Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

North America: De Nora certification announced

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

De Nora Water Technologies announced it has achieved NSF/ANSI 61 certification for its ClorTec® T Series On-Site Sodium Hypochlorite Generation System (OSHGS). Testing and review by NSF confirmed that contaminants that could migrate or leach from the product into drinking water were below the maximum levels allowed to be considered safe. Compliance to this health standard is required by most government agencies that regulate drinking water supplies and applies to water-supply components made, sold or distributed in the US.

WQA and Music City: A Conference Filled with Local Delights

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By Denise M. Roberts

As 2,600 visitors from 38 different countries quickly realized, Nashville, TN is a fun place to hold an annual convention! The sheer volume of activity in close proximity to the event was enough to make people wonder how they could take it all in, especially in a short time frame. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that people will be willing to return to Music City, just to catch up on all they missed while conducting business.

During the conference, there was a large selection of must-see presentations, seminars, classes and of course, the exhibition itself. While some people noted that distance between rooms where presentations where held and the exhibition floor was somewhat far, it didn’t appear to dampen the enthusiasm very much. The presentations and classes appeared to be well attended, some more than others as usual, but members were certainly taking advantage of everything that was offered.

Business first

During the Opening General Session, President Bret P. Tangley passed the gavel to incoming president Donald K. McGhee, MWS. Robert Maisner, Stephen Ver Strat and Chris Wilker will assume the roles of Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. Sam Karge of Pentair Residential Filtration retired from WQA’s Board of Governors. Scott Clawson, Culligan International Company, will join as a governor-at-large. McGhee, a long-time WQA volunteer, will serve as the Association President through March 2017. He is the principal of Hydro Systems Inc. of Harlingen, TX and a managing partner at Turbidex®/Hydro Source, LLC. McGhee, who has a strong passion for water quality issues, also serves on WQA’s Board of Governors, the Texas WQA Board of Directors, and the Rio Grande and South Central Regional Water Planning Groups of the Texas Water Development Board. During his presidency, McGhee aspires to elevate WQA’s position as a resource to consumers affected by water quality crises such as Flint, MI.

It was also announced that Pauli Undesser will become the Executive Director of WQA in January 2017. She has been involved in an intensive mentorship program and will continue that pursuit as she prepares to assume the extensive responsibilities of the new position. Three new candidates (Michael R. Long, MWS; Jeffrey B. Hill, MWS and Kelly Johnson, CWS) were announced for the Board of Directors, joining Pete Chermak, Clack Corporation; Toby Thomas, Kinetico Incorporated; Chris Wilker, EcoWater Systems; Knut Sauerbier, Brita GmbH and Michael Kinney, MWS of Portasoft of Morris County, NJ. All will serve three-year terms. John Packard of the Culligan Soft Water Service Company also announced that he will be stepping down after 13 years as President of the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF). Edward P. ‘Ned’ Jones III of Gordon Brothers Inc. will succeed Packard. It was a moment tinged by both sadness and expectation in which the attendees felt compelled to honor Packard with a standing ovation.

Awards galore

WQA bestowed Leadership Awards on 10 members. The Hall of Fame Award was presented to Darwin Watts, MWS, SEAS Capital Partners. Michael Mecca, Performance Water Products was honored with the Lifetime Membership Award. The Key Award was presented to Scott Clawson while Gregory Reyneke, MWS, Red Fox Advisors was honored with the Ray Cross Award. Two Regents Awards were presented, to Jeffrey B. Hill, MWS, Robert B. Hill Co. and Larry Casey, of Aqua Science. Awards of Merit were presented to Michael O. Hanson, MWS, Sterling Water, Inc. dba Culligan and Michael Schaefer, PE, MWS, of Culligan Soft Water Service Co. Guy De Mol of Pentair Water Quality Systems, Paris, France received the International Award of Merit and an Honorary Membership Award was presented to Michael Sennett from Jones Day.

Eight WQA members earned President’s Club honors for their recruitment efforts, having recruited three or more new members into the association within a one-year period: Alex Duffine of Duff Company; Daina Grace, TWQA; Douglas Haring, MWS, CI, CSR, Clack Corporation; Kurt C. Peterson of WC&P International; Nicole A. Reisdorfer, Allied Purchasing Company; Greg Reyneke; Michael J. Urbans, Res-Kem General Water and Margaret A. Wichmann (Lenox, MA). Special awards were presented to Margaret A. Wichmann (Golden Circle Award for 50 new members in her lifetime) and Daina Grace (Master Craftsman Award for 20 members). Alex Duffine and Greg Reyneke were granted Builder Awards in recognition of recruiting their third WQA member. The top recruiting team for 2015-2016 included Denise Heskett-Al-Kharusy, MWS, of KDF Fluid Treatment, Inc.; Shanna Bucki of Aqua Finance, Inc.; Alex Duffine; Buzz Goldstein, MWS, of Charger Water Treatment Products, LLC; Daina Grace; Cindy Gresham, CWS, of Thermax, Inc.; Kurt C. Peterson and Nicole A. Reisdorfer.

Following the WQA business meeting and getting everyone’s attention immediately was motivational speaker Chester Elton. And was his performance valuable. He presented the stick-and-carrot approach with a real stick and many bunches of carrots. Luckily, no one was injured as he tossed the carrots to those who correctly answered questions. Elton’s enthusiasm was as infectious as his smile, prompting many to take part in his interactive antics. It was a very well-received part of the conference, one which many will remember for a long time.

New education programs rolled out

Water treatment professionals who specialize in the repair of water quality improvement products can now earn a Certified Service Technician (CST) designation from WQA by completing the service training curriculum in the Modular Education Program and passing the necessary examination. This training curriculum focuses on troubleshooting a treatment system based on its application, obtaining the necessary water tests for analyses and correcting equipment problems. WQA Professional Certification & Training also unveiled new, accelerated paths to professional certification. Experienced water treatment personnel can now earn professional designations in less time by enrolling in MEP and choosing to participate in the accelerated route. Successful completion of the Basics Assessment test is required for all accelerated paths.

Be sure to join us for the 2016 WQA Mid-Year Leadership Conference in Newport, RI, September 30-October 1. If we don’t see you there, we’ll look for you in Orlando, FL, for the 2017 WQA Convention & Exposition, March 28-31. Until we meet again, keep your options open, your training up to date and keep the industry moving in the right direction.

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Elizabethkingia: a Deadly and Emerging Pathogen Potentially Linked to Water

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

Very little is known about the emerging pathogen, Elizabethkingia. A sudden increase in cases in the Midwestern region of the US has officials scrambling to identify reservoirs of the bacteria that may contribute to its survival and transmission. So far, there remain more questions than answers.

What is Elizabethkingia?

