Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Viewpoint

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Water safety in a bottle or cooler

For most people, a drink of water is just a tap away, but in many parts of the country, water safety and quality is an ongoing concern. From high arsenic levels to sediment to scarcity, there are continuing needs for the water treatment specialist to address. In spite of many attempts by environmental groups, bottled water remains one of the safest and fastest ways to address the immediacy of disaster situations and long-term water treatment problems. Water coolers for both offices and homes are essential to meet the needs of consumers in those areas in which significant problems exist.

There are many different types of systems to choose from, thanks to the myriad options and innovations that are continually evolving. Some consumers will feel better with additions such as RO treatment, UV disinfection, etc., and the water treatment industry seeks to find the best solutions for the best price to ensure clients are satisfied. Emerging contaminants, better testing equipment and regulatory changes are driving innovation on several fronts. The consumer now has more choices and needs to have the best information possible to make informed choices. Dealers and manufacturers carry the responsibility of widening the net, so to speak, to meet customer demand.

Pionetics® Corporation’s LaMar Hunt offers tips on how to make a company’s sales force into the ultimate benefit not only for the consumer but the company as well. It’s more than sales that matter! Chris Hogan, IBWA’s VP of Communications, gives an industry update that covers not only market performance, but addresses the legal challenges that continue to beseige the bottled water industry. Public Health Editor Kelly Reynolds, MSPH, PhD, covers the boil water order challenge. There are many reasons for those orders to be issued but does the public really pay attention?

The summer weather is still with us, with record temperatures around the country. For the drought-prone southwest and flooding southeast, the challenges to maintaining water safety and quality continue to be at the forefront of the public’s thinking. The best way to help your customers is to know what is prompting their concern, whether negative or sensationalized news reports or the regional water quality report. Be their expert…become their friend!

Kurt C. Peterson
Publisher

 

Recreational Water Infections: Framing a Healthy Perspective

Friday, September 6th, 2013

By Jeff Williams, PhD and Nathan Kenney

Introduction

The recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on “Microbes in Pool Filter Backwash” (May 17, 2013, Morbidity and Mortality Reports [MMWR], 62 (#19): 385-388) certainly stirred up the mass media airwaves and put something of a cloud over public perceptions of swimming pool safety, just as this year’s season was entering full swing.  Reminding bathers about personal hygiene as a part of public pool use, in particular, is always a good thing, but this report’s results readily became sensationalized by content-hungry news channels. A rather unsurprising set of findings—at least to microbiologists—on a limited range of pool filter samples got converted from what should have been a news story in the ‘dog bites man’ category, into lurid coverage in the ‘poop in pools everywhere’ style. It probably ended up doing little to focus public attention on the behavioral changes that CDC strives so hard to bring about.

That’s unfortunate, because making such a beneficial and wholesome activity as swimming even more attractive and encouraging participation is critical to national efforts to get Americans off the couch and doing something healthy yet delightful. Raising fears about risks of what have come to be called recreational water infections (RWI) can be a setback to those efforts. That is what makes it important to put the MMWR data in a broader perspective, taking into account some of the nuances of the technology deployed in the report, and that is what we offer here. Nothing in our comments, however, should be taken as diminishing the growing and proper concerns about the steady increase in swimming pool RWIs that CDC has highlighted in recent years.

Interpreting high-tech findings and assessing the risk

CDC researchers collected 161 backwashed pool filter samples from Atlanta-area pools and tested them for biological contaminants using DNA probes. In this way, filtered particulates  ended up being highly concentrated in a small amount of backwash water. They then used DNA fingerprinting to detect whatever was trapped on the filter medium with an extraordinary sensitivity. Many of the filters, doing their job properly, were found to have trapped bacteria to  the extent that more than half of the samples showed evidence of the presence of E. coli,
commonly used as an indicator of fecal contamination. About the same proportion contained fingerprints of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a microbe that can be human-associated, sometimes causing disease, but which can occupy and multiply in a wide range of environmental niches.

Now, what these findings signify has to be framed by the limitations of the technology; DNA probes provide for quick and sensitive ID analysis of samples for specific microbes, but the meaning of results is limited without using other kinds of microbiological tools to arrive at an assessment of RWI infection risks. For example, DNA technology will give a positive signal in backwash water samples, whether the microbe is alive and potentially infectious or dead and harmless—killed, in this instance, most likely by the pool’s chlorine sanitizer doing its regular job, taking care of the inevitable microbial contamination that comes from bather load in the pool. It would have taken many more microbiological procedures to get a handle on whether the E.coli or the Pseudomonas fingerprints truly represented a RWI risk and signified that the sanitation/filtration system was faulty or not properly maintained, the kinds of signals that properly should raise alarms and are often discovered in the aftermath of disease outbreaks. No such outbreaks were reported in the Atlanta area in the summer of 2012, although it remains the case that many RWI incidents still go unrecorded. Nevertheless, the observation does suggest, at the very least, that there were not wholesale failures of proper sanitation and hygiene in the sampled region over this period. The bacteria detected were not in the primary disease agent category (such as E.coli O157;H7). All the anxieties raised by the headlines were not necessarily in a good cause. Finding traces of DNA ‘fingerprints’ of microbes in filter retentates does not necessarily point to unsafe pool management practices.

Their presence may instead be an indicator of the presence of human bodies in the pool. These kinds of results do not even assure us that intact germs were present, since remnants from the beneficial effects of sanitizers on microbes could give rise to positive signals in DNA tests. On the other hand, intact or not, alive or not, the fingerprints are undeniable, and in the long run, accumulation of this kind of evidence may end up proving useful in risk assessment. It certainly provides a new approach to characterization of an important public health issue associated with recreational water use.

It’s a fair proposition to make that adopting good personal hygiene practices could beneficially affect the amount of contamination the sanitation/filtration system must treat. But it remains to be determined whether showering ahead of pool bathing would significantly reduce the rate at which ultra-sensitive DNA probing turns up positive signals of human-related microbial material in filter backwashes. It is certainly a reasonable notion, but it will be a challenge to test it experimentally.

Common pool filter types

 

Chlorine: upside/downside

Significant, but almost lost in the high visibility of the pool- poop story, is the detection in some samples of parasite cyst fingerprints—significant because, in this instance, even the best chlorine sanitizing system will not inactivate Cryptosporidium oocysts. They are most likely to have a human feces origin in pool water and almost certainly would still be alive and infectious in the filter. Filtering them out and regularly backwashing them into the septic outflow is another component of ongoing, effective pool management. But here we encounter a higher risk to bathers and much less certainty about the capacity of the filter medium to capture and eventually remove oocysts. Close enough to to take its presence in backwash samples, even at a low rate (two percent), as a serious indicator of potential problems.

This risk is not readily diminished by adopting sanitizing alternatives to chlorine. For all its downsides, including objectionable smell, taste, eye and skin irritation and DPB generation among others, chlorine serves up an unmatched array of advantages in maintaining pool safety. It deserves its centerpiece role in recreational water sanitation. That it does not cope with the toughness of Crypto oocysts, added to the other shortcomings, has led to clamoring for more attractive and powerful replacements. That hasn’t proven easy and while practical alternatives are avail- able, they bring their own weaknesses to the challenge. Chemical agents with oocyst-inactivating power, such as chlorine dioxide and ozone, pose more operational demands on users than chlorine and cannot compare in their inability to sustain biocidal activity in the main body of pool water that is so readily accomplished with chlorine residuals. UV irradiation can destroy the infectivity of oocysts, but besides furnishing no residual protection to the recirculating water, it must operate by line-of-sight exposure to the inactivating rays. Any obstruction in the form of turbidity in heavily bather-loaded pools can undermine the utility of UV. All the inactivating power of UV has to wait upon the arrival of germs over the course of the recycling turn of all the pool water; in the meantime, those germs are free to cause trouble.

