Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

People

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Purolite sales rep named

Purolite’s Gary Schrieber announced Melissa Tonsor as Midwest Sales Representative and his future replacement. Prior to joining Purolite, Tonsor worked with the Water Quality Association (WQA), where she initially held the position of Laboratory Analyst. She then became WQA’s first Sales Manager promoting the organization’s Gold Seal Certification Program, which she ran for four years. Tonsor, a level VI Certified Water Specialist, graduated from Eastern Illinois University.

Allard named NewAge Manager

Plastic tubing manufacturer NewAge Industries announced the appointment of Michael Allard as its Global Distribution Sales Manager. Allard brings many years of sales and management experience to this position. In addition to overseeing the company’s worldwide distribution network for plastic tubing and high purity, single use products, Allard will manage the New England sales region. Other responsibilities include involvement in various industry associations and representing the company at trade shows. Previously, Allard was employed by a biopharmaceutical equipment company.

 

 

 

Deane named at World Water Center 

The World Water Center recently appointed Anne Deane Executive Director. She joined the organization’s staff in July 1010 and brings with her a passion for safe water and its ties to global health. Deane will be responsible for furthering the organization’s mission and building a constituency for safe water issues. Her interest in safe water started in her sophomore year at Duke University. While there, Deane completed a research paper on POU technology where the premise of it touched on the necessity to approach safe water from a socio-cultural perspective. Her international travels to rural communities exposed her to the complexity of the issues related to the water crisis.

Aquion leadership changes announced

Aquion Water Treatment Products, LLC (AWTP) has announced a new corporate leadership structure. Chief Financial Officer Cal Stuart was promoted to Chief Operating Officer, while retaining CFO responsibilities. Chief Marketing Officer Mark Vance, will add the role of Executive VP. Stuart has been with AWTP since 2007. In his new role, Stuart will lead the organization and its multiple business units. Under his leadership, AWTP will continue to support its network of independent authorized dealers and distributors with a focus on continued growth in the residential water treatment industry. Mark Vance, who joined the company in 2008 as Chief Marketing Officer, will provide leadership in the development and execution of growth strategies for AWTP including new business development.

WEF Director named

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) Board of Trustees has named Jeff Eger Executive Director of the not-for-profit technical and educational organization. Eger has been serving as Executive Director of Sanitation District 1 (SD1) in Fort Wright, KY since 1994. During his tenure, Eger developed and implemented a regional stormwater management program to comply with US EPA’s regulations, and began taking responsibility for public stormwater collection systems in 2009. He also supervised the regionalization of 30 municipal sanitary sewer systems in response to pending federal environmental regulations and legislative changes. Eger also chairs the Wet Weather Partnership, a national organization dedicated to seeking environmentally responsible solutions to urban wet weather issues, and holds a communications degree from Northern Kentucky University.

FMA board members announced 

Teresa Beach-Shelow, President of Superior Joining Technologies Inc.; William ‘Jeff’ Jeffrey, President & CEO of IRMCO; Carlos Rodriguez-Borjas, President of Ferraloy Corporation; Edwin Stanley, partner of GH Metal Solutions and Al Zelt, Director of Sales & Marketing for ASKO, Inc were elected to the board of directors of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) at the group’s recent annual meeting. All will serve three-year terms on the 15-member board.  In addition, George Bogan, President & CEO of Main Steel Polishing and Robert Clark, Vice President of Operations at Clark Metal Products were appointed to one-year terms as Associate Directors. Current board member Tom Nederpel, a consultant with VGAN, Inc was elected chairman. He served his first term on the board in 2005.

Babieh named Severn Trent manager 

Severn Trent Services has announced the addition of Mohanned Babieh to its global business development team as Senior Sales Manager responsible for selling filtration products and growing sales in the Middle East. He is based in the company’s Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates office. In his new role, Babieh is responsible for developing markets in the Middle East for the company’s leading filtration products such as TETRA® LP Blocks, TETRA® DeepBed and Denite® wastewater filters and the UAT membrane filtration technology.

Ibarguen to head Quench

Anthony Ibarguen has been named Chief Executive Officer of Quench USA, Inc., where he is tasked with extending Quench’s leadership position in the POU water filtration market. A veteran CEO whose leadership positions have spanned venture capital-backed startups to Fortune 100 companies, Ibarguen is a resident of Villanova, PA and holds degrees from Boston College and Harvard Business School.
Matz named to AdEdge engineer position

AdEdge Technologies named Paul Matz as Senior Project Engineer, responsible for project management and engineering on large treatment system projects. He has more than 25 years of experience in project engineering, project management, system design/development and testing. In addition, Matz’s field experience includes pilot testing, construction oversight, construction quality assurance, and operation and maintenance of facilities, processes and process equipment. For 15 of the 25 years, he was a subcontractor to the military and US EPA on design/construct/operate projects.

Welcome to 2011!

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

We’re hopeful everyone is starting the New Year on a more positive note than last year. Recent reports in the media cite modest gains in certain industries while others are maintaining but not progressing. With our industry so closely tied to the housing sector, the news hasn’t been particularly good for quite awhile. Should we expect that negative trend to last? Possibly, but not in the same way you might expect. Every economist worth their salt has chimed in on what when wrong and how, what needs to be done to correct the severe imbalances in the economy and how to get the world moving forward again. There are as many opinions as there are reasons. Things are moving again, though much more slowly than what was expected. If Americans are expecting double-digit rises in the economy to occur, they will be disappointed. That doesn’t mean it won’t turn around; it just means it will take longer.

With the change in calendar numbers comes the possibility of other changes as well. Technology has rapidly outpaced the typical mindset as it races to new levels, and while most humans grapple with each new discovery with a sense of awe, businesses must take a different approach. Keeping up means staying in business; adapting means staying competitive in the race for market share.

For any number of businesses, this does not mean their efforts to ride out the storm have failed. It means they have to keep trying harder and for a longer period of time to move forward. If ever there was a reason to re-examine policies, training goals and marketing messages, the last two years have provided the incentive. Tried-and-true methods may need re-examination to meet the demands of a decidedly changed business landscape. In this vein, David Martin’s Creative Marketing column covers the basics of expanding existing efforts to find new customers while Gary Coon focuses on how to make good sales people better. Technical Reviewer Andrew Warnes offers yet another of his insightful predictions on where the water treatment industry is heading in 2011 and beyond. Yes, it is getting better, incrementally.

The industry has grappled with the relationship between softeners and physical water treatment devices for years without much success in finding a plane of peaceful coexistence. The Arizona Water Quality Association recently hosted Dr. Peter Fox of Arizona State University to present findings on a study funded by the WateReuse Foundation on the possibilities of non-chemical (or saltless) treatment. Many municipalities have expressed an interest in the study, in part to be better positioned to act if more stringent legislation arises. In the chemical versus non-chemical war, presenting both treatment types and their benefits correctly is of the utmost importance. Technical Reviewer C. F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud explores this in his article.

Overall, the expectations of the industry can be met if there is a collective effort on the part of dealers, distributors and manufacturers to place more emphasis on the benefits of their respective products and technologies using the Battelle Study as a selling point. Consumers are not returning to the days of buying for the sake of buying; they are more tech-savvy and overall value is of far greater importance to them. With this in mind, it’s up to the industry to turn things around by presenting options that provide the best bang for the buck to both new and existing customers. Are you up to the challenge of the new decade and this new reality?

Congratulations – You Survived the Great Recession!

