Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Viewpoint

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Half a year gone?

It can’t be June already; the year just started, didn’t it? Have you made the most of it by taking on new business clients or reaching out to different venues? As we look to the calendar, the number of events on the horizon seems smaller but no less important, especially when the opportunity to move into other water markets presents itself. Take advantage of every event that piques your interest because there is no good reason to ‘stand in place’ at this point in time. Also during this time of year, when graduations and vacations come to mind, think also about the business opportunities that will present themselves. Pools and spas come to mind but more importantly, now is the time to address seasonal issues that crop up. With weather patterns seemingly more complicated and unpredictable, the possibility of unseasonable water issues tends to rear its ugly head and some new problems may result. How many of your clients delayed maintenance or service calls due to warmer temperatures? Make sure they are back on the schedule as soon as possible to keep them satisfied that you are paying attention to their needs.

Gearing up for warm-weather activities should include a heightened awareness of water safety. Whether you enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing or any other water-related activity, keep in mind that using common sense approaches to health and safety don’t end at the front door. Be cautious of your water sources and be ready to treat before you drink when you are away from home. Nothing ruins a vacation plan like intestinal bugs!

June is carbon month and most dealers, manufacturers and suppliers know that the best full-spectrum treatment will include activated carbon. The carbon industry has its ups and downs also, not the least of which is the expanding marketplace for carbon use and events that deplete existing stocks. Add to that the issue of anti-dumping tariffs, and the mix of competing interests can have wide-ranging effects on multiple, vertical markets. Water treatment is as affected by these issues as the air treatment industry. Carbon Resources President Ken Schaeffer provides an in-depth review of what has happened in the carbon markets over the past couple of years, what it means to water treatment and what can be expected. Henry Nowicki, PhD, of PACS offers insight on the changing markets for activated carbon and what new technology and testing can mean to our industry.

We continue with Gary Battenberg’s insightful series on starting a water business, covering low-pressure water issues. As usual, he writes to the reader, explaining the steps that are best practices to overcome these types of problems. While these articles contain information that dealers, installers and technicians should already know, how many really do? Basic water treatment education is a must for successful businesses and a quick refresher in what is supposedly already known can’t hurt. After all, nothing is as dynamic as the physical world and water doesn’t stay the same either.

Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds takes a slightly different approach in her On Tap column by focusing on ‘citizen science’ projects. In its infancy, harnessing the computing power of everyday citizens was pretty much confined to a small audience for some fringe projects. Now, the recognition of what contributions people can make offers everyone a chance to become part of a host of projects that span the scientific world. Dr. Reynolds highlights the major elements of this movement, including those that are directly related to the water industry. Have a look at what she’s found and maybe you can make a difference as well.

We strive to keep you, our readers, abreast of whatever is happening in our industry and hope to give you the edge over your competitors by having that information readily available. We hope to hear from more readers about the articles and columns we present each month. Tell us what you’d like to see covered and why. If you have ideas for stories or would like to write a technical article, have company news or are launching new products, contact Denise Roberts, droberts@wcponline.com. Being successful means being informed and the primary goal of our staff is to keep our audience as well-informed as possible. Let us know how we’re doing!

Kurt C. Peterson
Publisher

The Activated Carbon Market – 2012 Supply and Pricing Update or The Carbon Continuum

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

By Ken Schaeffer

In the year since I wrote The Carbon Conundrum Activated Carbon Market Update (WC&P June 2011), several issues and items have impacted the global activated carbon market. This paper will review the major issues that have had an effect on the availability and pricing of activated carbon products.

The major activated carbon products used worldwide are mainly manufactured from coal (lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous and anthracite), coconut-shell charcoal and wood (hard wood, soft wood and bamboo). Most carbons used in water filters are manufactured from coconut shell or coal. There are smaller niches of products made from peat, olive pits, fruit nut shells, palm shells, pecan shells, and macadamia nut shells. Coal pricing fluctuates by country with prices in USA and China being the most important. China has large coal industry and capacity but now is a net importer from the US, New Zealand and Australia. The reason coconut-shell charcoal and coal have such a big impact is that the ratio of raw material to finished activated carbon product is close to 3:1.

Stock and pricing issues

As mentioned in the previous article, raw materials used to manufacture activated carbons (such as coal and coconut-shell charcoal) have been subject to shortages and price increases, and those issues directly relate to the global pricing for activated carbon products. The shortages of coconut-shell charcoal have been alleviated somewhat and charcoal pricing has stabilized in the past 6-8 months, with no price increases since October/November 2011. Some US domestic coal carbon manufacturing had long-term coal contracts expire in the past year and some new contracts are at higher prices.

One event that had a major domino effect on activated carbon and activated carbon raw material supply was the March 2011 tsunami that hit Japan. After the initial tragedy, Japanese agencies realized they needed huge quantities of activated carbon for water treatment. The fear was that radioactive fallout would rain down and contaminate water sources that supply the reservoirs of many cities. Purchasing orders went out for thousands of metric tons of activated carbon. Coal-, coconut shell- and wood-based stocks of activated carbon in Asia were readily depleted and it took many months for stocks to build back up to normal levels. Many companies found they could not buy the quantities of carbons they normally bought from Asia, or if they could, the price had increased significantly. These companies were forced to look to other countries and sources; the Japan activated carbon demand situation is just now starting to fade a year after the event.

Ocean freight costs, Chinese anti-dumping duty on steam-activated carbon imported into the US and oil prices (coconut charcoal is an alternate fuel in Asia if oil is high priced) have had a steady impact on activated carbon prices in the US. Ocean freight costs have been relatively stable but do track oil prices. The US Commerce Department’s recently completed anti-dumping duty Preliminary Third Review portends higher duties for the April 2010 to March 2011 review period but final results will not be released until approximately October.

The fact there is again uncertainty in the amount of anti-dumping duty on Chinese carbons means less carbon may be imported into US in the next year. 2012 is the final year of the five-year anti-dumping duty; the whole policy is to undergo its sunset review soon. The duty is no small issue as it can range from zero percent to over $1 (USD)/lb. The amount of the anti-dumping duty depends upon the specific manufacturer in China and the data they did or did not submit to the Commerce Department for review. The normal tariff duty on activated carbon from China is 4.8 percent.

Production increased

The supply side of activated carbon has had several issues in the past few years but time marches on. Several new manufacturing plants have come to fruition or have been announced, and many plants have planned expansions or are in process of doing so now. New capacity was needed because the forecast for activated carbon demand greatly exceeded then-current production capacity. New coconut-shell activated carbon plants or major expansions have started production in India, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam in the past year. Some consolidation occurred in September 2011, when a major coconut-shell carbon manufacturer based in Europe bought out a medium-sized coconut shell manufacturer (also based in Europe), which had a new manufacturing facility in Vietnam.

A new lignite coal activated carbon joint venture (JV) plant is now in production in Canada and a new plant is in startup mode in Hawaii to produce activated carbon from macadamia nut shells. One of the largest activated carbon manufacturers in the world is considering an IPO or sale of the company; the effect of this on production and pricing is unknown at this time. Due to expected large demand increase for powdered activated carbon for flue gas mercury removal, a plethora of companies are reviewing the feasibility of making low cost activated carbon from wood and agricultural wastes; none are currently beyond the planning stage. Additionally, a new grass-roots plant, announced in late 2011, is to be built in Pennsylvania by a new player in the activated carbon industry from Australia.

Reactivation is an important part of some industrial and municipal activated carbon markets, as the virgin carbon can be used, reactivated and then recycled in custom ways, or the reactivated carbon can be sold and used in other suitable applications. New carbon reactivation plants are being built in China and the US and the largest plant in Europe was recently expanded. A new reactivation plant in Mexico started service within the past couple of years.