Clearer is safer

Which brings us to the final piece of the framework for our perspective on the CDC report: water clarity as a contributor to pool water safety, regardless of the method of disinfection being deployed. Turbidity is the enemy of effective pool safety manage- ment and efficient filtration is the way to counter it. Turbidity interferes with UV, consumes disinfectants (it’s a ‘demand’ for halogen, meaning less is available for sanitation) and contributes to the risk of pool drowning accidents by obscuring the view of bathers who get into trouble and sink out of sight. Filter back- washes should contain evidence for what the medium is taking out (just as the CDC researchers found). Helping that process by flocculating suspended particles is a worthy goal and can be achieved as a part of regular pool management. There are plenty of products available to make that happen. An illustration of what can be accomplished with a natural product formulation specifi- cally aimed at improving filtration efficiency, is shown in Figures 1 and 2. Cryptosporidium oocysts, enmeshed in large flocs created by pool water treatment with this biopolymer formulation (Figure 1), are now much more readily trapped on the filter and less likely to remain in the recirculating body of water and cause RWI out- breaks. Particles as small as E.coli can be aggregated by this kind of treatment into clumps (Figure 2) that end up being retained by, in this case, a flat filter membrane with five-micron pores that would normally allow these bacteria to pass through.

Figure 1 is a microscopic image of a flocculum generated with treatment of Cryptosporidium suspended in pool water. The green fluorescent areas are oocysts, enmeshed in a floc made up of two interacting biopolymers. The flocs are large enough to be retained by a coarse sand filter. Figure 2 is a microscopic image of a filter membrane after filtering a suspension of E.coli in treated pool water . The purple-stained clumps of flocced bacteria are retained on the membrane, whereas untreated bacteria normally pass straight through the five-micron pores.

Figures 1. (left) and 2 (right).

Cryptosporidium oocysts and E. Coli

Conclusion

Encouraging a multi-pronged approach to pool sanitation, with proper attention to disinfection, clarification and filtration, as well as emphasizing the role of personal hygiene measures for all bathers, is likely to lead to more widely enjoyed and enjoyable recreational water experiences. Properly implemented, these kinds of pool management practices do work. That would be a nice message to put out during the summer swimming season!

About the authors

Dr. Jeff Williams is the Chief Technology Officer and Sr. Vice President of R&D, HaloSource Inc. He is Emeritus Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University, where he was a teacher and biomedical researcher for almost 30 years before founding HaloSource in 1998.

Nathan Kenney is a Specialist in Water Microbiol- ogy, Division of Product Development, HaloSource Inc. His gained his BS in microbiology from the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.


Bather load bacterial sloughing explanation

Whenever a person swims in a pool, they will drop bacteria and viruses from their skin and hair (not to mention any incontinent accidents) and the vast majority of these microbes will be killed by the chlorine in the pool. The bacteria that live on the skin of healthy people are largely not harmful unless the person already has lowered immune defenses. People who fall into the category of having lowered immune defenses are typically very young children, seniors, pregnant women, AIDS patients and those on immunosuppressant medication.

It is not at all unusual that DNA probes of pool filters found bacteria as common as P. aeruginosa or Escherichia coli (E. coli), given that P. aeruginosa lives on most surfaces in civilization and E. coli is present in microscopic amounts on everything someone touches after going to the bathroom. Also, if 75 percent of samples could contain either E. coli or P. aeruginosa and there wasn’t a huge outbreak in the Atlanta area as a result, it suggests that these bacteria are truly not the main sources of swimming-related infections.

It should be made clear that there is a small sub-group of E. coli responsible for severe illness with vomiting and diarrhea called E. coli 0157:H7. These bacteria make people sick, and if they are found in a pool filter, it would indicate that someone was sick with diarrhea and vomiting symptoms when they went swimming. Almost any other

E. coli contamination would simply indicate that swimmers were not thoroughly cleaning themselves before using the pool. While this is unsanitary, it is not a cause for alarm if the pool is properly chlorinated and maintained.

Knowing the difference between normal E. coli and E. coli 0157:H7, it should be considered that the CDC study did not find any E. coli 0157:H7 with the DNA probe, but did find other non-specific E. coli. This shows that contamination in most pool filters was the result of dirty swimmers and not the result of severely sick people contami- nating the entire pool, making it dangerous for all other swimmers. Luckily, in the case of either type of E. coli, chlorine will kill whatever is floating in the pool as long as the chlorine levels are kept appropri-

ately high. Proper chlorine use is vital to keeping pools safely clean of the infectious and dangerous E. coli 0157:H7, as well as many other potential microbial contaminants.


 

 

 

 

 

Evaluation of Water Coolers

Friday, September 6th, 2013

By Rick Andrew

Water coolers as a product category have seen significant innovation over the last few decades. In part, this innovation is due to consumer trends. As consumer awareness about hydration has increased, so too has consumer focus on sustainability and the environment. These trends have helped to increase the market for POU water treatment in general, with one of the key categories being POU water coolers. Additional consumer trends, such as increased consumption of tea, have led to greater popularity of systems that deliver heated water in addition to cooled and/or room temperature water. Water coolers can be evaluated under a number of NSF/ANSI standards, depending on the configuration and features of the product. This column will explore these possibilities and discuss the various requirements associated with them.

Non-plumbed coolers

Non-plumbed coolers that are refilled manually, typically by the use of five- or three-gallon carboys, can be evaluated under NSF/ANSI 18 Manual food and beverage dispensing equipment. Note that this standard does not apply to vending machines of any kind, including the machines that vend drinking water and are frequently installed at supermarkets. NSF/ANSI 18 includes requirements for materials in contact with beverages, as well as requirements for design and construction. Materials requirements are based on conformance to NSF/ANSI 51 Food equipment materials. This standard is largely based on the requirements of the US Government in the form of Title 21, US Code of Federal Regulations, with additional requirements for metals, coatings and some other material types. Design and construction requirements are mainly focused on hygiene and the ability to effectively clean the system to prevent contamination.

One of the key requirements in NSF/ANSI 18 is an in-place cleaning test. This test involves contaminating the cooler with E. coli and then cleaning according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After cleaning, the cooler is refilled with sterile buffered dilution water. This water is then dispensed and analyzed for E. coli. The requirement is that the amount of E. coli must be reduced by 99.9999 percent (six-log) by the in-place cleaning procedure recommended by the manufacturer. Also, NSF/ANSI 18 requires that any water filters or reverse osmosis treatment must conform to the requirements of NSF/ANSI 42, NSF/ANSI 53 and/or NSF/ANSI 58, as applicable.

Plumbed-in coolers

Coolers that are connected to a pressurized potable water supply and do not need to be manually refilled can be evaluated under NSF/ANSI 61 Drinking water system components – Health effects. This standard addresses a broad scope of materials and components used in drinking water treatment and distribution, with the standard arranged in various sections by product type. For example, pipes and related products are addressed by Section 4, while joining and sealing materials are covered under Section 6. End-point devices typically installed in the last liter of the distribution system, such as water coolers, are handled in Section 9. This is also the section used for evaluating kitchen faucets. Note that the scope of NSF/ANSI 61 is health effects only. The standard addresses the safety of materials in contact with drinking water. It does not address structural integrity of pressure vessels, mechanical durability of valves or other types of performance criteria.

Safety of materials in contact with drinking water is established through extraction testing. The product is exposed to test water under specific conditions, after an initial conditioning period. Leaching of different types of contaminants is tested with exposure to water of varying pH and composition. Concentrations of any contaminants detected are normalized to the appropriate end use, and then evaluated to determine if they are at levels of toxicological significance. Also, POU products are excluded from the scope of NSF/ANSI 61. Standards for POU products (NSF/ANSI 42, NSF/ANSI 53 and NSF/ANSI 58) predate NSF/ANSI 61 and address safety of materials in contact with drinking water.

Coolers with POU treatment

POU treatment is addressed by the NSF/ANSI drinking water treatment units (DWTU) standards, a series of standards mainly arranged by the treatment technology and the contaminant reduction claims made by the manufacturer. Key among these when considering cooler applications are NSF/ANSI 42, NSF/ANSI 53, NSF/ANSI 55 and NSF/ANSI 58. Figure 1 describes the scope of each of these standards. They each address the safety of materials in contact with drinking water, structural integrity of components and systems connected to a pressurized water supply, contaminant reduction claims and user information. Material safety is evaluated through extraction testing, similar to the approach taken under NSF/ANSI 61. The test under the DWTU standards, however, is different in three important ways:

  1. Initial conditioning is according to the manufacturer’s instructions as opposed to a specific procedure detailed in the standard.
  2. Test water is different in terms of pH and composition.
  3. Normalization and end-use assumptions are different because they are for POU.

