Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Viewpoint

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Summer is on the Horizon

In most places, school is out and vacation time is on the calendar. Snowbirds are returning to their cooler climes and may need your assistance when putting their treatment systems back into service. Conference season is in full swing, with a broad variety of possibilities for those looking for new prospects and new places. So what is your game plan? For many business owners, vacation is often not at the top of their to-do list, especially when so many have been clawing back from the Great Recession. We’re happy to note that their journey may be taking a turn into positive territory, if it hasn’t already. Job numbers are up, unemployment is down and consumers are looking to spend money again. And who better to educate them on the necessities and advantages of safe drinking water than water treatment specialists?

With droughts, severe weather patterns and aging infrastructure dominating the news as it impacts our prized water sources, there is a great need for consumers to have the best information to make their purchasing decisions. Those water treatment specialists who step up to embrace this trend are the ones who will find the most success. You are the experts: you know water and you know water problems. It’s you who can help consumers make the best decisions when confronting the need for a safe and secure water source.

One of the fundamental principles of water treatment is filtration, going back thousands of years. Sand is still a useful medium and enhances other options as well. By far, carbon filtration is at the forefront of the drinking water treatment specialists’ toolbox, and well it should be. As noted in this issue by Henry Nowicki, PhD, there are a multitude of options to choose from when using activated carbon filtration. One of the most serious contaminants, arsenic, gets much press these days and there are many treatment options. Bob Brooks of Foamulations, Inc. provides insight on the most common treatments, as well as a newcomer to the arsenic-remediation toolkit.

If you were fortunate enough to attend WQA Aquatech 2015 in Las Vegas, NV, last month, you probably noticed a more positive atmosphere among the vendors and exhibitors. In our recap of the event, we hope to capture not only the highlights, but the interest of everyone who considers attending the annual event. There is much to see, hear and learn, every year. Our own Dr. Kelly Reynolds is a valued presenter and this year her presentation was as well-received as ever. In this month’s On Tap column, she discusses healthcare-acquired waterborne infections and what can be done to prevent them.

Hopefully, you can manage some downtime to recharge your batteries. As with WQA Aquatech this year, where the relaxed atmosphere made for a more cordial and engaging event, we need to be reminded that enjoying life is as important as the quest for success. Take a day or two to sit back, relax and enjoy life so you can come back reinvigorated and ready to again take on the world. Until we meet again, let’s focus on the journey between here and there, not just the destination!

Kurt C. Peterson
Publisher

POU Prevention of Healthcare-acquired Waterborne Infections

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

The death of four patients at a Greenville Health System (GHS) hospital in Greenville, SC left many people asking what happened. Problems identified included the presence of an indigenous bacterium, specifically Mycobacterium, in the hospital water supply. A large part of the solution came from the POU water treatment industry. Today, GHS has a stringent protocol for treating their water systems at the point of use but many healthcare facilities are lacking these infection-control procedures. Healthcare sites present an opportunity for the POU industry to educate and improve, or perhaps even save, lives.

A common but deadly pathogen

In March 2014, one patient tested positive for Mycobacterium infection at the Greenville Health System (GHS). While troubling, such infections are generally rare. By May 2014, the atypical bacterial infection was affecting at least 15 patients who had undergone invasive surgeries and hospital authorities recognized they had a problem. Soon after, these cases were recognized as a potential outbreak by the hospital epidemiologist.

Mycobacterium is an opportunistic pathogen, meaning that it typically does not infect healthy persons. The bacteria are commonly isolated from water, soil and dust and are difficult to fully eliminate from the natural environment. Water distribution systems pose a particular exposure risk due to the potential for the bacteria to grow in the system, especially in low-flow plumbing zones or infrequently used fixtures. Mycobacteria are relatively resistant to chlorination, compared to water quality indicator bacteria (i.e., E. coli) and thus, are hardy survivors in the water distribution system.

Signs and symptoms

Immunocompromised populations are more susceptible to infection and adverse outcomes when exposed to opportunistic pathogens. All of the patients who became ill in the GHS outbreak had previous underlying health conditions that were considered serious. Mycobacterium infection, however, was considered a contributing factor to the fatal outcome for at least some of the patients. Many were not aware of a brewing infection until months after being subjected to invasive surgeries. As a precaution, additional at-risk surgical patients (n=180) were notified to watch for signs of infection.

Healthcare-acquired Mycobacterium infections generally manifest as skin, wound or surgical-site infections but may also present in the lungs. Signs of infection and bacteremia are flu-like and include fever, chills, muscle aches and malaise.1 Infections are also evident by swelling or pus formation at the site. Diagnosis is complicated due to lengthy incubation periods (averaging 79 days for the GHS patients) and similarly long laboratory tests that can delay proper diagnosis and evaluation of appropriate treatment. Treatment may be prolonged and involve site drainage and the administering of multiple antibiotics.

Causes and controls

The definitive cause in the Greenville Health System outbreak has not been reported. Tap water used in pre-surgery preparations,including hand washing, however, is one suspected source. Although sterile water is used in and around actual surgical operations, such precautions are not routinely practiced relative to indirect water exposure sources. Other suspected water-related sources included an ice machine. Ice is commonly used to cool blood and organs during surgeries but the ice does not come in contact with the patient. Post-outbreak water samples collected from GHS taps did test positive for the bacteria.

The Greenville Health System outbreak led to a POU treatment application installed in the hospital’s operating room (OR). Other infection control procedures included eliminating stagnant zones in the hospital water distribution network that could promote bacterial growth and contaminate scrub sinks(2). ORs associated with infected patients were shut down until July, when environmental samples determined that no detectable mycobacteria were present.

In the months that followed, GHS and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) identified a broader list of control measures to reduce exposures to Mycobacterium, including: (2,3)

  1. Flush scrub sinks in the OR for at least 10 minutes in the morning before first use.
  2. Install POU bacteriologic filters in the operating room (including scrub sinks inside and outside the OR) and ice machines.
  3. Increase frequency of ice-machine disinfection.
  4. Inspect internal water systems for decreased flow zones— consider future plumbing installations.
  5. Utilize UV light disinfection throughout the operating rooms.
  6. Use tuberculocidal disinfectants in OR and more stringent protocols for use.
  7. Eliminate the use of tap water in surgical machines, medical equipment and supplies.
  8. Keep medications and flushes given during surgery away from any source of tap water.
  9. Emphasize precautions with staff.

One notable point in the GHS story is that this particular hospital has strong infection-control programs in place, high hand hygiene compliance rates and low healthcare acquired infection rates—33 percent lower than the national average, in fact (2). If a waterborne outbreak can happen at GHS, it can happen anywhere.

Other hospitals at risk

Hospitals are not required to monitor their tap water supplies for Mycobacterium. Even if this were a requirement, interpreting the results would be difficult since Mycobacterium is commonly present in tap water supplies. Surveys have found mycobacteria in 61 percent of hospital water supplies (4). Even if deemed present and a problem, there are no national standards on how to eliminate the organism from the water supply.

Other hospitals are at risk. In 2010, the American Hospital Association listed 6,248 hospitals in the US. During that time, researchers from Central Michigan University conducted a water quality and testing survey of 970 community hospitals, including a mixture of rural and urban locales (4). Results indicate that only 66 percent of those surveyed had a written waterborne pathogen plan. Most of the hospitals (94 percent) obtained their water from municipalities and a high percentage of them (89 percent) relied on the municipal water treatment processes for delivering quality water. The majority (92 percent) of hospitals using a well water source (three percent of those surveyed) provided additional treatment within the facility.

When asked how often they water was tested, responses were highly variable (daily, 10 percent; weekly, eight percent; twice monthly, one percent; monthly, 28 percent and yearly, 16 percent). Some facilities (50 percent) have a waterborne-pathogen infection team and are more likely to monitor water and train personnel on waterborne risks. Personnel training program rates were low (30 percent), which may contribute to a lack of awareness and increased risk to patients.

Researchers estimate that three common waterborne infections (Legionnaires’ disease, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis) cost the healthcare system up to $539 million (USD) each year. Like Mycobacterium, Legionella is responsible for waterborne hospital outbreaks. The CDC estimates that nearly a quarter of all Legionnaires cases are hospital acquired, resulting in a 40-percent fatality rate. On average, a single hospitalization case from Legionella costs $34,000.5 HealthLeaders Media reports concern relative to the numerous sinks and showers in individual hospital rooms that are not frequently used, creating an end-point stagnant zone for tap water and the potential for bacterial regrowth (6).

Conclusion

The healthcare industry represents an emerging market for POU treatment devices, particularly given the fact that currently regulated drinking water contaminants do not include opportunistic pathogens. Crossing the healthcare continuum from hospitals to nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, dialysis clinics, homecare, etc. there are large populations of immunocompromised persons at increased risk for waterborne infections that could be greatly minimized by POU treatment.