Market growth projections

The major reason for projected activated carbon market growth in the next five years is the new market for mercury removal from flue gas at coal-fired power plants that could require 500 million to 800 million pounds of powdered activated carbon annually by 2016. The US EPA’s Final Rule passed in November 2011 and coal-fired power plants have 3-4 years to comply with the required 91-percent mercury removal efficiency. Some pending litigation that questions the validity of the mercury removal rule and timing until implementation, and the Cross State Pollution Control Act, could reduce the amount of activated carbon required by 20 percent; however, the market seems poised to add large growth on activated carbon demand. There is also a projected 70-90 million pounds per year of activated carbon needed to help potable water plants in the US meet US EPA’s Disinfection ByProduct Rule commencing January 2013. Another reason for increased activated carbon demand is the growing Chinese economy, which will have its own large demand for activated carbon products as it increases its industrial and commercial base and continues to be a major world exporter of manufactured products.

Certification cost impact

Activated carbon products may have third-party certifications (such as NSF, USP, EPA Registration and kosher), which can be expensive to maintain. This results in additional cost and typically, a higher price than non-certified products. Activated carbon products in the US are normally specified to meet industry standards (such as AWWA and the Food Chemical Codex) and tested in compliance with ASTM D-28 Committee on Activated Carbon Standard Test Methods. Quality activated carbons are supplied with certificates of analysis (COA) that list the activated carbon specifications and test results for that specific lot of product. Due to Proposition 65 in California, all activated carbon products used in carbon filters for POU/POE filter units are additionally tested for arsenic at the five-ppb limit, which is more stringent than Federal and NSF certification limits. This extra testing has costs that are often passed on by slightly higher prices of activated carbon.

Figure 1: Information gleaned from USITC data for 2009, 2010, 2011 and January-February 2012.

Market performance history

Total activated carbon imports for 2011 was $162 million (USD), a slight increase of only 5.3 percent over 2010 imports of $154 million. The primary reason for the small increase was the dramatic drop in German imports of coal activated carbon, which were previously needed as stopgap supply until more US production came online in 2011 for the rising flue gas market. 2010 imports were 18-percent higher than 2009 imports and preliminary data for 2012 imports indicate a 15-percent increase for January-February over same period in 2011. It suggests a record year for activated carbon imports into the US.

My usual advice still stands. Companies need a real relationship and partnership with activated carbon suppliers in order to maintain adequate quality supplies and have counsel concerning the correct activated carbons to use for their applications.

About the author

Ken Schaeffer, President of Carbon Resources, LLC, has over 30 years experience in the activated carbon industry. He holds a BA in biology and an MS in environmental science from the University of Texas at Dallas. Schaeffer is past Vice-Chairman of ASTM Committee on Activated Carbon D28 and past Vice-Chairman of the International Activated Carbon Manufacturers Association (IACMA). He is also on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Water Quality Association (PWQA). Schaeffer can be reached at ken@carbonresources.com or (760) 630-5724.

 

 

Kinetico Quality Water Systems Provides Top Water Quality in Big Sky Country

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

By Denise M. Roberts

Kinetico Quality Water Systems of Missoula & Ravalli
106 Pennsylvania
Hamilton, MT 59840
Tel: (406) 363-1782
Fax: (406) 363-1703
www.kineticoofmontana.com
sales@kineticoofmontana.com
Employees: Five
Service vehicles: Three

Kinetico Quality Water Systems of Missoula & Ravalli is a standard C corporation with company spokesman Archie L Thomas as sole stock holder. His staff includes two service/installer technicians. Bob Koch, CWS-1 has more than a decade of service with the company while Brandon Redman has two years. Chadd Robb, CWS-VI, also has more than 10 years of service. Office Supervisor Colleen McNally has five years of dedicated service. The company maintains its top-notch team through training on safety, Kinetico factory sales and equipment, job tasking, software and technology training. It serves Missoula and Ravalli counties of western Montana, an area that appears on a map as a land mass that hangs down like a stalagmite midway down the western border, surrounded by six million acres of wilderness and national forest land. Everyone believes in and lives by the company slogan, Your Water -Your Choice.

As licensed Master plumber and Electrician in the state of Montana, Thomas managed a plumbing and electrical business with his father for 24 years. “We completed a national review of possible equipment suppliers and chose to become a Kinetico dealer in 1991,” said Thomas. He closed the original business in 1997 to devote full time to Kinetico Quality Water. His longevity in the industry has been a personal choice. “I enjoy solving water treatment problems, developing and maintaining the business systems required to produce a great installation or service call done right, on time every time. And if that doesn’t always happen, we get to improve the system for next time.”

Thomas got started in the industry because he felt water treatment is a more focused and predictable business than bid commercial or residential construction services. “The reoccurring income from service and rental systems plus equipment sales makes managing economic upturns and downturns much more controllable,” he said. “Looking back over the last five years, I’m amazed that we are still here. But more importantly, we are more efficient, better at customer service and water treatment solutions, have less debt, higher sales volume and profits than before the recession. In addition I have a great crew and they get the credit. Without them nothing gets done.”

Thomas also made note of the many rewards of being a water treatment specialist and devoting his company’s efforts toward bringing the best solutions to clients. “The rewards are many but I will list three,” he said. “The first is knowing that even in a small dealership, we use contact management software, prep and post-installation and service digital pictures, sales management systems and integrated service history as well or better than the best and largest in the industry. If you are our customer, and call about your system, here is a partial list of electronically available details recorded since 1996: install date, raw and product water qualities at time of installation, equipment model, serial number and consumable supplies required to service and maintain the system, digital pictures of the installation ( bypass valves, drain connections and special conditions), rental and/or sale contracts and all service or supplies purchased for your system since installation. The second important reward is the confidence of knowing that even if a prospect does not buy from us, he/she is better informed about the water quality issues and solutions because of the even-handed presentation by my sales staff. And finally, the best reward of all is that of a job well done, as witnessed by customer comment cards about clean installations, complete explanations of systems, clean and presentable sales persons, installers and office associates.”

Products, service and solutions

Kinetico Quality Water Systems offers both residential and commercial equipment and services, including whole-house conditioning, RO, aeration and UV, in addition to treating iron, hardness, pH and CO2 issues. The company provides the normal gamut of residential water conditioners, iron filters and drinking water systems. “Low pH water (5.5 to 6.8) with 1 to 55 ppm iron (ferrous, ferric and colloidal), limited tannins, arsenic and low TDS waters in the 10 to 25 ppm range are the primary issues,” said Thomas. “First, we complete proper testing and define the exact water conditions present at the well head or water source. Second, we use a lot of standard, out-of-the-box filter technologies and ion exchange resins but the real trick is when to mix, match and layer reduction methods to achieve the best product water, the lowest equipment and maintenance costs. Finally, we use Kinetico’s twin tank, nonelectric, clean water backwash system as our core design product. We use a custom-built media tank evacuation and vacuum-fill system, which enables custom media mixing for special applications. Overall, our best selling products are water softeners, iron filters, colloidal iron systems, neutralizers/orthophosphate systems and K-5 Kinetico drinking water systems.” The company’s commercial applications include whole-hospital conditioning, including RO, DI, UV, dechlorination, supplying domestic, boiler, cooling towers and 18 megohm lab water. “We design and install various water treatments systems supplying metal fabrication plants, green houses and light manufacturing,” Thomas said.

The best and the worst

Thomas has encountered one of the stranger worst situations for a water dealer. “We found little bits of fur in a prefilter,” he said. “The source turned out to be several vertical feet of well casing filled with decomposing mouse parts, due to an open barn yard well cap. As best we could assume, they were trying to be lemmings or Olympic high divers, neither of which improved the taste,” he noted. “The best is knowing that Water for People and similar organizations apply simple sustainable water improvement technologies in under-developed countries around the world that improve or save lives.”

Big challenges for a small budget

“The major challenge of this business is how to stay right behind the cutting edge of the latest social and business trends affecting the business,” noted Thomas. “I use the phrase ‘behind the cutting edge’ because we do not have the money to waste by being on the cutting edge. Let somebody else be the guinea pig of change. We work to be early adopters of only new methods that work for us, are relatively cheap to implement, increase the customer’s sense of working with a well-organized company, increase each employee’s output without degrading their work environment and positively inflate our public and actual image of personal service. These methods must be downsized to fit our small staff size. This is a pretty tall order. A good example is digital photos married to contact management software. Our service techs can review photos before they leave the office. When customers call with a problem we can view the photos, review equipment and service records while on the phone, plus view rental, sale and original installation documents instantly.