Structural integrity for systems connected to a pressurized water supply involves a hydrostatic test of 15 minutes at elevated pressure (most often 300 psi) and a cyclic test typically at 100,000 cycles of zero to 150 psi. Contaminant reduction tests vary according to the type of technology being evaluated and the claim(s) being made. Carbon filtration systems making claims of chemical reduction as tested under NSF/ANSI 42 and/or NSF/ANSI 53 are tested based on the manufacturer’s claimed treatment capacity. Aesthetic claims under NSF/ANSI 42 are tested to 100 percent of capacity, and health claims under NSF/ANSI 53 are tested to either 120 or 200 percent of capacity, depending on whether a volume-triggered filter change indicator is present.

Low-pressure mercury UV systems under NSF/ANSI 55 are tested either for disinfection as Class A systems, requiring a 40 mJ/cm2 dosage at the alarm set point at the highest achievable flowrate, or as Class B systems, requiring a 40 mJ/cm2 dosage at 70-percent UVT at the highest achievable flowrate. Note that Class A systems do require a UV sensor. RO systems are tested for TDS reduction and also for health claims, including reduction of heavy metals (such as copper, lead and pentavalent arsenic), over a seven-day test protocol described in detail in NSF/ANSI 58 and designed to evaluate a range of operating scenarios. Additionally, the daily production rate and efficiency of the system are established.

A variety of possibilities

Just as there are a number of possible configurations and features of water cooler systems, there are also a number of possible standards under which these products can be evaluated. Figure 2 provides a summary overview of these possible configurations and associated standards. The future may bring new consumer trends and additional product features. As that happens, these standards will be developed accordingly to continue to provide a scientifically sound basis for evaluation.

 

 

About the author

Rick Andrew is NSF’s Director of Global Business Development–Water Systems. Previously, he served as General Manager of NSF’s Drinking Water Treatment Units (POU/POE), ERS (Protocols) and Biosafety Cabinetry Programs. 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

Hydrodynamic Design, Part 9: Flow Measurements Through Filter Beds

Friday, September 6th, 2013

By C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud, CWS-VI

There are two primary flow measurements used in media filtration: the superficial flow or flow per unit of surface  as cubic feet, cubic meters or cubic miles. If we have a bed of GAC with a recommended EBCT of five minutes, that means that we are flowing one BV of water through area (gpm/ft ) and volumetric flow or volume of fluid per volume of media (gpm/ft3). From these measurements, we derive empty bed contact time (EBCT), also referred to as residence time or dwell time and loading rate (flow per unit area) (see Figure 13).

EBCT and bed volumes (BV)

EBCT is a volumetric rate measurement. It is called empty bed because it takes the bulk volume of the media and does not try to figure in void space. Just like gpm/ ft3, it is derived from volume per volume numbers. If we express flowrate as gpm/ft3 and convert the gpm of water figure to ft3/min of water (by dividing by 7.5 gal/ft3), we have a new number that reads cubic feet of water per minute per cubic foot of media. When you divide the volume of media by the volume of water flow, you get time in minutes. A flowrate of 3 gpm/ft3 then translates to 3/7.5 = 0.4 ft3 of water/min. If that is passing through one cubic foot of media, we have a flow of 0.4 ft3/min/ft3 of media for an EBCT of 2.5 minutes. This can be converted to flow per hour, so we have (0.4 x 60 =) 24 ft3/hr of flow/ft3 of media. This can also now be expressed as 24 bed volumes (BV)/hr. This measurement also does not take into account voids in the bed. A bed volume can then be interpreted as cubic feet, cubic meters or cubic miles.

If we have a bed of GAC with a recommended EBCT of five minutes, that means that we are flowing one BV of water through one BV of GAC in five minutes (or one cubic foot [7.5 gallons]) of water through one cubic foot of media in five minutes) or 7.5/5 = 1.5 gpm/ft3. A flowrate of 2 gpm/ft3 is (2 x 60 =) 120 gal per hour 3.75 minutes. One nice thing about EBCT or BV is that it removes the conventional size statement. It simply represents a relative rate of flow. 10 BV/hr can be 10 ft3 of flow/ft3 media/hr, 10 liter/liter/hr or 10 meter3/meter3/hr. Table 7 offers a reference chart to compare EBCT with BV/hr and gpm/ft3.

If you are working with filters that have flowrates of 1 to 3 gpm/ft3, you have flowrates of 8 to 24 BV/hr (gpm x 60/7.5 = BV/hr). You have EBCTs of 7.5 to 2.5 min (1 gpm/7.5 gal media = EBCT of 7.5 min). The empty bed concept takes into account only the bulk volume of the bed and makes no attempt to factor in void volume. This brings us to the concept of half lengths.

Part 8, Figure 13. Measures of dynamic flow

Half-length reaction times

If it takes 30 seconds for a quantity of GAC to remove 50 percent of the organics contained in the feed stream, how long does it take to remove the other half? Sounds like it should only be another 30 seconds. As the concentration of the organic is reduced, however, so is the driving force and, thus, the rate of its removal. The concept of half-length removal is that it would only remove 50 percent of the remaining 50 percent over the next 30 seconds for a total removal of 75 percent, then another 30 seconds to remove 50 percent of the remaining 25 percent and so on. From Figure 14, we can determine the number of half lengths needed to remove any particular percent of the contaminant.

From Figure 14, we can see that to reach 75-percent removal of a contaminant only takes two half lengths and 90 percent requires about 3.5. To reach 95 percent will take nearly five half lengths. Each contaminant will have a different half length that will vary with the type of GAC, mesh size and other water conditions, such as pH and temperature. Half length can be determined by creating isotherms in a lab but there is no book or table that simply says, “to remove 90 percent of X in water takes Y minutes.” You will have to rely on your provider for an estimate on removal rates.

We know from experience that chlorine can readily be taken out of feed water with EBCTs as low as 60 seconds. From this we could deduce that the half length for chlorine is about 10 to 12 seconds (5 to 6 half lengths per minute). It is suggested that chloramine removal (with the proper GAC) requires a minimum of five minutes EBCT; we can figure the half length is about 50 to 60 seconds. Volatile organics such as trihalomethane (THM) must usually be taken out to the tune of 95 percent or more and require 10 to 15 minutes EBCT. This would suggest a half length of 2.5 minutes. Removing ppb levels of contaminants to even lower ppb levels may take up to 30 minutes EBCT. You still have to provide some capacity for longevity (see Figure 15).

The shaded yellow area in Figure 15 represents the steady reduction of a contaminant through a bed of GAC. As the bed exhausts, the yellow shaded area moves down the bed closer to the exit, which could be illustrated by the bed in the middle. As the bed approaches exhaustion, it would appear on the far right. The amount of bed that represents the remaining capacity is represented by brackets marked capacity. If an adsorption filter such as GAC is run at too high a flowrate for the job, it may resemble the high-flow model. Even though it removes 95 percent on day one, it may break through within a few days. Witness the standard 10-inch cartridge. These are often run at flowrates of 0.75 gpm. Since a cartridge is approximately 1/37 of a cubic foot, that is the equivalent of a flow of 27.75 gpm/ft3, an EBCT of only 16 seconds. How is it that a cartridge run at almost 28 gpm/ft3 can do that? The answer is illustrated as the high-flow example in Figure 15. A cartridge may remove THMs for 1,000 gallons at a flow of 0.75 gpm, the equivalent of a full cubic foot of GAC treating 37,000 gallons. Under normal flowrates of 1 to 2 gpm/ft3, GAC will typically function for at least five times that level—the longer the EBCT, the higher the capacity.

Making flow determinations

The surest way to get an accurate flow measurement is to place a bucket under a flowing tap and use a stopwatch. You can also measure the time it takes to fill a tank to a certain level or measure the rate of depth change in a tank of a given diameter. Direct measurement has no variables other than time and volume. The result is in gallons per minute or some variation of the same.