References

  1. CDC, Mycobacterium abscessus in Healthcare Settings, CDC, 24 Nov 2010. [Online]. Available: www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/mycobacterium.html. [Accessed 18 May 2015].
  2. “GHS realeases preliminary results of investigation into surgical infection outbreak,” Infection Control Today, 23 July 2014. [Online]. Available: www.infectioncontroltoday.com/news/2014/07/ghs-releases-preliminaryresults-of-investigation-into-surgical-infection-outbreak.aspx. [Accessed 17 May 2015].
  3. Greenville Health System, Update on Infection Outbreak Investigation, Greenville Health System, 2014. [Online]. Available: www.ghs.org/upload/docs/GHSInvestigation.pdf; www.ghs.org/upload/docs/DHECRecommendations.pdf. [Accessed 18 May 2015].
  4. Kozicki, Z.A.; Cwiek, M.A.; Lopes, J.E. et al. “Waterborne pathogens: A public health risk in US hospitals,” Journal American Water Works Association, vol. 104, no. 1, pp. 52-56, 2012.
  5. CDC, Waterborne Diseases Could Cost over $500 Million Annually in U.S., CDC, 20 1 2012. [Online]. Available: www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r100714.htm. [Accessed 18 May 2015].
  6. Sweeney, Evan, “Hospitals at Risk for Waterborne Diseases,” HealthLeaders Media, 2-8-2010. [Online]. Available: www.healthleadersmedia.com/page-2/FIN-254554/Hospitals-at-Risk-for-Waterborne-Diseases##. [Accessed 18 May 2015].

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

Update on NSF/ANSI 419 Public Drinking Water Equipment Performance – Filtration

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

By Rick Andrew

In January, this column introduced a new draft standard from NSF in the area of water treatment. When the column was written in early December 2014, NSF 419 Public Drinking Water Equipment Performance–Filtration was undergoing the ballot process to become an NSF standard and subsequently an NSF/ ANSI standard. Since then, the ballot process has successfully completed and the new standard was published in January. The purpose of the standard is to provide a performance evaluation test procedure for the product-specific challenge testing of fullscale UF and MF membrane modules, bag filters and cartridge filters for the removal of microbial contaminants. It provides procedures to develop challenge testing Log Removal Values (LRVC_TEST), as required in US EPA’s Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2 Rule) published in 40 CFR 141-subpart W.

Technologies included

The LT2 Rule requires community water systems to use treatment technologies to reduce exposures to Cryptosporidium originating in surface water and it applies to all public water systems that use surface water or groundwater that is under the direct influence of surface water. The LT2 Rule also requires membrane filtration and UV products to undergo testing in the laboratory to confirm the systems perform as specified. The treatment technologies include the following:

Demonstrating conformance

Community water systems have a challenge to demonstrate that they are in conformance with LT2 requirements. Often, this is being accomplished through a patchwork of various test reports, calculations and other documents assembled through equipment vendors. These test reports can come from a variety of laboratories or engineering firms, with testing being conducted under a range of conditions and procedures. Sometimes all of this must be developed prior to installation if a community water system seeks to install equipment that is new to the market and has not been previously tested. Questions can be raised by a number of stakeholders throughout the approval process, leading to delays for equipment vendors and for community water systems as they work to bring treatment facilities online, leading to delays for consumers in receiving water from the new treatment system. All of this adds up to a situation that is less than ideal.

There can be gaps in establishing conformance above and beyond review of test reports and procedures. The LT2 Rule includes non-testing requirements for internal manufacturing quality control. A review of test results, calculations and documentation does not provide assurance that the manufacturing quality control procedures are in place and are in accordance with the test results. Another gap is that changes to the product or manufacturing process can occur at any time. It can be unclear as to whether previous testing results are brought into question or even invalidated based on these changes. There is no way for those reviewing test results to understand what changes, if any, have occurred since the testing was performed or what the impact on product performance related to those changes might be. Overall, this situation is a textbook case for a situation in which certification to a standard would be a valuable approach for all of the stakeholders: community water systems, equipment manufacturers and consumers.

Figure 1. Basic requirements of draft NSF/ANSI 419
Materials in contact with drinking water must conform to NSF/ANSI 61
Performance test methods for:
Bag filters
Cartridge filters
UF modules
MF modules
Microbiological surrogates:
Bag and cartridge filters
  — Polystyrene microspheres for Cryptosporidium
UF and MF modules
  — B. atrophaeus endospores for Cryptosporidium 
  — MS-2 coliphage for virus 
MS-2 coliphage enumeration method
Polystyrene microsphere enumeration method
Quality assurance
Data management, analysis and reporting

Advantages of certification

Certification to a standard provides significant advantages for various stakeholders seeking to establish and verify conformance to requirements. It provides clear, transparent criteria, processes and policies related to conformity assessment. Testing procedures, calculations and documentation requirements are standardized and clarified. The basic requirements of draft NSF/ANSI 419 are described in Figure 1. Additionally, continuity in manufacturing practices is confirmed through certification facility audits and technical reviews to address the potential impacts of any changes in the manufacturing process, with retesting being required when justified by a technical review. The facility audits also address the internal manufacturing quality control criteria specified by the LT2 Rule.

Material safety verification

The LT2 Rule focuses entirely on product performance associated with treatment of microbial contaminants in the drinking water. It does not address the safety of materials of construction of these products for contact with drinking water. For most non residential products treating drinking water in most US states, however, third-party certification to NSF/ANSI 61 is required. Therefore, NSF/ANSI 419 requires that materials in contact with drinking water must also conform to NSF/ANSI 61.

Filling a need

The LT2 Rule established a set of requirements for equipment used in public water supplies. Equipment manufacturers are addressing these requirements by developing, manufacturing and selling systems to allow community water systems to conform to these requirements. Until recently, demonstration of conformance to the requirements has been a challenge for all stakeholders: community water systems, state or other regulatory bodies and manufacturers of treatment equipment.

This type of challenge is perfectly addressed by development of national consensus standards and third-party certification to those standards. By bringing stakeholders together to develop robust, clear and transparent requirements, acceptance of these products and their demonstration of capability can be dramatically simplified and bolstered. NSF/ANSI 419 Public Drinking Water Equipment Performance–Filtration is now filling that need. In fact, there are now five manufacturers with a total of 17 products certified to this standard (http://info.nsf.org/Certified/pdwe/Listings.asp), with more certifications in process. NSF looks forward to continuing to develop this certification program so that it becomes an efficient and valuable tool for establishing conformance to the LT2 Rule requirements across the nation.Writing: Rick Andrews

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

 


Communication IS Customer Service

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

By Denise M. Roberts

What is the biggest complaint we hear from the service sector? For places that traditionally rely on part-time and on-call workers, such as the retail and food industries, it always comes back to lousy customer service. But that can encompass a broad spectrum of complaints, from not getting what one wants to poor communication skills to just plain old bad service. In some sectors, it’s believed that it goes hand-in-hand with those marketplaces that are so focused on profit that all else falls by the wayside. That is patently not true. ‘Bad’ customer service happens in any sector, market or industry.

We set expectations by listening to the need of the consumer and communicating what we can, are willing and are able to do for them. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? The reality, though, is quite different. We are living in an age where people have come to expect an onslaught of answers to simple questions (with a couple of generations utterly reliant on having multiple choices), so playing the right song to the right audience shouldn’t be difficult. So where does it go wrong?

Expectations

What the consumer wants and what he hears from a vendor may be horses of very different colors. Does it take a degree in communications to make sense to each other? No, if the primary elements of effective communication are in play. Hearing and listening are not the same thing, just as knowing and understanding can be quite different. Once a person can separate the two into distinct and actionable elements, another factor comes into the equation: critical thinking. These skills must be brought to bear at some point in a conversation to ensure understanding of what is said, rather than what one believes they heard.

Setting the proper expectation for an audience that believes it has a right to every option and every answer (and most importantly, the customer is always right) can be tricky under the best of circumstances. Throw in some technical jargon for the general consumer who doesn’t want to appear clueless and you have the first failure building at a rapid rate. How can you set the proper expectations when you don’t know your audience? As any writer will say, you can write a book but to make the best-seller list, you have to know what people relate to on multiple levels: intellectually, emotionally and financially. For example, a well-written book may be overlooked because the publicity surrounding it may have generated a higher price than the reader was willing to pay. Or, a general how-to guide might be great on details but shy on elaboration. Any number of factors can relegate the communication of words and thoughts to an arbitrary exercise in futility if it doesn’t meet the expectations of the intended audience.

The right way to communicate

There is a far more extensive group of factors in the expression of words and thoughts that an intuitive and creative individual will use to gain their end. Body language can signal the engagement of a prospective client that will reach the ultimate goal of closing the sale or indicate that further communication is not going to bring the desired result. Key are facial cues, as not everyone is fortunate enough to have a built-in poker face. In conveying a concept or thought, the person who maintains eye contact while consciously (or subconsciously) reading the the reaction in another’s expressions may be the difference between a failed presentation and a successful sale.

But wait, there’s more customer service communication that gets lost deeper and deeper in our overly scheduled lives…our overly scheduled lives! For the many who want it now not later, the need for instant gratification is almost an addiction. Think about it. When one’s focus is maintained only on the goal, other details are nothing more than minutiae, such as returning a phone call, answering an email, being prompt for an appointment or being adequately prepared to defend one’s proposition. And we all know, the devil is in the details, that in and of themselves may seem inconsequential until added to another set of factors that become the catalyst for a feeling of being disregarded or disrespected.

Just as hearing and listening are not the same thing, so to are follow-up and following through different sides of the same coin. Following up is the easy part because it takes one or two minutes, a phone call or email and it’s off to the next race. Closing anything, be it a conversation or a sale, cannot properly be done without following through on the commitment, the idea, the process and even the end result. A conversation may replay in one’s head multiple times before one truly understands the level of expectation involved by both parties. It is not over until a conclusion is reached, whether that is ‘no sale’ or “How is that new system working out for you? Is there anything more I can do to meet your needs?”