“The latest on going challenge is how, when and at what level to implement and more importantly, maintain a web-based marketing and social media program,” he continued. “Like all fads that evolve into standard business practices, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Everybody says you can do it yourself, its cheap and easy. A better question may be, ‘Do exactly what and how often?’ I have coined the phrase ‘orchestrated word of mouth relationship’ to describe how I want to relate with my customers over the Internet and social media. This is an evolving business system for us at present, which is mostly trial and error. We get multiple offers from SEO companies that may do great work generating leads in cities with millions of people but are not so measurable or cost effective when extracting leads from millions of acres of wilderness and national forest lands within our service area.”

What to expect in the future

When asked what he expects for the future of the water treatment industry, Thomas was expansive. “We will see larger and more complex central water distribution and treatment systems than ever before and more consolidation in some areas of service delivery and manufacturing,” he said. “At the same time, similar to mass food production and its related quality control problems due to its concentration, we will move to smaller, less centralized water treatment and food production as a means to have more personal and local control over our water and food quality. The water treatment industry, like everyone, wants less regulation at all levels of business operations, unless a regulation requires or encourages greater sales as a result of a new or tightening of existing water quality regulations. The industry needs to consider the same cost-benefit questions applied to regulations increasing their cost of doing business, in the same way changes in water treatment standards increase the costs for our municipal and individual customers. Our taxes pay for the public infrastructure, which in turn reduces disposable income available to our individual customers. We need to ask what are the costs, benefits and consequences to economic trade as well as public health when considering new regulations or changes to existing ones.”

Making the next decade profitable

For the next five to 10 years, Thomas has a definitive plan: maintaining steady growth and increasing customer-defined quality while maintaining or reducing operating costs. “This may sound like pie in the sky (Big Sky, that is) but our market area has more potential for growth in the next 10 years than it has had in the last 20,” he said. “The reasons are a combination of mobile computing, the Internet culture, better transportation and technologies enabling business to take place anywhere, coupled with migration from urban areas due to the general degradation of urban lifestyles. It is no longer necessary to live where you make your living. Hamilton and Missoula are great places to run a business, live and enjoy the recreational opportunities and more people are relocating here every day.”

The Scientist in Your Backyard

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

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

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a scientist but couldn’t envision sitting through all those boring math and chemistry courses? With today’s increasing technology and communication ease, citizen science groups are popping up all over the world. These amateur scientists are advancing nearly every aspect of research and producing databases with broader relevance than ever before realized.

What is citizen science?

According to the Citizen Scientists League- a 501 (c) (3) non-profit educational organization, citizen science is “a data-gathering technique that allows anyone to volunteer their time in support of scientific research projects.” Citizen science projects are everywhere; activities range from passive data processing (do you mind if Berkeley researchers borrow the hard drive on your home computer while you are at work?) to active data entry or field observations. In most cases, no prior experience is necessary; however, in some cases, citizens are asked to collect and analyze environmental samples that contribute to a global database of results. Sites may offer tutorials or other types of training to the volunteers, as needed.

With the advent of the Internet and cell phones, citizen science is possible in nearly every region of the planet – and well beyond – as you will read about related to NASA’s space exploration programs where you could be the first to view and characterize a newly identified galaxy. Many citizen science projects are utilizing cell phone technology and the widespread availability of smart phone apps to engage volunteers who can conduct scientific experiments while on-the-go.

Crowdsourcing is another tool associated with citizen science. Crowdsourcing involves placing an open call to a typically large group of people and letting the diversity of responses flow in. In an article entitled The Rise of Crowdsourcing, author Jeff Howe describes the shift from outsourcing jobs to India and China to new pool of cheap labor – everyday people, everywhere. Howe describes stock photo depositories (which takes advantage of the ability of a crowd to photograph and post pictures that are then openly available for use) as an example of crowdsourcing for pictures. YouTube is another example of crowdsourcing of videos.

In science, crowdsourcing uses similar concepts in which an open solicitation is presented to the general population, who are invited to contribute. Those contributions, however, develop into a deliberate, active participation where a common objective or endpoint is achieved.

Crowdsourcing, as well as citizen science, has been criticized for the possibility of faulty data due to malicious responders skewing information to fit a targeted agenda. Generally, the sheer number of respondents helps to dampen the impact of altered events but the possibility for unethical inputs is recognized. Critics have also raised concerns over the potential for a non-random sample, meaning that there may be something inherently similar about people who are likely to participate in such activities that may skew the types of responses collected.

Popular citizen scientist projects

Numerous citizen science projects ask volunteers to identify wildlife sightings (i.e., Wildlife Sightings, iNature, Noah) or to document bird counts so that the number of birds can be measured, in addition to migration or mating patterns (i.e., FeederWaterchers, PigeonWatch). Weather tracking or space exploration sites are also fairly common.

One innovative citizen science project, known as PiggyDemic, is linked into a social network (i.e., Facebook) to simulate human responses to a viral outbreak. This Facebook app monitors ‘infection’ among friends by following the user’s newsfeed to determine with whom they interact. Self-regulated behaviors can be observed and information gathered based on how people change behavioral patterns to protect themselves and their contacts. The information is then used to create mathematical models to describe the spread of a contagion, where patterns of social interaction, or avoidance, can be estimated.

Another pioneering citizen science project utilizes idleI Internet-connected home computers to analyze radio telescope data in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). In the absence of a supercomputer to analyze mounds of data from radio signals from space, SETI participants allow researchers to analyze data on tens of thousands of home computers via a screen-saver software that turns off immediately when the volunteer has need of their computer.

Applications in water quality

Projects utilizing citizen scientists for the collection of data related to water pollution are becoming widespread. Earlier this year, US EPA budgeted $125K (USD) to fund at least five citizen science grants aimed at identifying and mitigating local water pollution problems in New York City. The benefits of such a project expanded beyond data collection by soliciting creative solutions and providing community outreach activities simultaneously. Involving individuals in the identification of problems in their area as well as the solutions led to increased engagement, education and empowerment in the community.

World Water Monitoring Day is an international outreach program that teaches community members about water quality. This health-focused project encourages local residents to monitor their drinking water using provided test kits for sampling water temperature, pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen. Led by the Water Environment Federation and the International Water Association, this field-based project is open to volunteers of all ages and requires only a minimum fee for the test kit. A mechanism is also available for kit donations. While officially celebrated each year on September 18, monitoring takes place from March 22 through December 31t. So far, over 37,000 participants from 25 countries have submitted test results, which are published annually.

NASA has also organized a water quality citizen science monitoring project in which volunteers test their local watershed for nitrogen as a measure of nutrient overload in natural waters. Sources of nitrogen include crop fertilizers, stormwater runoff, point-source pollution discharge or other inputs. Under the Earth Observatory citizen science program, a broader range of samples can be collected over a wider range of sites while minimizing data collection costs. While data is being collected, community members feel more engaged in the identification of problems and helping with solutions. Along the way, young scientists may be inspired to continue in the field of environmental exploration.

How can you be a part of research?

An easier question might be to ask, “How can I not take part?” There are so many opportunities to get involved. One need only search the Internet for a list of solicitations. In fact, you are likely an inadvertent citizen scientist already.

For example, did you know that Google has scientists monitoring the keywords you use to search the Internet? Monitoring of common terms related to flu symptoms has led to an early warning system for influenza outbreaks. Queries on Google related to influenza-like symptoms can identify epidemics in near real-time – with a reporting lag of about one day as compared to one-two weeks with traditional surveillance systems (i.e., local health departments or the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]). Rapid detection of infectious diseases provides the opportunity for greater response time for preventing the spread of such illnesses. This tool has obvious applications in homeland security and the tracking or prevention of a bioterror attack.

