Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Viewpoint

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Gearing up for a better year

It’s that time of year again, when conference season goes into full swing and the opportunities each show brings can be beneficial to everyone. WQA Aquatech, being held in April this year, promises to be bigger, better and more informative than ever. And with the transition from the previous WQA certification process for water treatment specialists, it will be especially important for everyone to take advantage of the hands-on demonstrations of the Modular Education Program (MEP). The new title designations should be taking effect as the old certification program is wound down. Be sure to stop by the WQA booth to test-drive MEP and bring yourselves up to date.

WQA is offering a bit of a surprise this year, with the announcement that former Tonight Show host Jay Leno will be the Keynote Speaker. There’s much to be learned from the many offerings at WQA Aquatech and speakers have in past years provided invaluable advice on how to find success and stay at the top of the heap. We expect no less from Mr. Leno and hopefully, there will be a good bit of entertainment to make what he says all the more insightful.

As we move forward through our Editorial Calendar, we have added varied content to each issue, not just the primary topics that have been perennial favorites. In this issue, Peter Cartwright, PE and Tom Cartwright present a case study on a new technology for brine recovery in commercial softening systems. Greg Reyneke, CWS-VI, revisits the issue of hard water and its interaction with soap, one of the more defining aspects of water softening. C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud, CWS-VI, revisits and expands upon previous articles regarding arsenic and fluoride in our drinking water sources. And finally, Public Health Editor Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD takes a look at 40 years of the Safe Water Drinking Act, how it has benefited and the challenges that yet remain.

As more reports of economic revival appear, our industry should be taking advantage of every opportunity that is presented, including cross-over and cross-platform markets. Expansion of business into these areas has been a business-saving choice for many companies and in the future, it may be the trend that ensures a measure of success for all who wish to be a part of the industry. An open mind, a broader view and a willingness to tackle new venues makes for a less disrupted business model. There is a lot to learn when taking on these new challenges and we’ll be right here, presenting as much relevant information as possible to help you, our readers, better your businesses and keep growing.

Please stop by our booths (#737 and 739) at WQA Aquatech, grab a copy of the magazine and share your thoughts on the industry and how you think it’s doing, post Great Recession. Consider writing a technical article, being featured in Executive Insight or Dealer Profile, or maybe explore the possibility of becoming a Technical Reviewer. We’ll be waiting for you!

Kurt C. Peterson
Publisher

Celebrating the Safe Drinking Water Act’s 40th Anniversary and Recognition of the Challenges Ahead

Monday, March 9th, 2015

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

Originally enacted into law in 1974 by President Gerald Ford, the US EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) recently hit the 40th anniversary mark. The SDWA was promulgated only four years after President Richard Nixon formed the US EPA and initiated the Water Quality Improvement Act, focused primarily on water pollution restrictions and oil discharge. Prompted by numerous media reports of foul odor, disease-causing microbes and cancer-causing chemicals in drinking water supplies, the SDWA added regulatory context, order and accountability to the treatment of municipal water.

Triumphs and trials

Since the early 1900s, the water treatment industry has celebrated many successes. The addition of chlorination in Chicago, IL and Jersey City, NJ waterworks in 1908 dramatically reduced the incidence of cholera, dysentery, typhoid and other epidemic waterborne diseases and is considered one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.1 In the decades that followed, the need for a multi-barrier approach to drinking water treatment was recognized. Beyond chlorination and other water treatment practices, protection of drinking water sources and secure delivery to consumers were additional critical control points for ensuring water quality.

In addition to the triumphs in water quality, there have also been numerous challenges. Emerging hazards (i.e., en- docrine disruptors) continue to challenge the most advanced treatment works as do resistant pathogens (chlorine-resistant Cryptosporidium and UV-resistant adenovirus). Effective treat- ment may be complicated by the creation of potentially harmful DBPs and trihalomethanes. Increased population vulnerability (elderly, young, chronically ill, terror threats, etc.) and changing ecosystems (extreme precipitation events, drought) increase the unpredictability of waterborne outbreaks and lead to supply deficiencies.

SDWA timeline

Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, the SDWA achieved several major milestones. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed an amendment to the SDWA into law. In general, this amendment called for increased regulation of more than a hundred drinking water contaminants and increased US EPA’s authority to enforce the law with civil and criminal penalties for violators. Needs for surface water filtration, groundwater disinfection, lead prohibition and increased contaminant monitoring were also highlighted. In 1996, additional amendments were signed into law by President Bill Clinton and focused on reducing DBPs, protecting source water, training operators and updating infrastructure.

In 1998, the Stage 1 DBP Rule mandated the use of coagulants in water treatment to reduce natural organic matter that reacts with chlorine disinfectants to produce DBPs. Soon after, the Stage 2 DBP Rule was promulgated, focused on reduction of DBPs in the water distribution system. In addition, efforts to improve surface water treatment to reduce the risk of protozoan pathogens were also advanced on the heels of the largest US waterborne outbreak ever recorded, in Milwaukee, WI. Eventually, regulation of contaminants such as radionuclides, arsenic and fluoride followed, increasing consumer confidence in the quality of the municipal drinking water supply.

Improved communication, training and support

Along with SDWA amendments in the 90s evolved a new level of community involvement and transparency about water quality and treatment challenges. Water quality data would now be publically available on the Internet and also sent in the form of Consumer Confidence Reports directly to homes as addendums to water utility bills.

Source water protection was again in the forefront. The SDWA required that all states track available source waters, identify major sources of contamination and assess potential population risks. (These assessments are available in public databases so that all stakeholders can engage in source-water protection and help to prioritize collective action.)

In 1999, mandate of an operator certification program es- tablishing minimum standards for certifying, or recertifying, operators of public water systems was issued. Although these programs are implemented through individual states, consis- tency to the standard guidelines was provided by US EPA and published in the Federal Register. Utilities were given two years for implementation before noncompliance penalties ensued (3).

With over 160,000 municipal water utilities in the US, serving an estimated 297 million customers, building new or replacing old facility infrastructure is better supported. The 1996 amendments established funding resources for infrastructure improvements, known as the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). This program was especially useful for smaller public utilities where budgets for quality improvements could not be easily absorbed.

Constant resolve

One of the major accomplishments of the SDWA to celebrate is the initiative to never be complacent about the possibility of water contamination and risks. In an effort to continuously assess current and emerging drinking water threats, the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) identifies unregulated priority contaminants for regulatory consideration. Currently, US EPA regulates more than 90 contaminants. As directed by the SDWA, a CCL is published approximately every five years, beginning with CCL1 in 1998, which listed 60 priority contaminants for consideration; CCL2, listed 51 contaminants in 2005; and CCL3, published in 2009, included 116 contaminants (4). Inclusion on the CCL does not guarantee regulation but rather assists in prioritizing contaminants of interest.

Under the SDWA, at least five CCL contaminants must be considered for regulatory consideration. While not all considered contaminants result in an actionable standard, advances in information collection or research of the contaminants are beneficial. From CCL1 and CCL2, nine and 11 contaminants were considered but no regulatory action was determined appropriate or necessary. In 2011, however, US EPA made a positive regulatory determination on perchlorate, a naturally occurring and anthropogenic chemical used in rocket fuel and explosives manufacturing that is suspected of disrupting human growth hormone production.

Recently, the draft CCL4 was available online for public review and comment. Building on the final CCL3, two additional contaminants were added (manganese and nonylphenol); four were removed due to their absence or infrequent occurrence in water and previous determinations not to regulate (1,3-dinitro- benzene, dimethoate, terbufos and terbufos sulfone). Only one contaminant (strontium) was determined to occur frequently in drinking water and possibly pose a health effect in humans, particularly children and those deficient in calcium(5). Therefore, strontium, a naturally occurring and industrial waste chemical, is moving toward a positive regulatory determination.

Challenges ahead

Challenges to provide safe water supply in the developed and developing world remain. Although the SDWA targets hundreds of potential water hazards, tens of thousands of manufactured chemicals have uncertain risk profiles. Billions of people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water and hundreds of thousands die each year from exposure to drinking water hazards(6). Vigilance in proactively identifying new hazards and developing cost-effective, innovative solutions is imperative in our next 40 years. Education and cooperative engagement among consumers, municipalities and the POU industry is essential as we face new, emerging challenges and acknowledge that not one solution solves every problem.