Friday, July 7th, 2017

By Andrew Warnes


For the past four years, the editors of WC&P have provided the opportunity to dive deeply into market and economic data in an attempt to predict the year ahead. (See Can You Beat the Curve?, March 2007, 2007 Was a Bad Year–Is There Worse to Come?, March 2008 and Trying to Predict the Turnaround, May 2009). This series of articles began as an effort to demonstrate the residential water treatment market was linked to the US housing market (which we were able to prove) and has evolved into forecasting for residential water treatment businesses in general. From 2007 through 2010, we predicted the volume of POE residential water treatment systems shipped in the US one year in advance with a margin of error of less than five percent. 2011 will present an entirely new set of prediction challenges. The intent of this article is to again try and predict the months ahead despite the fast pace of change and unprecedented upheavals occurring in the market. This is not intended to be a guide and should not be used as such.


One of the great mysteries in business are those moments when the US Federal Reserve formally announces that the American economy has officially entered into or climbed out of a recession. Business owners and managers generally have a gut feel for the state of the overall economy and when the ‘Fed’ makes an announcement about recessions they often wonder if Washington has a clue. The unofficially named Great Recession was declared over in June 2009 – but the residential water treatment equipment industry can be forgiven for wondering if that’s truly the case. The economy is still rough and will be for some time, but the good news is that we’ve turned the corner and will probably experience overall growth in 2011 for the first time in six years.

2011 Projection
The formal definition of a recession is simply “a period when GDP falls (negative real economic growth) for at least two quarters in a row”. Since 1980 there have been four officially declared recessions in the US – July 1981-November 1982, July 1990-March 1991, March 2001-November 2001 and December 2007-June 2009. Ironically, the residential water treatment equipment industry has not been greatly impacted by prior recessions. We’re more captive to the ups and downs of the home construction industry and we’ve been able to prove that since 1990 the single most accurate predictor of POE residential water treatment equipment is the number of new homes sold. Since 1990, the Water Quality Association (WQA) has been tracking the number of control valves shipped in the US in a report utilizing voluntarily provided numbers from all major manufacturers. This is a service that WQA provides to its members, and because almost every piece of POE residential water treatment equipment requires a control valve, it’s probably the best and most accurate indicator of the number of POE units shipped and installed in the US. From 1990 to 2005, we rode the housing boom and there was a one-to-one correlation between the number of new homes sold and the number of residential control valves our industry shipped. This is not to say that each new home sold received one of those control valves – it merely means that from 1990 to 2005, the two numbers were very closely linked (though control valve shipments did tend to lag behind new home sales by six to eight months). Note that control valve shipments are not linked to housing start numbers, the number of existing homes sold, or the number of construction permits filed for. The general lesson to take from this seems to be that new home sales are directly linked to deep recessions and that the negative impact upon that industry cascades down to our own.

Chart 1. Comparion chart

Chart 2. Control valves shipped

During the Great Recession of 2008, the number of new homes sold declined considerably – from the all-time highs of 2005 to 2010, the number of new homes sold annually has declined by 75 percent. Fortunately for our industry the correlation between the number of new homes sold and the number of control valves shipped (that had held tight for 15 years) came apart. The decline in the number of control valves shipped annually from our peak year (during the 2005 to 2010 period) is only 30.4 percent. Although a market decline of almost a third in five years is drastic, we’re fortunate compared to those in the housing construction industry and their loss of three quarters of their business over the same period. When new home sales numbers and control valve shipment numbers de-linked, we had to fall back on the second best historical predictor of POE equipment sales – industry shipment report numbers for clothes washers and built-in dishwashers. For the past 20 years the shipments of these products have more or less mirrored those of control valves, though on a much larger scale. For each control valve shipped the appliance industry has historically shipped nine clothes washers and seven built-in dishwashers. The link between these numbers has generally continued to hold despite the drastic reduction in new home sales. Unlike new home sales with the six to eight month lag before impact upon control valve shipment, appliance shipments tend to track with control valves in real time.

Chart 3. New Homes Sold

Chart 4 – Washing Machines Shipped

 

Chart 5. Built-In Dishwashers Shipped

What seems to be emerging is a pattern of shipments for control valves, washing machines and dishwashers that represents a “replacement rate” – where a significant number of units are being sold to replace older systems that have reached the end of their service life. The number of POE systems going into homes that did not exist the prior year has dropped off and will probably not increase again until growth in new home sales returns.

What’s the lowest we could go?
Experts in our industry have debated what the natural replacement rate for POE water softeners and filters actually are. The natural replacement rate would represent the number of POE systems that are sold to replace previously existing systems that have broken, worn out, or for one reason or another have no remaining service life. Theoretically, the replacement rate would be the minimum number of products shipped possible and would assume no new systems were being sold. In order to try and estimate the replacement rate for POE filter and softener systems, it’s first necessary to try and determine how many units are actually out in the field and functioning today. The 2008 WQA Consumer Survey (the most recent year for which data is available) reported that 4.88 million US households have a water softener, which equates to a 4.2 percent US household penetration rate. The survey results claimed a 2-3 percent possible margin of error, but some of us have questioned whether or not there are actually 4.88 million units in the market. Many feel that there are more out there.

According to the WQA Control Valve Shipment Report, our industry has shipped 17,983,105 residentially sized (1-inch inlet or smaller) control valves since reporting began in 1990. If all of these units went into private residences and continued to function without fail (some big assumptions…) the actual household penetration rate would be around 15.5 percent (if POE softeners and filters are combined). Unfortunately, we don’t know how many units have actually failed over the years or how long their useful service life is likely to be – so we can’t calculate with any precision what number of control valves are shipped for replacement purposes. There are numbers available for other consumer durables from which a general comparison can be made, as well as plenty of anecdotal evidence within the water treatment equipment industry.

The retrofit concept
In the appliance industry, a unit that is shipped to replace a previously existing system is called a retrofit. In the US, the percentage of hot water heaters sold for retrofits is above 80 percent. The percentage of clothes washers sold for retrofits is above 50 percent. Since both of these technologies have a greater than 90 percent penetration rate into single family US homes, and have average estimated life spans of 12.9 years (for hot water heaters) and 20.1 years (for clothes washers), it’s a good bet that POE water treatment retrofit rates are nowhere near as high as those for these two types of appliances. Our products appear to be stubbornly lasting longer than the estimated life spans of other consumer durables. Based upon anecdotal discussions and interviews within the industry, the retrofit rate for POE water treatment equipment was probably somewhere around 25 percent in 2010, meaning that a) only about 200,000 POE units are going for retrofits, b) that systems are functioning well beyond the 20 years or so most of us estimate, and that c) the dealer base probably deserves more credit than they normally get for keeping old systems running. In short – POE control valves are unlikely to ever dip below 200,000 shipped per year, but they could be much higher if the industry adopted a planned obsolescence, limited lifespan or scheduled replacement approach – or if dealers stopped servicing existing units so well.

Conclusion and an opportunity
Barring any unforeseen consequences and based upon projections for the household appliance industry, I am predicting that the number of POE residential water treatment control valves shipped in 2011 will be approximately 16 percent greater than the projected volume for 2010. This number is close to the number of systems shipped in 2001 (on the way up to a record high in 2005) and in 2007 (on the way down). Unfortunately the increase in demand is unlikely to bring an increase in margins at any step along the distribution chain. Tight control on costs and receivables will continue to be a priority. The projected growth rate of 16 percent assumes that the replacement rate, or retrofits of existing softeners and filters remains at the current 25 percent. If our industry wants to make 2011 a year to remember and celebrate, it should organize to boost the replacement rate. Any increase in the replacement rate will drive up the overall systems numbers beyond the projected 16 percent. It seems that now is the time for manufacturers, OEMs and dealers to enthusiastically come together to focus and offer incentives for consumers to replace old time clock systems with DIR (demand initiated regeneration) systems. Water savings and brine reduction are big issues right now – getting ahead of regulations in a coordinated manner as an industry to drive replacement rates up would create great economic and environmental benefits. I encourage everyone headed to the WQA Show in San Antonio, TX to think about what the possibilities are. Just think – if California, Arizona and Nevada were to legislate the replacement of time clocks with DIR units over a five-year period, the annual shipments of control valves could rise by 10 percent or more per year in addition to the projected coming growth.