Scientific American maintains a list of citizen science projects related to energy and sustainability, evolution, health, mind and brain, space, technology and more. Some of these projects ask volunteers to go out and monitor the environment or observe the ecosystem. Others are designed to have you play computer games where thought processes, behaviors and attitudes can be evaluated.

While researching this article, I became engrossed in a ‘game’ of Galaxy Zoo, a citizen science project that asks volunteers to classify images of galaxies taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Images of the hundreds of thousands of galaxies are shown to volunteers, who then identify how round, smooth, or bulgy the shape is. To date, more than 250,000 people have participated in the data mining.

Hopefully you will be inspired to take part in a citizen science project today. It’s simple. It’s fun. It’s science!

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.

 

Cross Much?

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

By Greg Reyneke, CWS-VI

It is common practice in many areas to refrain from softening all water inside a home, specifically isolating fixtures like kitchen cold-water, bar- and vegetable-prep sinks, etc. There are a number of reasons to do this, but I’d like to address the wrong reasons first:

The preceding fallacies are the most commonly cited reasons that I hear for plumbers and other water quality improvement contractors bypassing the kitchen cold-water sink from softened water. These fallacies have been debunked in WC&P and in numerous other scholarly publications, but it will take many hours of training for the logic to penetrate for some. Many progressive plumbers and water system dealers are now plumbing all fixtures in the home with softened/conditioned/filtered water and then adding EDI or RO to specific points of use to help clients who prefer the taste of purified water, or seek the additional health benefits from removing as much from the water as possible before adding aquaceuticals or drinking and cooking with the plain purified water. While progressive dealers treat the water systematically, there are still countless other misinformed and/or stubborn installers who insist on plumbing hard water to the kitchen cold-water sink and sometimes, to other cold water fixtures. This common installation practice creates a potential problem for the entire installation…the dreaded crossover.

The problem

Crossovers are situations where two sources of water mix or blend in an unintended/unplanned manner. The most typical crossover is when hard water at the kitchen sink crosses over through the faucet mixing valve/cartridge, then makes it way backwards to the water heater where it can contaminate the softened hot water with undesirable hardness minerals, chlorine, metals and possibly other contaminants. Crossovers can be difficult for service technicians to test for, especially if they don’t understand a truly systematic approach to troubleshooting.

Crossovers blending hard and soft water in the home can occur continuously or intermittently and when they do occur, they are irritating to the homeowner as well as repair technicians. An example of a typical continuous crossover condition is when no matter how hard the technician tries, the softener seems incapable of reducing water hardness in the home by more than about 80 percent. An intermittent crossover is where the homeowner reports that the water sometimes ‘feels hard’ but is usually soft when the repair technician visits the home.

When suspecting a crossover, it is a good idea to gather and document the following data:

An example of this situation would be:

Assuming that the softener has already been tested and verified to be mechanically functional and the distributor pilot O-ring integrity has been confirmed, one can assume that a hard water crossover could be a problem here. The key to identifying and rectifying crossovers is to be methodical. Take the time to work systematically, and document your work as you go.

The most common method for physically diagnosing a crossover is to simply shut the soft water loop. This can be accomplished by using a three-way, ball-valve bypass or with specially ported two-handle bypass valves commonly found on professional-grade softeners and conditioners. Shutting off the soft water loop prevents water from flowing through the softener to the attached plumbing. It then becomes relatively easy to determine which fixtures are plumbed soft and whether a potential hard-water crossover exists. Once the softened loop has been shut down, the technician simply opens all the water-using fixtures in the building, from the lowest to the highest point, and waits an appropriate period of time for the fixtures to drain down (five minutes for every 1,000 feet [304.8 meters] of livable floor space is a commonly used figure). Once the fixtures have had an opportunity to drain, all softened fixtures should have absolutely no flow at all. If the kitchen cold (or any other faucet/fixture) is running at full speed at this point, then it is clearly evident that it is ‘plumbed hard’.

By simply closing the hard feed water stop to the fixture, one can determine if the crossover is occurring there. Let’s say that the kitchen cold water is running full flow and the technician turns off the angle-stop under the counter…by turning off the angle-stop, the hard-water feed is unable to pass through the faucet. The technician can now turn the soft-water loop back on and test water quality, after rinsing for an appropriate period of time. If the water is suddenly soft, this is proof positive that a crossover condition has been occurring in the home.

Fixing crossover is relatively easy, by taking a pro-active approach during installation of the water treatment system. Installing a simple check valve on the hot water side of the afflicted fixture will permanently prevent hard water from moving backwards to the water heater or from contaminating other fixtures.

Compounding the problem

In certain extreme cases, hard-water crossover doesn’t just inconvenience the homeowner by pushing hard water backwards to the water heater and the installer trying to resolve the issue. Sometimes the problem can be much worse. During regeneration, the water softener becomes the path of least resistance for hard water crossing back through the water heater. This can introduce piping hot water back to the softener during backwash and potentially damage the polyethylene distributor and riser assembly, resulting in catastrophic resin release into the building. The solution is to install a spring check valve on the outlet of the water softener.

Best Practices

This discussion about crossovers reminds one that it is always a good idea to use industry best practices when installing water treatment equipment. Yes, it will cost more to do things right, but it certainly results in fewer call backs and happier customers.

Current industry best practices include installation of the following:

  • Inlet water pressure regulator
  • Inlet pressure gauge
  • Inlet sample port
  • Bypass that allows for proper soft-loop isolation
  • Outlet sample port
  • Outlet pressure gauge
  • Outlet check valve

Do the very best job that you can and your customers will appreciate it.

About the author

Greg Reyneke, CWS-VI, is currently General Manager at Intermountain Soft Water in Lindon, UT and serves on the WC&P Technical Review Committee. He also serves on the advisory board of the Smart Dealer Network, a trade association dedicated to helping independent water treatment dealers succeed in today’s changing world and reach their full potential.

 

People

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Klinker added to Water-Right Dealer Team

Water-Right, Inc.,announced the addition of Bob Klinker as Professional Level Dealer Program Associate. He grew up in a family-owned water treatment business, gaining valuable experience working in all aspects of the business, from route deliveries to sales and service. Klinker’s primary responsibility will be conducting sales training and management workshops that will assist the company’s Pro Level Dealer Network in capturing more retail sales business. In addition, he will also work with company divisions in the formation, development and roll out of dealer directed programs that will add value by strengthening their position in the market. Klinker holds a degree from UW-Eau Claire and brings with him hands-on management experience and an extensive background in sales and marketing in the water treatment industry.

SPSP certification for SJE-Rhombus’ Houts

SJE-Rhombus and training leader Next Level Purchasing, Inc. announced that Brenda Houts, a buyer for SJE-Rhombus has received the Senior Professional in Supply Management® (SPSM) certification. The SPSM certification has been earned by purchasing professionals in more than 60 countries across six continents and is comprised of a series of interactive online courses, enabling purchasing professionals to master skills in purchasing fundamentals, analysis and spreadsheets, contract law, negotiation, best practices and sourcing. Houts was awarded her SPSM designation on April 3.

Waters appointed WEF Government Affairs Counsel

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) appointed Amanda J. Waters to the position of Government Affairs Counsel in April. She will monitor, analyze and report on federal water quality legislation and regulations and their potential impact on WEF members. Her responsibilities include managing grassroots member involvement, working with WEF Member Associations to develop effective state legislative programs, and supporting outreach on public policy matters to key external audiences such as elected officials, water utilities, manufacturers, and consulting firms. Waters previously served as Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel at Sanitation District No. 1 in Fort Wright, KY. She holds a B.S. Degree in biology from Eastern Kentucky University, and a J.D. Degree and Environmental Law Certificate from Pace University School of Law (NY). She was also Policy Advisor and later Deputy General Counsel to the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. Waters is also Visiting Professor at Wesleyan University (Conn.).