References

  1. CDC, “A Century of U.S. Water Chlorination and Treatment: One of the Ten Greatest Public Health Achievements of the 20th Century,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 48, no. 29, pp. 621-629, 1999.
  2. US EPA, Water: Safe Drinking Water Act, 13 September 2013. [Online]. Available: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/sdwa/basicinformation.cfm. [Accessed 16 February 2015].
  3. US EPA, “Final guidelines for the certification and recertificaiton of the operators of community and nontransient noncommunity public water systems,” Federal Register, vol. 64, no. 24, pp. 5916-5921, February 5, 1999.
  4. US EPA, Fact Sheet: Preliminary Regulatory Determinations for the Third Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List (CCL3). October 2014. [Online]. Available: www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-10/documents/ epa815f14001.pdf. [Accessed 13 February 2015].
  5. US EPA, “Fact Sheet: Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List 4- Draft,” EPA 815-F-15-001, January 2015. [Online]. Available: www2. epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-02/documents/epa815f15001.pdf. [Accessed 13 February 2015].
  6. WHO, Water Fact Sheet #391, July 2014. [Online]. Available: www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs391/en/. [Accessed 16 February 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 has been a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee since 1997. She can be reached via email at reynolds@u.arizona.edu.

Certification of Components versus Systems

Monday, March 9th, 2015

By Rick Andrew

Certification of POU and POE equipment can take on many different forms, depending on the technology involved, the types of claims being made and the specifics of the product in question. There are always nuances associated with the certification, including the scope of testing involved, the product marking and the purpose of the certification. One of the considerations regarding POU and POE is component versus system certification. The NSF/ANSI Drinking Water Treatment Unit (DWTU) standards include requirements for both. These requirements are significantly different, so it is valuable to understand them. There are also different purposes and intents of component versus system certifications that are equally important to understand.

What is the difference between a component and a system?

Starting with first things first, it is beneficial to under- stand the difference between a component and a system. Basically, a component is a piece, part or material that could be used to build or construct a system. Typical components that might be certified include filter cartridges, filter housings, RO membrane elements, activated carbon, mineral tanks used in the construction of water softeners, control valves and ion exchange resin. A system is a complete product with all the parts, pieces and media necessary to be installed and to treat water. Examples include countertop filter systems, RO systems and water softeners.

There are some product types that could be either components or systems, depending on how they are used. The most obvious of these is disposable inline filters. These filters could be systems used to filter the water, without any additional parts or pieces. Or, they could be used as postfilters incorporated into POU RO systems. These products could be certified either as components or systems, depending on the manufacturer’s intended end market.

Component certifications

Component certifications under NSF/ ANSI DWTU Standards are intended to be for business-to-business (B2B) purposes. The intent is to create a marketplace of certified parts and pieces from which system manufacturers can shop and choose. These components are all evaluated for material safety through extraction testing, so system manufacturers can be assured that these components conform to the standard and won’t cause any issues with contaminant leaching. Additionally, pressure-bearing components (such as filter housings, mineral tanks and control valves) are evaluated for structural integrity according to the governing standard. Manufacturers selecting these components can be confident that they will not leach excessive contaminants or have structural issues.

System certifications

In contrast to component certifications, system certifications under the standards are intended to be for business- to-consumer (B2C) purposes. The idea here is that complete treatment products are fully evaluated for material safety through extraction testing, structural integrity if connected to a pressurized water supply, contaminant reduction, applicable general requirements and for completeness and accuracy of their product literature. These certifications provide assurance regarding the whole package of concerns that consumers might have.

Contaminant reduction evaluation is one of the most important aspects of complete system certification. Testing is required to establish that the system is effective in treating the water as advertised by the manufacturer. All systems are required to have at least one contaminant reduction evaluation in order to conform to the governing DWTU standard. For example, water softener systems must be capable of effectively reducing hardness in the water in order to conform to NSF/ANSI 44. Figure 1 demonstrates the key types of evaluations applicable to components and systems.

Example: Water softener control valve versus complete water softener system certification

Figure 2 shows graphically the extent of evaluation required under NSF/ANSI 44 for a water softener control valve versus a complete water softener system. The control valve, being a component, is evaluated for material safety and structural integrity, but not for any of the other various requirements of a complete water softener system. This makes sense when considering these requirements—it would be impossible to evaluate a control valve for softening capacity, because a control valve by itself cannot soften water.

Although it would be possible to test a control valve for pressure drop, the results would not be meaningful with respect to a complete water softener system. The pressure drop of the complete system would be greater than the control valve only because of the additional components in the system, especially the ion exchange resin. It would also be variable depending on the design and construction of the complete system, especially depending on bead size and bed depth of the ion exchange resin and any underbedding that might be included.

Despite the fact that the control valve has significantly fewer requirements than the complete system, certification of the control valve has real meaning and value—not necessarily for end users, but for manufacturers of complete systems who are sourcing quality components.

Certification marking

Certification bodies each have their own certification mark- ing requirements. These requirements include information specifying whether the certification is a component certification or a complete system certification. This is very important to understand. For example, some certifiers may prohibit certification marking directly on components of POU and POE systems to help prevent confusion, whereas others may not. In any case, any certification statements must be read carefully to prevent misunderstandings.

For example, there could be cases in which a non-certified water softener system is manufactured using a certified control valve or mineral tank. Some certifiers may allow the use of a certification mark directly on the component. Here, the casual observer might see a certification mark on the control valve or mineral tank and assume that the complete water softener is certified. This assumption would lead to overconfidence in the extent of certification and evaluation of that water softener system, as clearly described in Figure 2. A closer look at the certification mark, however, would reveal the word COMPONENT or a statement indicating a component certification, making it clear that the entire water softener system is not certified.

Different requirements for different end uses

When it comes to standards and certification requirements for products, end use is always a major consideration. For example, leaching or migration of contaminants into water is of utmost importance when it comes to products intended to be in contact with drinking water. Contaminant leaching, however, is not nearly as important for products that will be used in wastewater or geothermal heating applications. Similarly, certification of POU and POE components has a different purpose than certification of complete systems. Component certifications are intended to provide a marketplace for manufacturers sourcing quality suppliers and parts, whereas complete system certifications are intended to provide a thorough and complete evaluation to assure several aspects of quality for end users.

Because of these significant differences between component and system certifications, it is important to understand this important distinction and to be sure of the scope of certification when reviewing certified POU and POE products.

About the author

Rick Andrew is the General Manager of NSF’s Drinking Water Treatment Units (POU/POE), ERS (Protocols) and Biosafety Cabinetry Programs. He has previously served as the Operations Manager and, prior to that, Technical Manager for the program. 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.

Propane to Water: Boonie’s Water Conditioning from the Ground Up

Monday, March 9th, 2015

By Denise M. Roberts

Boonie’s Water Conditioning
412 E 2nd Street
Madison IN 47250
Tel: (812) 265-3493
www.boonieswater.com and bwcindustrial.com
joe@boonieswater.com
Employees: Seven full-time, two part-time
Vehicles: Eight

James Boone started a propane business in 1957 and needed something in the summer season to keep his staff busy. In 1963, he was introduced to tank exchange water softening, then purchased and installed a regeneration plant and tanks. The cost was over $30,000, a significant investment in the early 60s, and he had no customers. Boone (Boonie—thus the name, Boonie’s Water Conditioning) left the propane business in the early 80s, continuing as a water treatment company only.

Boonie’s son Joe (CWS-V) started working in both water and propane at age 15 and continued (off and on) until he was 22. He made life decisions that took him away from the family business, including marriage, children and pursuit of higher education. Boone holds a Bachelor’s Degree in business from Mary College (Bismarck, ND) as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in mechanical engineering from Montana State University (Bozeman MT), went through ROTC and was commissioned in the US Army. He served 10 years in the army reserve and resigned his commission with the rank of Captain. Boone and his wife Nadja have been married for 35 years and have three boys.