Elizabethkingia is a bacterium belonging to the family of Flavobacteriacea, which are widespread in nature and thus, commonly found in water, soil, food and clinical samples. Elizabethkingia strains are more commonly found in freshwater and marine environments. The name comes from Elizabeth King, who first identified the bacteria in 1959 while at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Very few studies have been conducted on environmental species as they’ve had rare clinical significance.(1) Previously, the bacteria have been isolated from condensation water. Like the more well-known Legionella bacteria, they have also been associated with internalization in free living amoeba, which may protect them in aqueous environments.

An outbreak is generally defined as at least two cases of illness. In the past, Elizabethkingia infections rarely occurred two at a time and therefore, did not constitute outbreak status. Previous cases were primarily tracked to hospitals where the infection was acquired mostly by the immunocompromised from exposure in healthcare facilities. Infections typically occur in the blood stream and more rarely in the respiratory system or joints. Symptoms include headache, fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, joint pain and skin infection (cellulitis). Some species also cause serious neonatal infections resulting in meningitis and sepsis. Most patients are over the age of 65 and suffer from at least one underlying serious condition that weakens their immunity and increases their vulnerability to infections of all types. Treating Elizabethkingia infections can be difficult as it is resistant to some antimicrobial treatments. Isolates have been found that are multidrug-resistant; however, effective treatments and treatment combinations have been identified, improving the outcomes for infected patients.

A deadly outbreak in Wisconsin

Recently something shifted in the epidemiology of Elizabethkingia. An outbreak was documented in the US beginning in Wisconsin. While illnesses had been documented previously, they were typically healthcare-acquired and at a low, randomly dispersed rate of five to 10 cases per year. Suddenly a strain of Elizabethkingia anopheles was identified in 59 confirmed illness cases, with four more possible victims. Of these cases, 19 resulted in death (18 confirmed and one suspected case)(2). The highly fatal infections in Wisconsin were not hospital-acquired but rather from a community-acquired source. One commonality is that victims of the current outbreak are also generally immunocompromised (i.e., elderly or suffering from chronic illnesses) and more vulnerable to infections. The E. anopheles species from the Wisconsin outbreak is somehow associated with mosquitoes. The bacteria was first isolated from the gut of the Anopheles gambiae mosquito in 2011.(3) Experts still do not know, however, if mosquitoes play a role in transmission of the bacteria. Related strains to the Wisconsin outbreak have also been confirmed in Michigan and Illinois.

Investigating causes

So how did this bacteria suddenly emerge? No one really knows why Elizabethkingia cases have suddenly increased. As of press time, environmental sources of the Wisconsin outbreak have not been identified. The first cases were reported around November 2015, which prompted a CDC investigation in January 2016. According to the CDC, this is the first E. anopheles outbreak they have investigated. Evidence surrounding the outbreak, including the genetic relatedness of the outbreak strain among those infected, suggests a common source of exposure. Therefore, experts naturally suspected a waterborne route of transmission but patients in the current outbreak are from 13 different counties, including: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Jefferson, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sauk, Sheboygan, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago, served by as many drinking water sources, including private wells.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Division of Public Health and the CDC are conducting interviews with patients and their families to try and find clues related to their behaviors or possible exposures in food, water or other suspected environments. So far, investigations show no common source of residence, healthcare delivery or personal products (i.e., skin care products or over-the-counter medications) among the infected, nor does the infection seem to spread to other family members. Person-to-person contact does not seem likely given that infected patients remain positive for the bacteria on their skin and in their throat even after they feel well again and nose and throat swabs of close family contacts have been negative.

A new strain kills in Illinois

As of April 20, no more cases have been reported related to the Wisconsin outbreak. There is a new cluster of cases, however, emerging in Illinois. These new cases are from a genetically distinct strain of the Elizabethkingia bacteria. In the Illinois outbreak, 10 people have been infected, resulting in six deaths. Similar to Wisconsin, most had other underlying health conditions.(4) Representatives from the CDC indicate that additional cases may not be due to a true incidence increase but rather to better reporting and increased awareness of Elizabethkingia. While this may be true, the fact that we missed outbreaks before should be equally alarming.

Preventing transmission

For now, health officials say the general public should not be concerned. Infection rates are still very low. The high mortality rate (approximately one third) in the infected, however, is troubling. The CDC recommends that people wash their hands as the primary precaution for Elizabethkingia prevention. Until the transmission path is identified, recommendations for control will remain vague. Healthcare providers should be on the alert to recognize infections so that they can be treated quickly and with the proper medications for optimum outcomes.

Although a water-based route has not been found, elements of the current outbreaks are consistent with other pathogens where an environmentally ubiquitous organism (common to soil and water) colonizes water supplies and targets the immunocompromised. The stories of Legionella, Mycobacterium and Psuedomonas are similar. A more conservative approach is to acknowledge that until tap water is ruled out as a source, we must still consider the benefits of POU/POE treatments effective for bacterial removal.


  1. Dworkin, M.; Falkow, S.; Rosenberg, E.; Schleifer, K.-H. and Stackebrandt, E. Eds., The Prokaryotes. New York, NY: Springer New York, 2006.
  2. ProMED, “Elizabethkingia anophelis-USA (12): (Wisconsin, Illinois) fatal, community acquired,” ProMED Digest, Vol. 46, No. 58, 21-Apr-2016.
  3. Kämpfer, P.; Matthews, H.; Glaeser, S.P.; Martin, K.; Lodders, N. and Faye, I. “Elizabethkingia anophelis sp. nov., isolated from the midgut of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae,” Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol., Vol. 61, No. Pt 11, pp. 2670–5, Nov. 2011.
  4. llinois-CNN.com, CNN, 2016. [Online]. Available: www.cnn.com/2016/04/20/health/elizabethkingia-illinois-cluster/. [Accessed: 21-Apr-2016].

About the author

Reynolds_Kelly_mugDr. 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 at reynolds@u.rizona.edu

UV System Standards

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By Rick Andrew

UV systems are successfully employed across a range of water treatment applications, from pools and spas, to municipal water treatment, to POU and POE. In each case, the purpose of the UV system is to disinfect the water. Each of these end uses, however, brings with it nuances in terms of specific system characteristics to be considered and addressed. Given this broad range of end uses and the specific concerns associated with the use of UV in them, there are multiple NSF/ANSI standards that address UV systems with various requirements.

Different standards for various end uses

Following is an overview of each of the NSF/ANSI standards that address UV systems and some of the scope and main focus addressed by each of them with respect to UV systems. See Figure 1 for a brief summary.
May2016_Andrew Figure 1

NSF/ANSI 50. This standard covers materials, components, products, equipment and systems related to public and residential recreational water-facility operation. It includes a broad range of requirements for UV systems used as supplemental treatment for recreational water with primary disinfection. This range includes requirements for safety of materials, cleanability, design pressure, flow control, performance indication, user instructions, operational protection, life testing, hydrostatic pressure resistance and supplemental disinfection performance.