About the Author
Andrew Warnes, former Senior Product Manager and Senior Channel Manager for PRF (a GE / Pentair joint venture) received a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in National Security Policy from Ohio State University and is a former US Army Special Operations Team Chief. His areas of expertise include membrane applications for microbiological purification and regulatory compliance. Warnes is a former International Director of the WQA and serves as a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee. He can be contacted at (847) 274-0595 or awarnes@comcast.net.

It’s A New Decade: Try Something Different

Friday, July 7th, 2017

By David H. Martin

Marketing is how you support sales, all year long. For decades, the techniques and strategies for promoting the water treatment dealer business hardly changed at all. That meant you could tweak last year’s marketing plan, eliminating what wasn’t working so well. But you were always selecting from the same universe of traditional media: newspapers, radio, TV, occasional mailings and a schedule of local event participations, from home shows to mall events to county fairs.

Now it’s clear there are other options to explore as you enter a new business decade. Most of these are technology-driven disciplines that promise better targeted marketing, affordable one-to-one opportunities to educate and influence, and better accountability than ever possible with the more familiar mass media. The important thing is to try something different this year to reach out to new prospects and to stimulate sales among old customers, and generate referrals. Get out of your comfort zone. Here’s a short list of ideas worth exploring for 2011.

Shift your focus from print to electronic media
Local search engines and internet yellow pages have both grown to offer dealers low-cost, targeted leads.

Old way: Many water treatment dealers traditionally relied on a combination of yellow pages and newspaper ads to reach out to prospects and stimulate sales.

New way: Research shows that today 63 percent of consumers and business owners go to the web for information — with 86 percent using search engines to find services they once looked for in the yellow pages.

Reduce your presence in print yellow pages advertising and start using online directory ads on Google and such online directories as Yellowbook.com and Yellowpages.com. Some dealers have even found business using eBay.com and craigslist.org. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Paid local search engine advertising
Two ways to direct people to your website are through search engine optimization or organic listings — and paid search listings sometimes called pay-per-click. You need to understand and leverage both channels to attract maximum traffic to your website. Google and Yahoo-Bing are the leading search engines, with 65 percent and 14 percent penetration, respectively. Internet yellow page (IYP) sites are a distant third choice.

Executing a paid placement campaign in Yahoo and Google alone will position your Web site in front of approximately 95 percent of the Internet search population. With pay-per-click, a dealer pays a fee per keyword for each time his search result is clicked. Google and Yahoo, have instituted a bidding process, wherein companies wanting the same search term compete by paying a higher price than their competition for a selected word or phrase. The company’s listings are then displayed in the order of how much they bid for that position.

Internet Yellow Pages are owned by the print directory companies such as Yellowpages.com. IYP visitors are highly motivated to contact companies listed (75 percent contact a listed business). One advantage IYP has over search engines is no advertiser website is necessary. IYP sites also offer dealers maps, coupons, user reviews and ratings — and pay-per-call service. Yellowpages.com is pioneering video ads for small businesses that let dealers showcase their personalities. The cost per contact generated by a print Yellow Pages reference is just over $1. Paid search ads average 43 cents. The cost per lead for internet Yellow Page listings, according to The Kelsey Group, is estimated at just 14 cents.

Develop an email marketing list
Start by collecting the email addresses of all your past and present customers. Then collect email addresses of new prospects you meet at home shows and other community events. One easy way to get new addresses is to offer free drawings for attractive prizes in your home show booth. Using your lists, you can develop a valuable database for making promotional emailings. Consider adding a quarterly enewsletter with stories on community water issues. Leveraging email must be done with care to avoid offending customers who might mistake your messages for spam. At this point in time, purchasing outside so-called ’permission-based‘ email lists is not recommended by many marketing experts. Building your own custom emailing list is much safer and offers a far better means to build a productive customer relationship and solicit referrals.

Update your company website
By now, most dealers have a website. If you don’t, it’s time to get started developing one. Chances are, even if you have a website, you need to improve it by adding promotional offers, perhaps including online coupons. Every website upgrade should include professional search engine optimization to make sure you are getting your share of qualified visitor traffic. Recently, customer testimonials have become an especially powerful ’word of mouth‘ component that can give your referral program an elevated online dimension.

Video is today’s hottest online enhancement, thanks in large part to YouTube.com. Dealers are showing their personalities off with locally produced video tours, giving visitors to their website confidence they are dealing with a real person. It’s also a way to bring your customer testimonials to life for added credibility. Consider adding a company blog or company Facebook page to encourage more communication with customers and prospects who enter your site.

Sidebar


Start planning now

  • The best way to assure you have a steady supply of sales leads all year long is to plan for it. Then follow your plan.
  • Begin by detailing a concise plan of all your projected marketing activities for 2011.
  • First list all the activities your plan to use in 2011 to promote your business and develop leads and sales.
  • List all of your ‘Consistent Effort’ marketing activities, perhaps including newspaper, yellow pages, radio or TV advertising, direct mail, website, email marketing, search marketing or other techniques you plan to use on a continuous basis.
  • Naturally your budget limitations will determine just how much Consistent Effort marketing your can afford. Assign ’Prospect’ or ’Customer’ labels to each activity in your plan, with an eye for balancing efforts between those aimed at new prospects and past or present customers.
  • Determine a monthly budget for Consistent Efforts as part of your planning process.
  • Next, list all the special promotions you can think of. Many of these will necessarily coincide with community events which afford the opportunity for you to promote quality water and service. They include home shows, health fairs, community art fairs, races, picnics and other venues that not only provide opportunities to develop sales leads – but create goodwill.
  • Don’t forget to cultivate your reputation as a community water expert by offering to speak on contemporary water problems at fraternal and other meetings.
  • Blend old media and new for an integrated marketing program that creates valuable synergy (2+2=5).
  • Can you stretch your budget with low-cost promotions at local races and other community events where you provide quality drinking water for participants and spectators?
  • Can you count on key vendors to supply you with quality marketing materials and cooperative ad funds?


Seen at Greenbuild…

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) held its annual conference and trade show in Chicago for the second time in four years. As usual, water conservation products dominated water treatment on the show floor at November’s Greenbuild 2010. For example, Watts showed its water-efficient E-Treat no-salt conditioning system.

“38 billion plastic water bottles go into landfills each year”

— July 2007, Fast Company Magazine, “Message in a Bottle”

Of special interest, two companies showed POU systems that targeted growing concerns over throwaway plastic water bottles. Both Brita (through licensee Hawes Corp.) and Elkay introduced specially designed bottle filling stations.

The Brita Hydration Station comes in recessed and surface mount wall models for public or private indoor commercial/institutional building settings. Both models meet the Americans with Disabilties Act for easy wheelchair access. An electric sensor allows for touch-free hygienic operation. Surface components are silver impregnated for antimicrobial protection. 2,400-gal. carbon block filter is rated for taste, color, odor, and cysts. Filter is Brita Model 6424. Heavy-gauge steel mounting bracket and hardware.

