Mitchell Dalton and Chloe Kern; and great-grandchild, Kyra. Memorial services will be held at a later date; arrangements are being made in Port Charlotte, Fla. Donations in Mitchell’s honor may be made to the Water Quality Research Foundation, 4151 Naperville Road, Lisle, IL 60532-1088.

 

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