There are requirements for systems with claims of Cryptosporidium inactivation applicable only to those systems with such claims. These systems must demonstrate supplemental disinfection performance through 3-log reduction of bacteria when tested according to the method specified by the standard. E. faecium and P. aeruginosa are used for this testing. The systems are installed on a test apparatus containing a volume of water such that a minimum of five turnovers of water through the UV system in 30 minutes is achieved when operating. The UV system and test apparatus are operated and samples are collected after each system turnover until the required turnovers have been completed. After each, a minimum of 3-log reduction must be achieved as demonstrated by analysis of the collected samples.

Additionally, NSF/ANSI 50 includes requirements for those UV systems that are intended to inactivate Cryptosporidium in a recreational water application. These systems must achieve 3-log reduction in a single pass of treatment.

NSF/ANSI 55. This standard covers UV water treatment systems and components for POU and POE applications. It addresses the safety of materials in contact with drinking water through extraction testing and toxicological assessment of extraction testing results. The standard includes requirements for structural integrity of UV systems to assure that they will not leak when installed in plumbing systems. Clear user instructions conveying installation and operation requirements and user responsibility are required.

It also includes requirements for UV disinfection claims for two different classes: A and B. Class A systems are intended for disinfection purposes to inactivate pathogens. A UV dosage of 40 mJ/cm2 is required, along with a flow restrictor to prevent excess flowrates and a UV sensor and alarm. The UV dosage is determined at the highest achievable flowrate with UV-absorbing material (parahydroxybenzoic acid, PHBA) added until the alarm is activated or until UV transmissivity is reduced to 70 percent, whichever has lower UV transmissivity.

Class B systems are designed for supplemental bactericidal treatment of disinfected public drinking water or other drinking water that has been tested and deemed acceptable for human consumption by the state or local health agency having jurisdiction. A UV dosage of 16 mJ/cm2 is required, along with a flow restrictor to prevent excess flowrates. The UV dosage is determined at the highest achievable flowrate with PHBA added until the UV transmissivity is reduced to 70 percent.

NSF/ANSI 61. This standard is intended to cover specific materials or products that come into contact with drinking water. The standard focuses on safety of materials in contact with drinking water through extraction testing and toxicological evaluation of the extraction testing results. NSF/ANSI 61 does not address structural integrity, disinfection efficacy or any other product performance-related attributes. In addition to the extraction testing and toxicological assessment, NSF/ANSI 61 requires conformance of the product to NSF/ANSI 372, which is described below.

NSF/ANSI 372. This standard applies to any drinking water system component that conveys or dispenses water for human consumption through drinking or cooking. It addresses lead content requirements consistent with US federal and state regulations. The standard requires that products intended for contact with water for human consumption must be designed and constructed such that the weighted average lead content in the materials and components in contact with water is 0.25 percent or less. As such, it includes methods for measuring and calculating the weighted average lead content.

Similarities and differences

One common theme throughout these standards, regardless of end use, is the requirement for material safety. For drinking water applications, safety of materials is of paramount importance. This is reflected especially in NSF/ANSI 372 and NSF/ANSI 61, which are solely focused on attributes of material safety in terms of contaminant leaching and lead content, respectively. NSF/ANSI 55 also has a primary focus on material safety, even though it is not focused on drinking water but rather water used for swimming and recreation. It includes detailed requirements regarding safety of materials in contact with water.

Disinfection efficacy is a major focus of both NSF/ANSI 50 and NSF/ANSI 55. These end uses in recreational water and POU/POE water treatment involve UV systems amenable to disinfection efficacy testing in a laboratory. These end uses also involve installations in situations where there is less monitoring of system performance by users with less formal training and understanding than for applications such as treatment of public water supplies. So, it is both more reasonably achievable and also more important to include disinfection efficacy requirements in NSF/ANSI 50 and NSF/ANSI 55 for recreational and POU/POE UV systems as opposed to NSF/ANSI 61 for UV systems used in public water supplies.

That said, there are certainly federal regulations related to use of UV systems for treatment of surface water and groundwater under the influence of surface water that could be incorporated into product standards. Specifically, the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2)—supported by the Ultraviolet Disinfection Guidance Manual (UVDGM) as a guide for utilities, UV equipment manufacturers and engineering consultants in the application of the LT2 rules—could be used to determine standard requirements for UV systems used for treatment of public water supplies. There is currently an early stage effort underway at NSF to do just this and create NSF/ANSI 420 Public Drinking Water Equipment Performance–Ultraviolet at some point in the future.

One technology—multiple standards

A challenge faced by manufacturers, users, code officials, inspectors and certification bodies is to understand the vast landscape of product standards. Here we see how one technology, used for the same broad application of water treatment, but slightly different end uses (such as recreational versus POU/POE versus public water supply) has four standards to be considered for potential applicability, with another one in the works. One can imagine how this landscape becomes even more difficult to navigate when considering international implications and requirements. There are certainly valid reasons underlying the existence and value of these multiple standards, so it is not likely that this landscape will become rationalized with fewer standards over time. Rather we must continue to educate and be educated so we can understand the landscape and successfully find our pathways through it.

About the author

Andrew_Rick_mugRick 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

Going Bottleless Reduces Carbon Emissions

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By Donna Kreutz

May2016_DP info boxAustin Veach started in the water business at age 13 and established his own company—Office H2O—just before graduating from college in Indiana. Six months later, Waterlogic named his firm Rookie of the Year as its fastest growing dealer in 2015.

“I initially became involved in the industry through my father’s startup back in 2005. I was riding along to ‘help’ with installations and filter changes. Needless to say I wasn’t much help, but that was how my love for this business all got started.” Veach’s father Rick and his partner Mike Nelson grew their start-up water conditioning company, Pure Water Technology, to 10 offices before selling it in 2011. Other than ride-alongs with his dad as a kid, Veach’s sole water industry experience was a summer internship. “Dad is partial owner of a finance company now and works with POU dealers like me to help them grow.”

“I have remained in this industry because of the impact that bottled water has on the environment,” said Veach. “Plastic water bottles are made from oil: 17 million barrels a year, actually. By going bottleless, we can reduce the amount of carbon emissions entering our atmosphere.

Rick and Austin Veach

Rick and Austin Veach

Bottleless coolers eliminate plastic bottles by using the latest water filtration and purification technologies to transform already available tap water. This multi-stage process removes particulates like dirt and rust, along with lead, chlorine and other harmful chemicals.” He said more than 70 percent of Office H2O customers have switched to this earth-friendly bottleless water solution. Cutting down on every customer’s plastic is one form of motivation. Getting to meet new people every day is another benefit,” he said. Quality is one of his key selling strategies. “Most individuals who make decisions regarding their vendors are looking for the cheapest option. After I explain that you get what you pay for and demonstrate the benefits, we offer a free trial to show the customer why they should upgrade.”