The Elkay EZH20 Bottle Filling Station can be paired with an existing EZH20 ’EZ style‘ non-refrigerated water fountain. Or the combination kit can be easily wall mounted. Suitable for new construction or retrofit in existing buildings. An electronic sensor provides touchless, sanitary operation. Automatic 30-second shut-off. Silver impregnated surfaces prevent mold and mildew growth. 3000-gal. Water Sentry Plus #51300C filter. Also available: recessed in-wall bottle filling station (not shown).

 

New Information on Waterborne Cryptosporidium and the Role of Biofilms

Friday, July 7th, 2017

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

Despite the multitude of improvements in source water protection and drinking water treatment, waterborne outbreaks are still documented every year in the United States. Further endemic waterborne disease is estimated at >19.5 million cases per year in this country.[1] Distribution systems continue to be implemented in outbreaks and may be a significant source of the widespread incidence of waterborne illness in communities. Biofilms are thought to play an integral role in the survival and spread of disease causing microbes in finished water supplies. New research supports this theory and provides valuable insights into the Cryptosporidium-biofilm interactions in drinking water.

Distribution systems and historical waterborne disease outbreaks

Since 1971, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US EPA and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) have maintained the Waterborne Disease Surveillance System, a database of reported drinking water outbreaks and their causes. Information on related sources, etiological agent, water system deficiencies, persons involved, illnesses associated, and other trends, is collected and reported by health departments in US states, territories and localities. In order to be included in the database, reported outbreaks must be definitively linked to water as the source of illness in a human population. The drinking water distribution system includes pumping, piping, and storage facilities used to deliver finished water to consumers. Over a million miles of water distribution networks are currently in use around the US. During the last 36 years of collected survey data, distribution system deficiencies have been continual sources of outbreaks. Overall, distribution systems deficiencies caused 10 percent of the 833 documented outbreaks, ranging as high as 31 percent for single years.[2] Lack of decrease in the relative proportion of distribution system-related outbreaks suggests the need for increased action for managing this source of drinking water contamination.

Sources of distribution system contamination

During the latest published surveillance period, two drinking water-related outbreaks involved distribution system deficiencies. The first resulted after the installation of a new water main in Indiana. Following a pressure test, the main was left under pressure with nonpotable water, resulting in a cross-contamination event with the drinking water supply. In the second outbreak, backflow prevention devices were absent on water distribution lines to toilet facilities in a camp in Maryland.[3] Transient low-pressure events in the distribution network provide an opportunity for contaminants to enter pipes through leaks.[4] During power outages, 90 percent of nodes have been shown to draw a negative pressure.[5] Approximately a quarter of the distribution pipelines in the US are considered to be in poor condition. Main breaks are common and water losses during distribution are commonly higher than 10 percent, with some systems reporting losses of up to 32 percent of the finished water supply during distribution.1 Distribution system hazards associated with cross connections, backflow events, storage integrity, main construction and repair, pressure and intrusion factors, and biofilm formation are identified as priority research issues by the US EPA. Recent studies suggest that contamination of the distribution system significantly contributes to endemic illnesses in the population.[6] Biofilm formation is common in distribution pipelines and is known to aid in the accumulation of disease-causing microbes.

Biofilms and pathogens

Biofilms are a complex mixture of microbes and matter. They are a natural component of aquatic environments and frequently associated with adverse taste and odor, but biofilms are not necessarily harmful. Harmful microbes, however, including human infectious viruses, and Cryptosporidium, can become trapped in natural biofilms where they persist and are protected from residual disinfectants. The source of these contaminants may be from intrusion events of from microbes damaged during conventional water treatment that collect in biofilms, recover, repair themselves and regrow in the system. While human viruses and Cryptosporidium are present in water due to fecal contamination events or incomplete treatment, other biofilm-associated pathogens are indigenous to water environments, including Legionella (Legionnaire’s disease), Helicobacter pylori (primary cause of stomach ulcers), Mycobacterium (causing life-threatening infections in AIDS patients), Naegleria (free-living amoeba causing rare but fatal infections via recreational water exposures), and various fungi. Biofilms continue to grow and eventually slough off – either spreading to new locations or dispersing into the water column. This slow release of biofilm organisms may account for persistent, low-level water contamination events. Conversely, sheering forces related to water flow result in increased sloughing of biofilm from surfaces into the water supply. This condition may account for at least some of the many contamination events and outbreaks where contributing sources could not be identified.

Cryptosporidium-biofilm interactions

Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite – perhaps best known for the 1993 waterborne outbreak in Milwaukee, WI, causing 403,000 illnesses, 4,400 hospitalizations and 50 deaths. Spread by the fecal-oral route in humans and commonly found in animal reservoirs (i.e., cattle and sheep), Cryptosporidium is frequently isolated from surface, and sometimes groundwater, sources. Due to their resistance to chlorine, alternative disinfectants and/or filtration treatments have been mandated in federal regulations aimed at reducing the risks of Cryptosporidium in drinking water. Although billions of oocysts are shed in the stool of infected persons or animals, less than 10 are capable of causing an infection. The organism produces an environmentally stable oocyst enabling its survival for months in surface waters. Association with biofilms aids in the accumulation of Cryptosporidium in the distribution system where it’s eventual release could represent concentrations high enough to cause infections in persons exposed. In a recent outbreak, Cryptosporidium was identified as the causative agent where the source water was contaminated. To manage the outbreak, the water supply was changed to eliminate the affected area. Risk managers expected the outbreak to subside immediately but instead, oocysts were detectable in the system for up to 19 days. Increased concentrations were associated with flushing operations, likely due to the stripping of biofilms embedded with Cryptosporidium.[7]

Very few scientific papers have been published evaluating the interaction of Cryptosporidium and biofilms.[8] In a controlled laboratory study, a pipeline biofilm constructed from tap water was inoculated with infectious viruses and parasites, including Cryptosporidium. Within one hour, the seeded organisms attached to the biofilm where the viruses and parasites remained viable for six and >34 days, respectively. Once flow velocity was increased in the pipe, the microbes were readily transferred from the surface to the water phase. This study suggested biofilms be considered a potential secondary source of water contamination.[9] More recently, researchers have documented seasonal differences with biofilm formation and the retention or release of Cryptosporidium. Biofilms isolated from a Pennsylvania stream in the spring retained the highest percentage of oocysts followed by the winter, summer and fall, in decreasing order.[10] This trend did not statistically correlate with physical parameters of the water (i.e., temperature, pH, etc.) but was replicated over a second season. These results suggest that the seasonal variation in the microbial communities that make up the biofilm affect the attachment and detachment potentials of the pathogen.

Conclusion

Drinking water biofilms are complex communities that are only vaguely understood by researchers. An earlier On Tap article (see November 2008) focused on the ability of biofilm bacteria to communicate on a cellular level via signaling molecules. These signals between bacterial communities control how and when biofilms are formed. Understanding such signaling mechanisms and the relationship to the attachment or detachment of pathogens could have important implications for the water industry and public health.