Franklin appointed Managing Director of NSF Passport Program 

NSF International, named Dr. Guy Franklin Managing Director of the recently launched NSF Passport Program, which helps companies gain global market access for water treatment, distribution and plumbing products. He has more than 15 years of experience in the global water distribution and treatment industry. As Managing Director, Dr. Franklin will help companies navigate the various regulatory, testing and certification requirements in each country to gain entry into new international markets. In addition to his new role, Dr. Franklin will continue as Managing Director of WRc-NSF and oversee Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) approval applications, as well as thermostatic mixing valves (TMV) and Domestic Water Treatment Association (DWTA) approvals through WRc-NSF’s product certification arm, BuildCert. Franklin earned a doctorate in chemical engineering, a Master’s Degree in chemical research and a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry from Imperial College in London. He is also a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a qualified UK Plumbing Regulations Inspector.

Hrudley honored by AWWA

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has announced Steve E. Hrudey as the recipient of the 2012 A.P. Black Award. Hrudey is Professor Emeritus in Analytical and Environmental Toxicology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta. A leader in research, teaching and public policy, he has forged a diverse, interdisciplinary career in the environmental health sciences and risk management. Hrudey will receive his award at AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE12) in Dallas, Texas on June 11, during the Opening General Session. He will also be the keynote speaker during the Opening of the Professional Program later that afternoon.

Aqua-chem CFO, Engineer announced 

Aqua-Chem, Inc., has named Thomas Gillcrist as CFO and Ron Shook as Pharmaceutical Applications Engineer. Gillcrist came to Aqua-Chem from CUSTOMatrix, Inc., where he successfully served as a Principal in Strategic Services for the past five years. Prior to that, he held upper-level management positions at AXEON Water Technologies, Tech M3, Ionics, Microbar Inc., and U.S. Filter. He earned his MBA from the University of Virginia-Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. Shook joined Aqua-Chem, Inc. in 2011 as Business Development Manager for the Pharmaceutical / Biotech and Beverage Divisions. Since graduating from North Carolina State University in 1996 with his Bachelor’s Degree in mechanical engineering, he has held high-profile technical and management positions within the semi-conductor, pharmaceutical and biotech industries, specializing in the design, operation and maintenance of high purity water and critical utility systems.   

WaterGroup sales team expanded 

WaterGroup announced that Nate Wells will lead International Inside Sales and Theresa Koetsier was appointed Western Canada Sales Manager. In his new role, Wells will be responsible for logistics, quoting and coordinating shipping and answering any technical questions that arise. He joined the company five years ago as a customer service representative and has since continued to increase his responsibilities in sales with select Hydrotech customers requiring more focused sales support. Wells will be based in the Fridley, MN plant. Koetsier will be responsible for growing and shaping WaterGroup’s western sales teams, both internally and externally, using her expertise and relationships developed over seventeen years in water treatment and wholesale distribution. She joined WaterGroup from Finning Canada, where she led all sales functions. Previously, Koetsier worked at several plumbing wholesalers and sales agencies serving the wholesale market, including WaterGroup as a District Sales Manager. She will be based in Edmonton, Alberta and travel throughout western Canada.

Uth named to ResinTech support team

Erin Uth recently accepted the position of Technical Support Representative at ResinTech, Inc. She previously worked in the company’s ion exchange R&D laboratory. Uth will assist customers in the application of ion exchange resins used in water treatment, including resin selection, performance predictions, process recommendations and system troubleshooting. She earned a BS Degree in engineering chemistry from Stony Brook University in 2011.

Making Activated Carbons More Useful

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

By Henry Nowicki, Ph.D., George Nowicki, Wayne Schuliger, P.E. and Murty Hari, Ph.D

Introduction

The technical community that deals with water and wastewater systems is well aware of current and near-future adverse implications regarding sources of safe drinking water. Population growth, global urbanization, deforestation and increases in per capita consumption all contribute to the problem of regional water replenishment via natural rainfalls and/or aquifers. In effect, sufficient and reliable drinking water sources are becoming marginalized. Additionally, growing energy demands (which inadvertently produce water and air pollution) present new opportunities to make activated carbons (AC) more useful. The primary uses of activated carbons are to purify water and air, but the list is growing.

Emerging contaminant compounds

Recent newspaper articles have noted that over 60,000 compounds can be found in drinking water at low concentrations and that government regulations require control of only about a hundred compounds to date. Also, a high percentage of monitored wells have failed US EPA’s microbiology standard. Man-made chemicals detected in drinking water include personal care, cleaning, pharmaceutical and food-grade products.

It is becoming easier to detect emerging contaminants in drinking water that come from food-grade chemicals, rocket fuel, pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, agriculture, hydraulic fracturing, energy production and other sources. The problem, however, is that it takes years to understand the deleterious toxicological health and environmental effects. Presently, municipal wastewater plants do not utilize available AC technologies to clean wastewater before putting it back into major drinking water supplies. To reduce exposure to unintended emerging compounds in drinking water supplies with unknown toxicology, consumers can filter drinking water with activated carbons, other sorbents and treatments. The more sophisticated the filter, the more compounds can be eliminated. POU water purification with AC, which has broad and deep markets with much growth potential, is vital in many regions, such as under-developed countries that lack a commitment to safe municipal water supplies. Campers, outdoorsmen, military applications and domestic households also would benefit from a POU or POE device to provide a final filtration step for water used for human, animal and plant consumption.

Catalytic, special carbons or engineering

Chlorine disinfection has saved countless lives but has become unpopular more recently because it forms carcinogenic DBPs called trihalomethanes (THMs). Total THMs are regulated under US EPA’s maximum contaminant level (MCL), which drives potable water treatment plants to switch disinfectants from chlorine to chloramine. Chloramine is a stable, long-lasting disinfectant made by combining ammonia with chlorine, a process that has been in practice by water treatment plants for six decades. Switching to chloramine use also avoids US EPA THM rules compliance problems for water plants. This apparent performance difference has been viewed as a business opportunity by some to develop new catalytic or special activated carbons or make engineering process changes. An unintended consequence is that ordinary AC does not remove chloramine in POU/POE filters as well as it removes chlorine.

There are three options to deal with this chlorine/chloramines performance difference. Option one is to employ patented catalytic GAC to increase performance for chloramine removal. This is a manufacturing change that adds nitrogenous compounds before thermal activation and provides nitrogen insertion into the graphitic platelets, which provides a single, free electron radical to degrade chloramines to nitrogen and chloride ion. Option two is to use a different commercial AC which performs better. Option three could be to change the engineering parameters. Some are reporting success by changing the empty bed contact time (EBCT) of at least three times that of a typical chlorine application. For example, AC can scrub chlorine @ 15 gpm per square foot or less, depending on total water chemistry.

Feedstocks determine structures and uses

AC can be manufactured from any feedstock with a high carbon content, but the main raw feedstocks resources for manufacturing AC are different ranks of coal (lignite through anthracite but mostly meteorological grade bituminous coal-based), coconut shells and various woods. Each raw material produces a different physical adsorbent that has unique distribution of adsorption spaces with unique adsorption energies (see Figure 1). Manufacturing transit time in AC activation furnaces, after pretreatment and charring the starting raw material can be varied to produce a family of bituminous coal based AC. Densities can range from 0.80 to 0.20 g/cc. The high-density product has a smaller total pore volume than the low density, but has higher adsorption energy (AE) sites per gram. The higher density product is harder and more useful when mechanical strength is needed. Physical adsorption sorbents like AC can concentrate aqueous organics seven- to nine-fold in the gas- or liquid-phase passing through an AC bed or column. This is enhanced liquid faction in the high adsorption energy micropores.

Figure 1. Molecular scale models for coconut-, bituminous coal- and wood-based activated carbons

Testing for best products

Advanced understanding of the nano-molecular- structural differences in AC can be helpful in selecting the appropriate AC for the application and develop new products to satisfy emerging markets and better service existing customers. Historically, advanced test methods have opened the door to more useful products . These advanced test methods expand and complement the classical ASTM routine test methods. Independent activated carbon testing to verify original manufacturing specifications and AC life-cycle monitoring should be standard operating procedure for AC users. AC does not last forever and must be replaced periodically. Laboratory testing is the only way to know when the AC needs to be replaced. Ideally, independent testing service providers should be knowledgeable on all aspects of AC. Unfortunately, most testing laboratories are not knowledgeable in AC applications or uses, and the inner workings and operations of the activated carbon industry.