As Kelly Parks of Aquaman said during the Dealer Section Meeting at WQA Aquatech in Las Vegas, the communication should not stop after the sale is closed, the installation is completed or maintenance is scheduled. He related that one customer wanted to change to another company merely because she had not heard from him. Parks believed that no calls meant nothing was wrong. She believed, however, that not maintaining simple contact meant her business was undervalued. Merely calling to see how things are going further deepened the customer experience and has resulted in an ongoing and beneficial relationship. Parks noted that some customers just want to be able to talk to someone and that many complaints had nothing to do with the system. “Listen to them and you will probably find that what they are upset about has nothing to do with you. But by taking time to listen to them, you show an interest in more than the business deal.” In short, recognizing your customer as a person will cement their perception that you are interested in them as well.

Nothing really changes

Humans live in a cyclical world that changes with fads and trends, viciously attracting notice when something goes badly or with little attention if the expectation is met. The tendency to overlook a follow-up to a sale or service call because a customer’s expectation was met can leave a client with a sense of being added to a bottom line, not viewed as a valued customer. It’s never truer that the squeaky wheel gets the grease than when someone doesn’t get what they expect. Instead of using more grease, use more common sense, common courtesy and good communication. Wasting time on drama (that could be averted with a little attentiveness to bearing and being) is diametrically opposed to productivity. No matter what the medium, whatever changes may take place in society, they will not eliminate the inherent need for a customer to be satisfied.

Achieving that goal is paramount to long-term success, not just the right-now yippee moment. For a business to create a positive revenue stream, the likelihood of success depends on three elements: a great product, an equally great team and focus on the whole sales process, not just the end result. And here is where failure is the best teacher. What doesn’t work should be acknowledged along with time-tested training and reliable methodologies, the comparative value of which will exemplify a company’s commitment to customer service. In addition, the interaction of staff and customer can be mutually exclusive or a bonding experience. Sales techniques must be tailored to the customer, and with good communications skills in play, the right sales person can be paired with a customer to reach the most beneficial outcome for both. In the end, the objective remains the same, no matter how many different ways we approach it. Why then is so little effort made by people to communicate, when so many appreciable venues are now available? Email works to a certain degree, social media is gaining traction, but calling or visiting a client is the best approach to keeping customers satisfied.

Conclusion

The biggest obstacle to any problem is the inability to adequately express the problem and its scope in such a way that both sides understand the same thing. When that level of understanding is achieved, taking the necessary steps to resolution becomes a partnership, with both parties gaining the satisfaction of being winners. The water treatment industry has available a wide variety of training, both association and vendor, that can be of great value to the trainee, the company and clients. But too many seem to be missing out on those opportunities, leaving a gap in understanding. Until the focus shifts from the bottom line to the customer, it will take more failures for the presenter and the audience to find a way to talk to, rather than at, each other.

What Did You Learn Today?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

By Greg Reyneke, Master Water Specialist

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”—Isaac Newton

Do you remember what it was like when you began your career in the water industry? I sure remember my humble start. While water treatment was exciting to me, it required learning new industry terms, technologies and jargon. The more I tried to learn, the more I ran into opposition, I encountered a wall of ignorance, which gave the impression that there was only a small number of people that knew anything useful, and they were hesitant to teach what they knew for fear of being surpassed by a neophyte. In the days before Amazon, Wikipedia and Google, it was laborious and time-consuming to research technical information, particularly about our niche industry.

The WQA educational system was significantly lacking in those days. Joseph Harrison’s excellent Water Treatment Fundamentals compilation wasn’t even in general circulation yet and I felt like the conventions were more focused on parties and product promotion than true professional development. The real experts with the academic and practical knowledge were unreachably far away until I met my first technical mentor in the industry, C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud. He took the time to answer my numerous ignorant questions without judgment or reservation and treated me like a peer. I have never forgotten and still appreciate the time and knowledge he gave so freely without expectation of anything in return.

Formal education evolves

The WQA has come a long way in the last 20 years. With almost 3,000 members encompassing residential, commercial and industrial segments of the industry, the WQA is now recognized globally as the leading trade organization, serving to inform the public, educate members and certify products and personnel to the high standards of performance. The most exciting thing (to me) that the WQA has accomplished so far is to develop the Modular Education Program (MEP). Training is one of the best investments a business can make, but group training or individual sessions can certainly become expensive and involve significant time and travel commitments. By using MEP, instead of flying in an expert or sending people to seminars, all company members are able to train individually at their own pace, able to start or stop at any time of the day or night as time permits, by leveraging the power and convenience of the Internet.

The MEP is designed to provide businesses with the educational and ethical resources needed to train all employees at all levels, to the most current industry standards and best practices. Businesses can now have the confidence of knowing that everyone on the team can have the same foundational cornerstones of knowledge, with a virtually unlimited learning path that continues to evolve as new knowledge emerges in the industry. The MEP includes Foundational, Core and Advanced categories of training and certification. This smart structure allows a broad base of participation, where everyone can be involved in learning together and be recognized with achievement badges for their knowledge and experience. Office staff, installers, technicians, system designers and salespeople alike have the opportunity to learn.

The new education program includes an online Knowledge Base that gives anyone in a WQA-member company the ability to look up anything they want at any time, regardless of the level of information and whether they want to be officially certified or not. This is truly visionary, since nobody is constrained by prerequisites or silly rules when searching for a piece of valuable information to help with a project or customer inquiry. Obviously, if one wants to earn a badge for a particular area of knowledge, they need to purchase access to the coursework in the MEP to learn and prove knowledge of the segment in the sequence that WQA requires. Badges are earned by completing lessons, taking on-line tests and sometimes completing practical tasks to demonstrate the knowledge and mastery of a subject. In addition to individual badges, program attendees can also follow multiple education tracks to become eligible for core certifications, such as:

  • Certified Water Treatment Representative for office staff, sales and marketing personnel
  • Certified Installer for equipment installers
  • Certified Service Technician for service technicians
  • Certified Water Specialist for system integrators and designers

Anyone can change their educational path at any time and they can study anything they want, as long as they fulfill the minimum requirements and then take the appropriate exams to earn each certification desired.

What is a mentor?

The term mentor originates in Homer’s Odyssey. Odysseus asked his friend Mentor to protect his son Telemachus while Odysseus went to the Trojan War. Twenty years later, the goddess of wisdom, Athena, disguised herself as Mentor to provide Telemachus with crucial advice at the beginning of the next epic story: to investigate what actually happened to his father.

Mentoring in all aspects of life is a proven pathway to success and makes for mutually beneficial relationships. Something I especially appreciate about MEP is the fact that all learners choose a mentor to help them through the learning adventure. That mentor, ideally, is someone who already has the educational credentials that the learner is seeking and meets the ethical requirements of the program. The mentor’s role is to guide the learner to success by reviewing their learning experiences to reinforce correct learning and guiding them in the right direction when they stray.

Here are some benefits to consider about being a mentor:

  • You’re making the industry better. We all know him, the old-school, slick salesperson who has a voice larger than his brain; you know, the one who says stupid things about water because he couldn’t be bothered to learn the actual facts. People like that cause problems for everyone. We need to stamp out ignorance by helping everyone learn the facts, which enhances competition, improves the image of our industry and can prevent adoption of intrusive legislative policies.
  • You’re making someone’s life better. Knowledge is power and by sharing your knowledge or guiding another to the knowledge they need, you are now empowering them to succeed at their job. We all have families to feed and in today’s cut-throat economy, we all need as much knowledge as possible to get ahead.
  • You’re going to learn things. I know you think you know a lot about water, but wait until you go through the latest training materials. They were created in collaboration with industry innovators and leaders. I guarantee you’ll have a few “Aha!” moments as you go through the materials with your staff.
  • Your business will be more profitable. Where your mind goes, the money usually follows. As you focus on the fundamentals and draw strength from seeing your team progress, your business will be more productive, since there are fewer callbacks, less misinformation, happier employees and happier customers.

Mentoring in your own organization is self-serving and very easy to justify. If you care about the advancement of our industry, you should also consider offering your services as a Volunteer Mentor and join a group of industry professionals who make themselves available to those members seeking to learn but lack an in-house mentor. If you’re ready to help out, send an email to education@wqa.org and apply to join the select group of peer mentors who are helping to shape the industry for tomorrow.

The most important takeaway

As mentor to those in my organization and learners in a few other companies, I’ve found the experience to be beneficial, far outweighing the time commitment. Mentoring has given me more opportunities to interact professionally, observe where we’re lacking in training our people and has helped to identify hidden talents in employees that I might never have seen without significant field-training time. Employees in my own company, as well as employees and owners in the companies that I coach, have been enrolled in the MEP for a year now and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the learning process evolve. Naturally, as with all new things, there were some teething problems, but the WQA educational team was quick to respond with improvements and advice to make the experience better and the platform more functional.

It is very motivating to hear employees speaking confidently to clients about water quality improvement, using the correct terminology and sharing accurate information when discussing the products and services that will improve their client’s water and lifestyle. If you haven’t enrolled your company in the MEP yet, go to www.wqa.org/mep or call (603) 505-0160. There is even a one-week free trial available if you still need more convincing about what a great program this is. Seek out and embrace new knowledge, but don’t be selfish or greedy with it; pass it on! The more we teach, the more we learn.