References

  1. Reynolds, KA, KD Mena, CP Gerba. Risk of waterborne illness via drinking water in the United States. Reviews in Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 192:117-158.
  2. Craun, GF, JM Brunkard, JS Yoder et al., (2010) Causes of outbreaks associated with drinking water in the United States from 1971-2006. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 23:507-528.
  3. CDC (2008) Surveillance for waterborne-disease and outbreaks associated with drinking water and water not intended for drinking —United States, 2005-2006. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MMWR 57(SS09):39-62.
  4. LeChevallier MW, Gullick RW, Karim MR, Friedman M, Funk, JE (2003) The potential for health risks from intrusion of contaminants into the distribution system from pressure transients. Journal of Water and Health 1:3-14.
  5. LeChevallier MW, Gullick RW, Karim M (2003). The Potential for Health Risks from Intrusion of Contaminants into the Distribution System from Pressure Transients. Distribution System White Paper. http://www.epa.gov/safewater/tcr/pdf/intrusion.pdf
  6. Nygard, K, E Wahl, T Krogh, et al., 2007. Breaks and maintenance work in the water distribution systems and gastrointestinal illness: a cohort study. International Journal of Epidemiology. 36:873-880.
  7. Howe, AD, S Forster, S Morton, et al., 2002. Cryptosporidium oocysts in a water supply: Discussion. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 8: 619-624.
  8. Angles, ML, JP Chandy, PT Cox, et al., 2007. Implications of biofilm-associated waterborne Cryptosporidium oocysts for the water industry. Trends in Parasitology. 23:352-356.
  9. Helmi, K, S Skraber, C Gantzer, et al., 2008. Interactions of Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, vaccinal poliovirus type 1 and bacteriophages ΦX174 and MS2 with a drinking water biofilm and a wastewater biofilm. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 74: 2079-2088.
  10. Wolyniak, EA, BR Hargreaves, KL Jellison. Seasonal retention and release of Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts by environmental biofilms in the laboratory. Applied Environmental Microbiology. 76: 1021-1027.

By 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.

Will Alternative Products Get the OK?

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

By WCP Staff

That was the catchy phrase the Arizona Water Quality Association used to announce an important presentation at its November 2010 luncheon meeting and annual election. The presentation spurred the attendance of at least 50, including past WQA Presidents Doug White and Pat Dalee, several PWQA Past Presidents, current PWQA President Frank DaSilva and Dave Loveday of WQA. C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud of Systematix provided pictures from the event; Steve Fox of Next Filtration provided a copy of the presentation for reference and David Perry, AWQA, gave an overview of the subject matter, based on a previous presentation by Dr. Fox.

The WateReuse Foundation—an educational, nonprofit, public-benefit corporation that serves as a centralized organization for the water and wastewater community to advance the science of water reuse, recycling, reclamation, and desalination—has commissioned Arizona State University (ASU) to conduct a key study of softener alternatives, to look for technologies that can provide the benefits of soft water while reducing wastewater salinity. several municipal water groups, who have provided inkind contributions, have joined this WRF-funded study. AWQA arranged for a special appearance by Dr. Peter Fox who is heading the study. The WRF proposal noted that Evaluation of Alternatives to Domestic Ion Exchange Water Softeners, WRF-08-06 will focus primarily on scaling, which can be scientifically quantified. It was noted in the presentation that the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) is developing a standard protocol based on the DVGW protocol, which will allow for NSF certification. Dr. Fox and his study team will use a somewhat modified German Association of Gas and Water Board protocol DVGW-W512 to determine effectiveness of water conditioning devices installed to prevent or reduce scaling in drinking water heating systems and secondary installations. Physical water treatment PWT) devices may be classified as scale-inducing or scale-preventing. As Michaud notes in his article in this issue, these devices are not water softeners.

In a discussion with Steve Fox, he noted that there is a big problem with junk devices and technology. “We have to educate the dealers and the members of our association, eliminate the junk, and provide dealers with knowledge and real products that provide real performance. It just takes time and persistence. My goal, after 25 years of wasting water by pioneering RO all over the planet, is to further sustainable technologies, and embrace the WQA while doing it. They are the people we have worked with from the beginning. The tide is changing and it is never too late to advance technology with an eye toward sustainability.”

AWQA Executive Director David Perry announced the new officers as determined by the annual election. They include Douglas Oberhamer, Culligan Phoenix, President; R. Leigh DeGrave, Water Tec of Tucson, Vice President, and Jeff Averyt, High Peaks, Secretary-Treasurer. New directors include David Foster, Arrow Industries; Martin Jessen, Rayne Water; Paul Reside, B&R Industries and Rex Ruddick, Culligan Water, Tucson.

Photos courtesy of C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud

At AquaPure Hydration, Change Is the Norm

Friday, January 7th, 2011

By Denise M. Roberts

Family-owned and operated AquaPure Hydration Companies has experienced the same ups and downs that many businesses have encountered over the past couple of years. In spite of the bleak economy, the firm has emerged with a brighter perspective and more diverse business model. The husband and wife team of Jim and Amy Garrett, Operations and Office Manager, respectively, arrived in Tucson shortly after the original Central Arizona Project (CAP) water direct delivery fiasco. “What was supposed to be the answer to existing water problems caused more quality issues than anticipated, which created a great demand for both bottled water and water treatment,” said Jim, the company spokesman. Although the treated Colorado River water left the municipal treatment plant as clear, potable water, its chemistry was different from the ground water Tucson Water had always delivered. This resulted in old deposits dissolving from the distribution pipes. By the time CAP water reached consumers, it was aesthetically unpleasant, to put it mildly.

The three biggest issues with the local water are chlorination byproducts or trihalomethanes (THMs), hard minerals and isolated areas with VOCs, which have contaminated the aquifer from old dumps or industrial waste. Garrett is currently Co-Chair of the Broadway/Pantano superfund site Community Advisory Board for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, with funding from the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund, which is overseeing remediation of PCE contamination that originated from an old landfill. AquaPure Hydration uses a lot of reverse osmosis, cation exchange and carbon filtration to address these issues.

A broad range of services
The Garretts started in 1994 with the opening of their first franchised retail water store under the WaterMart, Inc. brand. Over the next 10 years, they grew the operation to ownership of three stores with 30-40 employees and nearly 40 stores reporting to them in Arizona and Nevada through a master franchise agreement. Unfortunately, the franchisor, went bankrupt and released all franchisees from their franchise agreements, overnight turning the Garrett’s six-figure investment into a worthless piece of paper. They remained convinced that there was a future in pure water, but lost confidence in the retail water store business model. It took nearly seven years to pay off all the remaining debts from the franchise deal but the Garretts refused to give up. In 2005, they sold their three retail stores, then opened a bottling plant and water treatment contracting business.

Today, the AquaPure Hydration team serves southern Arizona and the Phoenix metro area for water treatment systems. “We offer both residential and commercial service and new systems. We also deliver large-package (three-and five-gallon) purified bottled water and alkalized-antioxidant water in metro Tucson in addition to offering custom label 16.9-oz bottled water for delivery throughout metro Tucson and for shipment elsewhere.”

Garrett believes there’s more to business than just providing consumers with the best treatment options. “The most rewarding part of owning a small business is the ability to offer good jobs to young people, mentor and develop them and see them grow and achieve,” Garrett said. “A number of our former employees have worked for us all the way through college and two have even completed Master Degree programs.” To keep abreast of industry changes and maintain an industry edge, Garrett achieved WQA CWS-1 certification and now provides internal service tech training based on WQA training materials. “It means we can offer the best service and technology possible and find new ways to meet the needs of our customers. I tell our employees we are in the trust business and that means saying you’re the best isn’t enough. Our clients have to believe it and know that we’ll follow through on our promises.”

Shifting gears
The choice to diversify early resulted in a 60-40 (bottled water-filtration and contract maintenance) model that has proven very successful. AquaPure Hydration has grown steadily in home-office delivery, private label water, water treatment contracting, system rental, refurbishment and orphan system service. Over the past 18 months, offerings of reverse osmosis and bottleless (POU) water coolers to residential and commercial customers were enhanced by concentrating on service rather than the declining sales market.

“We’re experiencing rapid growth through commercial business-to-business contracts for both packaging of bottled water and servicing of commercial water treatment systems for equipment manufacturers or food service chains,” said Garrett. “Acquisition of three such contracts in the last year helped us achieve greater than 50-percent growth in 2010. Two packaging contracts will place bottled water products produced in our plant on the shelves in nearly 1,000 locations by the end of 2011. Additionally, we have developed a network of affiliates in seven states and can provide the high-quality, standardized, water treatment system service procedures both manufacturers and major chains demand throughout our region.”