One such testing method, the Gravimetric Adsorption Energy Distribution (GAED) full characterization for physical adsorbents test method starts out with thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) or thermal cleaning with a stream of inert argon to carry away the adsorbates released at 240oC (464oF) in order to compare all activated carbons on an equal footing. TGA cleaning and GAED methodology eliminate the need for expensive and troublesome vacuum technology. TGA weight loss is reported on all samples to alert data users about AC cleanliness. After cleaning the sorbent sample, it is challenged with 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane (TFE). Due to fluorine’s electronegativity, and ability to inhibit electronic delocalization, TFE is difficult to adsorb at high temperature. As the temperature is cooled using an automated temperature program, the AC sample reveals its full range of adsorption energies via its characteristic curve, a plot of adsorption energy in cal/cc on the X-axis, and its corresponding pore volume in cc per 100 grams of carbon or cc per 100 ml of carbon on the Y-axis. These characteristic curves are expressed in polynomial equations, which enable development of isotherms, a plot of equilibrium concentration on the X-axis and loading in grams target compound per 100 grams carbon on the Y-axis, for any water soluble organic compounds of interest to clients. This is possible once an isotherm is available for TFE; re-mapping the pores or adsorption spaces and AE can be done using the physical and chemical properties of pores or molecules of interest. Freundlich and Langmuire isotherms are not appropriate for most AC because they are based on the assumption that the sample sorbent is homogeneous (i.e., all adsorption sites are the same and equally accessible).

Regeneration of used granular granular activated carbon (GAC)

Since reactivated or regenerated AC costs about half that of unused or virgin GAC, there is a large rejuvenation market. Major Reactivation of used GAC for additional usage has not changed for over 70 years. With increased emphasis on green chemistry, however, more emphasis on new ways to regenerate used GAC to reuse GAC is expected. The present reactivation process is the same as original GAC manufacturing, converting char to AC. The water gas reaction at 1,750 oF (954oC) is applied:

C + H2O —> CO + H2

C is the elemental symbol for carbon, representing the solid and liquid adsorbates in used GAC nano-pores. The 1-5 nm- sized (10-50 angstroms) adsorption spaces, or micro-pores, provide sufficient adsorption energies to provide enhanced liquefaction and/or enhanced solidification of water-soluble organics, depending on their state when pure. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas, produced while mineralizing adsorbed contaminants, can be used for their heat value. This is done by introducing small amounts of oxygen or air to the gas phase and avoiding oxygen and solid interactions:

CO + H2 + O2 —> CO2 + H2O + Heat

It is critical that added oxygen does not contact solid GAC with its contaminants; it will burn up like a campfire log. Added oxygen needs to be introduced so it is only in the gaseous phase in the reactivation furnace. Modern plants use this for reducing energy costs, using the extra heat to generate electricity and dehydrate incoming wet GAC and satisfy the temperature needed for the water-gas reaction. The removed carbon needs a critical minimal temperature for the endothermic water-gas reactions. This is when carbon adsorbate is removed. The active site becomes cold and needs to be re-heated to its critical temperature for the water-gas reaction. This exothermic-endothermic exothermic cyclic reaction is the critical phenomenon to convert char to activated carbons. When removing adsorbates from the porous GAC structures, however, some of the native pore structure is changed. Some pores or adsorption spaces are widened compared to the starting GAC.

Figure 1. Molecular scale models for coconut, bituminous coal and wood-based activated carbons

GAC from water treatment plants is relatively lightly loaded with adsorbates and possibly could may be used to treat wastewater. Getting more total gallons treated per pound of GAC is another way to make AC more useful. A recent proposal uses a new process to regenerate used GAC from drinking water plants, which eliminates present thermal process problems. This new used GAC regen process is based on competitive desorbtion of GAC adsorbates. It is well known that adsorbates can be displaced by stronger binding adsorbates. This displacement means the original adsorbates float away and the AC is now loaded with the competitive displacer. The displacer can be removed by changing the temperature or pH, depending on the physical-chemical properties of displacer. The advantages of a chemical regen process over the classical thermal process are:

  1. It is an aqueous-based process.
  2. It is relatively mild.
  3. Regen chemicals can be recovered and reused multiple times.
  4. The new regen process can be used to recover used GAC adsorbates.
  5. The chemical process generates much less greenhouse gas emissions
  6. Improved quality is provided with lower cost regenerated GAC.

Conclusion

There are several new technologies on the horizon that will enhance the quality of activated carbon usage in the water treatment industry. Advanced technology can unlock even more potential uses, though unintended consequences (such as toxicity for use in kidney dialysis machines) should also be carefully considered. To meet future water quality requirements around the world, an open-minded approach is needed to explore and develop possible new uses for activated carbon. Regeneration processes are being refined to meet future requirements for a host of carbon applications and further the technological impact of activated carbon in water treatment.

References

  1. Henry Nowicki, Principal Investigator, FY2013 Environmental Protection Agency, Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Proposal. “Removing Chloramine in Point-of-Use and Point-of-Entry Drinking Water Treatment Units,” pages 27, April 29, 2012.
  2. Henry Nowicki, Principal Investigator, FY2013 Environmental Protection Agency, Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Proposal, “Addition of Safe Antimicrobial Activity to GAC,” pages 26, April 17, 2012.
  3. Henry Nowicki, Principal Investigator, FY2013 Environmental Protection Agency, Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Proposal, “New Regeneration of Drinking Water Plants Used Granular Activated Carbons,” pages 27, April 29, 2012.

About the authors

Henry Nowicki, Ph.D., MBA, PACS President and Senior Scientist for 29 years, provides the introductory course for PACS Activated Carbon School, and serves on WC&P’s Technical Review Committee and the editorial review committee of Filtration News.

George Nowicki, BA/BA, Laboratory Manager for PACS Laboratories, has 11 years of varied activated carbon experience and advises clients on selecting activated carbon tests based on their specific applications. He helped develop the heat-of-immersion (HOI) test as a way to estimate remaining AC service time; recently this HOI test has been approved by ASTM.

Wayne Schuliger, P.E., Technical Director for PACS, has 43 years of activated carbon experience and provides PACS consulting and inspections on activated carbon adsorber operation, design and troubleshooting. He provides the PACS short course Design, Operation and Troubleshooting Aqueous- and Vapor- AC Adsorbers. Schuliger is a member of the AC Hall of Fame for his work at Calgon, for development of the technical-business model for the drinking water and industrial sectors.

Murty Hari, Ph.D. is President of Superior Adsorbents and is on the PACS Board of Directors. He advises PACS clients on the best manufacture of carbon materials and how to add value to commercial carbons.Hari is a member of the AC Hall-of-Fame, based on IR100 awards and contributions to the manufacture of carbons. Authors can be reached at (724) 457-6576 or www.pacslabs.com or e-mail Henry@pacslabs.com.

About the company

Professional Analytical and Consulting Services Inc. (PACS) is a 28-year-old incorporated firm providing independent services for industrial, environmental and activated carbon industries: activated carbon services, include routine and advanced testing, PACS short course programs, R&D, consulting, contract research, expert witness, and host the International Activated Carbon Conference (IACC) and the Activated Carbon School. PACS serves over 950+ clients and has been awarded nine government grants and contracts for R&D on activated carbon projects.