Additional reading

  1. Collins, Jim, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And
    Others Don’t
    , 2001.
  2. Block, Lazlo, Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform
    How You Live and Lead
    , 2015.

About the author

Greg Reyneke, Managing Director at Red Fox Advisors, has two decades of experience in the management and growth of water treatment dealerships. His expertise spans the full gamut of residential, commercial and industrial applications including wastewater treatment. In addition, Reyneke also consults on water conservation and reuse methods, including rainwater harvesting, aquatic ecosystems, greywater reuse and water-efficient design. He is also a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee. You can follow him on his blog at www.gregknowswater.com

WQA Aquatech USA 2015: Bigger and Better, Moving Toward the Future

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

By Denise M. Roberts and David H. Martin

Let the fun begin! That was the atmosphere surrounding the entire annual conference and trade show held in Las Vegas, NV, complete with golf, glory, buyers, sellers and a record number of attendees. The event kicked off with a full slate of meetings and educational sessions, receptions and the much-anticipated appearance by Jay Leno. Nobody was disappointed! The overall tone and atmosphere of the entire week was relaxed, while staying business-like and quite upbeat, more so than it’s been for the last few years. This year saw 3,629 attendees and 268 exhibitors take advantage of the well-rounded program offered by WQA.

Wishing Well International Foundation again hosted the annual charity golf tournament, sponsored by HaloSource, Inc., at The Revere Golf Club in Henderson, NV. This very successful event guaranteed fun, prizes and bragging rights for all who took part. Tournament winners were: 1st place, Brian Good’s team (Good, Bill Hanson, Pat Dalee, Rob Anderson); 2nd place, Kurt Peterson’s team (Peterson, Brent Simmons, Mike Conte, James Good) and 3rd place, Shawn Talley’s team (Talley, Dave Milner, Doug Haring, Mike Vondran). The Closest-To-The-Pin Award went to Buzz Goldstein of Charger Water while Brian Good won the Longest Drive Award and the Longest Drive Dixon Competition, which earned him a driver. Longest Putt honors went to Issa Al-Kharusy of KDF Fluid Treatment, with a putt just short of 25 feet.

The annual President’s Club Reception was hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas ‘Sam’ Karge, who feted attendees with style and gusto, while honoring the lifetime members of the President’s Club, 2014/2015 award winners and Board of Directors. The lively crowd was on hand to congratulate Margaret Wichmann as she received the Bill Peltier Award as the #1 Recruiter and to honor the efforts of the all-female top recruiting team with the Team Award. Members included Denise Heskett-Al-Kharusy, Shanna Bucki, Kate Cline, Daina Grace, Jo Grace, Cindy Gresham, Susan Kernan, Nicole Reisdorfer, Barbara Wakem and Margaret Wichmann. NSF International hosted a special reception, this year built around the Willy Wonka chocolate theme. It was great fun, a chocoholic’s dream come true, filled with special treats and prizes. Holders of the Golden Ticket chocolate bars received the Beats music system, although the chocolate fountain, ice cream and candies were just as much appreciated.

Business and education

The key to success in the water treatment industry is having the right products for the varied treatment issues. At the forefront of seeing that happen is the Water Quality Research Foundation, responsible for directing funds for those projects that are most relevant. The Water Science Committee reports on current and prospective studies that are being considered. Regu Regunathan says an RFP is needed to investigate chloramine usage in commercial applications, as taste, odor and biofilm problems are ongoing. Although structurally different approaches are being used, work on the IAPMO Z601 standard is progressing. A project with NGWA (under which WQA is subcontracted) for reaching private well owners to encourage testing will include a survey to analyze current programs to determine the best and safest approaches for promotion; WQA will develop a model program for dealers.

Also of note were discussions regarding the dearth of information about microcystin; a study is being proposed, although this topic may already be under discussion in another project. The committee reported on the current states of several ongoing projects. The Madison (WI) Chloride Discharge Study has been completed and has given insight to optimization but some remaining questions were still being processed. The IAPMO Peak Demand, Final Barrier Cost-Benefit Analysis and Boil Water Advisory studies have progressed, with data still to be acquired and analyzed over the next few months. Final-barrier analysis has been revamped with Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD, University of Arizona, spearheading the project.

Multiple sessions on greywater usage, requirements, limitations and regulations were held. At this point in time, it was noted that no single, universal regulation is in effect. Dealers were advised to treat water only to the level for which it will be used and engage educationally about how to catch, treat, store and distribute the end product. Iron contamination, ubiquitous throughout the US, was addressed by Scott Harmon, Matthew Wirth, Marcy Stenerson, Larry Zinser and Kelly Parks. The panel discussed the relative similarities and differences by region, treatment methodologies and best practices. John Keener, Toledo Water Conditioning hosted Aquageddon, a discussion of the recent water disaster in the Toledo, OH water supply. He noted that microcystin-LR is four times more toxic than cobra venom; toxic levels were 30 ppb and there are 80 different cyanotoxins but little information is available. There were a variety of contributing factors, not the least of which was phosphate contamination from fertilizer use (phosphates feed microcystin). At the forefront of much thinking was sustainability and conservation. Douglas Oberhamer presented Arizona Water Quality Association’s best practices, including water conservation, reuse and salinity management. He noted that working hand-in-hand with the state had resulted in a well-rounded program that did not include water softener bans. Arizona has spent a great deal on a public awareness campaign, and while there is no specific task force, work is ongoing with state officials.

In addition, David Martin conducted interviews with 3M’s Mark Howlett and Felipe Pinto of Dow Water & Process Solutions. Martin will give a full accounting of these interviews in his July Creative Marketing column, as well as reporting on WQA’s National Consumer Water Quality Study and other marketing highlights.

Opening General Session

The session opened with comments from President Sam Karge noting that 2015 was the biggest show in several years and although progress is consistently being made due to a better economy and more jobs, slow sales and bad weather in the northeast did hamper some areas. The organization, he said, is in good financial condition with $8.7 million in reserves and is proceeding with its core mission. The Modular Education Program (MEP) has been fully launched with new title designations (CWS-1 through 4 to Certified Water Specialist; CWS-5 and 6 to Master Water Specialist) effective April 30. Board member elections included Cindy Gresham, Kurt Gruett, Doug Horner and Shannon Murphy in the manufacturer category; William Jefferis, commercial/ industrial and Tom Harrington, Kelly Parks and Bret Tangley in the dealer category.

John Packard gave a heartfelt thank you for the overwhelming success of the Investing in Your Future Campaign, which has garnered $2.7 million through 80-plus partners, with more to come as donations continued to be offered and tallied. WQA Vice President Tangley announced the following leadership awards: Ray Cross Awards posthumously presented for Donald E. Heskett and James A. Horner to their children, Denise Hesket- Al-Kharusy and Doug Horner, respectively; Golden Circle, C. R. Hall; Honorary Membership, Ryan Harper; Award of Merit (International), Rajul Parikh; Award of Merit, Wayne Bernahl and Mike Mormino; Regents Award, Ed Robakowski; Key Award, Cliff Fasnacht; Lifetime Membership, W. Gordon Miller and Hall of Fame Award, Denise Urbans. Following the business segment, a packed house greeted keynote speaker Leno, who delivered a one-two punch of hilarity appreciated by all. It was an event to remember and will be difficult to top in coming years!

Dealer meeting and sessions

During a combined meeting and educational session, Kelly Parks, Robert ‘Bob’ Boerner and Kelly Johnson highlighted the more important points of becoming and remaining a successful water treatment dealer. Parks encouraged all dealers to focus on customer service, not the bottom line. He said that staying in contact with customers, even when there are no problems, establishes a stronger bond and enhances referrals. Parks emphasized that personalizing service through constant contact (at least once a year) was a win for both dealer and customers. In addition, he advised that listening to the customer and offering some type of resolution will help turn a negative into a positive. “Admit when you are wrong. Move forward.” Parks said that owners should handle complaints but if that is not feasible, recommended hiring someone dedicated to handling them.

Boerner tackled personnel issues, saying: “Don’t hire too quickly! Get background checks, have multiple interviews, use temporary agencies if necessary.” He also gave advice on business security, saying that owners need to maintain accountability, lock up valuable inventory and always check accounting procedures. In addition, Boerner said it’s important to work in and on the business but especially to watch the bigger picture. Johnson noted that while the insurance industry doesn’t like the water industry, it’s a necessary requirement. He emphasized the need to reduce claims and losses, be careful with equipment placement, have well-trained staff, take pictures of installations and equipment and have an internal insurance claims process. In addition, Johnson advised that employees should be very careful of what they say.

Tanya Lubner, PhD, WQA Director of Training and Education, implored owners to push employees to succeed with the MEP by establishing realistic goals, encouraging on-the-job activities and mentoring. She noted that changes to the certification structure would be grandfathered for current certified specialists. There will be no change to the Installer and Sales Rep titles and levels. Interim Executive Director David Westman gave an industry update, focused on governance, staff, strategic planning, operations and government affairs. He noted that about 14,000 products have been certified, according to a recent operational audit and a new financial auditing firm has been retained.

Matthew Mahany, Kenny Gibson and Robert ‘Bob’ Ruhstorfer presented two educational segments: rentals versus sales and salt delivery versus maintenance programs. The panel members noted that rent-to-own is an attractive option for many consumers, saying that if you can sell it, you can rent it. In addition, there was consensus that these shouldn’t be viewed as exclusive programs and both should be considered viable opportunities. Knowing one’s audience, offering tiered programs and selling employees first were presented as basics that should be incorporated into the business plan.