While working as a project engineer for Caterpillar Inc. in the summer of 1994, Boone had the opportunity to take over the business. “I didn’t want to look myself in the mirror years later and think I didn’t have the courage to try it on my own,” Boone said. “I quit my job, packed up my wife and three boys and moved back to southeastern Indiana. My starting salary was $200 a week—quite a change. I came in the front door and my dad went out the back; he was tired of it. We incorporated in 1998. My official title is President but like all other small business people, I do whatever needs to be done. I’m the only family member working in the business and have been since I returned. Looking back, it was the best decision I ever made. We grew, opened new markets and took on new products. I was able to use my engineering background to work in heavy industry, specifically steel and aluminum.” The large commercial and industrial side of the business is now known as BWC, Inc.

“We live in a very hard-water area here in southeastern Indiana,” Boone noted. “We do business in three states but to be fair it’s all within a 100-mile radius. Our residential clients are mostly within 30 miles. This area is fairly rural and we have to travel to make a living. One-third of my business is salt distribution and bottled water, one third is residential and one third is commercial/industrial. The smallest softening system we service will fit under the kitchen sink and the largest provides a maximum flowrate of 2,400 gpm (they are all the same, just bigger).
Which is better? A smart guy told me once: ‘The industrial market is like a good-looking woman in a red convertible, sexy but hard to catch. Day in and day out, it’s the residential that pays the bills.’”

To meet the demands of his custom- ers, both large and small, Boone has several valued and long-term employees. Al DeVore (almost 30 years) handles residential and light commercial. Shawn Copeland (15 years) is responsible for heavy commercial/ industrial. Nicole Jackson (10 years) is the Office Manager. Dennis Niesse (12 years) is responsible for industrial/commercial sales. Scott Lutes (eight years) is Route Manager for salt/water. And finally, Susie Auxier has handled residential sales for more than eight years. “We handle a wide variety of problems.

On the residential side, it is primarily hard water. There is city water almost everywhere. You can drive up some road where a goat couldn’t go and find a house trailer and city water. That being said, the water is extremely hard: in the 20- to 30-grain range. On the industrial side, we service/ sell RO, DI, UV, filtration, custom controls, softeners and dealkalizers, etc., standard products. We distribute Hague residential products and have for 35 years. They are great people and like us, are family owned. Our bottled water is RO and private labeled. We also started coffee as a sideline and have enjoyed learning the industry. We’re not getting rich but it gives us another reason to stop in and say hello (translation: canvas for business.) For the larger commercial/industrial side of the business, we use Ecowater Industrial, Lakeside and Watts and we get great support. We are also a Cargill Salt distributor.”

Maintaining top-level service requires knowledge and training. As a result, all of the technical staff is or has been WQA certified. “We try to use vendor training when available,” said Boone, “but it seems like that has dropped off substantially since 2008, which I think is a mistake. The Internet has certainly been a game changer, education-wise. I would like to see the WQA put more training on audio. I travel a lot and would use them. I’ve had some WQA audio materials that are good and some that are not. We are ISNetWorld-certified, which is a national safety program. We do safety training regularly.”

Boone outlined some of the problems and opportunities the company has encountered. “I think the worst situations are your best opportunities,” he said. “Those are the chances you have to help somebody. Unusual problems add value to your company and have good profit potential. Most of our toughest situations have been engineering applications on the industrial side. Our residential is pretty straightforward. Market changes after 2008 have been the biggest challenge. It seems we’re working harder for less margins and a lot less fun. I believe the government is go- ing out of its way to ensure those of us working a small business have as many roadblocks as possible. For example, healthcare cost has doubled! Also, it’s hard to find people that want to work.

Young people go to college, major in nothing or play video games. Our current culture encourages people not to work. They preach if the job doesn’t pay $20/hour, the job isn’t worth having. We need to stop that and get young kids (15, 16, 17) in the workforce, learning how to do and appreciate the opportunity to earn a paycheck.”

There is always optimism in Boone’s world and his future plans are solid. “My five-year plan is first to stay in business (don’t laugh, it gets harder and harder.) Second is to add residential sales staff and push out from my small hometown. Our market is grow- ing around us. If we are going to survive we need a presence in communities that are thriving. My ten-year plan is to look for a legacy. Don’t know where it will come from but would like to see my business carry on. My boys haven’t really worked much with me; they have their own passions. I think it would take five years to teach someone what I’ve learned.”

Boone continued with his thoughts on how things would work out in the future. “The future of our business is interesting. There is enough technical on the residential side that we’ve survived the Internet invasion. My dad said: ‘One-third of people will do business with someone else, one-third will do nothing and one-third will do business with you. Concentrate on your third and don’t worry about the rest.’ That’s been our philosophy. We still believe in the in-house demo, good service and high-quality products. Price belongs to the big-box stores and the Internet. The industrial side is similar. Our customers have access to as much information as us, via the Internet. Our biggest assets are service and experience. The bottom-line customer whether residential, commercial or industrial, will wear you out! Leave him be and concentrate on people who appreciate what you do. We engineer our industrial projects to completion but the complex jobs seldom go as planned. We stay on task until the customer gets the results for which he pays us. My customers know that and it’s why they call. One last note of wisdom from my dad: ‘Your customers should become your friends, if not you’re doing something wrong.’ I believe in that completely and those words are as true now as they were 50 years ago!”

Hard to Lather, Easy to Fix

Monday, March 9th, 2015

By Greg Reyneke, CWS-VI

Photo courtesy of The Innovative Water Project

Hard water is called hard for a number of reasons. Some say it’s because it is full of hard, rock-like inorganic mineral compounds like calcium carbonate. Others call it hard because it’s hard on the wallet, plumbing, faucets, laundry and appliances. I like to teach my team that it is hard to lather. Soft water is so called because it’s the opposite of hard and it sounds better than easy.

Water’s changing aspects

Some people don’t fully understand why different waters in different areas have differing hardness levels and why they can and will fluctuate over time. This is worth discussing. Pure water contains only oxygen and hydrogen molecules and is recognized as nature’s universal solvent. The hydrologic cycle is our planet’s natural water-recycling system, where water is constantly changing states between solid, liquid and gas, moving in the air, on the surface and even under the ground, constantly absorbing gases like carbon dioxide and dissolving metals and minerals as it comes into contact with them.

Water vapor in clouds eventually precipitates and heads down to the surface of the Earth. On its way down, it absorbs carbon dioxide gas, which makes it more aggressive. This naturally soft water is mostly devoid of hardness minerals; it generally has a low TDS content and low total alkalinity, meaning that it will usually be corrosive to plumbing systems and appliances without adequate treatment. When this water comes in contact with the Earth’s surface, it is exposed to organic and inorganic contamination. Organic contamination includes plant material, mold, fungus, algae, feces and other animal byproducts. This is one of the reasons why surface-sourced municipal water is typically more chlorinated than ground-sourced supplies. Water that percolates down into the ground moves through varying rock strata, where many live contaminants are filtered out. This process also extracts calcium, magnesium and other contaminants from the ground. The hardness level of this water will vary, depending on what kind of rock the water is exposed to, what types and volumes of entrained gases are involved and how long it stays underground before it is used.

Even small amounts of hardness minerals will cause the water to exhibit typical hard-water characteristics. The higher the hardness level, the more evident the problems will be. Residential and commercial users typically identify two ‘pain categories’ when dealing with hard water:

Scale
Water heaters waste energy, unsightly mineral deposits accumulate, faucets and appliances fail.

Soap interactions
Laundering results aren’t satisfactory; dishes, glasses and silverware are not clean enough and larger amounts of cleaning materials are required.

How to overcome the problem

For over a century, salt-based ion exchange softening has been the gold standard in addressing these issues, since the technology is relatively easy to deploy and extremely cost-efficient to own and operate. Salt-based softeners are now even more efficient than ever before, especially with the advent of sensor-based upflow regenerated twin-softening systems that are becoming the new international benchmark for efficiency and sustainability. Even with these technological improvements in regenerant and water efficiency, some people can’t or won’t use a salt-based system and actively seek alternatives. While many alternatives exist in the marketplace today, it is important to remember that unless they are fixing the soap problem, they’re not really softeners at all.