Changing with the industry
Consumers are becoming more aware of water scarcity and now have more specific and pointed questions about water treatment options. Customers considering RO tend to ask more about water wastage while softener questions center on salinity and scale removal. “We’re looking into scale removal technology now,” said Garrett. “We know people are more concerned than ever about the environmental impact as well as the health aspects of water treatment systems. We want to have the right answers for our clients.”

Garrett sees bottle-less coolers becoming more of a trend, due to cost, storage and handling. He believes commercial contracts are increasing because of three primary factors: cost, environmental conscience and convenience. “It’s going to increase over the next couple of years as many commercial customers begin to take aim at environmental issues. We made a commitment to become more responsive to those issues by shifting to non-BPA bottles last year. At this point, we’ve replaced about 50 percent of our current bottle stock and will continue our replacement-through-attrition program until we have removed the older bottles from our processes.”

Looking forward, Garrett sees more changes on the horizon. “Municipalities everywhere are broke. Critical upgrades to municipal water treatment and distribution systems are not being made and won’t any time soon. This atmosphere is creating huge opportunities domestically for POU water treatment systems. We should expect there to be more approvals of POU systems for treatment of SDWA regulated contaminants.” All things considered, keeping pace with the evolving landscape should present even more opportunities for this small but innovative company.

Testing of Ultrafiltration Systems

Friday, January 7th, 2011

By Rick Andrew

One of the fastest growing technologies in POU/POE water treatment is ultrafiltration. Typically configured as systems incorporating modules with embedded hollow fibers, high flow rates, low

Scope of ultrafiltration

Ultrafiltration falls between nano and microfiltration in the filtration spectrum (Figure 1). UF systems can separate liquids from particles in the size range from about 25 nanometers to about 1,000 nanometers. This size range correlates roughly with the size range for viruses, and with particles with a molecular weight of roughly 2,500 to 250,000. The most common configuration for POU/POE ultrafiltration membranes is in the form of hollow fibers, with flow from inside the hollow fiber through the membrane to the outside of the hollow fiber. To form a module, the hollow fibers themselves are embedded in potting material at both ends of a cylindrical module housing. Often, small, relatively inexpensive POU ultrafiltration modules are configured with dead-end flow, meaning that there is no backwashing or forward flushing of accumulated filtered particles from within the hollow fibers. With this design, eventually, pressure drop across the module increases as the hollow fibers become clogged with particles. Typical POE UF systems include pressure sensors, electronic controls, and valves to facilitate backwashing, forward flushing, or both. This increased complexity of technology and design (as compared to dead-end flow) allows for increased life of hollow fiber modules because filtered particles are removed frequently enough that they do not cause pressure drop to occur.

Test protocols
The question often arises as to whether ultrafiltration systems can be evaluated to the protocols in NSF/ANSI 58 Reverse osmosis drinking water treatment systems. Although this standard does address membrane technology, the scope of NSF/ANSI 58 is strictly limited to RO systems only; ultrafiltration is definitely not reverse osmosis. RO incorporates a reject stream because of the crossflow design. As described above, however, UF modules use either dead-end design, or backwashing and/or forward flushing, not crossflow. Because the scope of NSF/ANSI 58 is limited to RO only, the test methods all assume a crossflow arrangement, which would not be applicable to ultrafiltration. Further, NSF/ANSI 58 requires all systems to reduce 75 percent of TDS as 750-mg/L sodium chloride in water. Considering where UF falls in the filtration spectrum, this level of ionic rejection is not achieved, so these systems would not meet this requirement of NSF/ANSI 58. With the inapplicability of NSF/ANSI 58 in mind, UF systems are tested per NSF/ANSI 42 Drinking water treatment units – Aesthetic effects and/or NSF/ANSI 53 Drinking water treatment units – Health effects. Because ultrafiltration systems provide mechanical filtration, or physical separation of particles from water, the claims under NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 that are potentially applicable to UF systems are the mechanical filtration claims (Figure 2). Ultrafiltration systems do not have any absorptive or adsorptive capabilities; they do not perform metals reduction or organic chemical reduction functions. There are some systems on the market that do incorporate activated carbon or other media along with the hollow fiber ultrafiltration technology to achieve additional performance, and these systems can be certified for additional claims under NSF/ANSI 42 and/or NSF/ANSI 53.

Different test particles, different tests
Mechanical reduction testing of hollow fiber ultrafiltration systems is conducted to the protocols described in the applicable standard. Test dust is used to build pressure drop and reduce flow rates through the system. The specification of the test dust particle size distribution is different for different tests and appropriate to the type of test being conducted. For nominal particulate reduction and turbidity reduction tests, test dust is used as the actual contaminant challenge test particle. A laser particle counter is used to count particles in the appropriate size range in influent and effluent samples, with an 85-percent reduction required. A nephelometric turbidimeter is used to measure turbidity in the influent and effluent samples, with a reduction in turbidity from 11 NTU in the influent to <0.5 NTU in the effluent samples required for turbidity reduction testing. For asbestos and cyst reduction testing, test dust is used only to build pressure drop and reduce system flow rate. Test-specific particles are introduced at sample points to serve as the contaminant challenge test particle used to establish system performance. Asbestos reduction requires 99-percent reduction of a mixture of both anthophyllite and chrysotile asbestos fibers, with analysis by either transmission electron microscopy or x-ray diffraction. Cyst reduction requires 99.95-percent reduction of either three-micron polystyrene microspheres or live Cryptosporidium parvum oocsyts. Analysis is by epifluorescent microscopy. All of these tests require analysis of multiple sets of influent and effluent samples to establish that sufficient percent reduction of the influent concentration has been achieved.

Certification
In order to achieve certification to NSF/ANSI 42 and/or 53, hollow fiber UF systems must conform to the material safety, structural integrity and product literature requirements of the standards, in addition to meeting the requirements of at least one contaminant reduction test. Material safety is established by conducting a formulation review of all materials in contact with drinking water, and then extraction testing of the whole product to assess the potential for any harmful compounds to leach from the water contact materials in the system into drinking water. Structural integrity is confirmed through a cyclic test, with repeated cycling between zero and 150 psig, as well as a separate test of elevated hydrostatic pressure for 15 minutes. Product literature must include a permanent system data plate, an installation and operation manual, a performance data sheet and replacement element packaging, if applicable. This literature must include specific information intended to help consumers better understand the benefits, requirements, and limitations of the products.

New technology, accurate and reliable test methods
POU/POE hollow fiber UF systems have become popular over the last few years. One might wonder about the effectiveness of this newer technology, or the accuracy of the methods of evaluation. Fortunately, the methods for determining material safety, structural integrity, and contaminant reduction performance are well-established methods that have been used very successfully for many years to evaluate other POU/POE mechanical filtration technologies. Manufacturers, retailers, dealers, and consumers can rest assured that systems conforming to NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 are safe, durable, and perform as advertised, despite the relatively recent emergence of this product category.

About the author
Rick Andrew is the Operations Manager of the NSF Drinking Water Treatment Units Program for certification of POE and POU systems and components. Prior to joining NSF, his previous experience was in the area of analytical and environmental chemistry consulting. Andrew has a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He can be reached at (800) NSF-MARK or email: Andrew@nsf.org.