Approval was received from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to accept 17.5 hours of specific WQA training under the agency’s regulatory guidance document, RG- 373: Approval of Training for Occupational Licensing. Attendees were required to submit fully completed attendance forms to TWQA by May 15 to receive proper credit toward state licensing.

Board of Directors

Outgoing President Sam Karge took care of last minute business, then officially handed the reigns over to incoming President Bret Tangley. Karge said progress had been consistent and terrific momentum had been built. Tangley said the organization needed to be more strategic than operational, with a more energized board. He will encourage more participation between the Directors and Governors and make WQA more customer-facing with better communication, saying: “We’re gonna have some fun!” John Packard reiterated the extremely successful WQRF funding campaign results and noted the exceptional support from Kim Redden and Peggy Blazek.

WQA statistics remain impressive: 2,657 member companies (83 percent of which are domestic) with an 88-percent retention rate; 1,714 professional certifications have been granted and 1,359 new products (as of 2014) have been certified. Committee reports indicated that WQA will expand consumer awareness; the Regulatory Info Search Tool is now ready and professional development is beginning to take off with 166 companies and 566 users (students, mentors and admin) taking part in MEP. In the industrial realm, the focus will be shifted from high-purity water to serving WQA membership in support of those who are engaged in this market segment.

Committees will next meet at the WQA Mid-year Leadership Conference, which will be held in Tucson, AZ August 31–September 2. And it’s time to start planning for WQA’s 2016 Convention in Nashville, TN, March 14-17. We’ll see you in September, and if not, let’s make it a date for 2016!


Photos courtesy of WC&P International staff, with the exception of those otherwise credited.


A New Technology for Arsenic Removal

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

By Bob Brooks

Numerous articles have been and continue to be written about the current methods for removing arsenic from drinking water. It is not the purpose of this article to rewrite what has already been written but rather to introduce a new material and method for removing arsenic. This article will present the existing technologies in brief format, followed by the new methodology cerium oxide, a derivative of the rare earth metal cerium, then explain how each method fits in the industry.

Arsenic occurs in groundwater in two main species: trivalent and pentavalent. The level of toxicity and the complexity of removal depend upon which of these two forms is found in the water supply. Arsenite (trivalent arsenic) is significantly harder to remove due to its neutral charge and is only responsive to two of the four adsorption technologies presented. Having a negative charge, arsenate (pentavalent arsenic) is responsive to all of the arsenic adsorption media.

Currently, the three most common media for arsenic removal are ion exchange resin, activated alumina and ferric oxide or hydroxide. The newcomer, tetravalent cerium as cerium oxide, has had little press in potable drinking water applications due to the lack of commercially available delivery systems and lack of NSF approval, although trivalent cerium, as CeCl3, is already being used in the wastewater treatment industry. This product has tested very well for removal of phosphorous and arsenic, as well as many other contaminants. Until now, neither form of cerium oxide  has been successfully applied in potable water treatment. CeO2 is commercially available as a 7-micron particle, which is ineffective in standard delivery systems due to high-pressure drop. A US-based R&D/manufacturing company has successfully created an effective CeO2 product that is WQA tested and certified to NSF/ANSI 61. Each of the aforementioned media have their strengths and weaknesses and each has an application that matches its abilities. The question is, which one best suits your client’s needs?

Figure 1. Efficiency versus flow (4.5 x 10-inch cartridges)

Ion exchange (IEx) resins

Ion exchange resins can be manufactured to be the most selective of the adsorbents; however, the technology requires a charge for the purification to take place. Therefore, it is only functional with arsenate (V) unless an additional oxidizing agent is present. Ion exchange resins have the longest lifecycle of the adsorbents because they are easily regenerated; however, regulations on discharge water amounts and salinity levels are making this process more difficult. Anion resins are sensitive to sulfate and nitrate; these contaminants should be treated prior to arsenic removal. The process of using anion resin for arsenic treatment will also raise the level of chlorides in effluent water. Though re- generating ion exchange systems has a place in arsenic treatment, single-use virgin resin cartridges have too small a capacity to be useful. Ion exchange resin does not pass the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) for waste disposal.

Figure 2. Twenty-inch Big Blue cartirdge

Activated alumina (AA)

Activated alumina is likely the least expensive medium, but the total cost per milligram of arsenic removal is the highest. AA is pH sensitive and operates best at a range of 6-7.0. It is also the least selective of the adsorbents. Removal performance of AA is dramatically reduced in the presence of competing ions, such as chloride, fluoride, sulfate and phosphate. AA is also selective to arsenate and ineffective for arsenite. POU AA cartridges are very popular in the marketplace for general fluoride and arsenic reduction. Most activated alumina media will pass the TCLP for waste disposal.

Ferric oxide and hydroxide (GFO, GFH)

Granular ferric oxide and hydroxide media are probably the least expensive to operate on a large scale. GFO is less pH sensitive than activated alumina but still has its limitations. The optimal operating range for GFO is 6-8.5, with lower ranges yielding the highest capacities. GFO is the first of the adsorbents to handle both arsenite and arsenate, though in higher flowrates, an added oxidizer is recommended to aid in arsenite removal. GFO media are currently the most commonly used to focus on arsenic removal, in both larger POE systems and POU cartridge- style systems. The highest quality GFO media removes an average of 4 mg/cubic inch of media volume at a suggested 0.5 gpm (1.8 liter/min) maximum flowrate for most cartridges. GFO media is able to pass the TCLP for waste disposal.

Reticulated cerium oxide (5D)

5D cerium oxide media is the newest adsorbent for arsenic removal. It is comparable in price to GFO media cartridges but has a capacity of 6-8 mg/cubic inch. 5D cartridges also have an operating flowrate of 1 gpm (3.7 liter/min) for a 2.5- x 10-inch (6.35 x 25.4-cm) cartridge and 4 gpm for a 4.5- x 20-inch (11.43 x 50.8-cm) cartridge. This is a significant increase in flowrate and capacity in comparison to GFO cartridges. Current 5D industrial systems, however, are less economical than GFO in industrial systems. 5D media have tested very well in pressurized cartridge applications and excel in gravity-flow applications, making them a good fit for smaller POU/POE systems. The medium is a natural adsorbent, so there is no foreseen issue with TCLP testing, though that process is currently underway.

Reticulated-media performance is a direct result of chemical kinetics and the Collision Theory (see Figure 1). This is accomplished by the size of the particle and the reticulated structure, which causes a tortuous path for the influent gas or liquid solution. The law of mass action states that the speed of a chemical reaction is proportional to the quantity of the reacting substances. In the case of reticulated media, it is the quantity of readily available surface area. Collision Theory states that the more collisions created, the higher the percentage of chemical reactions. The reticulated structure assures the influent stream will see a maximum number of collisions with the most efficient particle size possible. It is because of the reticulated structure that 5D media can be used in gravity-flow applications, as well as create little pounds-per-square-inch differential (PSID) in pressurized applications (see Figure 2). It can provide developing countries with a fast flow, small footprint, easily operated solution to safe, arsenic-free, potable water.

Conclusion

When sourcing media to deal with arsenic issues, there are many variables to consider. The choice of filtration material will be crucial in handling arsenic problems in an efficient way. Though many media are available for arsenic removal and reduction, two in particular stand out as leading technologies: GFO media for larger industrial potable waters and 5D media for smaller POU/POE applications. Continuing to research new, emerging technologies will go a long way toward a successful, efficient and profitable arsenic removal program.

About the author

Bob Brooks is a partner and Chief Engineer of Research and Development at Foamulations LLC. He has a background in engineering and has been in the water treatment business for over 14 years. When Brooks is not helping a customer to develop their new applications, he is researching new media and new ways to use reticulated foam products. He is also an accomplished bass player and performs regularly in various venues. Brooks can be reached via email, bobb@foamulations.biz

About the company

Foamulations LLC is an R&D Engineering company as well as a manufacturer of reticulated foam delivery systems for new and existing media. Foamulations supports its products with a thorough testing protocol and now has multiple WQA certifications under the parent company Filter Foam Technologies. Visit www.foamulations.biz

About the product

5D media is a reticulated delivery system that typically boosts efficacy and increases capacity. The reticulated foam structure prevails in low- pressure/gravity-flow situations as well as high-flow situations where a low PSID is required. The porous nature and large surface area of the reticulated structure brings versatility and breakthrough technology together in both liquid and gas phase filtration.

Activated Carbon Principles and Practices for Drinking Water Applications

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

By Henry Nowicki, PhDm Wayne Schuliger, George Nowicki and Barbara Sherman

Introduction

The carbon industry has come a long way in its manufacturing process and understanding of how carbon works. US manufacturing got a big start from military funding when, during WW II, Japan cut off the supply of coconut-shell based activated carbon (AC) that was used to protect US troops with gas-mask carbon units against toxic gas used by Germany. When the war ended, the first major GAC application was drinking water.

This application has grown and is still growing. Activated carbon is the most widely applied filtration media in the world; it’s vital to air and water treatment. Estimated world consumption of AC is 1.7 million tons per annum, with a growth rate of 10 percent per annum. When carbon adsorbers are monitored and serviced regularly, a barrier is created that provides safe, high- quality potable water.