One of the most popular soft-water sales tools is the simple soap test, where we compare the soap-sudsing difference between the good water that our system will produce and the prospective client’s untreated, utility-grade water. Even after two decades in the industry, I still enjoy observing this simple, dramatic difference in water quality that helps to educate consumers about the benefits of improving the water in their home or business. Seeing the beautiful suds being effortlessly developed in softened water reminds us that soft water is a significant improvement to the end-user’s quality of life and not merely something to address the pains of hard water. I consistently hear three questions asked about soft water. The quality of answers I hear from dealers, plumbers and some experts vary from amusing to disconcerting, so let’s explore some better answers together.

Is soft water corrosive?

Since water softened through ion exchange is devoid of hardness minerals, some misinformed people believe it exhibits the same aggressive characteristics as the naturally soft water discussed earlier. This is not true, since water softened through ion exchange retains its original alkaline characteristics while simply substituting hardness and other ions with sodium or potassium ions. If you’ve been in the soft water industry for more than a few years, you’ve probably visited a home or business that has a water softener and yet still suffers from premature water-heater failure or premature degradation of the sacrificial anode(s) within. This can indeed happen, especially if the softening system is malfunctioning by not rinsing all the regenerant or regeneration byproducts after regeneration. A good, safe guideline is as follows: As long as the influent water is within a pH range of 7.0 to 8.5 and the influent TDS level is less than 500 mg/L, you can take comfort in knowing that you are not going to make the water any more likely to be corrosive by softening it. At pH levels on the low and high ends of the spectrum, or where conductivity is elevated, corrosive conditions can occur with or without a water softener and should be addressed properly by someone with the requisite skill set. That’s one more important reason to always test the water you’re working with and to constantly seek more education and training.

Is soft water bad for me to drink?

Softened water does not contain sodium chloride or potassium chloride salt. During the ion exchange process, sodium or potassium ions are added to water in direct proportion to the amount of other ions being removed from the raw water. The result of this sodium addition is the formation of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate compounds in the water, which do indeed contribute to taste. At hardness levels < 15 gpg, many people describe the additional sodium as making the water taste sweet or well-rounded. At higher hardness levels, some drinkers begin to identify an alkaline or soda flavor in the water. If the water from a softener tastes salty, this is not normal, and the customer shouldn’t drink it.

Hypertensive persons, or those on sodium-restricted diets, are concerned about the total amount of sodium that they consume in a day. The process of softening water generally adds 1.86 mg/L for every grain of hardness removed, so when you soften 15-gpg water, you’re adding almost 28 mg/L of sodium to whatever is already naturally there. To put that into perspective, one teaspoon of salt contains approximately 2,000 mg of sodium and cow’s milk contains approximately 125 mg of sodium per cup. We’re not physicians and it is outside the scope of our expertise to provide medical advice to our clients, but it certainly is helpful to be able to supply real data to our clients when they need it.

While there are many arguments for and against consuming the inorganic minerals found in hard water, my personal decision is simple: since the inorganic minerals in water are so difficult for the human body to assimilate compared to the abundant and easily assimilated organic mineral compounds found in common fruits and vegetables, I choose to derive nutrition from food and hydration from water, while making sure that the water I drink is as pure as possible.

Why is soft water slimy?

The perceived feel of any water on the skin is primarily affected by pH. Lower pH waters will generally feel rough, while higher pH waters will feel smooth or even slick as the pH rises above 9, regardless of mineral content and before soap or detergents are even used. From our soap-bubble test, we know that soap behaves very differently in hard water than it does in softened water. Soap loses its cleaning ability in the presence of hardness ions and instead forms a sticky precipitate known as soap scum or soap curd. This precipitate clings to skin and hair, producing the characteristic squeaky clean feeling that many people have become accustomed to when living with hard water. The problem of course, is that squeaky clean, is really more like squeaky dirty, since soap precipitate and soil deposits are left behind on the skin.

Soap is typically manufactured by combining a fatty tri-glyceride molecule, such as lard, tallow, olive, soy or coconut oils to name just a few—each has a distinct effect on the cleaning, sudsing and lathering capacity of the soap, but more on that in another article—and sodium hydroxide (lye), which yields a molecule of glycerol with three ion-bonded molecules of sodium stearate. This will donate sodium ions to water, while the stearate ion will precipitate out of solution when it comes into contact with a calcium or magnesium ion that binds to it. This waxy stearate precipitate is the soap scum that we talked about earlier. When softening the water by ion exchange, users can almost immediately notice the difference in the feel of the water when they wash their hands, body and hair. Depending on the exact softening resin used, underlying water chemistry and type of soap(s) used, end-user descriptions can vary from smooth to luxurious to slick or even sometimes, greasy.

Don’t embarrass yourself by trying to explain that your client is now finally feeling their body’s natural oils or some other such pseudo-scientific nonsense. That old myth needs to fade away along with calendar-based softeners, lawn darts and other outdated concepts. The real science behind feel is simple. We are introducing sodium or potassium ions into the water and they make it harder for the stearate to yield up its own sodium or potassium ions. Instead, the stearate clings to the slightly charged surface of your skin and the slickness is noticed almost immediately. Switch the soap to a potassium-base or change regenerant and there is a significant reduction in the perceived slickness in the bathing experience. It is also good to note that various soaps have different pH levels, so the client’s own soap can sometimes raise the pH so much that it feels slick, even in hard water.

Conclusion

Soft water truly is the investment that pays for itself. Our industry is almost 110 years old, and we are all still learning how to do our jobs better and more profitably. Keep learning and keep helping your clients by improving their water and their lifestyles. They will thank you and come back for more. Remember, you’re the expert they are depending on to help them make the best decisions for the health and safety of their family, a great responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

About the author

Greg Reyneke is Managing Director at Red Fox Advisors and 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 remediation. In addition to cleaning water, Reyneke consults on water conservation and reuse methods that include rainwater harvest, aquatic ecosystems, artesian spring development, graywater reuse and water-efficient design. He is also a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee.

 

An Innovative Softener Brine Recovery Technology: A Case Study

Monday, March 9th, 2015

By Peter S. Cartwright, PE, CWS-VI and Tom Cartwright

The world is inexorably moving in the direction of water conservation and reuse. Media coverage of extreme water shortages, disease and chemical contamination events has raised public awareness to unprecedented levels. Increased regulatory activity, both in the area of contaminant discharge and total water usage is causing commercial and industrial water users to look at ways to conserve and reclaim their wastewater. Certain areas of the US have already initiated regulations limiting or eliminating the installation and usage of self-regenerating ion exchange systems, primarily due to the high levels of chlorides being discharged into our limited water supplies.

A new, patented treatment system (US Patent #:8,580,118) has been developed to recover most of the brine from the water softening regeneration process. It utilizes nanofiltration (NF) technology to separate hardness ions from brine solution, discharging the hardness to the drain and returning recovered sodium/potassium chloride to the brine tank for reuse. Production-sized units have been manufactured and testing is ongoing. The preliminary results show that approximately 75 to 85 percent of the brine can be recovered. This provides:

  • Significant cost savings for the end user. Example: a Mexican restaurant located in Las Vegas, NV spent $800/ month on salt for their two five-cubic-foot water softeners. Conservatively, a 75-percent reduction would result in a $600/month salt savings alone.
  • Less maintenance required for the end user, reducing time spent adding salt to the water softener by 80 percent (+/- 5 percent)
  • A dramatic reduction of salt (monovalent ions), being added to our water supplies
  • A new potential to get water softeners reapproved in brine-restricted areas
  • Approximately 35 to 40-percent reduction in water used during the regeneration process

This process operates in a batch mode: the slow rinse and part of the backwash water is directed to a separate tank (Re- claim Tank) for treatment by the NF membrane that directs the concentrate to drain and permeate to the brine tank. Following are the steps involved:

  1. Upon initial start-up, the brine tank is filled to the appropriate level with tap water (or softened water). After the first regeneration, the system is configured to add the appropriate levels of water back into the brine tank, thus mostly eliminating the ‘fill cycle’ of the water softener. (Some fill may be required to account for water lost from evaporation).
  2. Once the ion exchange system begins, the brine-draw/ slow-rinse cycle, the water passes through a conductivity controller, wherein the conductivity of the brine-draw/slow- rinse water is monitored. When the conductivity reaches the appropriate levels, the brine water is redirected into the Reclaim Tank. In a five-cubic-foot system, the amount of water collected is approximately 95 gallons (360 liters).
  3. The Reclaim Tank contains two level switches. Once the brine water level (with high concentrations of NaCl or KCl) reaches the top level control, a pump is activated through the electronics. The pump draws water from this tank and directs the brine water through the specifically configured NF membrane element at approximately 700 psi. The majority of monovalent ions (75 to 85 percent) are redirected back into the ion exchange system’s brine tank, while the multivalent ions are routed to the drain.*
  4. The system is configured so that the amount of brine water directed back into the ion exchange brine tank is equal to the amount of water introduced during the fill cycle.
  5. Once water in the Reclaim Tank drops down to the lower float control, the system’s electronics shut down the pump.
  6. After the pump has shut off, the electronics then activate a set of solenoid valves that allow tap water (or softened water) to flush through the pump and NF element, minimizing pump corrosion and membrane fouling from the high salinity water.
  7. At the conclusion of the flushing cycle, the system shuts down and won’t be active again until the ion exchange system goes through its next regeneration process.

An illustration of the overall system configuration is shown above. To reduce the water usage as much as possible, the eductor is replaced with a brine pump and the freeboard in the resin tank is reduced. These minor changes allow this system to retrofit existing softener units.


* This 75 to 85 percent calculation is based on a straight comparison between the sodium chloride (converted to pounds of NaCl) drawn from the water softening brine tank subtracted from the total amount of sodium chloride (also converted to pounds of NaCl). The amount of sodium used to regenerate the resin bed is a part of the 15 to 25 percent that is lost. On average, it took 16.7 pounds of sodium chloride to regenerate the five-cubic foot-softener, and between 13.5 to 14.2 pounds of NaCl were reclaimed and reintroduced to the softening brine tank.

Conclusion

According to a recent report from NJ-based Baytel Associates (www.baytel.org): “The market for commercial water softeners in the USA and Canada came to about a $250,000,000 in 2014 and is projected to resume healthy annual growth rates of 6% or more by 2017.” These data indicate the potential for new softener installations in the commercial/industrial arena. When factoring in the aforementioned benefits of the system, the market for this technology, as either an add-on feature to existing equipment or a complete new system sale, is remarkable.

About the authors

Peter S. Cartwright, PE, CWS-VI, is President of Cartwright Consulting Company. He has been in the water treatment industry since 1974, has authored over 125 articles, presented over 125 lectures in conferences around the world and has been awarded three patents. Cartwright has chaired several WQA committees and task forces and has received the organization’s Award of Merit. A member of WC&P Technical Review Committee since 1996, his expertise includes high-technology separation processes such as RO, UF, MF, UF electrodialysis, deionization, carbon adsorption, ozonation and distillation. Cartwright is also Technical Consultant to the Canadian Water Quality Association. He can be reached at: (952) 854-4911; fax (952) 854-6964; pscartwright@msn.com or www.cartwright-consulting.com

Tom Cartwright is President of Envi Solutions, a manufacturer of residential, commercial and light industrial reverse osmosis systems and has been working in the water treatment industry for 31 years. With eight patents and over 20 articles written, he has traveled around the globe teaching water chemistry and promoting water treatment methods and applications.

 

Improving Media Adsorption Efficiency for Arsenic and Fluoride

Monday, March 9th, 2015

By C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud, CWS-VI

There are two contaminants commonly found in water that have been in the spotlight for the past decade. These are arsenic and fluoride. Most groundwater sources will contain two to three ppb of arsenic and generally a trace of fluoride. These are both well below the current US EPA maximum contamination levels (MCL) of 10 ppb and 4 ppm, respectively. So why the big fuss?

Arsenic

When the US EPA determined that the old arsenic standard of 50 ppb was not sufficiently protective, the standard was reduced to 10 ppb, in 2006. This left many municipalities in a bit of a pinch because they were geared to deliver city water somewhere between 11 and 49 ppb, which was above the new and below the old standard. Now they would have to install expensive treatment to meet the new Inlet levels. Many municipal suppliers were very small and under-funded so they slipped through the exemption cracks. Compliance dates got drawn out for several years. Many new well owners were not even aware that they were out of compliance. Today, most water supplies, including private wells, have treatment in place to provide ‘safe’ levels of arsenic (below 10 ppb); although the only safe level is zero(1).

It has been well documented that arsenic is highly toxic and ingesting arsenic (even well below the safe limits) can be dangerous because it is bio-accumulative and builds up in the body. One study showed that children exposed to levels below the 10-ppb limit suffered from lower IQ scores.2 Although the primary source of arsenic in the daily diet is from food sources, the bottom line is that arsenic, at any level, is not a good thing to leave in your drinking water.

Fluoride

Fluoride is classified as a regulated contaminant by the US EPA and is listed as an “unapproved new drug” by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA). The type of fluoride salt used in municipal water treatment is a hazardous waste product generated by the aluminum and phosphate fertilizer industries. As of 2002, about 66 percent (162 million people) receive fluoridated water (at 0.7 to 1.2 ppm) from their municipal supply and the goal is to increase the acceptance to at least 75 percent. The benefits of ingesting fluoride are controversial at best since there has never been a bona fide study showing any benefit other than via topical application. Fluorosis, a skeletal disease caused by excess fluoride in the diet, is on the rise even in areas that do not supply fluoridated water. Fluoride is also contained in food. This led the American Dental Association to report that the current fluoride levels in water are damaging children’s teeth.3 One study in China showed that ingesting higher than allowable levels of fluoride was responsible for lowering the IQs in children by up to seven points (4).

You do have a choice

Fluoridated water is a form of compulsory mass medication and will long be a topic of great debate. Some people object to it because they feel it does no good and others because it may do harm. Some object simply because they have no say in the matter. It should be obvious to users of the public water supply that the responsibility for providing safe drinking water resides with the user and not the provider. You do have a choice in the matter and the choice should be to remove unwanted contaminants for your own safety.

Proven technologies

Both arsenic and fluoride can be reduced by 80 percent or more through the use of a basic, under-the-sink POU reverse osmosis drinking water system. For those who wish to use the whole-house POE approach, the typical method is through adsorption media. Iron-based granular and/or resinous media has been shown to provide very high reduction rates for arsenic and generally provide a year or more of useful life. Fluoride can be removed by activated alumina (AA) that has been properly preconditioned, or bone char. Although both media are highly selective for arsenic and fluoride, they are not exclusive and do pick up other components in the water. Depending on the nature and levels of these other components, the life of the media can be seriously and negatively impacted. What are these other components?

Arsenic adsorption by iron-based media

An article appearing in the March 2008 issue of Water Conditioning & Purification International(5) gives a good graphic illustration of the impact of pH, contact time, phosphate levels, silica levels, vanadium, content and other oxyanions (Se, Mo, U, Sb) on the throughput capacity. The biggest impact on capacity is the pH of the feedwater. Over the range of potable water (pH of 6.5 to 8.5), the capacity is reduced by approximately 50 percent as pH increases. On well water with a pH of 9 or higher, the loss can exceed 80 percent. And size matters. Running a system at six to eight gpm/cu ft will produce only about half the capacity of a system designed to run at three to four gpm/cu ft. Silica in the water has a major impact at high pH but a lesser one at neutral. At a pH of 8.5, a 40-ppm silica level in the feedwater will show only 30 percent of the capacity it would at a neutral pH of 7. Other oxyanions such as those of phosphorous, vanadium, selenium, molybdenum and uranium also vie for space on the adsorbent. The impact varies but it can decrease the capacity by 50 percent over the range of non-detect to normal background levels.