Does your water cooler do ice?

“In the water world, there’s an ice product, a water/ice combo unit that provides hot and cold water on one side and soft, chewable ice on the other. Not many sell it. There’s a lot of maintenance and upkeep to them. But if you have a good service team, you get double what water coolers are worth. We have discovered the demand for ice is there. As long as you provide great service along with the machine, customers are willing to pay more for a product they currently don’t have. Potential clients tell me ‘I’ve got water taken care of.’ Then I ask, ‘Does your water cooler do ice?’ It’s like an epiphany for them. Few people have seen it or marketed it really hard. When we started, we thought this would be 10 to 15 percent of our business. It’s actually between 30 and 35 percent. It’s been a blessing.”

From left: Kevin Billups, Lydia Thacker, Andy Barker and Austin Veach

From left: Kevin Billups, Lydia Thacker, Andy Barker and Austin Veach

Office H2O serves the Indianapolis market along with some customers in Ft. Wayne. “We predominately target the commercial market but there is some spillover into the residential market, which we gladly accept. Customer service is everything to Office H2O, as it takes months to earn a customer and days to lose one if service is lacking. Our customer service has led to a number of referrals that help along with the day-to-day grind of cold calling and meeting with potential customers,” he said.

Another effective sales strategy is offering a free one-week trial. “Basically I explain the benefits of our company versus the competition and offer a one-week free trial. Then employees get involved. If employees really like the water, the company will go for it.” He said nearly 90 percent are converted to customers. “We don’t pick up the units very often. Probably the most difficult sale is creating enough urgency so that someone who is not spending anything on water now will establish a budget and set aside money per month to rent a cooler.” These first-time customers make up about five percent of the business.

From college to start-up

“I’d been around the industry but never quite in it,” Veach said. “I graduated with a business and economics background but had little exposure to running my own business. My last name helped me land an opportunity with one of the largest manufacturers, and the rest is history.” He established the company in March of his senior year, graduated on May 23, 2015 and the next week was laying flooring and knocking out walls for his new office. Office H2O was up and running June 1 as a Waterlogic dealer. “They were the best option and willing give me a shot. They were the first to say, ‘Yes we’ll take you on.’ And I am forever grateful to them.”

Veach started with three employees, two of whom previously worked in the water industry. “Andy Barker is my lead service tech and a partial owner, while Kevin Billups is business development, making phone calls and setting appointments.” Lydia Thacker works remotely but still manages to have her hands in nearly every project. “Her title can’t be determined because she wears too many hats,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing and make the impact we’re making without them. These three got the business off the ground with me.” He’s since added four more employees to the team. “I try hard to do things with them outside of work to build the family bond that a small business should have.”
May2016_DP_VanTraining is very hands on. “We offer employee training in the form of ‘ride days’ to experience a ‘day in the life,’ along with an intensive sales training program that lasts about a week to educate the new hires and prepare them for the day-to-day obstacles. Following the training, I take two days a month to shadow all the account executives to ensure that they are efficient and effective in the field. We believe that independence is important but don’t want a bad habit to occur and cause the account executive to fall into a slump. We review sales strategies every quarter.”

Veach plans to keep the business in the family. “My younger brothers, Cameron and Hayden, both intern with us in the summer and plan to join the business after they graduate from Hanover College,” he said. “Our goal is to service the Midwest, be headquartered out of Indianapolis, work a four-hour radius, then open two more offices in markets we feel have the most potential.”
Veach has an aggressive growth plan, measured by the number of water coolers in service, which totaled 300 by the end of March. He expects that to increase to 775 by year’s end, reach 1,375 coolers by the end of 2017, then continue “all the way up to 3,000 coolers by the end of 2019,” he said. “From there, we will look to expand into neighboring markets, including a prospect list of the Cincinnati/Columbus region in Ohio and the Lexington/Louisville area in Kentucky.”

Ozone – Mother Nature’s Perfect Purifier

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By Donna Kreutz

May2016_EI info boxThree decades ago Cameron Tapp began designing ozone generators in his garage in San Luis Obispo, CA. Marc DeBrum joined Tapp 19 years ago and together, they grew ClearWater Tech. “Cameron was determined to understand the power of the little molecule called ozone. He had an aspiration to provide a ‘green’ product long before the rest of the world new what green was,” said DeBrum, Sales Manager and Applications Engineer. Cameron would build a few generators and take them to the San Francisco Bay Area and sell one, two or three at a time, then come back with the money he made and build a few more. We have one of the first units hanging up in a conference room with a plaque from 1986. Slowly he added in new personnel—other engineers to help him grow his designs.” Tapp was determined to turn out well designed and constructed ozone units that would provide better water disinfection than other alternatives available. He saw that ozone could be Mother Nature’s perfect purifier: an environmentally friendly alternative to chemicals.

Today, Tapp is President of the company and still innovating ozone system designs used around the world. He is a visionary entrepreneur with experience in construction, who studied viticulture in college. “Winemaking is still his passion today—in his time off,” DeBrum said. ClearWater Tech designs, manufactures, sells, installs and services nearly 200,000 units on six continents. The company serves pools, spas, wineries, breweries, ready-to-eat food manufacturers, zoos, aquariums, laundries, resorts, aircraft and other applications. DeBrum learned the business from the ground up. “I’ve held many positions here, from manufacturing to service, working with engineering staff, design, selling, training and sales.” Now he also travels the globe to start up new distributors, install equipment and train service techs.

Slow, steady expansion worldwide

ClearWater Tech expanded slowly and systematically. “Our core philosophy is excellence in design and product development, highly skilled applications engineering and quality manufacturing, followed by technical service and support,” DeBrum said. “Our paramount role is as an innovator and leader in the ozone industry.

“Basically we’ve always gone where the business is, where the customers are asking for the equipment. We provide a great product and great service. People come to us.

“Many have found us through trade shows, ads and also the papers we’ve written. I’ve written for WC&P International and other publications. So has Cameron. This helps us grow the business by showing the reader base that we have the knowledge and the understanding of the process, application and science. This identifies us as a leader in the industry and that’s gone a long way for us.

“Our goal is to see ozone applied correctly, installed correctly and serviced correctly so customers have a product they are happy with that meets their goals. Regardless of whether it’s in Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, Germany or here in the US, our goal as a company is to make sure the customers get what they asked for. Part of that is to question them: what is the problem, what are your goals, what do you want to achieve by installing a system? If filtering is all they need, there may be no need for ozone, so we tell the customer that filtration will do the job. We aim to solve their problem—regardless whether they need our product or not.”