Sources, forms, particle sizes, and processes

Major feedstocks for AC drinking water applications are coconut shells and bituminous coal. Minor sources include woods and lignite. Activated carbon is a structurally disordered carbon form made from just about any material with a starting carbon content of 60 percent or more. Commercial manufacture is a two- stage, heated-kiln process of baking to increase carbon content, followed by steam activation to increase the microporosity at the nanometer scale. Steam removes carbon atoms from carbonized char to provide active physical adsorption sites. A family of products is made by varying the steam activation time. Forms include powdered or pulverized, granular, pellets, beads, carbon blocks, fibers, agglomerated carbon and composites of fabric or paper. Powdered and granular are the major forms used for drinking water. On a global basis, more powdered is sold than granular because of economics.

Granular has an advantage over powdered in that the used AC can be reactivated many times; powdered is a one- time-use material. Granular is used in columns or beds to provide continuous processing and powdered provides a batch process. Granular can reduce the contaminant level to non-detected, whereas the powdered batch process provides equilibrium, and some contaminant remains in finished water. Granular has five times more capacity and is more efficient than powdered. Columns and hardware are not needed to do backwashing to maintain head pressure using powdered. Powdered is dosed into clarifier process water and contact and sedimentation time is allowed to separate used powdered carbon from sludge. If there are only periodic summertime taste and odor issues, having powdered on hand for the clarifier process may be the best option. A few simple, lab-sized bottle tests can determine the powdered AC dosage. Carbon is like an insurance policy; it is ready for a process upset.

ASTM values for particle size distribution (mean particle size diameter, uniformity coefficient and effective size) are important specifications. ASTM provides major test methods to evaluate AC life-cycle stages (1). Software programs, which increase productivity of ASTM testing, are available to analyze granular mm sizes and powdered micron sizes, and estimate the amount of AC needed for specific applications (2).

Figure 1. Schematic of local pore structure of activated carbon

Mechanism of action

Activated carbon works in different ways: physical filter, physical adsorption, active reagent, catalyst, absorption and targeted chemical adsorption when AC is impregnated with specific chemicals. The physical adsorption phenomenon is most important for drinking water applications. Molecular adsorptive properties of AC result from interaction of attractive forces that exist between atoms making up the walls of nanopores (or adsorption spaces) and water-soluble contaminant molecules at the atomic level. Its large adsorptive capacity results from complex, three-dimensionally contoured, interconnected porous networks in AC grains. Activated carbon internal surface area and pore volume are several times the external surface area and volume of grains themselves. Commercial AC possesses high internal surface area (around 1,000 m2 per gram) with large internal pore volume of between 0.3 to three mL per gram. Porosity within adsorbents has been categorized by IUPAC based on width of pores.3 The largest pores or adsorption spaces, called macropores (access pores), are 100 to 50 nm wide; intermediate pores, called mesopores are 50 to 2 nm wide. The smallest pores (< 2 nm) are called micropores (adsorption pores) and have the highest adsorption energy (AE) per volume. Their local interconnection and distribution are illustrated in Figure 1.

Macropores are determined by varying the mercury pressure of bathing AC grains in liquid mercury to obtain liquid intrusion, or liquid outside to inside. Mercury does not infuse into AC; it needs pressure to infuse into macropores. Pressure needed to force mercury into micropores is beyond practical instrumentation. Correlations between macorpore sizes and pressures to cause intrusion are used to map macropore sizes. Microporosity is determined by low pressure and temperature nitrogen isotherms. Commercial AC is approximately 90-percent carbon. The size of the graphitic plates and spacing between platelets depends on the feedstock and process parameters dur- ing manufacture. Coconut shell provides the largest and tightest graphitic platelets, closely followed by bituminous coal-based AC; wood-based AC has the smallest platelets with more open space between platelets, thus the lower apparent density and mechanical strength. Figure 2 provides a schematic representation of regional interconnective and spacing distribution of graphitic platelets in coconut-shell finished AC. Greenbank’s model has simplified AC porosity into transport and adsorption pores.

Figure 2. Schematic of regional pore structure of activated carbon

Taste and odor removal

Customers quickly note color, taste and odor of their drink- ing water. Activated carbon is well known to improve these characteristics. Color can be due to organics, such as tannic acid from degradation of biomass, or inorganics, such as high concentrations of ferric iron. Activated carbon removes organics very well and only marginally if inorganic. Ion exchange (IEx) can be used to remove inorganics. Activated carbon is used to protect IEx against oxidation and organic fouling; put low-cost AC in front of expensive IEx media. Chlorine taste and odor in drinking water is positive evidence of protection against microorganisms, but its taste and odor should be removed before drinking or cooking. Carbons do this very well with a small carbon-based final filter in domestic applications.

Activated carbon is a reducing agent slightly less powerful than copper metal. Drinking water hypochlorous acid is converted to tasteless chloride ions by carbon. This is a chemical reaction that consumes the carbon. Since hypochlorous acid concentration is low, carbon degradation is unnoticeable, as it is flushed out of the adsorber. (Putting a half-teaspoon of GAC granules into a beaker, then adding bleach will show the degradation; i.e., granules are liquefied quickly.) Potable water-plant GAC beds dechlorinate influent water, but they can be subsequently rechlorinated before water is dispensed to customers.

Another example of carbon as a reducing agent is its use with ozone. Ozone is an effective pretreatment to make carbon last longer. Ozone converts large molecules in water to small fragments that microorganisms can mineralize to carbon dioxide and water. The excess ozone, which has a sweet smell, is converted to oxygen by activated carbon, another example of an oxidation- reduction chemical reaction. All of these reactions give off heat. In water, heat is dissipated, but in the vapor state, explosions are possible. Exothermic heat needs to be managed with sufficient flow or cooling.

If an oxidant that exists in water or air is to be removed, AC should be considered; however, this involves exothermic reactions*. The largest safety issue with activated carbon is a closed container, since AC adsorbs oxygen and can lead to asphyxiation. Activated carbon granules can concentrate 1-atmosphere-pressure air to 7-8 atm in the AC micropores. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific rules and regulations for entering low-oxygen environments, such as AC in closed vessels. Overall, though, carbon is a very safe material.

Particle size and mass transport zone

Particle size is very important for water plants and small home units that use carbon. Smaller is better, but too small can inhibit gravity water flow through process adsorbers. Smaller particles provide more outer surface relative to inner particle volume. Thus, molecules can diffuse more quickly to the par- ticle center to obtain complete particle utilization. Diffusion is the slowest step in organic contaminant physical adsorption by activated carbons. It takes time to get adsorbates to fast activating micropore active sites. It is important to have a proper distribution of GAC particles to maintain water flow through adsorbers. Historically, GAC replaced sand filters; today, sand is often applied as a GAC filter underdrain. Sand or other underdrain materials also need to be tested and replaced periodically. Like carbon, they do not last forever.

When municipal water treatment plants are operating, they need small particles at the top of the bed and large particles on bottom. Small particles fit together tighter and have a smaller direct flow through a cross-section. These small gaps create an effective filter to remove debris from influent water. This debris builds up a filter cake, which can be backwashed and removed. Typically filter backwashing is done automatically. When the GAC filter head pressure reaches control limits, the filter is back- washed to remove the cake and restore normal head pressure. Backwashing means reversing the flow through the GAC bed. This increases AC working bed height and loosens the collected filter cake; it is carried away by a drain line to a suitable drain. Do not put it back into the influent water adsorber.


When activated carbon adsorbs or undergoes a chemical reaction, heat is given off. This evolved heat can be used as a field-test to qualitatively evaluate remaining service-life. Organic molecules in water or a solvent have a disordered motion and high entropy; when they are attracted to the carbon surface they are highly ordered. This transformation from disordered to ordered results in a loss of molecule energy, which is expressed as heat. 


It is very important to drain the backwashed water slowly to get all of the particles back to the original strata, small on top and big on bottom. Before new carbon is put into service, backwashing is done to remove dust and undersized particles and fragments and get the proper particle-size distribution. It is important to maintain the particle-size distribution with multiple life-cycle backwashing events. A particle with contaminants on board is in equilibrium with the liquid phase. If a small, dirty particle is moved to the bottom of the bed, it is now bathed in clean water, where some on-board contaminants will be released into the effluent (finished water). This happens when the backwashed bed settles too fast.

Municipal GAC beds are typically three to 10 feet deep. In small-home AC units, particles are tightly packed, so their posi- tion in the bed does not change with time. Municipal beds are often configured to provide multiple beds together, effectively increasing the total height of the carbon bed. Having the correct GAC amount of barrier between influent and effluent is impor- tant. Higher risk of pollution episodes need deeper GAC contac- tors to protect consumers. In water plants, GAC typically lasts three to five years. Drinking water spent GAC can be furnace- reactivated at about half the cost of virgin or unused GAC. The reactivation process is similar to activation. The carbon bed sets up a mass transfer zone (MTZ). Typically, the goal is to maintain the MTZs in the bed for target or regulated contaminants, though all compounds in water do not need to be removed. Real operations have multiple MTZ for different compounds; the size and shape of the MTZ depends on many things, such as GAC particle size, particle activity, flowrate, contact time, temperature, presence of competing adsorbates, etc. A smaller particle or slower flowrate results in a more favorable and smaller MTZ. Decreasing size and shape of the MTZ provides better carbon utilization in gallons treated per pound of activated carbon. Thus, the carbon lasts longer with better process parameters.