Speciation of arsenic

Most city water will have undergone an oxidation treatment with chlorine or chloramine prior to delivery. This pretty much guarantees that the arsenic present will be pentavalent As+5 (arsenate). This form is more readily removed by treatment or RO. Well water may contain As+3 (arsenite), which is far more difficult to remove. Iron-based adsorbents will remove the trivalent specie but at the price of capacity. If 20 percent of the arsenic is present as As+3 in a pH 7 water, the capacity of the media is reduced by 70 percent. If the pH is 8.5, the reduction is almost 90 percent. The rated capacity for iron-adsorption media is about 75,000 bed volumes (BV) or 500,000 gallons per cubic foot with low interference. This means that a single cubic foot of media might treat a typical residence for four years.

Fluoride adsorption by activated alumina

The reaction mechanism for fluoride adsorption on AA is that an insoluble aluminum fluoride (AlF3) is formed. Alumina also reacts with other components of the raw water, such as alkalinity and other metals, which will reduce the throughput capacity. In addition, AA is flow sensitive. These effects were graphically illustrated in an earlier article.6 At a design flow of two gpm/cu ft, the throughput will decrease by about 25 percent at three gpm/cu ft and nearly 50 percent at four to five gpm/cu ft. Recommended design is at two to three gpm/cu ft.

Alkalinity, the presence of bicarbonate (HCO3-), has the biggest negative impact on fluoride removal. Alumina is tolerant up to about 20 ppm of alkalinity but capacity drops by about 30 percent at 50 ppm and 50 percent at 100 ppm. Typically, water may contain as much as 200 ppm of bicarbonate with a corresponding capacity loss of 75 percent on fluoride adsorption. The typical loading of fluoride onto alumina is about 1.6 percent by weight. With a cubic foot of alumina, clocking in at about 40 pounds (18,200 grams), that calculates to 290 grams of fluoride or 290,000 mg. That’s the equivalent of 290,000 liters (77,000 gallons) of treatment at one ppm of fluoride per cubic foot. To treat a whole house for a year would require about 1.5 cu ft of media.

Conclusion: What have we learned so far?

Both arsenic and fluoride media are negatively impacted by high pH, flowrate and interfering ions. This suggests that some form of pretreatment to lower the pH and remove the interference would improve the performance and life of these media. There is a great way to do just that. Strong-base anion resin (SBA), commonly used for de-alkalization, can do all of the above. These salt-regenerated ion exchangers will remove alkalinity (replacing it with chloride) and reduce the pH of the feed down into the pH 6-7 range. At the same time, oxy-metals and phosphate are removed as is a substantial portion of the arsenic and fluoride. If we then use the proper adsorbent as a polisher, the life and capacity is increased by a factor of eight to 10 times. Select an NSF- listed SBA to ensure it is free of taste and odor. Size it at two to three gpm/cu ft and regenerate it on pH break (exhaustion on alkalinity), which is typically around seven to 8,000 grains/cu ft based on alkalinity alone. This means a water with 120 ppm alkalinity (7.0 gpg) will produce about 1,000 gallons per cubic foot between regenerations, which can be done at six to eight lbs NaCl per cu ft. SBA resin in the chloride form (salt regenerated) will not reduce silica. It will, however, reduce the pH, resulting in very low interference from the silica. Size the polisher correctly to maximize the capacity. Figure 1 shows a schematic of the flow.

References

  1. Michaud, C.F., “Bringing Arsenic Down to Safe Levels in Your Water,” WC&P International, December 2014.
  2. US School Children Exposed to Arsenic in Well Water Have Lower IQ Scores, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, July 2014. www.mailman.columbia.edu/print/5452.
  3. Journal of the American Dental Association, Vol 44, Number 2, February 2002.
  4. Choi, Anna, et al. “Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity”, Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2012.
  5. Michaud, C.F. “Factors Affecting the Capacity of Arsenic Removal Media,” WC&P International, March 2002.
  6. Michaud, C.F., “Fluoridation, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Part 2,” WC&P International, March 2010.

About the author

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

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same (well, sort of)

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

By David H. Martin

The acceleration of change in marketing has been relentless in the last decade. Water treatment dealers have seen the demise of Yellow Pages as a leading source of business leads. Newspaper ads have shrunk in size and frequency. Time shifting of TV broadcasts has enabled viewers to speed past commercials. And in recent times, we have been told that even customers’ new media habits have shifted. But not so fast!
 
How customers want to communicate
A new survey by Marketing Sherpa lets us compare customer preferences for communications. In short, 2,057 American adults were asked about their channel preferences: print; TV; email; text messaging; social media. The number of channels you can use to communicate with your customers has expanded and continues to grow. From January 21 to 23, Marketing Sherpa commissioned a survey that asked consumers: “In which of the following ways, if any, would you prefer companies to communicate with you?” The responses (shown in Figure 1) clearly indicated the preferred method of communication was email.

Customers overwhelmingly prefer email
Junk mail didn’t kill email the way most experts expected. Instead, the struggle to stay afloat in an ocean of junk made permission-based emailers much, much stronger. And this was before the rise of the latest threats to email communication: Facebook, Twitter, smartphones and WhatsApp, etc. According to the latest research, however, email marketing could borrow from Mark Twain’s famous quote: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” The study revealed that a large majority of US adults—72 percent—prefer communication with companies to happen through email. In many ways, customers prefer traditional versus digital tactics, with email being the main exception. Email was unique among digital channels. In fact, it was the only digital channel to outperform old media standbys: postal mail (preferred by 48 percent), television ads (34 percent) and print media, such as magazines and newspapers (31 percent). For example, only 11 percent of people preferred mobile apps and just seven percent preferred online video ads. Across every demographic, email was the most popular channel. There were, as you would expect, variations on channel preferences among different demographic groups.
For example, 64 percent of those 55+ preferred postal mail and 41 percent in that cohort preferred print media, while 38 percent of people ages 18-54 preferred postal mail and 24 percent preferred print media. Across almost every demographic surveyed, however, email was the preferred way to communicate with companies. The only exception was females 65 or older: 64 percent prefer email and 65 percent prefer postal mail. Males aged 35-44 were the biggest fans, with 87 percent preferring email as their favorite channel. The more things change…

Have smartphone users abandoned PCs and laptops?
The answer is: not entirely. It depends on the user’s purpose: checking email? Or researching products before purchase? A new study from Millward Brown Digital reveals that for low-attention tasks, most people prefer smartphones. But the same people prefer a laptop or PC as task-time investment increases. Unsurprisingly, consumer tolerance for tasks on smartphones falls off sharply after a five-minute threshold. Eighty-one percent prefer to complete five-minute tasks via smartphones. That number drops to 43 percent for tasks that take 10-20 minutes. So a customer who researches water treatment dealer websites is likely to prefer searching and printing out pages on a PC. Are PCs and laptops dinosours? Well, not exactly. And the answer depends, in part, on the age of the user. Seventy-one percent of baby boomers still prefer using a PC or laptop for most tasks; 67 percent of GenX users and even 58 percent of Millennials still use PCs or laptops. In other words, younger users are more smartphone-centric, while a majority of consumers across generations still rely on laptops or PCs. The more things change…

Optimize your website for mobile devices
While PC and laptop users will still conduct lengthy searches, their numbers will decline, making it necessary for you to optimize your site for mobile. Don’t wait! Smartphones and tablets have already become an integral part of web life. A study in Forbes predicts that 87 percent of all sales on Internet-connected devices by 2017 will be on tablets and smartphones. Going forward you need to ensure that your website responds as well, if not better, on mobile devices as it does on standard desktop and laptop displays. You need to have an alternate mobile version of your site or at least a responsive design, which means that your site translates well when accessed on a tablet or smartphone. Pages also need to load as quickly as possible. If potential customers don’t get a user-friendly experience when visiting your site on a mobile device, they’re likely to jump ship in a hurry. The more things change…