ClearWater Tech is still based in San Luis Obispo, but instead of a garage, the 38 employees operate out of a 17,000-square-foot facility. The company is now part of Aquion, Inc., located in Elk Grove Village, IL, which manufacturers and markets premium water treatment equipment and solutions that serve markets around the world.

Environmentally friendly water treatment

“When we started, our core market was the pool and spa industry: UV ozone. Then we moved on to work with the Water Quality Association, getting involved in problem, potable, drinking and bottled water,” DeBrum said. “Today, our core markets are still pool and spa. Another is commercial laundry. Ozone is used to disinfect linens. Because it works with cold water, it also reduces heating costs, energy use and chemicals. There’s a great return on investment for that market application.”
Ozone (O3) is naturally occurring, another molecular form of oxygen. It is highly reactive and readily breaks down organic matter. DeBrum said, “Ozone is the most powerful oxidizer and disinfectant commercially available that can be safely used in water treatment. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to chemicals. Ozone can oxidize material in water 3,200 times faster than chlorine and and even more so versus bromine.”

Customers like these effective chemical-free solutions

California vintner Ryan Deovlet found the ozone system “a great investment for the winery—fantastic and easy to use for disinfecting tanks, barrels, floor and drains.”
James Magnanti of CaroMont Health (NC) reported that “since installing the ozone system, we have saved $45,000 per year in utility costs, as well as reducing our water consumption by over a million gallons per year. Our linen is cleaner and brighter than ever.”
The former Director of Facilities at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, wrote, “I am a true believer in the power of ozone. Any resort concerned with saving energy and chemical costs has to look at ozone. The great part is we are truly becoming ‘green’ as well.”

ActivTapp, activated oxygen faucet

ActivTapp, activated oxygen faucet

New applications and products

DeBrum said, “Our latest innovations include ozone systems for disinfecting potable water storage vessels onboard commercial aircraft and for agri-food and fish processing. Our newest product is a gorgeous, nickel-plated, high-end kitchen faucet with a built-in ozone system. Now you can have hot and cold water plus ozone disinfection at your fingertips to clean and disinfect fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and poultry, killing bacteria and extending shelf life. The ozone system also can be used to clean surfaces and disinfect the kitchen without any kind of chemicals—you are simply using ozone that reverts to oxygen. The system connects to a small box where the ozone gas is generated. It’s ready to use and there’s nothing to replace or refill. This product came out the middle of last year and is doing very well.”

This new product is also being used in Saigon, Vietnam at a large private school that provides three meals a day to 1,500 children. “We just installed 20 of these units at the school to pre-rinse and pre-clean all the fruits and vegetables for the kids to eat—all disinfected with ozonated water,” DeBrum said. ClearWater Tech partners with the local distributor to provide products to orphanages where disinfection and clean drinking water are needed. A percentage of the product sales support this program.

Looking ahead, DeBrum said, “From an ozone manufacturer’s perspective, the water conditioning industry is looking for new applications and products that are innovative, allow them to add on to their product line and increase revenue. The latest ozone applications for water conditioning are outside the norm, including using ozone to disinfect softeners on backwash, to enhance the function of iron-filtration systems and for indoor air-treatment ozone systems. Under Cameron’s leadership, ClearWater Tech will continue to innovate and design ozone systems that will help promote a healthier lifestyle, promote sustainability through the markets we serve and provide education within the ozone market place. There are a lot of ways ozone can go. The applications out there are vast.”

Cation Exchange, Part 4: Back to the Basics

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By Gary Battenberg

In Part 3, we looked at the combined regeneration sequence of brine and slow rinse for down-flow regeneration of a water softener. We identified the method of brine draw, where brine is injected into the resin bed via a balanced throat and nozzle assembly sized for a specific media tank diameter. This injector assembly regulated the motive flow, which created the partial vacuum to atmosphere that in turn drew the brine solution from the brine tank. We included the math formula to determine the rinse water to brine draw volumes (2/3 to 1/3, respectively) to ensure the required brine strength and contact time to efficiently bathe the resin bed for a full hardness-capacity recovery. This was followed by the slow rinse (or displacement rinse), which displaced most of the brine to approximately one-percent salt in preparation for the fast-rinse cycle. And that is where we will resume in this installment.

Fast rinse

The purpose of the fast rinse is to purge the resin bed of any remaining byproducts of regeneration still present after the brine and slow-rinse cycle and prepare the bed for service. This fast rinse is usually the same flowrate of the backwash that is typically sized for the five to six gpm (18.9 to 22.7 L/min) per square foot flowrate needed to loosen the resin bed for regeneration. While there is no specific length of time recommended for the fast-rinse cycle, it is important that the remaining salt in the resin bed is flushed away to prevent salty water to the service plumbing upon the return to service. The best way to determine how long the fast rinse should last is to test the hardness and salt at the termination point of the drain line to make sure neither are present. A TDS test of the raw water and the treated water using a TDS meter is a good way to tell if there is still salt in the water. The TDS of the raw water and the softened will be fairly equal, where the raw water TDS is 500 ppm (Mg/L) or less. Of high importance is ensuring the fast-rinse cycle is long enough to flush all traces of regeneration byproducts from the resin bed, especially where iron is also being removed by the softener. Failure to allow sufficient fast-rinse time may allow migration of oxidized iron into not only the service plumbing, but also in the brine tank during the brine tank (soft water) refill.

Brine refill

Most control valves are designed to provide for a soft-water refill of the brine tank. The reason for this feature is to prevent iron and/or manganese and sediment from being introduced into the brine tank. This feature has been available for many years and has made it possible for a water softener to remove ferrous (clear-water) iron and/or manganese where the pH value of the raw water is sufficient to allow the iron and manganese to come out of solution and be exchanged for sodium during the service run of the softener. Additionally, where an iron filter may have been required previously to remove the iron and/or manganese before softening, that cost has been eliminated because the water chemistry allows the softener to do all the work of cleaning up the water for service to the home. A good way to tell if the softener will remove the iron is to test the effluent water from a miniature demo softener typically used in a residential softener demonstration. If the hardness, iron and/or manganese are not detected when testing the effluent (soft) water, then you can be fairly confident that a softener will effectively exchange all three. If the iron and/or manganese are only partially removed but the water is soft, then pretreatment is required to remove the iron and manganese from the water before softening.

It is important to properly program the softener to compensate for the iron and/or manganese removal. Typically (some manufacturers use different formulae, so consult with your supplier to ensure compatibility) the iron and/or manganese content is calculated as hardness equivalent by multiplying the iron content by three and the manganese content by five, then adding the total(s) to the raw water hardness to obtain the total compensated hardness number. With this number, the softener can be programmed to ensure regeneration before resin-bed exhaustion.