Flow measuring devices such as meters and rotameters use direct measurements of something other than flow (as gpm) and convert the measurement into flowrate. The flowing fluid turns a turbine or paddle wheel and there is a calibration that converts the signal to flow. Rotameters, which were invented in 1908, are those see-through devices with a variable area that measure the ability of the flowing fluid to suspend a shaped weight inside the column of flowing fluid. The outside of the variable area column can be calibrated to give a direct flow reading in gpm or Lpm. This is shown in Figure 16.

These devices are sufficiently accurate to be used for setting flowrates such as backwash and eductor flow, rinse and service.

 Figure 15. An illustration of capacity versus flowrate

They have limitations, however. Examine the drag equation presented in Equation 4, where:
FD = the drag force, which is by definition the force component in the direction of the flow velocity.
ρ = the mass density of the fluid,
v = the velocity of the object relative to the fluid
A = the reference area and
CD= the drag coefficient, a dimensionless coefficient related to the object’s geometry and taking into account both friction and form drag.

Equation 4. Drag dynamics
F = ½ ρv2 C A

Figure 16. The Rotameter(12)

Because the column has a variable area that increases toward the top, the fluid force that suspends the float can reach a reproducible equilibrium for any given flow. The equilibrium exists between gravity, which is trying to pull the float down, and the force of the fluid that is trying to carry the float out of the column. Please note: this only works for the density (ρ) for which it was calibrated. The instruments are usually calibrated for water. They cannot be used to measure the direct flow of brine, caustic, acid or maple syrup. The results are reproducible, however; they can be used on those fluids once you have calibrated the reading with the actual flow. In other words, if a reading of 25 gpm for brine actaully was measuring the real flow of brine (which by the bucket method was determined to be 18 gpm), then it can be used to measure that particular flow for that particular concentration of brine.

Summary

There are two flow parameters used in designing filter beds. One is the volume of flow per volume of filter bed (used to calculate the EBCT) and the other is the surface flow of volume per area of filter, which contributes to pressure drop. Over-running too small a filter bed can result in poor removal efficiency and/ or early failure of the filter. If an EBCT of 7.5 minutes is required, the design flowrate is 1 gpm/cu ft.

References

  1. www.globalspec.com/rotameters

About the author

C.F. ’Chubb’ Michaud is the Technical Director and CEO of Systematix Company of Buena Park, CA, which he founded in 1982. He has served as chair of several sections, committees and task forces with WQA, is a Past Director and Governor of WQA and currently serves on the PWQA Board, chairing the Technical and Education Committees. Michaud is a past recipient of the WQA Award of Merit, PWQA Robert Gans Award and a member of the PWQA Hall of Fame. He can be reached at (714) 522-5453 or via email at AskChubb@aol.com

People

Friday, September 6th, 2013

O’Neill to take over at WEF

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) announced the appointment of Eileen O’Neill as WEF Interim Executive Director following the resignation of Executive Director Jeff Eger. O’Neill was most recently WEF Deputy Executive Director and focused on pursuing innovation opportunities and global and academic relations as well as supporting the Executive Director in his responsibilities. Prior to that, she was WEF’s Chief Technical Officer with oversight of technical programming and development for WEFTEC®. O’Neill’s WEF career began in 1991 as manager of industrial programs and her responsibilities steadily increased through a succession of positions, including Industrial Programs Director, Director of International Programs and Assistant Deputy Executive Director. Prior to joining WEF, O’Neill was a professor at a college of agriculture in the UK and worked for various environmental consultants in the US and UK. She has a BS Degree in soil science from the University of Newcastleupon-Tyne (UK) and a PhD in soil science from the University of Aberdeen (UK). O’Neill also undertook a post-doctoral traineeship in environmental toxicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is the author of multiple book chapters, magazine articles, peer-reviewed papers and other scholarly works.

Escobar named Editor of IDA journal

Maney Publishing and the International Desalination Association (IDA) announced the appointment of Isabel C. Escobar as the new Editor-in-Chief of the IDA Journal of Desalination and Water Reuse, succeeding Jim Birkett. She will work alongside Birkett before assuming full duties from the first issue of 2014. Escobar is based at the University of Toledo, where she is Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and Assistant Dean for Research Development and Outreach for the College of Engineering. She holds a PhD, MS and Bsc Degrees in environmental engineering from the University of Central Florida. Well-known for her research on membrane separation, Dr Escobar has published over 50 research papers and presented at over 100 national and international conferences. She has been lead principal investigator on 25 federally-funded grants and holds one patent for a breakthrough anti-biofouling feed spacer material. In 2011, she received the FRI/John G. Kunesh Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Separations Division, awarded for significant discoveries, important research or outstanding service to the separations community.

Quinn named VP at Severn Trent

Severn Trent Services has appointed Lawrence Quinn as Vice President, Regional Operations for water treatment technologies. In this role, he will assume the global business P&L responsibility for the Water Treatment Busi- ness and will oversee global manufacturing  operations for all Severn Trent Services and Severn Trent De Nora products. Prior to joining Severn Trent Services, Quinn held the post of President and CEO at Alstom Chattanooga Turbines. He began his professional career with the Alstom Corporation, holding various leadership positions in the company’s engineering, manufacturing and construction busi- nesses. A native of the UK, Quinn holds a degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from Henley Business School. Hav- ing spent much of his professional career in China, he earned the honor of carrying the torch at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was nominated for the China Friendship Award in 2007. Quinn will be based in Colmar, PA.

FIT staff expansion announced

Fluid Imaging Technologies has expanded its senior management team with the ad- ditions of Becky Metivier, Vice President, Marketing and Barry Godowsky, Vice President, Industrial Sales, and the promotions of Rob Chatfield, Vice President, CFO, and Harry Nelson, Vice President, Aquatic Markets. Metivier will be responsible for the overall leadership and management of the marketing team, including global marketing strategy, brand management and corporate communications. Godowsky will be responsible for leading the industrial markets sales team in developing new business worldwide with a focus on the pharmaceutical, chemical, food and biotechnology markets. Chatfield, for- merly serving as CFO, will be responsible for the company’s overall economic strategy, in addition to managing the financial condition as treasurer and controller. Nelson, formerly serving as Director of Aquatic Sales and Marketing, will be responsible for leading the aquatics division, and will continue to spearhead growth in marine and water quality markets. Noted imaging authority Lew Brown has been named Technical Director.

Galindo joins The LeverEdge

The LeverEdge welcomes Ana M. Galindo to its National Sales Department. She will work with Lever- Edge dealers, provid- ing sales and technical support. Galindo, who was born and raised in Colombia, speaks fluent Spanish and holds an AS Degree in computer information tech- nology. Knowledge gained from education and current skills in the customer service and sales support field will help her create the best customer experience possible. Galindo will work out of the company’s corporate office in Odessa, FL.

Stiles appointed at Lavatech

Jim Stiles joined Lavatec Laundry Technology, Inc. (LLT) as a Regional Sales Manager for the company’s Huntsville, AL southern regional office. A com- mercial laundry professional, he has worked in various sales positions on the equipment side of the business since 1985 and has been based in Huntsville since 1997. Stiles may be contacted via email, j.stiles@lavatec-laundry.us or phone, (256) 679-4755.

Au appointed at FMC

Kwok-Keung (Amos) Au has joined FMC Corporation’s Global Peroxygens, Water Treatment division as Technology Applications Manager for Water Treatment. He joins FMC  from Carus Corporation, where he served as Water Technology Development Manager and was responsible for research and development in the municipal water and wastewater markets and previously held technology management positions at American Water Co. and Greeley & Hansen LLC. Au earned his PhD in environmental en- gineering from John Hopkins University and has published more than 80 technical papers in national and international peer- reviewed journals. In 2004, he co-authored World Health Organization’s (WHO) Water Treatment and Pathogen Control: Process Efficiency in Achieving Safe Drinking Water, as part of his efforts in supporting the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality.