 

 

Global Spotlight

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

North America

POU cooler markets growing

POU plumbed-in mains water coolers have emerged as a key competitor to bottled water coolers in the US, increasing their share of the overall cooler market to 14 percent in 2009. According to new research from Zenith International, the number of POU water coolers installed had reached 700,000 by the end of last year, up eight percent in December 2008. Zenith forecasts that the market will be close to 1.3 million units by 2014, taking POU towards one quarter of the combined bottled and POU water cooler market. Increasingly, health concerns have entered the equation, resulting in a broad spectrum of companies to grasp at the opportunity. Out of the 700,000-unit total in 2009, 75 percent were in offices and seven percent were based in factories, hospitals, schools and universities, with homes and other locations making up the remainder.

NSF news

A proliferation of ecolabels, unsubstantiated claims or ‘greenwashing’ and the lack of consensus regarding how green or sustainable products and services are evaluated have led to confusion and mistrust among buyers. To defend against the tide of greenwashing, NSF International has developed a comprehensive Sustainable Product Assurance program to help measure and verify the environmental and social claims of products. The program also demonstrates compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recently revised Green Guidelines.

Century mark celebration for Tomlinson

Tomlinson Industries of Cleveland, OH will celebrate their 100th Anniversary in 2011. Tomlinson Steam Specialty Co. (TSSC), founded by A. E. Tomlinson in 1911, represented a line of steam valves. He purchased the patent for ground plug faucets from Gustave Mueller and started the Tomlinson No-Drip Faucet Company to manufacture and sell these faucets around the US. Due to extensive diversification, the company has grown into three product divisions: The No-Drip® Faucet Division, Modular® Dispensing Systems and The Foodservice Products Division.

 

Mar Cor and Lyons Filter partnership announced

Mar Cor has signed a beverage project development agreement with Lyons Filter (Frederick, CO) to jointly pursue projects in the beverage market. The agreement will combine the strengths of both companies to supply custom turnkey water systems to beverage customers in North America for both Purified Water as well as carbonated soft drink (CSD) production.

MIOX certification announced

MIOX Corporation has received NSF/ANSI Standard 61 certification for its VAULT™ line of on-site hypochlorite and mixed oxidant generators, used globally for effective, affordable water disinfection. To achieve certification, the equipment was passed through a rigorous seven-step process, overseen by the NSF Drinking Water Additives Joint Committee.

Manufacturing poll results give positive outlook

A new poll of factory executives, supervisors and engineers conducted by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), indicated more than 72 percent of manufacturers surveyed at the FABTECH trade show reported business is either much better (31 percent) or somewhat better (41 percent) in 2010 as compared to 2009. Another 18 percent said business was neither better nor worse and only 10 percent said it was worse. Nearly half of the respondents said their companies added permanent full-time staff in 2010 and another 30 percent hired temporary workers to handle the increased manufacturing work. Some 17 percent said although no new employees were hired as of yet, the current staff is working additional hours.  Eleven percent reported no staff cutbacks and a mere three percent said their firms have laid people off in 2010.

NGWA tradeshow record numbers

An all-time record number of exhibiting organizations participated in the 2010 Ground Water Expo and Annual meeting in Las Vegas, NV in December. The 320 exhibitors tops the old record of 316 set in 2006, also in Las Vegas. This year’s exhibitors occupied 68,000 square feet (6,317 m2) of floor space. Thirty-four new exhibiting companies were present. In all, more than 80 hours of continuing education were available

Labstrong facilities expanded

LabStrong Corporation recently completed construction on a new sales, production, and distribution facility near the Dubuque Industrial Park West (IA). The new facility, adjacent to LabStrong’s previous location, opened in November 2010, tripling the previous space. It will provide the company with new offices, cutting-edge R&D spaces, a much larger production area, warehouse storage and a state-of-the-art production facility to build and test systems more efficiently and continue development of new standard laboratory and OEM products. Additionally, there is ample space for management, engineering, and customer service.

Worrell system selected by GSA

Worrell Water Technologies’ Living Machine® system was selected by the US General Services Administration (GSA) to be featured at one of the country’s largest land border control crossings, located in Otay Mesa, CA.  A custom designed system will provide on-site wastewater treatment and water reuse.  In early 2010, Nevada architecture firm Tate Snyder Kimsey recommended the Worrell system to GSA as a way to promote green technology innovation. It will now be part of the new 24×7 facility at that port of entry. The system will take grey and black water from the facility and purify the water through its advanced wetland system, composed of three different wetland processes treating up to 1,500 gallons (56,781 liters) of wastewater per day. 

Recreational water apps certified by NSF

NSF International has certified BECSys automatic controllers for recreational water applications to the requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 50.  BECSys automatic controllers monitor essential conditions such as pH, ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential), and temperature and control various water treatment devices to maintain consistent water quality and are the first automatic controllers to be certified by NSF to NSF/ANSI Standard 50: Equipment for Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs, and Other Recreational Water Facilities.  The Standard covers products used in residential and public swimming pools, spas and other recreational water facilities such as water parks. NSF performs annual, unannounced inspections of facilities that manufacture NSF-certified products and conducts periodic product retesting to verify continual compliance with certification requirements. 

Canadian tradeshow up in attendance

At a time when many North American trade shows are experiencing declining exhibitor participation and delegate attendance, the recent CIPHEX West trade show and conference in Calgary, Ontario bucked the trend. Produced by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH), the event attracted almost 3,000 industry delegates in November.  Attendees came from across Alberta as well as Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

Latin America

Latin America writers honored

The winners of the journalism contest Water: The Most Essential of All Natural Resources, organized by AMBEV and IPS Inter Press Service, were announced by a three-member panel of judges. The five best pieces were written by journalists from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela. Marina Aizen, a reporter for Viva Magazine took top honors with Y sigue haciendo agua (Still Treading Water) and will receive a $5,000 (USD) prize. The article, which deals with the pollution of Argentina’s Riachuelo River, was selected from a total of 218 stories submitted in the competition. Second place, with a prize of $ 3,000, went to Mexico’s Liliana Guadalupe Chávez for Esto no es una pipa (This Is Not a Pipe), which focuses on poor water supply and the corruption and political debates that surround the issue, published by the Mexican magazine Chilango. Third prize, also worth $ 3,000, was awarded to Mabel Sarmiento, of Venezuela’s Últimas Noticias newspaper, for her series of articles on the Guaire River cleanup project. The fourth prize went to Flávia Junqueira for Vingança do Sarapuí (Revenge of the Sarapuí River), featured in the Brazilian newspaper Jornal Extra. The fifth prize was awarded to Argentine journalist Federico Guillermo Pedro Trofelli, for a report published in the newspaper Diario Tiempo Argentino under the title Uno de cada diez argentinos toma agua contaminada con arsénico (One Out of Ten Argentines Drinks Arsenic-Contaminated Water). No monetary awards were given for fourth and fifth prizes. All the winning pieces will be featured in a book to be published shortly.

Europe

Severn Trent Spain subsidiary expands services

Severn Trent Services – Apliclor in Spain has successfully expanded the scope and geographic range of its services over the past 18 months, now conducting 35 percent of its projects in foreign countries. Barcelona-based P.S Apliclor, S.A was acquired by Severn Trent Services to expand the Spanish and southern European market for TETRA® wastewater filters and to develop relationships with large Spanish consultants and contractors operating worldwide. The company was also awarded a contract to supply the country’s largest electrochlorination plant. The €490,000 ($676,790 USD) contract will improve water management for reservoir 118 at Tarragona, which supplies more than 140,000 residents of the regional capital with drinking water.