 

Global Spotlight

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

North America

Water wisdom to be highlight of WAHC

For the ninth consecutive year, the World Aquatic Health™ Conference will host global recreational water leaders who will reflect upon the latest WaterWisdom and project a wise path forward. Scheduled for October10-12 in Norfolk, VA, attendees will gather to learn from the latest research and practical science. A cross section of industry segments will attend, including leaders from academia, associations, building, consulting, retail, aquatic facilities, service, public health/government, health and medical, and manufacturers. Seminars include Recreational Water Illness Prevention, Aquatic Health Benefits, Drowning and Chronic Illness Prevention, Facility Management, Disinfection Byproducts (including a presentation by WC&P Public Health Editor and University of Arizona Associate Professor Kelly Reynolds, MSPH, Ph.D, who will discuss the standardization of health impact studies due to aquatic environmental exposures, and Other Bits of Wisdom.

Show us your rust

Pro Products is holding a summer photo contest, ‘Show Us Your Rust’, that is running now through September. All photo submissions will receive a voucher for a free gallon (3.78 liters) of liquid rust stain remover; one grand prize winner will be awarded an Apple iPad 2. The contest is open to contractors and property owners and all types of rust photos are welcome. If there is a stain that has already been remedied using Rid O’ Rust, before and after pictures are welcome. To enter, visit www.ridorust.com/showusyourrust.

Family wins national EcoWater sweepstakes (left to right: Chris Wilker, Scott and Emily Strahm, Holly and Dan Guggisberg) EcoWater Systems, LLC awarded Scott and Emily Strahm of Hancock, MN, $20,000 (USD) through its annual Soft Life™ Sweepstakes. The Strams registered for the drawing at the 2011 Morris Spring Expo through EcoWater Systems of Morris & Glenwood, the Morris, MN EcoWater dealership. The sweepstakes is designed to support over 240 EcoWater dealers across the nation.

ASPE, CIPH sign MOU

The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) and the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH) have signed a memorandum of understanding designed to establish a framework for cooperation that will enable the exchange of information regarding the American and Canadian plumbing products and systems industries. The agreement, which was signed by ASPE Executive Director/CEO Jim Kendzel and CIPH President and General Manager Ralph Suppa on April 24, will provide ways for the two organizations to share data on common educational, technical, scientific, legislative and regulatory matters.

WQA industrial education launched

A new web-based industrial water treatment education program from the Water Quality Association launched in May, designed to help companies raise their service personnel from doing only mechanical repair to understanding the interdependency of complex multistage treatment components and determining and meeting customer goals in the field. Visit the commercial/industrial section at www.wqa.org for details.

Investment in NanoH20 announced

NanoH2O, Inc. announced that it has closed a $40 million (USD) equity round and $20.5 million in credit facilities.The company’s patented, thin-film nanocomposite membrane technology can purify water from a broad range of sources, yielding higher productivity, better water quality or reduced energy consumption over traditional membranes. BASF Venture Capital GmbH, Total Energy Ventures International and Keytone Ventures co-led the $40 million equity financing that included all of NanoH2O’s existing investors.The $20.5 million in growth capital, working capital and equipment financing credit facilities were provided by Comerica Bank and Lighthouse Capital Partners, with the working capital line backed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The $40 million investment brings NanoH2O’s total equity funding to $75 million, and total debt and equity funding to over $100 million, making the Company one of the most highly funded water technology companies in the industry. Proceeds from the equity offering will enable the Company to accelerate its growth, expand its manufacturing capabilities and broaden its product offerings.

Calgon loss reported

Calgon Carbon Corporation results reported for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012 included net income of $7.7 million (USD) for the first quarter of 2012, as compared to net income of $8.5 million for the first quarter of 2011. The decline was due to higher 2012 plant maintenance costs, unfavorable product mix, and increased raw material costs in the Activated Carbon and Service segment as well as a higher proportion of our total revenue attributed to the Equipment segment. Costs related to the repair of two new reactivation facilities in Belgium and China also contributed to the decline. On a fully diluted share basis, earnings per common share for the first quarter of 2012 were $0.14 versus $0.15 for the first quarter of 2011. The company’s Board of Directors did not declare a quarterly dividend.

STEM demonstration by Dow

The Dow Chemical Company was the first company to contribute towards next year’s Philadelphia Science Festival. At the Carnival in the Parkway kick-off event, Jerome Peribere, President and CEO of Dow Advanced Materials Division, presented a check from the Dow Foundation and issued a friendly challenge to peer companies and potential supporters, pledging to increase its current contribution twofold towards the 2013 Science Festival if sponsors match the additional gift. The grant is part of Dow’s ongoing effort to get youth, educators, business and the general public excited about innovations in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well to advance the greater Philadelphia region as a hub for cutting-edge science and technology. Dow hosted The Science Behind Clean Drinking Water, where visitors learned about RO water filtration by pouring soda and other colored liquids into the filtration unit and watching it emerge as clean, clear water right before their eyes.

Asia

GE to deploy ZLD to India

GE announced its zero liquid discharge (ZLD) wastewater recycling technology will be installed at the POSCO Cold Rolling Mill Steel Plant in Maharashtra, India in the second quarter of 2013. This marks the first steel mill application of a complete GE ZLD system containing electrodialysis reversal (EDR).
Under the contracts signed between GE and Korean-based POSCO Engineering, GE will supply a ZLD wastewater treatment system, which includes two EDR trains for water reclamation, for POSCO’s new plant. GE also will provide technical services, including operator training, during installation and commissioning of the new facility.

HaloSource, China firm announce partnership

HaloSource, Inc. has signed a partnership with Perfect Water Purification Manufacturing Co. Ltd in China, a leading global supplier of consumer goods with $1.6 billion (USD) in sales in 2010. The partnership marks HaloSource’s entry into the direct selling channel for drinking water purification devices in China. Under the terms of the agreement, HaloPure® cartridges will be inserted into Perfect’s multi-stage purifier to deliver 99.9-percent reduction of virus and bacteria. HaloSource has granted Perfect the exclusive right to sell devices powered by HaloPure technology through its direct sales channels in the pressurized water purification segment in China. To maintain this exclusive right, Perfect is required to purchase a minimum of 500,000 units annually, representing approximately $4.5 million of revenue for HaloSource.

Fairey Industrial’s Top Executive Details Company Success

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

By Denise M. Roberts

Fairey Industrial Ceramics Limited
Lymedale Cross
Lower Milehouse Lane
Newcastle Under Lyme
Staffordshire ST5 9BT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 66 44 30
www.doultonwaterfiltersusa.com
tevans@faireyceramics.com

Tim Evans, Business Development Executive, spent the first 11 years of his career in the UK Headquarters of a ceramics research institute and gained experience working with a wide range of technical ceramic products, concentrating on air and liquid filtration technology specifically. Moving into the commercial arena during this period, he gained additional experience selling a variety of products and services both to UK and overseas markets. Evans has remained in export sales roles for multinational manufacturers, where he has supported a diverse range of international distributors to achieve their goals of new market entry and increasing their sales and market share in existing markets. In 2008, he brought his extensive experience in ceramics and export distributor management to Fairey Industrial Ceramics Limited (FICL), taking over responsibility for a number of export markets, including North America.

FICL is the sole manufacturer of the world famous range of Doulton® and British Berkefeld® ceramic drinking water filters. Customers range from multi-nationals and big box retailers to aid agencies, water cooler companies, small companies and water professionals. To service the needs of these diverse customers, FICL has an established world-wide distribution network with regional sales managers based in various key territories around the globe.

Evans works closely with Doulton® distributors, providing commercial teams with training workshops to enhance their product knowledge and understanding of filtration technology. He travels regularly to meet with them to discuss and support growth strategies and work on sales and marketing promotions. “We are proud to offer enhanced, tailor-made support to our North American dealers,” said Evans. “Our recent new media promotion is the beginning of an ongoing marketing strategy to provide additional support to our North American distribution network. Alongside new wholesale prices in the market, we are committed to offering speedy dispatch on a wide range of our products and to ensuring that increased stocks of Doulton® water filters are held in the US.”

A long history

Doulton® water filters have now been manufactured continuously in the UK for more than 185 years. In the 19th century, the River Thames was London’s main water supply… and sewer. Henry Doulton discovered that filtering water through a porous ceramic could stop people becoming sick from cholera and other water-borne diseases. “Queen Victoria was an early and long-standing Doulton® customer,” Evans noted. “The technology has come on a long way since those days, but Doulton’s principles still remain at FICL today: to produce clean, healthy, great tasting water, anytime, anywhere.”