Google: still the number-one search engine
Ten years ago, Google was the number-one search engine. Today, it enjoys an even wider margin of success and usability. If you haven’t done so already, establish a pay-per-click marketing program on Google; make it a mainstay of your lead-generation program. The more things change, the more they stay the same…
Getting ready for WQA Aquatech USA hasn’t changed. Some timeless tips are in order, as you look ahead to April’s big industry show in Las Vegas, NV:
•    Eat light and rest up for a few days prior to the show.
•    Pack comfortable shoes, wear business- casual clothing and remember you are there to represent your business.
•    Allow enough room in your suitcase(s) for bringing back more than you take. This includes literature, freebies and product samples.
•    Some exhibitors provide bags, but come prepared by bringing a comfortable carry-all for all that literature.
•    An updated show guide will probably be provided when you arrive. Take some time to revise your plan if necessary.
•    Make sure your badge is in plain sight at all times for networking opportunities.
•    If possible, request literature and samples be mailed instead of having to carry them with you.
•    Have a pen and notebook ready for notes and use business cards to jot down information on the back.
•    Take advantage of show specials, discounts and sales where they are truly bargains and needed.
•    Keep track of orders placed so you’ll stay within your budget.
•    Take a break after a few hours to refresh, have a snack and get some fresh air.
•    If you have a problem you’d like to solve, come prepared with questions you need answered.
•    To maximize time spent with vendors, be direct and assertive when communicating.
• If you get caught by a long-winded sales person, don’t be afraid to politely interrupt them and remind them you have a lot more to see at the show.
• Take advantage of networking opportunities with people who do the same thing you do for a living to share ideas and industry knowledge.
• Leave the show a little early to avoid long lines for buses and cabs.
And don’t forget to have fun!

About the author
S David H. Martin is President of Lenzi Martin Marketing, Oak Park, IL, a firm specializing in water improvement and environmental marketing that integrates old and new media. He can be reached at (708) 848-8404 or by email at dmartin@lenzimartin.com

Global Spotlight

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

WQA’s Education & Professional Certification Department reminds WQA members that the deadline to become professionally certified is through textbook-only learning is April 30. The Modular Education Program (MEP) will completely replace text books on May 1. WQA Aquatech USA 2015 attendees will have opportunities to test-drive MEP at special stations in the exposition hall.

The Florida Water Quality Association’s annual 2015 Convention and Trade Show is scheduled for June 11-13 in Orlando, FL, not June 4-6 as reported previously.


North America

WQA news roundup

A 2013 lawsuit over a cross-connection issue has drawn attention to Colorado’s Senate Bill 13-162­­­­­, which allows only licensed plumbers to install water softeners and water treatment devices and requires all plumbing contractors to employ at least one full-time master plumber. SB 13-162 was passed without any consultation with the Colorado WQA or the water treatment industry, resulting in several complaints being filed with the state plumbing council and several enforcement actions taken against Colorado WQA members. For the past four months, Colorado WQA and WQA staff held meetings with state officials and other stakeholders to address the issues with the current law. The associations are working on a strategy to address the issues posed by SB 13-162 and have hired a Denver public relations firm to represent the associations at the state’s capitol for the current legislative session. All members who are interested in supporting Colorado WQA’s efforts are encouraged to contact their President, Dean Lewis, at (303) 660-9093.

The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) and WQA announced WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-802: Sustainable Activated Carbon Media for Drinking Water Treatment has been officially recognized by ANSI as an American National Standard. It is a business-to-business standard that focuses on the sustainability of the raw activated carbon used in drinking water filter systems. Products that are certified as meeting the requirements of WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-802 are eligible to bear the WQA Sustainability Mark in recognition of passing the rigorous assessment of sustainable production practices that must be adopted by the manufacturer of these products. To download a copy of the standard, visit www.aspe.org. To apply for certification, contact WQA Sustainability Certification Supervisor Stuart Mann at smann@wqa.org or (630) 929-2546.

Survey; Americans should drink more water

The vast majority of consumers see water as a smart beverage choice and consider bottled water to be healthier than soft drinks, according to newly released findings from a 2014 survey conducted online by Harris Poll of more than 2,000 US adults 18 years and older for the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). The poll’s conclusions reflect healthy hydration trends that are driving annual bottled sales and consumption increases, and make it clear why the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) says that bottled water is on course to become the number-one packaged beverage in America by 2016. According to the survey, 96 percent of Americans believe that we should be drinking more water; 95 percent believe that bottled water is a healthier beverage choice than soft drinks and 86 percent of consumers already buy bottled water, most often from grocery stores (73 percent) or big-box retailers (43 percent).

Paragon expansion announced
wcp_globalnews_march2015_01

wcp_globalnews_march2015_02Paragon Water Systems, Inc. announced the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art, 180,000-square-foot facility located in Zhongshan China. The expansion will support current and future planned capacity growth, strengthen the company’s manufacturing capabilities, improve lead times and enhance its ability to serve its clients.

 

Temperature an important testing element

In a recent announcement, National Testing Laboratories’ (NTL) Director of Business Development Marianne Metzger noted that the northern United States may experience some pretty treacherous weather, which increases the possibility of water main breaks and pipes bursting and wreaking havoc. Pipes and mains are affected more so in colder weather due to the expansion and contraction of the pipe material, making it weaker; even a 10°-change in the temperature of air or water can cause significant stress on the pipes, leading to approximately 250,000 US water main breaks every year, which equates to 685 breaks per day. If UV light is part of consumers’ water treatment equipment, they may correctly assume it will take care of problems resulting from breaks. Homeowners with other types of treatment, however, may be faced with additional maintenance; a simple bacteria test after maintenance would help reassure customers. Metzger also noted that temperature can be a critical factor as it can impact biological as well as chemical contaminants. Warmer temperatures can lead to a higher incidence of bacteria, as many coliforms thrive in warmer waters; however, in cooler areas, bacteria can adapt and grow in colder temperatures. Additionally, temperature also affects chemical solubility and, in terms of groundwater, warmer temperatures can lead to higher total dissolved solids or conductivity. Measuring pH in the field is a good idea, as most pH meters have thermometers built in. For more comprehensive information, contact Metzger via email, Marianne.metzger@ntllabs.com or phone, (800) 458-3330, ext 217.

NGWA leads study of private-water well owner outreach for CDC

The National Ground Water Association is leading an effort to study the effectiveness of public awareness outreach to private-water well owners for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The goal is to better understand which elements of public outreach are effective in motivating well owners to act in ways that protect their water quality and health. Under a $78,358 (USD) CDC grant, NGWA’s project has two major parts: 1) an extensive literature search and analysis by the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Public Health to distill what published literature reveals about effective outreach to water well owners and 2) interviews by NGWA and WQA with managers of well-owner outreach programs to learn from their perspectives and experiences. OSU is currently in the process of doing its literature search and analysis. The interviews are expected to take place in the spring.

Recycled-water filling stations in some CA cities

As one more step to conserve precious drinking water, San José’s Environmental Services Department is making recycled water from its South Bay Water Recycling (SBWR) system available at truck fill stations for three approved uses: construction trucks that spray water to keep down dust at construction sites, city trucks that perform sewer cleanouts and street sweeping trucks that mist the street surface as they sweep. City staff have expanded the use of recycled water to help save drinking water. The use of recycled water is regulated by the state. SBWR is San José’s recycled water wholesaler, serving San José, Santa Clara and Milpitas through retailers who deliver recycled water for approved uses, including commercial and civic irrigation; industrial cooling towers; flushing toilets in dual-plumbed commercial buildings and now, water-truck uses. Seven recycled water filling stations are now operational in San José, five in the Milpitas area and one in Santa Clara is expected to open sometime in 2015.

IAPMO news

The US Virgin Islands has formally adopted the 2012 Uniform Solar Energy Code (USEC) and Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa and Hot Tube Code (USPSHTC), American National Standards developed and published by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). The provisions of these codes apply to the erection, installation, alteration, repair, relocation, replacement, addition to or maintenance of any solar energy, hydronic heating/cooling, swimming pool, spa or hot tub system. The 2009 and 2012 editions were produced using a consensus process similar to the one used to develop the Uniform Plumbing Code® and Uniform Mechanical Code®. IAPMO’s Uniform Evaluation Service (UES) has entered into a cooperative agreement with Certified Testing Laboratories (CTL) for the development and maintenance of evaluation reports, with CTL performing the corresponding product testing. CTL clients may choose to have their products recognized in the form of a Uniform Evaluation Report. Products recognized under UES have successfully undergone evaluation based on applicable requirements within the International Family of Codes, as well as codes published by other entities.