Discussion

Since 2006, chlorination of drinking water has been considered safe, resulting in acceptance of chlorination of water and food sanitation as a major public health benefit. There are many forms of chlorine, the most widely used disinfectant for drinking water, wastewater, foods, swimming pools, cooling water systems and surface sanitizing. Thus, humans are exposed to a variety of chlorine chemicals. The obvious question becomes, “What is the risk-benefit of chlorine disinfection?”

Jersey City, NJ was the first large US city to continuously use calcium hypochlorite in 1906. Prior to chlorination, death rates due to typhoid fever were 80 per 100,000. After chlorination, these rates decreased, and by 1936, typhoid fever in the US was eradicated due to all major cities using chlorine disinfection. Chlorine is very reactive as an oxidizing and halogenating agent; several hundred individual chlorination DBPs have been identified. They are easily detected so we tend to focus on them. Chlorine oxidizes microorganisms’ cell walls and/or DNA of viruses, bacteria and protozoa. Cryptosporidium protozoa, however, are resistant to chlorine, but not to chlorine dioxide. A simple pass of chlorinated water through almost any activated carbon eliminates chlorine taste and odor. This ability will outlast organic adsorption.

In the last few years, chloramine has been replacing or complementing chlorine. It is made at water plants by adding ammonia to hypochlorite. Chloramine is less reactive than chlorine and a lesser disinfectant. It is being used as a secondary disinfectant in distribution and storage because it lasts longer. Monochloramine is very effective for Legionella control in plumb- ing; because of its persistence and being very hydrophobic, it penetrates biofilms. Activated carbon is an important contributor to high-quality drinking water. While carbon installation in a large city adds cents per day to the water bill, it is a very cost-effective treatment strategy. Many drinking water plants constructed 10 to 40 years ago should consider upgrading their process by adding activated carbon adsorbers. This would help to reduce customer complaints, improve drinking water quality and be cost effective. Classical activated carbons that remove chlorine do not react with chloramines. Catalytic carbons have been developed to remove chloramines to form two harmless products, nitrogen and chloride ion.

References

  1. ASTM International standards of activated carbon committee test methods: D 2862 Test Methof for Particle Size Distribution of Granular Activated Carbon; D 5742 Test method for Determination of Butane Activity of Activated Carbon; D 5228 Test Method for Determination of Butane Working Capacity of AC; D 3467 Test method for Carbon Tetrachloride Activity of Activated Carbon; D 2854 Test method for Apparent Density of Activated Carbon; D 2867 Test methods for Moisture in Activated Carbons; D 4607 Test method for Iodine Number; D 5832 Test method for Volatile Matter and D 5919 Practice for De- termination of Adsorptive Capacity of Activated Carbon by a Micro-Isotherm Technique for Adsorbates at ppb Concentrations.
  2. Software for ASTM test methods: Aqueous- and Vapor-Phase Carbon Adsorption Software; VOC Vapor-Phase Carbon Adsorption with Relative Humidity; Isotherm Analysis; Compound Database; ASTM Particle Sizing Analysis and Refractive Index Estimator.
  3. A.D. McNaught and A. Wilkenson, AIUPAC Compendium of Chemical Technology, 2nd Edition, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1977).
  4. F. London, Z. Phys Chem B11, 222 (1930).
  5. S. Brunauer, The Adsorption of Gases and Vapors, Vol. I, Princeton Uni-
    versity Press, Princeton, NJ (1945).

About the authors

Henry Nowicki, PhD/MBA, is PACS Activated Carbon Services Inc. President and Senior Scientist. He has been awarded nine government SBIR contracts for R&D on new activated carbon products. Nowicki provides the introductory course for PACS Activated Carbon School, has been an expert witness for environmental, safety and activated carbon cases and is technical chairperson for the bi-annual International Activated Carbon Conference and Courses program. He may be reached at (724) 457-6576 or Henry@pacslabs.com. Wayne Schuliger, PE, is a PACS technical consultant and teaches Design, Operation, and Troubleshooting AC Adsorber Systems for Water and Air. George Nowicki, BS, directs the PACS day-to-day laboratory services for the AC industry. Barbara Sherman is a laboratory technician and directs PACS short courses and carbon conference registrations. She can be reached at Barb@pacslabs.com or phone (724) 457-6576.

About the company

PACS Activated Carbon Services Inc. provides laboratory routine and advanced testing, consulting and training courses and sponsors the bi-annual International Activated Carbon Conference and Activated Carbon School. The company provides one-stop shopping for activated carbon testing, consulting and training services. The next carbon conferences are September 18-19 in Pittsburgh, PA and Orlando, FL February 25- 26, 2016. Information is at www.pacslabs.com or call (724) 457-6576.

Global Spotlight

Monday, June 1st, 2015

TST Water announced the certification of its UltraGuard® line to the US EPA Guide Standard and Protocol for Microbiological Water Purifiers. The completion of the WQA certification to the guide provides independent, third-party performance certification. The UltraGuard line of POE systems is engineered around a USA-manufactured and patented UF membrane.

Chlorinators Incorporated announced its 40th anniversary of serving the water quality and wastewater industries. With the design of the first direct-cylinder, mounted, all-vacuum gas chlorinator in 1960, a new company was formed in 1975, releasing another safer and more efficient product design. Since that time, the Regal™ brand has become globally well known. It designs a variety of products for water processing.


North America

Plumbing industry leadership panel news

The Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition hosted the Future of Water Congressional Briefing in April. The event helped mark the beginning of Water Week 2015, which seeks to inform and inspire local, state and national leaders and communicate the considerable value the water sector brings to environmental protection, economic development and job creation. The coalition was created to provide a forum for the exchange of information through the leadership of US-based plumbing industry associations. The goal is to seek common ground on plumbing industry issues and then to address and promote the issues as a unified coalition.

New brand identity for VIQUA

VIQUA officially introduced its new brand identity, demonstrating the company’s commitment to product innovation and the delivery of Simply Safe Water. The introduction coincides with the company’s decision to simplify product offerings in the marketplace and to focus on building its brand. This singular brand focus means the company will consolidate legacy brands UVMAX™ and Sterilight®. VIQUA plans to streamline its product offering to make it easier for customers to identify the right product at the right price for every application. Warranties will be offered on all new VIQUA water purification systems and legacy product lines will be available for an overlapping time period to enable delivery of commitments. Replacement parts and lamps for all Sterilight and UVMAX systems will be supported for at least seven years.

YMCA, NSPF collaboration announced

NSPF announced that YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) will phase out the current Pool Operator on Location (POOL) training program and replace it with a training option aligned with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Model Aquatic Health Code. As part of this commitment, Y-USA signed a preferred vendor agreement with the National Swimming Pool Foundation® to deliver the Certifed Pool/Spa Operator® certifiation. This agreement allows the Y-USA and local Ys to focus on their mission and to leverage the operator training and certification program.

Dow Water Symposium news

The Dow Water Symposium brought together water treatment professionals from small and mid-size companies, building-owners and operators in April to discuss the ever-evolving challenges of the industry. As an innovation hub of The Dow Chemical Company, the Northeast Technology Center in Collegeville, PA provided the backdrop for a day of presentations, discussions and networking, which highlighted opportunities, technological advancements and state-of-the-art solutions for water treatment. Atendees were able to tour the innovation center and participate in thought-provoking roundtable discussions. Event participants also received continuing education unit (CEU) credit toward certification from the Association of Water Technologies.

Pentair honored by WateReuse

The WateReuse Research Foundation presented its Leadership Award to Pentair on May 4 during a ceremony at the 19th Annual Water Reuse & Desalination Research Conference in Huntington Beach, CA. Pentair delivers industry-leading products, services and solutions for its customers’ diverse needs in water and other fluids,thermal management and equip-ment protection. WateReuse and Pentair have collaborated on studies that have examined graywater regulatory issues, nano-material research, monitoring and reliability for potable reuse applications and membrane integrity testing, among other issues. In December 2014, WateReuse and Pentair renewed their partnership to develop research projects focused on human and environmental risks associated with existing and proposed innovative agricultural reuse concepts.

CIPH region renamed

The Board of Directors of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) recently voted in favor of renaming CIPH Atlantic Region as CIPH Maritime Region. This decision was endorsed by both CIPH Atlantic Region and CIPH Newfoundland Region. When originally established in the late 1960s, CIPH Atlantic Region included all four of Canada’s Atlantic provinces, and is one of the oldest of the institute’s nine regions across the country.

Danfoss in the news

During Water Week 2015, Danfoss met with local, state and national leaders to discuss readily available technologies that can save energy and prevent water loss in water and wastewater infrastructure. Presented by WEF, NACWA, WERF and WateReuse Association, the National Water Policy Forum, Fly-In & Expo was held April 14 on Capitol Hill, to inform and inspire leaders and communicate the value the water sector brings to environmental protection, economic development and job creation. Also in April, Danfoss welcomed the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County (FL) to its Tallahassee facility to discuss the impact of research and development and manufacturing operations on the local economy. During the press conference, the council announced Danfoss as its featured business for April as part of its Made in Tallahassee: Produced Regionally, Sold Globally initiative, a public awareness campaign that focuses on the important role that the research and development, manufacturing, software development and technology industries play in the success of the local economy.

Latin America

Colombian regulators to decide on new water treatment

Concerns about transportation, handling, dosing and management of chlorine gas cylinders continues to grow in Colombia as more than 70 regulators, health official and specifying engineers gathered recently to learn more about the issue and discuss alternatives. In a seminar, hosted by FF Soluciones S.A., attendees heard how UV Pure systems can offer a safer means to disinfect treated water and wastewater and eliminate the risks associated with transporting and handling chlorine gas. Treatment plants in Colombia are preparing to modernize their operations and are investigating UV disinfection as a safer, less risky alternative to chlorine gas.