Hardness: 25 grains per gallon (gpg)…..25
+ Iron: 2.0 mg/L x 3 = 6 gpg………………6
+ Manganese: 0.5 mg/L x 5 =2.5 gpg……2.5
= Total compensated hardness gpg……33.5
Note! In this example the compensated hardness number would be 34. Always round up to the next whole number when programming the controller.

A word of caution is advised at this point. Although a softener can easily remove iron and manganese, it is advisable to program the softener control valve for a three- or four-day regeneration override where a softener is programmed for demand initiated regeneration (DIR). Extended service runs beyond four days increase the probability of iron and/or manganese fouling of the resin bed. Fouling is evidenced when the water is soft but iron staining is present. This indicates that the exchange sites on the resin beads are coated with iron and/or manganese. Dosing the brine well of the brine tank with a food-grade acid (such as citric acid) will generally clean up the fouled resin. Highly fouled resin may require a second dose if iron remains in the soft water.

Salt or potassium chloride?

Whether using salt (sodium chloride) or potassium chloride, a word of caution is urged with regard to the available exchange capacity of each type. At a water temperature of 66 degrees Fo (20 Co), salt (NaCl) has a hardness recovery capacity of about 5,994 grains per pound. Potassium (KCl) has a hardness recovery capacity of about 4,699 grains per pound. That represents approximately 21 percent less capacity when using potassium chloride (KCl). Therefore, it would be necessary to adjust the total exchange capacity of the softener when using Kcl. Technical Tip: It is not advisable to use KCl to regenerate a water softener where iron and/or manganese is present. Potassium is a nutrient and may encourage the growth of iron and/or manganese bacteria. Also known as muriate of potash, it is used in farming as fertilizer. Use caution here!

Finally, use a very clean grade of salt that is guaranteed pure, such as solar or pellet salt or potassium chloride. When inspecting a brine tank, there are a couple of indicators that the salt being used is not a clean, pure salt. First is brown/black discoloration on the inside of the brine tank, brine well and salt grid. This condition indicates the salt being used could contain ‘miner’s carbon,’ which is typically found in rock salt. This condition causes not only odor problems in the brine tank, but the carbon will also plate out in the injector assembly, the air-check assembly and the resin bed. Dosing the brine tank with citric acid or an advanced resin cleaner will clean up the resin bed and can also be used to wash down the brine tank and internal components. It is not uncommon for this condition to also yield a thick sludge (mud-like) condition on the bottom of the tank, requiring a thorough cleaning.

Another problem indicator that the salt is not pure is the presence of silica. When you see what looks like beach sand in the bottom of the brine tank, it’s actually silica (sand). Here again, the salt is not pure and another source of salt is recommended. The easy way to determine which salt in your region is the best for your customers is to conduct a jar test. This involves a small glass jar with a sealed lid, a handful of salt and water. Obtain several different salt types for evaluation. Place the salt in the jar and fill it two thirds with water. Let it set for a couple of hours, shake vigorously for 15 seconds and then let set overnight. The next day, the samples with cloudy water or what looks like dust settling on the salt is not suitable salt and should be eliminated as a source for your customers.

A high grade of salt will be very white and without odor. The (brine) water in the brine tank should be clear when visible. If odor develops in the brine tank when there is no odor in the raw water, it’s an indication that an atmospheric intrusion has occurred. This could be dust, insects, rodents or even snakes. If this happens, steps should be taken to prevent this from recurring. Remember, the brine water is being drawn into the softener so if there is an intrusive problem of any kind, careful consideration should be given to protecting the brine tank from hostile environmental conditions. Some customers drink soft water; the health of the brine tank is actually a critical condition that must be attended to along with educating the customer on scrupulous maintenance.


The basics we have covered in this series should serve as a good foundation to build on your expertise in cation exchange. There is much more to learn, understand and know when working with softening, whether it be residential, commercial, industrial or farm and ranch applications. The fundamentals do not change, only the scope and size of the installation. Taking into consideration the environmental conditions leans more toward the technical side of the issue, but it is necessary in order to understand the basics of cation exchange. In the final installment of this series we will look at upflow (countercurrent) regeneration, including the benefits and efficiencies of full-strength brining and some of the early history of this regeneration method. Stay tuned!

About the author

Battenburg_Gary_mugGary Battenberg is a Technical Support and Systems Design Specialist with the Fluid System Connectors Division of Parker Hannifin Corporation in Otsego, MI.  He has 34 years of experience in the fields of domestic, commercial, industrial, high-purity and sterile water treatment processes. Battenberg has worked in the areas of sales, service, design and manufacturing of water treatment systems and processes utilizing filtration, ion exchange, UV sterilization, reverse osmosis and ozone technologies. He may be reached by phone at (269) 692-6632 or by email, gary,battenberg@parker.com

Case Study: UV Disinfection Helps Colombian Community Overcome Water Quality Issues

Sunday, May 15th, 2016
Plant operators

Figure 1. Plant operators

By Jose Maria Gonzalez

Regulators in Colombia are strengthening the standards and enforcement of water treatment processes aimed at protecting public health from microbial contamination and chlorine-resistant pathogens, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. The regulation comes as population growth and inadequate treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater continue to negatively impact the quality of the country’s source-water resources.

Rather than expanding conventional filtration or chemical treatment systems, a private water utility in Colombia is turning to ultraviolet disinfection as a faster, simpler and more cost-effective way to improve water quality and comply with new regulations. In December 2015, Progresar E.S.P. commissioned its first UV system to provide additional disinfection at the 10-year-old Teusacá River Treatment Plant that serves about 5,000 residents in a suburb of Bogotá. Plant operators (see Figure 1) were fully trained by the UV manufacturer to operate and maintain the UV systems at the plant. (The team also supports an additional plant and 105-km pipe network. )

Teusaca River

Teusaca River

UV provides means to enhance treated water quality

UV technology provides many benefits for this facility, which draws water from the Teusacá River. A tributary to the heavily polluted Bogotá River, this rural waterway is negatively impacted by microbial contamination from agricultural runoff and treated effluent discharged from upstream wastewater facilities.

“UV disinfection brings the ideal combination of performance, ease of use and design flexibility to upgrade the water treatment processes for this plant,” says J. Enrique Baena, General Manager, Progresar E.S.P. “We are very proud to be the first in Colombia to adopt a reflective, dual-lamp UV technology in our treatment plant and lead the way in supporting stronger regulations to protect public health from waterborne pathogens.”

The utility has installed 10 such units at the plant, each one capable of providing disinfection for up to 30 gpm (1.9 L/sec) of water (see Figure 2). The use of multiple UV systems makes the plant inherently more reliable and energy efficient than those using a conventional approach, which typically operates with a large, single-reactor system. During peak demand, the units can work together to achieve treatment requirements; during low demand, individual units can be shut down to conserve energy and extend the life of UV lamps. This design also enables operators to conduct repairs or maintenance to individual UV systems, without decommissioning the entire UV disinfection process.