FICL is part of a wider UK technical manufacturing group, which is privately owned. All Doulton® and British Berkefeld® ceramic water filter products are manufactured in FICL’s factory based in North Staffordshire, UK, the traditional home of the ceramic industry in England. Millions of ceramic filter candles are produced annually, which are sold in 140 countries worldwide. From an office block to a refugee camp, Doulton® and British Berkefeld® filters provide people with drinking water that they can enjoy and trust. All stages of FICL’s drinking water filter production process adhere to the stringent BS EN ISO 9001 quality standards. FICL holds the coveted NSF® and WRAS certificates, demonstrating that its drinking water filters have passed the highest international testing standards.

The company manufactures a range of POU drinking water filtration systems for the home, suitable for any kitchen. FICL has ambitious plans for the next five years in terms of sales growth driven by product development and brand building. “The way to achieve such goals is to provide the consumer with a great value proposition and give the right support to local distribution partners who are similarly driven to succeed,” said Evans. “We have already invested heavily in our manufacturing plant to increase capacity, improve efficiency and support growth. Our program of investment in product and brand development is also well underway. We have many trusted distribution partners around the globe with whom we have worked for many years and look forward to continuing to support for many years to come. However, we are also always happy to hear from new potential partners who share our ambition and are keen to join the Doulton® team.”

In addition, FICL is heavily involved in philanthropic endeavors around the world, with many notable agencies. “FICL supplies gravity water filters to over 50 Aid Agencies and NGO’s around the globe, including UNICEF, Red Cross, Oxfam and the Peace Corps,” said Evans. “Our ceramic filtration systems are designed for emergency response as well as for use in short, medium and long term humanitarian relief situations such as refugee camps, natural disaster zones, and community development programs. Recent projects in which our filters continue to play an important role include UN-Habitat’s slum regeneration project in Kenya, Lifewater’s community projects in Haiti and Tanzania, and various projects in Afghanistan. We are proud that our products are helping to achieve the aims of the Millennium Development Goals and have taken great pleasure in supporting drinking water projects with product and donations in numerous parts of the world.”

Challenges and the future

In a difficult economy, some manufacturers try to cut costs and end up cutting quality. “This is very short-sighted,” Evans said. “Consumers and dealers see through that in an instant. Compromising your brand name in such a way is the worst thing you can do. The quality of a good product always shines through. We work hard to ensure that Doulton® presents the consumer with a good value proposition of brand, quality, performance and price.”

The Doulton®, British Berkefeld® and Fairey® brand names are well known and respected around the world. On occasion, this has made them the target of counterfeit and passing off (where people try to market an inferior product under a confusingly similar trade name in order to take advantage of the company’s reputation). “It takes years to build a strong and trusted name in the market,” Evans said. “Therefore, trade mark and copyright infringement is something that we take very seriously. We do not hesitate to take swift legal and commercial action when the occasion arises.”

FICL has achieved significant growth over the last 3-4 years, driven by increased focus on the consumer, improved distributor support, and investment in product development and marketing. “The consumer’s demand for quality, a trusted brand, and a no-nonsense filter product that is easy to understand and use has led to big growth in Asia where consumers prefer to invest in a UK manufactured product they know they can trust in preference to cheap, locally manufactured filters,” said Evans. “Our high quality standards are why the Doulton® brand name is so well known and respected for use in home water filtration systems around the world. Our mission is simple: to provide Doulton® customers, whatever their situation, with top quality, UK manufactured water filters that perform consistently every time and give them clean, healthy, great- tasting water anytime, anywhere. Doulton® drinking water filters have been successful globally because they are so versatile – they will do a job on any water supply.”

How to Get Started in the Water Treatment Business, Par

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

By Gary Battenberg

Last month we talked exclusively about the problems associated with excessive water pressure and the control methods available to comply with manufacturers warranty requirements. This month, we will look at the other side of the issue and that is Inadequate Water Pressure. Let’s refer to what the 2009 Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) has to say so that we are clear on what is approved.

“Whenever the water pressure in the main or other source of supply will not provide a residual water pressure of not less than fifteen (15) pounds per square inch (103 kPa), after allowing for friction and other pressure losses, a tank and a pump or other means that will provide said fifteen (15) pound (103 kPa) pressure shall be installed. Whenever fixtures and/or fixture fittings are installed that require residual pressure exceeding fifteen (15) pounds per square inch (103 kPa), that minimum residual pressure shall be provided.”

Using the same water chemistry we started with, we are just going to change the water pressure for this exercise and then we will delve into the inherent problems created for the optimum performance of the specified water treatment equipment.

Example:
Water Hardness……8 grains per gallon (136.8 mg/L)
TDS………………..590 mg/L
pH………………….7.8
Chlorine……………1.6 mg/L
Fluoride…………….0.6 mg/L
Water Temperature…61º F (16.1ºC)
Water pressure………28 (1.98 bar 0r 242.5 kPa*) psig**
____________________________________________________________
* kPa = kilopascal, a unit of pressure equal to one Newton of force per square meter. One thousand pascals equal one kilopascal (kPa); a kilopascal equals 0.145 pounds per square inch.
** psig = pounds per square inch, gauge.
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In the interest of keeping this exercise simple, attach a pressure gauge to an outside hose bib and open the valve handle to obtain the static water pressure in the system. To determine the pressure drop in the system under normal household water usage, turn the hot and cold water on in the shower or tub and then record the water pressure indicated by the gauge. Next, with the tub/shower running, turn the hot and cold water on at the kitchen sink and then record the water pressure indicated by the gauge. Turn off the water. If the pressure drops to 19 psig (164.54 kPa), technically there is not a compliance problem. If the pressure drops below 15 psig (103 kPa), then there is a compliance problem and you will need to specify a booster pump system. Before you make any recommendations, I strongly urge you to contact the contractors’ board and inquire as to what they will approve for boosting inadequate water pressure.

Now comes the important part of the application process. This is where you can get into trouble very quickly and find yourself correcting a problem at your expense, in addition to dealing with customer frustration. Any type of filtration or softening system is going to create a pressure drop in the service plumbing. At 19 psig (130.5 kPa) with just the tub/shower running and no treatment in place, there is no compliance problem. Now add the pressure drop across the filter or softener between 6 and 8 (4.1 -.5.5 kPa) psig and the net residual pressure to the service plumbing is at 11 to 13 psig (75.5 – 89.3 kPa), well below the minimum allowable residual water pressure of 15 psig (1.06 bar). If you consider the additional pressure drop of running water at the kitchen sink, it is quite likely that the residual water pressure will be below 10 psig (68.6 kPa).

Looking at your water treatment equipment specifications, you will find that a typical residential softener can operate at pressures as low as 20 psig (1.4 bar). Most RO appliances stipulate a minimum operating pressure of 40 psig (2.8 bar) with a few of the more advanced RO systems and countertop products capable of operating at 30 psig (2.1 bar) @ up to 500 mg/L TDS.

The other problem with installing water treatment equipment in low water pressure applications is a commonly overlooked part of the installation that must be completely understood if you are going to be successful in a low-pressure market. The drain line configuration of an automatic backwash filter or water softener is the most overlooked, misunderstood and, in a lot of cases, the hardest part of an installation.

In our next installment, we’ll look at some typical installation diagrams and learn how to identify and troubleshoot low water pressure problems and how that relates to improperly configured drain lines. You will learn how to tune-up a system to make it work properly to avoid frustrating call backs and customer frustration. Stay tuned!

About the author

Gary Battenberg is Managing Director of Santa Fe, NM-based Good Water Company, Inc. He has 29 years experience in the field of water treatment processes, including equipment design and manufacturing utilizing filtration, ion exchange, UV disinfection, RO and ozone technologies. Battenberg is also a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee. Contact him at gary@goodwatercompany.com or at (505) 471-9036.

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