Primozone expansion announced

Primozone and its US partner Ozone Water Systems announced ad- ditional team members as momentum grows for the innovative ‘new generation’ ozone gen- erators with US custom- ers. Jürgen Bischhaus, Head of Sales, will be responsible for the operative and strategic development of sales. Jesper Kedström, Sales Engineer, will work with indoor sales and with company partners for sales support. Åsa Kjellberg, Admin and Coordinator, will coordinate internal functions and processes while helping partners with logistics, finance and more.


Nimbus RO expert Macevicz mourned

Clement ‘Clem’ Cottardo Macevicz, passed peacefully from this life in July at age 87. Born in San Diego to Cecilia (Ghio) and Eustyn Macevicz, he and older brothers Gene and John grew up surrounded by a large Italian family. Macevicz graduated from San Diego High in 1944. During WWII, he proudly served in the 89th Infantry Division at Fort MacArthur and the European theater, where he was awarded a Purple Heart. Macevicz carried shrapnel in his leg for the rest of his life, a reminder of the sacrifice and honor he felt serving the country he loved so dearly. After the war, he attended Loyola University and graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in education and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. Macevicz founded Cal-Soft Water Service in 1953, becoming the first RO drinking water dealer in the US when he formed Cal-Pure Drink- ing Water Service; he later became a partner in Nimbus Water Systems. He was honored in 1992 with induction into the Pacific Water Quality Association Hall of Fame. Macevicz ardently supported numerous charities, was an avid gardener and competitive racquetball player, followed politics closely, enjoyed reading American history and traveling the Southwest. He is survived by Marilyn, his wife of 61 years; daughters Lynn Hoaglin (Mark) of Danville, CA and Anne Tierney (Bob) of Plano, TX and four grandchildren. A memorial Mass was held at St. Agnes Catholic Church August 6 and private interment took place at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Boil Water Orders Abound in the US

Friday, September 6th, 2013

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

Once in a while I get a call from either a consumer or colleague asking how many boil water notices are issued per year in the US. Although years ago this information was tracked and summarized for the public, this is no longer the case. Today, information on boil water orders is best compiled from reports in the popular media. A search through Google News quickly reveals a plethora of boil water notices are routinely issued across the nation.

The why and how Boil water notices are sometimes issued due to a recognized waterborne outbreak or detection of Escherichia coli or other fecal indicator bacteria in drinking water. Public water utilities routinely monitor for indicator bacteria and are required to respond and retest the system until they are no longer detected. Repeat testing can take 18 hours or more and thus, a boil water notice may be issued for several days until the problem is resolved. More often, boil water notices are issued when a change in the water pressure is noted or planned either due to leaks, main breaks or scheduled system maintenance that can leave the system vulnerable to contaminants seeping in. Water services may be absent during system maintenance where pipes are replaced or repaired, followed by a period of a day or more where a boil water notice is issued as a precaution. This was the case in Bettendorf, IA, where 250 consumers were without water during a 24-hour maintenance period, followed by an additional 24 hours of precautionary boil orders to allow time for any contaminants to be flushed through the system. The consistency of a 24-hour flush remedy and the potential for pathogens to be protected in biofilm are potential concerns.

Regardless of the source of the boil order, the procedures are the same. Suspect drinking water should be brought to a rolling boil for one minute. At elevations above 5,280 feet (one mile), boil time should be increased to three minutes. These times are expected to kill all major waterborne bacterial, viral and protozoan pathogens, including Cryptosporidium. Any water consumed (including that used to rinse foods eaten raw, to brush or rinse teeth or to make ice) should be boiled first. After the boil water advisory, all pipes and faucets, as well as water coolers, should be flushed for at least five minutes and at least three subsequent batches of ice should be discarded. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends running water softeners through a regeneration cycle, draining and refilling hot water heaters and changing all POE and POU filters.

Vulnerable regions

Boil water notices are not rare. During the two week time frame from August 1 to August 14, at least 29 regions were under alert (see Table 1). Notices may be highly localized, involving just a few neighborhoods or streets where a water line break occurred, or they may involve entire communities, cities or even counties. The most common trigger for issuing a boil water order is a loss of pressure in the distribution system. Thus, areas with aging infrastructure or increased maintenance efforts are likely to experience higher rates of boil orders.

Maintaining the hydraulic integrity (positive pressure) of water distribution is important, given that insufficient pressure has led to disease epidemics worldwide (reviewed in Reynolds et al., 2008). Negative hydraulic pressure creates a backflow of nonpotable water into the potable water supply via back-siphonage, where significant pressure drops siphon contaminants into the system at cross-connections or leakage points, or backpressure due to pressures in the system that exceed the supply pressure. Even minor pressure fluctuations create back-siphonage where intrusion rates are estimated at > one gpm. During power outages, up to 90 percent of nodes have been shown to draw a negative pressure.

Whether precautionary or responsive, boil orders are associ- ated with significant inconvenience and cost for many. Consider the recent water advisory in Charlevoix, MI, where the Charlevoix Area Hospital was within the area of concern. A drop in water pressure and possible risk of bacterial contamination in the system prompted the boil water order. This meant that the hospital had to postpone scheduled surgeries and inform patients, visitors and personnel to not drink from facility sinks, drinking fountains or ice/drink vending machines for several days.

Faulty perceptions

How protective is a boil water notice? The extent of the risk is related to when the problem was first discovered compared to how long the problem has been occurring. Other important information includes: how often is the system monitored and how extensive is the geographical range of the contamination? Minimizing the risk is highly dependent on effective risk com- munication and identifying the best way to effectively inform the community that a boil order has been implemented. Given the best efforts by city officials to identify and report a problem, still some won’t receive the message and others will choose to ignore the warnings, or not properly follow the advice on illness prevention.

In one study of hospital employees from a community in the UK dealing with a large waterborne outbreak involving 300,000 households, only 85 percent (408/479) of respondents reported using boiled water. Another 12 percent (59/479) admitted that they did not boil their water for the full 16 days of the advisory. While most (88 percent) felt they were following the advisory, 20 percent washed their food to be consumed raw with unboiled water and 57 percent used unboiled water to brush their teeth. In this case, the boil water notice was due to a waterborne outbreak of cryptosporidiosis caused by the notorious Cryptosporidium parasite. Cryptosporidium has a very low infectious dose: only one to 10 organisms are required to initiate infection in humans, thus exposure to even small volumes of water may be enough to spread the illness.

POU piece of mind

The majority of boil water notices are precautionary, following a main break or scheduled construction event. While contamination is not certain, given that the routine microbial quality indicator tests require 18 to 48 hours to complete, water companies generally err on the side of safety. These precautionary orders remain in effect sometimes for days until water quality tests confirm that the drinking water meets all state and federal standards. The inherent, unpredictable nature of the distribution system and the quality maintenance of the distributed water add credence to the need for routine POU treatment.

In a recent press release following a boil order in Walters, OK, a representative from the Water Quality Association stated, “Instances such as this remind us that nothing is more basic than cleaner and healthier water.” The agency further stated that WQA tests and certifies water purification products to meet the quality standards set by the US EPA for removal of pathogenic microbes. Having a certified POU device in place is the piece of mind consumers need when the unexpected occurs.

References

  1. Primeland, Inc., “Boil order lifted for Monon,” LIN Television Corporation, 12-08-2013. [Online]. Available: www.wlfi.com/dpp/news/local/boil-order-issued-for-monon. [Accessed 14 08 2013].
  2. Reynolds, K.A.; Mena, K.D. and Gerba, C.P. “Risk of waterborne ill- ness via drinking water In the United States,” Reviews in Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, vol. 192, no. 4, pp. 117-158, 2008
  3. The Grand Rapids Press, “Charlevoix water pressure drop leads to boil order,” Kansas News, 07-08-2013. [Online]. Available: www.ksn. com/2013/08/07/charlevoix-water-pressure-drop-leads-to-boil-order/. [Accessed 14 08 2013].
  4. Willocks, L.J.; Sufi, F.; Wall, R.; Seng, C. and Swan, A.V., “Compliance with advice to boil drinking water during an outbreak of cryptospori- diosis. Outbreak Investigation Team,” Communicable Diseases and Public Health, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 137-8, 2000.
  5. US EPA, “Flooding,” US EPA, 08-05-2013. [Online]. Available: www. epa.gov/naturaldisasters/flooding.html. [Accessed 14 08 2013].