Lima to restore pre-Incan water management system

To meet its water supply struggles and the demands of its nine million residents year-round, Lima, Peru’s water utility, SEDAPAL (Servicio de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado de Lima), plans to funnel nearly fie percent of the water fees it collects from users into addressing this issue. This includes management funds for green infrastructure, which comprises the restoration of everything from the natural wetlands that have always sponged up water in the wet season to pre-Incan amunas that siphon water off high-altitude streams in the wet season and funnel it into the mountain itself, where it filters down through the rocks over several months and emerges from springs in the dry season. The funds will be divided between two activities: green infrastructure (70 million PEN/$23 million USD) and climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (266 million PEN/$89 million USD). In addition to restoring the ancient amunas, the funds will be used to help farmers manage their livestock in a way that restores degraded puna grasslands, as well as to restore natural wetlands that have been drained for agriculture.

Europe

New ISH 2015 visitor, exhibitor records set

ISH 2015 set new records for the number of exhibitors and exhibition space it occupied. On an area of around 260,000 square meters (2.7 million square feet), 2,465 manufacturers launched their latest products into the world market. Around 198,000 visitors—an increase of more than fie percent over the previous event—made their way to the Fair and Exhibition Centre in Frankfurt am Main in March to discover the numerous technical innovations and the latest trends. ISH further extended its lead as the international meeting place for the sector with 61 percent of exhibitors and 37 percent of visitors coming from outside Germany.

Gernep Group acquired by Krones AG

Krones AG, Neutraubling announced it has purchased a 100-percent stake in the Gernep Group. As an international vendor of labellers in the low and medium output ranges, Gernep offerscustomized solutions. In addition to the beverage industry, the company’s principal markets are food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. In the future, the firmwill continue to operate autonomously with the existing management and sales structures. The transaction is still subject to approval by antitrust authorities.

Italian ozone manufacturer acquired

De Nora announced the acquisition of Ozono Elettronica Internazionale (OEI), designer and manufacturer of ozone generator technologies for advanced oxidation processes in industrial and environmental applications. Founded in 1970, OEI has a strong presence in the international market with more than 1,200 worldwide installations in all ozone applications. The company is recognized for its expertise in developing advanced ozone technologies and providing a comprehensive portfolio of products and engineering services.

Grant awarded to membrane researchers

University of Bath researchers have been awarded a £1 million ($1.5 million) Engineering and Physical Sciences Re-search Council (EPSRC) grant to research and develop the next generation of long-lasting ‘immortal membranes’ that will be able to separate water from problematic particles, such as pharmaceuticals or pollutants. Dr Darrell Paterson and Dr Davide Mattia,Department of Chemical Engineering, are part of a collaboration among six UK universities that have been awarded a £6-million ($9.1-million USD) EPSRC grant over fie years. This funding will enable a collaborative project, SynFabFun, led by Newcastle University, to establish a UK virtual membrane center that will act to unite the UK membrane research community.

Middle East

Water sensitive cities focus of new program

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have joined with colleagues from three other universities to develop a new program, Creating Water Sensitive Cities in Israel. The collaboration also includes colleagues from The Technion: Israel Institute of Technology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Australia’s Monash University. The goal of Water Sensitive Urban Planning and Design is to understand how and where water-sensitive strategies can be incorporated into an existing urban fabric to recharge the aquifer and assess potential enhancement of quality of life, especially within the urban microclimate. Water Sensitive Technologies will develop and test hybrid biofiltersfor stormwater harvesting and treatment in Israel’s wet-season months. The team will also develop groundwater remedial treatment in the dry season (long Israeli summer) that will serve for continuous preservation of the biomass in the treatment systems. The program is funded by a grant from The Jewish National Fund/Keren Kayemet L’Israel.

globalnews_glossary_jun2015

People

Monday, June 1st, 2015

 Cartwright named McEllhiney lecturer

WC&P Technical Reviewer Peter S. Cartwright, PE, named the 2016 McEllhiney Distinguished Lecturer, will present Water Well Contaminants and Treatment Options, the National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation announced. Cartwright, who owns and operates Cartwright Consulting Co. (with offices in Minneapolis and the Netherlands), has been in the treatment side of the water industry since 1974. The context for his lecture is that no two water supplies are identical, so ensuring a potable water supply that is safe, good tasting and acceptable for washing, bathing or showering requires a treatment approach that takes into account the unique variables that affect water quality. Cartwright’s presentation will identify classes of treatment technologies and detail specific technology choices as a function of contaminant reduction efficacy and cost. He also will address the installation requirements, operation and maintenance of treatment systems.The lecture will be tailored to the contaminants that a given audience encounters most frequently or the treatment technologies in which the audience is most interested.

NGWA student awards announced

The National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation presented $1,000 (USD) in Farvolden Awards to each of four students for paper or poster presentations made at the 2015 NGWA Groundwater Summit in San Antonio, TX in March. For the third time, Stephanie S. Wong of Baylor University, Waco, TX, won a Farvolden Award, having also been a recipient in 2010 and 2011. This year she received the award for her paper, Insights into Karst Groundwater/Stream Interactions Using Dissolved Natural Radon Concentrations, Central Texas. Given in honor of the late Dr. Robert N. Farvolden, former Senior Science Counsel for NGWA, the awards are made based on the quality of the presentation; content, including contributions to groundwater science, engineering, management, or policy and demonstrated insight on the chosen topic. Additional 2015 awardees were: Omkar Aphale of Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY; Farhad Jazaei of Auburn University, Auburn, AL and Charlene N. King of Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO.

US Water Prize winners honored

In April, some 300 water leaders from across the nation honored the 2015 US Water Prize winners: City of San Diego Public Utilities Department, CA; Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA and The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, GA. The US Water Prize was initiated five years ago by the US Water Alliance to elevate those organizations with strategies that promote the value of water and the power of innovating and integrating for one water sustainability.

Mazzei’s Overbeck to retire, Lauria to succeed him

Mazzei Injector Company, LLC announced the addition of Jim Lauria as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, replacing Paul Overbeck, who is retiring. To assure a smooth transition, Overbeck will remain with the company until June, then transition to a consulting role. Lauria has been a leader in water and wastewater for over 15 years and has had articles published in prominent water industry publications worldwide. He has an extraordinary command of the technical, sales and marketing, and financial aspects of the business. Lauria holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering Degree from Manhattan College.

AMTA Director Emeritus invitations announced

The American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA) announced that John Potts, Senior Vice President at KimleyHorn & Associates, Inc. and Dr. Steve Duranceau, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Central Florida have accepted invitations to become Director Emeritus members of the AMTA Board of Directors. Both have served on the board for a number of years. Potts was the second Vice-President from 1997-2000, while Duranceau held a number of positions for AMTA and was President from 2008-2010. They have both been recognized as membrane technology stalwarts; Potts was chosen as Outstanding AMTA member in 1996 and elected to the AMTA Hall of Fame in 2007; Duranceau received the AMTA Water Quality Person of the Year in 2011. The AMTA Director Emeritus Committee has five members and consists of Ian Watson, Stuart McClellan and Irv Moch, in addition to the two new appointees.

WateReuse Board members named

WateReuse recently appointed Halla Razak, Public Utilities Director for the City of San Diego and Gilbert Trejo, PE, Chief Technical Officer for El Paso Water Utilities to serve on the Board of Directors, effective in May. They will serve on the boards for both the WateReuse Association and the WateReuse Research Foundation. Under Razak’s leadership, the San Diego Public Utilities Department is currently developing a unique water reuse program that will help increase water supply reliability for the future of San Diego, while also ensuring environmental protection for the ocean environment. Trejo advocates for cross-departmental collaboration and coordinates closely with his utility’s communications and marketing team. He is a published engineer on several works discussing projects such as potable reuse and water infrastructure.

Nichols named ACE keynote speaker

Dr. Wallace ‘J’ Nichols will address water professionals on June 8 during the opening general session of the AWWA’s Annual Conference & Exposition in Anaheim, CA. Dr. Nichols is a leading biologist and The New York Times bestselling author of Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. He will delve into the emotional, behavioral, psychological and physical connections that draw humans to water. In his book, he examines that crucial relationship that humans have with water. He will also discuss recent findings in neuroscience that indicate proximity to water can improve mood, performance, health and success.

New staff added at MTN Products

MTN Products® announced the addition of three new staff members: Eva Guererro, Assistant Warehouse/Inventory Control Manager; Perry Rowley, Northeast District Sales Manager and Stacey Clemensen, Corporate Marketing Manager. Guerrero comes to MTN Products with over eight years of experience in R&D, Operations and Manufacturing. She will be responsible for supervising warehouse personnel, product forecasts, order fulfillment, freight schedules, inventory analysis and maintenance and product return processes. Rowley has been part of the bottled water and POU industry for 21 years, most recently as Region Sales Manager at Oasis. He will be responsible for sales and technical training with MTN for the northeastern US. Clemensen has over 20 years of marketing experience, ranging from office products manufacturing (Avery Dennison), to high-tech electro optics for space and defense (Corning OCA). Stacey will be responsible for all marketing, advertising (print and digital), web and social media.

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