Figure 2. Upstream manifold

Figure 2. Upstream manifold

The Teusacá River Treatment Plant operates at an average flow of about 190 gpm (12 L/sec) and can achieve a peak flow of about 300 gpm (20 L/sec). The plant is equipped with a multi-barrier, conventional treatment system designed to handle the highly variable river water and also provide robust pretreatment for the UV systems. As raw water enters the plant, it is first treated by aeration through a cascade system, flocculation, sedimentation and filtration. These processes produce consistently high-quality feedwater that meets the specifications for the UV systems. The systems, however, are also designed to perform under difficult conditions and can achieve effective disinfection even when ultraviolet transmittance (UVT) is as low as 75 percent. This provides a major advantage for the plant, especially when dealing with surges in organic material and bacteria that the pretreatment system may not be able to adequately remove.

After passing through the UV systems, chlorine is added to prevent microbial contamination in the distribution system and to comply with the local regulations for chlorine residual. “Since the UV systems have been operating, our chlorine use has declined to about 50 percent of what we used in the past at this plant,” Baena says. Not only does this contribute to operational savings, but may also help reduce the formation of DBPs such as trihalomethanes, which form when chlorine reacts with organic particles in the treated water.

Figure 3. Treatment results

Figure 3. Treatment results

Plant achieves zero-percent Water Quality Risk Index

“Our UV systems are performing very well and are enabling the plant to consistently meet the treatment requirements and achieve a score of zero percent for the Water Quality Risk Index,” Baena says. This method of risk analysis was established in 2007 by the Colombian government to assess risk to human health from potable water. It is calculated using several parameters including the physical, chemical and microbial characteristics of the water. When it comes to risk, zero is the best score and indicates the highest-quality water (see Figure 3).

The performance of the UV systems can be attributed to their unique design. Each system incorporates two proprietary high-output UV lamps that are mounted in air rather than in the quartz sleeve. Elliptical reflectors encircle the lamps and help to reuse the energy and deliver a UV dose that is 2.4 times greater than that of conventional systems. This high UV dose enables the systems to provide effective disinfection at the maximum flowrate, even when the UVT is as low as 75 percent. Reflecting the UV light also targets pathogens from 360 degrees and eliminates the risk of shadowing, which is more likely in conventional systems and could allow live pathogens to pass through. As a result, the treatment plant is consistently producing potable water that is completely free of total coliforms, E. coli and P. aeruginosa.

Figure 4. Elliptical reflectors enable UV light to target pathogens from 360° to eliminate the risk of shadowing

Figure 4. Elliptical reflectors enable UV light to target pathogens from 360° to eliminate the risk
of shadowing

Dual sensors instantly diagnose alarms

Each system also incorporates smart controls and dual UV sensors that continually monitor three critical performance parameters: UV dose, UV lamp intensity and UVT. Like the lamps, the sensors are also mounted in air, which eliminates fouling and makes them easy to access by operators (see Figure 4). Data from the sensors enables the system to instantly diagnose an alarm and determine if it is caused by an issue with the lamp or by poor water quality. Each UV system is connected to the plant’s central control panel, so once an alarm is triggered, an operator can be notified to address the issue.

Other UV systems use single-sensor designs that are unable to diagnose alarms and require operators to perform time-consuming troubleshooting procedures before they can address the issue. These single sensors are also often mounted inside the UV chamber in contact with the water, which exposes them to contaminants, causes them to foul and leads to false alarms if not properly maintained. Simple maintenance and automated controls could be key factors to help the nation meet its goals for improved water supplies throughout the country. According to a document by the Canadian Trade Commissioner, the Colombia government has set a goal to provide improved water sources and basic sanitation to 100 percent of urban areas and 80 percent or rural areas by 2019.

Figure 5. UV system array with uninterruptible power supply

Figure 5. UV system array with uninterruptible power supply

Decentralized, automated treatment facilities will likely be the solution of choice to provide cost-effective delivery of clean, safe water in rural areas. The UV systems at Teusacá River Treatment Plant are demonstrating that they are certainly up to the task. In other parts of the world, many of these UV systems operate for years without any need for cleaning of the quartz sleeve by the operator, because each system is equipped with a robust, mechanical cleaning system that prevents fouling and ensures maximum light intensity. The systems are connected to an uninterruptible power supply, to ensure continued operation, especially in rural areas where the electrical supply is not reliable (see Figure 5). A power conditioner can also be added to sensitive components from damage caused by over- or under-voltage conditions.

Scalable design accommodates community growth

In the coming years, the community is anticipating a surge in population that will see more than 12,000 people tapping into the water treatment plant. Progresar E.S.P. is prepared for this growth and can easily expand treatment capacity of the UV system by adding more units. Multiple manifold systems can be joined together to achieve flows of up to one MGD (44 L/sec). The UV manufacturer has developed strong relationships with Progresar, as well as a local distributor that manufactures the interconnecting manifold system and provides service and support for the UV units throughout Colombia. The success of this project demonstrates that the team and the technology can provide a cost-effective, easy-to-operate solution to help Colombia meet its objectives for clean, safe water throughout the country.

About the author

Jose Maria Gonzalez is the Director of Sales, Engineered Solutions for UV Pure Technologies where he is responsible for developing business opportunities and distribution networks in Latin America, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Southern Ontario, Canada. He brings more than 20 years of experience as a consultant and entrepreneur for a number of environmentally focused technology companies, including solar energy, biogas and biomass feed stocks. Prior to UV Pure Technologies, Gonzalez was the VP of Business Development for Clearford Water, where he played a key role in the selection of the Clearford One system for a wastewater treatment and reuse project in Colombia. He holds a degree in chemical engineering from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Colombia.

About the product

UV Pure Upstream 30-75 disinfection systems, with patented Crossfire Technology®, are engineered to meet the Class A requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 55 (but are not NSF/ANSI 55 Class A-certified where regulations do not require it). Field-tested and proven with over a decade of demanding municipal, industrial and commercial applications, Upstream Systems are for potable, reuse and rainwater applications and are effective even on surface water from lakes, streams, cisterns and dug wells.

Final Barrier, Lead Contamination and Future Water Industry Players

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By David H. Martin

A conversation with Richard Mest about final barrier

Richard Mest, former WQA president, is President of Master Water Conditioning Corp., Pottstown PA. Well-known in the industry as an educator and writer, Mest introduced the Final Barrier concept at the annual WQA conference in 2013. I met with Mest at the recent WQA show in Nashville, TN to discuss what progress is being made with the final barrier approach.

Martin: Is there a disconnect in consumer and dealer understanding of the final barrier concept?
Mest: I wouldn’t call it a disconnect. Change is always challenging. Dealers sort of get the concept because, after all, they have been practicing it all along! But many of them don’t see how final barrier translates into profitable commerce for them. For example, they distrust a centralized program that would involve a municipality purchasing POU units for the community water system, then hiring local dealers with the necessary skill set to install them. With the product sale taken away from them, many dealers would have little or no interest in participating in such a program.