Call to action: source water protection

The Source Water Collaborative  (SWC)—made up of 22 national organizations, including NGWA—issued its call to action, A Recommitment to Assessing and Protecting Sources of Drinking Water, in late December in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. To accomplish its vision, SWC recommends the following key actions: update/improve source water assessments and protection plans to prioritize risks and actions, by leveraging new data and tools; take priority actions to protect sources of drinking water, working with key partners and coordinate, plan and communicate in advance with key upstream partners, as well as within water utilities to help ensure that rapid emergency notification is provided to facilitate activation of mitigation measures. To see a full copy, visit ww.sourcewatercollaborative.org/wp-content/themes/sm-swc/img/SWC-calltoaction-v11.pdf.

Middle East

Desal plant in Israel sets world record

IDE Technologies’ seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant in Ashkelon, Israel recently reached a world record of producing and delivering one billion m3 of high-quality tap water since its 2005 start of operation. When completed, it was the world’s largest and most advanced desalination plant, with a capacity of up to 330,000 m3 per day. The plant ultimately expanded by approximately 20 percent in 2010. During the last nine years, the plant has consistently addressed the water needs of more than one million people.

Africa

Monitoring technology launched in Rwanda

Living Water International announced it is bringing new, real-time monitoring technology to community leaders in Rwanda as part of a large-scale water sustainability program. The 501(c)(3) organization is using technology developed by Portland State University and SweetSense, Inc., which uses specialized water pump sensors and cell-phone data to expedite water-pump maintenance. Nearly 200 sensors have been installed on rural hand pumps to date. The pilot program in Rwanda is part of Living Water’s work in 23 countries and its mission to provide water, for life, to the 748 million people who lack access to improved water.

Asia

AWWA office opened in India

American Water Works Association announced it will establish its first International Community when it opens an office this spring in India. In addition to opening an office, a soon-to-be-named executive manager’s initial focus will be on building a community of water professionals who collaborate to support public health, environmental protection and best-management practices. AWWAIndia will also develop training for operators and managers. CEO David LaFrance, President John Donahue and Past President Nilaksh Kothari have met with various groups and government entities in India. 

 

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People

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Rogers appointed to IAPMO management position

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO®) has hired Brian Rogers as Field Services Manager for Region 4, responsible for IAPMO’s interests in the midwestern states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. A 20-year veteran of the trades, he has enjoyed a varied career, splitting his time as a superintendent, inspector, contractor and instructor. After completing his plumbing apprenticeship with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 125 (Cedar Rapids, IA), Rogers worked for Omega Plumbing, then served as superintendent for Bowker Mechanical Contractors, working on large commercial, industrial, school and hospital projects. In 2000, he accepted a full-time plumbing instructor position at Local 125 JATC and held that position until 2007, returning to contracting as a service manager and project manager with AAA Mechanical Contractors and Pike Pro Inc., respectively. He holds a master license in plumbing, hydronics, refrigeration and HVAC, and is a certified medical-gas installer and backflow technician.

Yerkes appointed to NSF General Manager position

NSF International has appointed Tina Yerkes, PhD, to General Manager of Filtration Products under its Global Water Division. She will help NSF International grow its testing, auditing and certification services for POU/POE drinking water treatment and filtration products. Dr. Yerkes has more than 20 years of experience in strategic business-unit operations with an emphasis on water quality issues, wetlands conservation and environmental education. She has held leadership positions at non-profit organizations, most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of The Stewardship Network and also spent more than 12 years in management roles at Ducks Unlimited, culminating in Director of Conservation Programs. She earned her doctoral degree in zoology with an emphasis on wetlands and waterfowl from the University of Manitoba, a Master’s Degree in ecology and chemistry from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s Degree in biology and psychology from the University of Maryland. She has also completed executive education programs at Harvard Business School.

Baliva named CWQA Program Manager

CanadianWQA President Aaron Biffert announced Anne Baliva has joined CWQA as Program Manager reporting to the Board of Directors. She will assist in managing, coordinating, planning and providing support to the board and various committees. Baliva has over five years of association management experience, recently working at the Water Environment Association of Ontario. She recently received her Certified Association Executive designation from the Canadian Society of Association Executives. Baliva can be reached by email at a.baliva@cwqa.com.

Ellison named IDE regional director

IDE Technologies announced its US expansion with a new office in Texas with Mark Ellison as a Regional Director of sales. He brings years of management and economic development experience in the water industry. Previously having served as Manager of Strategic Water Initiatives for Governor Rick Perry, Ellison is well-positioned to increase awareness and sales of IDE’s water desalination and industrial water treatment solutions throughout Texas. He also previously served as Special Advisor for Economic Development at the Texas Water Development Board.

NGWA CEO named to federal committee; directors and officers for 2015 announced

National Ground Water Association CEO Kevin McCray, CAE, has been appointed to the federal Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee, which is under the US Department of Commerce. The committee is charged with developing actionable recommendations to improve the export competitiveness of environmental technologies. In addition to representing NGWA, McCray will represent the trade association segment of the nation’s environmental technology sector. His appointment is effective immediately and runs through August 18, 2016. NGWA’s 2015 national and divisional boards feature a number of new officers and directors. Heading the national board is Richard Thron, MGWC, of Mantyla Well Drilling Inc. An NGWA member for 30 years, he has served on the boards of both NGWA and the Minnesota Water Well Association as well as on numerous committees for both associations. Thron started working at Mantyla Well Drilling, his father’s business, after completing a four-year stint in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War. Other new officers for the national board are: President-Elect Jeffrey W. Williams, MGWC, CVCLD, Spafford & Sons Water Wells; Secretary David Henrich, CWD/PI, CVCLD, Bergerson-Caswell Inc.; Treasurer Ronnie Hensley, Gicon Pumps and Equipment Ltd.; VP, Scientists and Engineers Division, Robert P. Schreiber, PE, BCEE, D.WRE, CDM Smith Inc.; VP, Contractors Division, Todd E. Hunter, CWD/PI, Ground Water Pump Systems; VP, Manufacturers Division, Paul Eberhardt, Western Rubber & Mfg.; VP Suppliers Division, Ron Brillhart, Johnston Supply Inc. and Past President Griffin Crosby Jr., CWD/PI, Crosby Well Drilling Inc. Three new national directors as well as new members of NGWA’s Contractors Division Board include: Patrick Casarez, Patrick Water Well Pump Repair Service; Brian Snelten, PG, Layne Christensen and David Traut, MGWC, CVCLD, Mark J. Traut Wells Inc.

AWWA President-elect, VPs announced

The American Water Works Association Board of Directors elected Jeanne Bennett-Bailey as the next President-elect and chose four new vice presidents and one new director-at-large. An AWWA member since 1990, Bennett-Bailey is the Public Affairs Officer for Fairfax (VA) Water. Currently Chair of the AWWA Public Affairs Council, she received the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2014. Bennett-Bailey begins her new role in June 2015 and will serve her one-year term beginning in June 2016. A graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, she holds many leadership positions within AWWA, including member of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, the Utility Quality Management Committee and the Diversity and Member Inclusion Committee. The four new VPs are Steve Dennis, who has served as Section Chair, as a member of the executive committee and governing board, and on various committees; Jon Eaton, Minnesota Section member for over 20 years and Superintendent of utilities at the City of Eagan, MN; Martha Segal, notable at the Kentucky/Tennessee Section for founding and chairing the section’s Diversity Committee and Assistant Director at Metro Water Services in Nashville, TN and Brian Steglitz, a Director at the Michigan Section and active on numerous committees at the association level. He received the Raymond J. Faust Award for Outstanding Personal Service the Water Supply Field from the Section in 2013. Sally Mills-Wright was elected as Director-at-large. From the Texas Section, she is the Water Treatment Manager at the City of Arlington’s Water Utilities Division. Mills-Wright has been particularly active in bringing veterans into the water profession as part of the AWWA Water Sector Veterans’ Workforce Initiative.

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