Energy Recovery technology for desal operations

Energy Recovery Inc.’s PX Pressure Exchanger energy recovery devices will be implemented at the seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant currently under construction in Limassol, the second largest city in Cyprus, by Nirosoft Industries Ltd. The facility will provide approximately 50,000 cubic meters (10.5 million gallons) of fresh and affordable drinking water to 120,000 people a day. The systems will also be implemented at two new SWRO desalination plants currently under construction along the Mediterranean coast of Spain. The Moncofa desalination plant and Oropesa desalination plant, combined, will provide approximately 80,000 cubic meters (21 million gallons) of fresh water per day to the coastal region. 

Middle East

Amiad system fully operational

Amiad Filtration Systems announced that the high pressure filtration system for the irrigation installation it built for the Mei Gat- Lower Galilee Water Cooperative Society, Ltd. is now fully operational. The new system will provide secondary treatment filtration of wastewater for use in irrigation across Northern Israel. The Mei Gat system is unique in that it has to provide clean water for irrigation over a wide spread area as well as provide filtration for water at a pressure of 25 bar. Most systems do not require more than 5 or 6 bar. Amiad also announced it has acquired the remaining 50 percent of its Chinese subsidiary, Yixing Taixing Environtec Co. Ltd., for $3.1 million (USD). Yixing Taixing Environtec Co. Ltd.’s current management team, led by Deputy Chairman Mr. Bolong Hsu, will remain in place, ensuring a smooth and seamless transition

Asia

Hitachi subsidiary name changed

Aqua-Tech Engineering and Supplies, Pte. Ltd. was renamed Hitachi Aqua-Tech Engineering PTE. Ltd., effective in October 2010. The 30-year-old firm was acquired by Hitachi in January 2009.

Water China organizers named

Water Expo China, the only water industry exhibition in China sponsored by its Ministry of Water Resources and approved by the Ministry of Commerce, has signed an agreement with the Membrane Industry Association of China (MIAC) to co-organize the 2011 show.  Scheduled for October 13-15, MIAC will join Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. and the Chinese Hydraulic Engineering Society (CHES) as a co-organizer. The show will be known as Water Expo China + Water Membrane China. 

EcoExpo a big hit

The four-day 5th Eco Expo Asia at AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong hosted 266 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions and received 8,011 visitors from 62 countries and regions. Among these 2,775 were from overseas. The top 10 visiting countries and regions by volume were the Chinese mainland, Canada, the US, Macau, Japan, Korea, Hungary, Thailand, Australia and the Philippines. Exhibitors commended Eco Expo Asia as an excellent channel for meeting quality buyers from around the world. Over the years, the scope of Eco Expo Asia has become increasingly more international. The fifth edition featured 10 national and regional pavilions. Over 40 buying missions representing more than 1,000 delegates visited the fair. Exhibitors were impressed by the quality and relevancy of the visitors.

How Sharp Is Your Axe— And How Good Is Your Swing?

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

By Gary Coon

If you have been in the world of selling for more than a month, you’ve probably been lectured on the importance of staying on top of your game. As a newcomer to the water treatment industry, the lecture I endured included a tale about a young man who one day decided to pursue a career as a lumberjack. As the story goes, the strength and stamina of youth quickly makes the young lumberjack the top producer. A few weeks go by and his production begins to wane. Concerned about his lagging performance, he seeks the council of a seasoned co-worker. “So,” mused the older lumberjack, “when was the last time you sharpened your axe?”

This fable makes a valid point, but its lesson is incomplete, as a crucial aspect is not addressed: although a sharp axe is important, knowing how to wield it is something altogether different. By this I’m referring to technique. The words we use in a sales presentation are of critical importance, but how they are delivered can mean the difference between an easy sale and a siege. The same is true of props. How we utilize them is of no less importance than those we utilize. Here’s how to put these principles to use in a training regimen that routinely ensures top performance in new salespeople.

As a new hire in the business, I began my training on a Monday and was expected to be ready to take a lead on the following Monday. During the seven days in between, I was required to learn a 30-page presentation that included what to say before and during the sink demo, an explanation of the water treatment system, information about the company, and a formalized close. Above and beyond that, I also had to digest enough about water chemistry to pass for a professional. Those of you who have gone through this process, either as a trainee or a trainer, are already aware that the training syllabus affords little time to teach staging and finesse, and that real training begins the day after a new salesperson’s first night in the field.

Many new salespeople come out of the starting gates as thoroughbreds, only to transform into glue factory candidates with the short passage of time. As a fledgling assistant sales manager, this left me perplexed because I always believed in the old adage that ’practice makes perfect.’ So I started calling the new hires in one at a time to give me their presentation. The result: after about three weeks of running leads, their presentations were unrecognizable. And after listening to each, I honestly wasn’t sure if they were trying to sell me a vacuum cleaner or a fire extinguisher. Of one thing, however, I was certain: a water conditioner was not in the mix. I quickly recognized that I failed to emphasize the importance of re-reading the presentation every night for the first 30 days in the field. Memories are fallible. Consequently, with every passing presentation, more of the material was omitted, or (to make matters worse) more was made up. This is a recipe for disaster because carefully crafted sales presentations are designed to convey important feature benefits that create value in the minds of potential customers. Unrealized benefits only short-shrift value and leave the prospect vacillating over the price. Revisiting the presentation daily preserves its integrity, and usually after a couple dozen sales calls and 30 reviews, it becomes as easy to recite as one’s own name and address. As a sales manager, you may even consider hosting a daily review for the first few weeks to ensure review compliance.

The following is a technique I used to triple a dealership’s closing average virtually overnight. Inspired by the belief that the only difference between an actor and a salesman is that a salesman doesn’t get paid for a bad performance, I placed two salespeople in a room along with a video camera on a tripod. I instructed both to tape their presentation as they gave it to the other (I left the room so as not to fray any nerves). I repeated the process until everyone in the dealership was videotaped.

At the conclusion of the taping sessions, I sat down with each salesperson and reviewed their performance. When I noted a problem with posture, body language, facial expression, word selection, the use of a prop, etc., I stopped the tape and conjured up a reasoned critique and an effective remedy. This technique works like magic. When a salesperson slips into a slump, haul out the video camera. It’s a training tool I highly recommend.

I hope I’ve made a convincing case for the importance of knowing what to say and how to say it, what to do and how to do it. But mastering these things is not enough. The question of confidence still remains, because only with unshakable confidence can you hope to reach the top of your game. Here are two things that fortified my confidence as a young water treatment salesman:

  1. Of all the years I spent in the water treatment industry, I’ve never been able to come up with a reason why everyone shouldn’t have clean water his or her home. What’s more, I have yet to meet the person who could give me that reason.
  2. Even if a sour economy drives the unemployment to 20 percent, 80 percent of the people will still be working, and they all need and deserve clean water for cooking, drinking and bathing.

Armed with these two unassailable convictions, I was not to be denied. I drove to my appointments, walked to the door and said to myself, “I wonder if these people realize they are about to invest in a water conditioning system?” Even if I didn’t make the sale, I never failed to make the case for clean water; and to this day, my confidence remains steadfast and unswerving.

One last thought: every day, the gods of commerce remind me that there are three kinds of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who let things happen and those who wake up one day and say, “What happened?” Rest assured that a sharp axe and a practiced swing tempered by confidence will always keep you in the right company. Good luck, good selling and, above all, have a great day.

About the author
Gary Coon, a 16-year veteran of the water conditioning industry, has successfully trained hundreds of water treatment sales professionals.. His seminars, ‘What They Mean by What They Say’ and ‘The Theater of Selling Water’, offer instruction in closing methodologies and presentation techniques. Learn more by visiting www.theonecallclose.com

©2020 EIJ Company LLC, All Rights Reserved | tucson website design by Arizona Computer Guru