Martin: How can final barrier succeed?
Mest: To me, certification is crucial to the success of final barrier. First, the product must be certified. Second, the servicing dealer’s skill set must be certified. Put these two things together and final barrier becomes a powerful message. In other words, the technology behind final barrier products offers the power to meet all MCL and MCGL goals, when these products are professionally certified. But the cooperation of professionally certified installers or dealers is needed to guarantee that performance. You can write a compelling message around this combined capability. Final barrier is that message.

As a former president of WQA and longtime advocate of final barrier, I get to represent the industry in Washington, DC before legislators and regulators. In a sense, the Flint water disaster is a gift to our industry. It demonstrates that our products can be a part of the solution to their severe lead contamination problem. And, perhaps more important, if they had been proactive, we could have prevented the consequences suffered by Flint residents. At the end of day, final barrier is getting us and our certified member professionals recognized as a solution. That’s really where we are spending our energy.

Martin: What’s the path going forward?
Mest: We need to advance our wherewithal with the regulators and legislators. If we continue to pursue this goal and intensify balanced pressure, I think it will be a win-win situation for all of us. Also, as an association, WQA needs to be accepting of change and product innovation, but never compromise the principle that it must be allied with proven science. In dealing with new science, there needs to be more than just testimonial evidence of its efficacy. The legislators and regulators I speak with are glad to hear this.

Martin: How important is the ‘green’ concept?
Mest: With final barrier, we’re very concerned about ‘green.’ We’re stewards of the environment so we’re speaking the same language as the regulators, including sustainability certification. But, at the same time, we understand our limitations. We are pursuing a low carbon footprint and zero discharge with no chemical additives, with the best available technology. And we have a lot of science and research chasing that. So the regulators have to know that we have the same visions they do. But you can’t hold us back because you may not like some of the technology we use, when there is nothing better.

Martin: Do the words final barrier mean anything to consumers?
Mest: As you stated, the words are very powerful. We don’t need to change the brand, but we can repackage the message to suit the audience. WQA has gone through multiple versions of the message. I would encourage dealers to use final barrier in their sales presentations and to use it repeatedly. That way, it will resonate with a dealers’ sales teams and with the customers. Final barrier can be seen as the conclusion of the water treatment solutions dealers provide. Even the refrigerator water filter is a final barrier application.

Martin: Is final barrier more than just another term for point of use?
Mest: The final barrier is simply a water treatment device that treats the water at the point of end-use. I describe it as providing the right water quality, in the right place, at the right time. There’s a maze of possible solutions available for water problems. Consumers need an expert to lead them through the maze and to help them identify the right solution for their specific problem. That’s where the certified water treatment professional comes in.

May2016_Martin info boxOverview of the Flint water crisis

Otto Schwake, PhD, of Virginia Polytechnical Institute in Blacksburg, VA, the microbiologist investiging the Flint, MI lead contamination crisis, presented an overview of what went wrong that resulted in alarming levels of lead in consumers’ tap water. He reported that his investigation also uncovered the presence of Legionella bacteria in Flint River water, possibly resulting in 10 deaths since the switch from lake water. A public health emergency was declared in Michigan in October 2015. Dr. Schwake also noted that massive contributions of bottled water provided immediate relief to Flint victims in the following days and weeks.

According to Dr. Schwake, the US EPA Inspector General’s office says more than 100 people submitted complaints to the agency between April 2014, when the city’s water supply was switched to the Flint River, and January 2016. The Inspector General is investigating US EPA’s response to the lead-contamination crisis. Flint’s drinking water became tainted when officials began drawing from the highly polluted Flint River in April 2014 to save money. The impoverished city of 100,000 north of Detroit was under state control at the time. At the same time, regulators failed to ensure the water was treated properly with corrosion-preventing phosphates that would coat the interior of pipes and prevent lead from aging pipes leaching into the water supply.

On January 16, President Obama signed an emergency declaration for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster-relief efforts. The declaration states that, “This emergency assistance is to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits and other necessary related items for a period of no more than 90 days.” And a January 29 article in The New York Times reported that Flint residents have received POU filters designed to remove lead up to 150 ppb.

Dr. Schwake reported that Flint residents were now benefiting from the restoration of source water from Lake Huron and the addition of corrosion-preventing chemicals to the distribution system. Decisions on replacing lead service pipes at government expense are pending further debate. This crisis is by no means over and other municipalities (Jackson, MI; Newark, NJ and others) have also reported lead-contamination events. The number of systems that still have lead premise plumbing is quite high and we can expect additional reports of such events in the future. A major infusion of capital to repair and/or replace existing piping is required and will take tremendous effort by citizens, law makers and investors to prevent a future filled with avoidable water contamination on a large scale.

WQA helps Chicago High School celebrate World Water Day

Every year since 1992, the United Nations has celebrated World Water Day on March 22, a day to bring public attention to world water issues. This year’s theme was Jobs and Water. On March 22, WQA joined four additional water-related organizations and the Illinois Sierra Club in sponsoring an after-school career fair for a group of 80 high school students from two schools interested in learning about career opportunities in the water sector. Of the six tabling participants, WQA and Pentair Water represented the water improvement industry at the event, held at Pritzker College Prep in Chicago. Jillian Ryan, Business Operations Coordinator from WQA headquarters, offered students information on the WQA Career Center, a national online water jobs clearinghouse for job seekers and employers in the water sector. Attendees, all expressing an environment bent, were receptive to learning how careers in water are many and varied for young people planning their futures.

About the author

DMartin_David_mugavid 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

Pajarito, Allison appointed to AXEON sales team

Sunday, May 15th, 2016


AXEON Water Technologies has expanded its sales team with the addition of Donald Pajarito and Richard Allison. In his new role, Pajarito will be responsible for managing and developing new and existing relationships with key AXEON customers in the Western Region of the US. He brings more than three years of water treatment experience and expertise with a history of driving growth through increased new account development. Pajarito’s prior experience included serving OEMs and distributors for general water treatment components used to build systems for residential and commercial applications. He is a customer-focused, people-oriented individual who excels at team development. Pajarito earned a BS Degree from California State University San Marcos-College of Business Administration in 2001.



Allison, with more than 30 years of experience in industrial water treatment and filtration, has spent more than two decades in progressive sales management roles for leading manufacturers. In his new role, he will be responsible for managing and developing new and existing relationships with key AXEON customers in the Eastern Region of the US. Allison has proven to be a customer-oriented individual and he provides a wealth of sales and client/management skills. He has a BS Degree in chemical engineering from Notre Dame University and a MBA from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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