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 is WC&P’s Public Health Editor and a former member of the Technical Review Committee. She can be reached via email at reynolds@u.arizona.edu

The Holy Grail of Water Cooler Sales and Service

Friday, September 6th, 2013

By LaMar Hunt

One of my all-time Top 20 movies is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. So, how does it relate to POU coolers? The Holy Grail has become a symbol for strength and power. Is the Holy Grail that big 3,000-unit national account you have been working on for 10 years? Is it the private equity group that keeps calling? Is it the $85 (USD) UV/RO cooler made in India? Even more down to earth, is it the customer who will sign a $79/ month agreement for 60 months with no line outs? As an industry, do we have a specific Holy Grail?

As with many POU dealers, we wait for the renewal of the agreement before a noticeable profit can be realized. This concept is even more dubious these days as the average initial term of the contract shrinks. Back in the old days, when the industry was young, it was not too difficult to get a 60-month agreement signed. These days, the average length of term is getting much closer to 36 months. Buyers are pushing back because of bad experiences with telecommunication equipment, uniforms, lockers, dumpsters, vending, other random office equipment and yes, plenty of dealers in our industry. Literally, one in five customers have a distinctive dislike for their current POU supplier because of the contract or evergreen clause.

Turning lost revenue into gold

To compound the issue, especially from a visual standpoint, rarely have I been inside a dealer’s backroom when I didn’t see the elephant graveyard: a hundred units, dirty but in still decent working order. By all reasonable expectations, they should still be in the field, generating $49 per month. For example, we could assume there are 100 units. Additionally, it takes 200 square feet to store these units at $5 per square foot. Ultimately, if these units were in the field, dealers would realize $75K to the bottom line each year. Now let’s suppose this will fund 1.5 decent sales reps. This represents the lost revenue of these units at $59K per year plus $312K (eight units per month, $49/month, 60-month agreement, funded) in potential contract revenue. So dealers, where do you find the Holy Grail? It is right in your midst.

Based on the number above, 100 coolers = 63 customers quits (1.6 coolers per customer). As such, each lost customer is worth $5,889/year, between the sunk cost and opportunity cost ($59K + $312K= $371K/63 customer). Over the course of a year, three percent (assuming normal economic conditions) of your current customer population will go out of business. The average customer retention of a POU cooler dealer is 85 to 90 percent. The very best dealers I have talked to have claimed 95 percent. We could expect those numbers would be worse without the obligations of a long-term, non-cancellable agreement. With a base population of 1,000 systems, you could easily be looking at 100 units per year returning.

In a survey of over 1,000 existing POU cooler customers, the top three elements that impact purchasing decisions (make the assumption this is for the re-sign also) are:

  • Price and contract terms
  • Easy reorder and supply
  • Timely service and problem resolution

In a distant fourth place is providing employees with a good beverage. In the category of what program features are most valued, the highest scoring attributes are:

  • Great tasting water/beverage
  • Simple invoicing
  • No leaks, easy, quick repair and reasonable pricing (tied)

Making the company well again

I’m sure we have all seen the payback ratio that for every dollar an employer spends on wellness programs (i.e., water systems) they reap between $3 and $6 in benefits. It is the same with a company’s wellness program. If you are not reaping the benefits associated with good sales numbers, here are some op-ions that may help stop your company’s bleeding:

  • Make sure your team knows the goal of your company is not just to place units in the field but to keep them in the field for a minimum of 10 years.
  • Start a service retention program. The service tech is the first line of defense against a cancellation. Personalized in-house servicing of every account is necessary one to two times a year. How valuable would it be if they asked the buyer the open-ended question, “How happy are you with us?” The customer might be complaining, just after six months, that there is not enough cold water. Some POU dealers have actually built a bonus program for the service tech based on customer retention. Another suggestion is to have the service techs use idle road time to call on 10 customers daily in addition to service appointments. Have them check in with their key contacts at your Top 200 accounts, ask about the machine and try to sell cups at the same time.
  • Start a dedicated renewal program for the sales department. Either have a dedicated renewal expert or offer some renewals to new account reps. Always set up customer care calls periodically through the contract life and always call the customer 30 days prior to any scheduled service. For the renewal, schedule their renewal presentation with roughly 20 percent of the time remaining on the agreement. This gives you enough time to react to and resolve any potential problems.
  • Placing quality units in the field is crucial! You might think you are saving $100 on the front-end, but suspect units, poor aesthetics, low cold-water volumes, poor materials, broken faceplates and faucets are a direct reflection of your company and how well you treat the customer.
  • Go beyond what is expected. Cleaning and replacing the drip tray should be a standard practice. In conducting in-person reviews at the cooler site (as opposed to a form), the number- one complaint is the dirty and scaly drip tray. It may not be your responsibility, but it is a huge goodwill move. Have your service techs say, “We want to be your best long-term vendor, so I’ll be happy to change it out this time, and at no charge.” Don’t let a $7 drip tray make you vulnerable.

Knowing what you know

Let’s look at the classic Johari Window, a technique used to help people better understand their relationship with self and others. Caution is knowing you are aware that some things are not known to you, but you know what they are. Certainty is when you are aware of what you know, where you excel and where you might be weak. Amnesia is knowing things you didn’t even know you knew. Lastly, there is Ignorance, when there are a lot of things you do not know and you are unsure what any of them are. For the sake of our business, let’s call it a blind spot. None of these are going to hurt you except for ignorance, the blind spot. And it can be a business killer. This manifests itself in an account that quits you nine to 12 months before you ever realized there was a problem.

In this blind spot sector, we are essentially saying, “I don’t know what I don’t know.” The vast majority of lost customers, the quits, the cancels—whatever your organization calls them—hit you from the blind spot. By increasing your awareness and knowledge, dealers can positively reduce the size of their blind spot. In doing so, that can reduce the cancellation rate to under five percent and add revenue to the bottom line. The Holy Grail is in your midst, if you can get rid of your blind spot.

About the author

LaMar Hunt, Vice President of Water Coolers at Pionetics® Corporation, serves clients around the globe, advancing the company’s business development efforts in the POU water cooler industry by promoting Pionetic’s patented LINX Technology. He has 13 years of experience in the POU water cooler industry. Prior to joining Pionetics, Hunt was Vice President of National Accounts for Waterlogic and National Accounts Manager for PHSI Pure Water Technology®. He has a BA Degree in business administration from Georgia State University and studied electrical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. To read more about this technology or to contact Hunt, go to www.LINXWater.com.

Bottled Water: An Industry Update

Friday, September 6th, 2013

By Christopher Hogan

Bottled water consumption and sales growth in the US in 2012 was the strongest it’s been in the past five years, as consumers continue to make their voices heard in the marketplace. Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) reports that total US bottled water consumption increased to a record 9.67 billion gallons (36 billion liters), up 6.2 percent from 2011. In addition, the per-capita consumption
of 30.8 gallons (116.5 liters) was up 5.3 percent in 2012. Bottled water increased in absolute volume more than any other beverage category in the US and sales increased by 6.7 percent, now totaling $11.8 billion (USD).

When compared to other packaged beverage categories, it becomes clear that bottled water’s growth can be attributed to a ‘shift-in-consumption’ trend, with the soft-drink category experiencing its eighth consecutive year of volume loss. BMC CEO Michael Bellas predicts that bottled water could overtake soda as America’s most popular packaged beverage within the next decade. According to BMC’s Gary Hemphill, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, “All signs point to US consumers’ already displayed thirst for bottled water continuing in the years ahead. Changes in percapita consumption indicate persistent interest in a product that consumers embrace as a healthful alternative to other beverages.”


The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) continues to work on the federal and state levels to actively defend the interests of the bottled water industry. Legislative and regulatory activities at the state level remain a focus and IBWA is engaged on several key issues, including recycling and bottle deposit laws, groundwater management and product and extraction taxes.


There are many reasons for consumer enthusiasm for bottled water, including its association with healthfulness, convenience, safety and value. In addition, many consumers choose bottled water over tap water for its superior taste. Bottled water in the US is comprehensively regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a packaged food product and it provides a consistently safe and reliable source of drinking water. By federal law, the FDA regulations governing the safety and quality of bottled water must be at least as stringent as US EPA standards that govern tap water. And, in some very important cases of possible contamination (such as lead, coliform bacteria and E. coli), bottled water regulations are substantially more stringent.

Bottled water recycling rates are also increasing. All bottled water containers are 100-percent recyclable. According to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), now at 38.6 percent, the recycling rate for single-serve PET plastic bottled water containers more than doubled between 2003 and 2011. In fact, NAPCOR finds that plastic bottled water containers are the most frequently recycled PET beverage container in curbside recycling programs.

Tackling legislative issues

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) continues to work on the federal and state levels to actively defend the interests of the bottled water industry. Legislative and regulatory activities at the state level remain a focus and IBWA is engaged on several key issues, including recycling and bottle deposit laws, groundwater managThe International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) continues to work on the federal and state levels to actively defend the interests of the bottled water industry. Legislative and regulatory activities at the state level remain a focus and IBWA is engaged on several key issues, including recycling and bottle deposit laws, groundwater management and product and extraction taxes. Legislative and regulatory activities at the federal level include issues such as bottled water quality disclosures and FDA funding. One of the most the most significant federal regulatory matters for 2013 is the ongoing implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). IBWA is currently reviewing the proposed rules regarding preventive controls (hazard analysis and critical control points or HACCP), third-party certification and foreign supplier verification programs, and will submit comments to the FDA on behalf of the bottled water industry. Despite activist efforts to ban or restrict the sale or purchase of bottled water, the sales and consumption of this safe, healthy and convenient product continue to grow. And only one small town and few college campuses have banned the sale of bottled water. Some activist groups are urging the National Park Service (NPS) to ban bottled water completely from America’s national parks. IBWA is working across several fronts to fight these attacks on bottled water and to educate consumers about the importance of keeping this healthy, refreshing, convenient and zero-calorie beverage available where other packaged beverages are sold.

Safety issues addressed

IBWA continues to defend the safety of all bottled water containers. The FDA has determined that all plastics used for bottled water containers (PET, HDPE, polycarbonate) are safe and reliable for food contact use. Bisphenol-A (BPA) has received a lot of scrutiny in the past several years, and with more than 70 bills on or related to BPA in 25 states in 2013, it remains a very important issue for the home and office delivery (HOD) segment of the bottled water industry. Regulatory agencies in several countries and the FDA have ruled favorably on the safety of BPA. The consensus among these international regulatory agencies is that the current levels of exposure to BPA through food packaging does not pose a health risk. On June 4, the FDA clearly confirmed the safety of BPA, stating that, “based on FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging.”

Energy efficiency

Another important issue for HOD bottled water companies is water cooler energy efficiency standards. In May, US EPA released the Final ENERGY STAR Version 2.0 Water Cooler Specification that goes into effect on February 1, 2014. Despite IBWA’s efforts with US EPA during the past two years, the new specification includes a dramatic reduction in the standby energy consumption level for hot and cold bottle and POU water coolers, from the current 1.2 kwh/day, to 0.87 kwh/day, which is unacceptable to water cooler manufacturers and bottler water companies. IBWA is now working with its members and allies to develop and implement strategies to seek relief from the onerous new requirement before it goes into effect.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the final revisions to its Green Guides in October 2012. IBWA provided comments to the FTC before and after the release of the final revisions and formed an IBWA Green Guides Joint Subcommittee (comprised of members of the IBWA Government Relations and Environmental Sustainability Committees). The joint subcommittee is nearing completion on a guidance document that will be delivered to IBWA members this summer. The importance of social media IBWA has a very strong social media presence. Response to its Meet Norman You Tube video, which focuses on the unintended impacts of banning bottled water, has been very positive. In addition to being creative and informative, it has also helped to initiate and expand discussions about the important role of water and bottled water, as part of a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to follow IBWA on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, and visit its websites, www.BottledWater.org and www.BottledWaterMatters.com.

Conclusion

The bottled water industry has a great story to tell. We continue to work hard to create a favorable business and public affairs climate for the bottled water industry and to protect and advance the interests of all IBWA member companies.

About the author

Chris Hogan, IBWA’s Vice President of Communications, has more than 18 years of strategic leadership, communications and public relations experience representing trade associations in the energy and consumer packaged goods industries. Utilizing an extensive background that includes communications, investor relations, public affairs and social media, he helps organizations effectively translate complex issues into clear, relatable messages for a variety of audiences. From 2003 to 2011, Hogan served as the American Gas Association’s Director of Investor Relations and then as its Director of Communications. He holds an MBA and Master of International Management from the University of Maryland University College and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Northeastern University. Hogan also holds the Institute for Organization Management’s association and nonprofit executive certification.

Bottled Water and Homeland Security

Friday, September 6th, 2013

By Bob Hirst

Editor’s Note: With continued uncertainty surrounding world security, that of water infrastructure remains of paramount importance to the country. As such, we have chosen to re-run Bill Hirst’s insightful article on the subject.

Introduction

Contamination of the Unites States’ food supply by domestic or foreign terror groups is a threat that has the potential to cause mass morbidity or even mortality. In this era of newly heightened security, the food industry must further strengthen its long- standing commitment to product safety by hardening systems to protect consumers against biological and chemical attacks.

On December 17, 2003, President Bush signed Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7 (HSPD-7), which established priorities for protecting key infrastructures in the US, including the food supply. As a result, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have begun to meet with a host of industry associations, including the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) to spread the word about food defense. It is critical that bottlers, distributors and suppliers of bottled water understand the latest government regulations for food defense; develop preventive measures against an attack and embrace their critical role in the event of a terrorist attack threatening public safety through the food and drinking water supply. Every bottled water company should develop a bottled water facility-specific security plan and take a look at their preparedness during daily plant inspections, and use their routine monitoring data to watch for unusual events.

Evaluating potential threats

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government identified the U.S. food supply as a potential target for terrorism after intercepting information from terrorist net- works, including Al-Qaeda, about their interest in exploiting it in such a fashion. The FDA began an extensive assessment of food products to determine their security risks and vulnerabilities to attack. In the bottled water industry, mineral water, spring water and bottled water from a municipal source were all evaluated as potential targets, with specific focus on susceptibility during transportation, in storage and during processing.

Though the FDA considers the combined public threat by bottled water contamination a lower risk than many other foods, that agency published a 2004 report designating many food products, including certain types of bottled water, as high security risks. While DHS assures us that there is ‘no credible threat’ or specific target to be aware of, bottled water and other food industries must be very committed to the defense of the US food supply.

In evaluating potential risks associated with bottled water, IBWA invited the FDA to train an industry task group in applying an assessment tool known as CARVER+Shock. CARVER+Shock is adapted from a methodology used by the U.S. military to deter- mine the offensive desirability of a target to terrorists. However, when applied in reverse, it provides a procedure by which a food producer can better predict which facilities and processes may be desirable to terrorists as potential targets.

Considerations for the CARVER+ Shock method are as follows:

C—Criticality. Public health and economic impact to achieve the attacker’s intent.
A—Accessibility. The physical access to the target.
R—Recuperability. The ability of the system to recover from the attack.
V—Vulnerability. Ease of accomplishing the attack.
E—Effect. The amount of direct loss from an attack.
R—Recognizability. Ease of identifying a target.
Shock. The combined physical, public health, psychological and economic effects of an attack.

The CARVER process enables food industries to assess the vulnerability of a facility or process and the feasibility of an attack. With the guidance of the invited FDA staff, a panel of bottled water professionals, analysts and government officials conducted a thorough CARVER+ Shock assessment of a bottled water process, from source water to retail distribution to consumers. Lessons learned included a full understanding of how even current food Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and food safety (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point—HACCP) practices can supplement a food defense strategy. In the case of bottled water, the group is approaching product defense from two perspectives: routine testing in the bottling facility and the multi-barrier approach to water processing. Both of these items are known in CARVER as ‘countermeasures.’

Testing

As is true for other food products, the bottled water industry has a rigid quality control (QC) program to help ensure product safety and quality. Tests are done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually as the centerpiece of the QC program. For each test, baselines are established and the routine program is used to monitor for anomalies. The baseline testing provides an excellent tool to monitor for agents that might be added in an attack. For example, if a biological agent is introduced into the water, daily microbiological testing may produce unusual results that could signal the need for investigation and possible remediation. A chemical, such as an acid or salt, would impact the pH or conductivity of the water. Other tests are being evaluated for their effectiveness as countermeasures to detect the presence of biological agents.

Conclusion

Most food security initiatives are currently voluntary and many manufacturers in the food industry are well-equipped to provide for defense of the nation’s food supply. There may, however, be legislative and regulatory efforts in the near future by federal and state governments to regulate food defense. The Bottled Water Task Group supports voluntary food defense strategies, while discouraging mandatory government intervention, by being proactive in implementing a sound food defense strategy. Individual companies are encouraged to attend training programs provided by IBWA and other organizations as part of their effort to establish a security program at their respective facilities. As a part of its Model Code, IBWA requires that every member facility develop a security program and write a food defense plan, including response procedures in the event of an attack, or response to needs for water as a relief effort for other attacks. This is a vital task for the entire nation. Its success is dependent upon cooperation between all parties involved: food producers and distributors, food equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and federal, state and local government agencies. The process has begun quite successfully and needs to advance.

About the author

Bob Hirst is the Director of Education and Technical Relations for the International Bottled Water Association. This paper is based on a continuing education seminar Hirst has presented to hundreds of bottlers, distributors and suppliers nationwide, including at the WQA Aquatech 2005 show in Las Vegas this year. Additional presentations will be avail- able in September at IBWA’s Annual Convention and Trade Show in Orlando, Fla. For more information, contact Hirst at (703) 683-5213, ext. 111, email: bhirst@bottledwater.org or visit www.bottledwater.org

Global Spotlight

Friday, September 6th, 2013

North America

TST-Payne merger announced

TST Water®, LLC and sister company Payne USA® have been merged into one company. Mike Baird, President and Founder of TST Water® (2004), started the company by offering consulting services to the water industry, provided inline water filters and cartridges with various medias and configurations and had offshore manufacturing capabilities for custom and OEM products. Almost 10 years later, virtually all of TST Water’s manufacturing is done in the US. The company offers a wide range of refrigerator replacement filters, a variety of filter products for the beverage and food service industry, hollow-fiber, ultrafiltration membranes and with this merger, the full line of Payne USA products, including components for residential and light commercial RO and filtration systems. In order to transition this merger easily for customers, all contact information for Payne USA will remain the same.

New WaterGroup warehouse opened

WaterGroup announced a new warehouse location in San Antonio, TX. Located at 4321 Profit Drive, the new site currently holds stock ready to distribute to customers. This new location will become the main shipping point for many of the company’s Texas customers, saving regional customers freight and time. Additionally, the customer service team will arrange local pickup at customer request and automatically route regional customer orders to the best WaterGroup warehouse location, depending upon stock and availability.

CWA reporting to be modernized

US EPA has proposed a rule that would modernize Clean Water Act (CWA) reporting processes for hundreds of thousands of municipalities, industries and other facilities by converting to an electronic data reporting system. The proposed e-reporting rule would make facility-specific information, such as inspection and enforcement history, pollutant monitoring results and other data required by permits, accessible to the public through the agency’s website. US EPA estimates that once the rule is fully implemented, the 46 states and the Virgin Island Territory that are authorized to administer the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program will collectively save approximately $29 million each year as a result of switching from paper to electronic reporting.

Instrumentation market to rise

The established US water and waste- water analytical instrumentation market has high saturation levels along with very few recent technological innovations. Nonetheless, slow and steady growth is anticipated, driven mainly by federal and state level regulations. Continuous analytical instruments will increasingly replace laboratory instruments due to their reliability. According to Frost & Sullivan’s Analysis of the United States Water and Wastewater Analytical Instrumentation Market research, the water and wastewater analytical instrumentation market earned revenue of $275.3 million (USD) in 2012 and estimates this to reach $330.7 million in 2018. Falling prices and the increasing value for instruments will likely be a driver through the forecast period. The analysis covers pH/oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), conductivity, turbidity and total organic carbon (TOC) instrumentation.

GE plant in AZ honored

The Ak-Chin Indian Community’s surface water treatment plant, featuring GE’s ZeeWeed 500 advanced treatment technology, was recently honored with the 2013 Water Project of the Year Award from the AZ Water Association. The new plant, commissioned in 2012, has a capacity of 2.25 million gallons per day and provides drinking water to community members and Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino. It also provides sufficient capacity to meet the needs of existing commercial operations as well as future expansions.

Water treatment equipment market growth anticipated

Demand for water treatment equipment in the US is forecast to grow 5.9 per- cent per year to $13.0 billion in 2017. Gains will be supported by increasing concerns about the health risks and environmental impacts of biological contaminants, chemicals and DBPs in supply water and wastewater, and by more stringent manufacturing requirements in process water, according to Water Treatment Equipment, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc. The commercial and residential markets for water treatment equipment are expected to continue to recover from the declines seen during the 2007-2009 economic recession, with demand boosted by greater consumer interest in drinking water quality, increased consumer confidence and expanded commercial and residential construction activities. POU membrane filtration, disinfection and deionization equipment is expected to benefit the most from rising demand.

Latin America

RWL acquistion of Unitek announced 

RWL Water Group has reached an agreement in principle pursuant to which Unitek S.A. will become a part of the RWL Water portfolio of companies. Headquartered in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Unitek brings great experience in water treatment in South America. The proposed acquisition is subject to certain customary closing conditions that both parties expect will to be satisfied soon. Following the closing, a majority of Unitek will be owned by RWL Water. Unitek’s founders will retain a minority equity interest and continue to grow the business as RWL Water partners in their current positions with Unitek. Over the next few months following closing, Unitek and its employees will be fully integrated into RWL Water Group.

Europe

Calgon European contract awarded 

Calgon Carbon Corporation and its European operating group, Chemviron Carbon, announced that Thames Water has awarded Chemviron a 10-year contract to reactivate spent activated carbon used to treat drinking water. The value of the contract is dependent upon the amount of carbon that is reactivated annually, which is expected to be approximately 11 million pounds (5,000 MT). Chemviron Carbon will reactivate the spent carbon at its Tipton plant near Birmingham, UK, following a $9.5-million (USD) renovation and expansion of the facility, which is expected to be completed in 2014. The plant’s production capacity will be increased from approximately 13 million to 18 million pounds (5,800 to 8,200 MT). Until the project is completed, Thames’s carbon will be reactivated at Chemviron Carbon’s facilities in Grays, UK and Feluy, Belgium.

LANXESS move announced

A new era is beginning for LANXESS: the specialty chemicals company is relocating its headquarters to Cologne, Germany and will officially manage its global operations from there as of August 1, 2013. The new domicile of the company is the LANXESS Tower in the city’s district of Deutz. Production is not affected by the move and will remain at the current locations you are familiar with. Kennedyplatz 1, 50569 Köln , Germany, Phone: +49 221 8885-0.

West Europe up to 2.78 million water coolers

The West Europe water cooler market climbed to a record 2.78 million units installed at the end of 2012, according to a new report from specialist consultancy Zenith International. Recent growth, how- ever, has slowed to one percent a year and there has been a major shift in the types of machine used. The market is still dominated by bottled water coolers, with a 58-percent share, but their number has fallen in each of the last five years to 1.6 million. In contrast, mains water POU coolers have gained share each year, rising by six percent in 2012 to 1.2 million. The UK and Italy remain the largest markets, with a combined 41-percent share. Switzerland achieved the greatest increase for POU units in 2012. Spain saw an overall decline, with POU gains falling short of bottled water cooler losses. Greece had the biggest increase for bottled water coolers last year. Zenith forecasts continued overall growth, increasing the total to 3.2 million in 2017. POU coolers are expected to reach 50 percent of the market by 2017.

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