Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Service and replacement part kits

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

Bluewater Group USA service tool and spare-parts kits are now available. Contained in sturdy and light-weight carry cases, these service kits have everything needed to service a Bluewater purifier in one trip. Each kit contains the following: Pro & Spirit filter wrench; Cleone filter wrench; Tee Handle pump puller; Alvin six-inch (15.24-cm) nose pliers; O-ring lube, silicone; Husky four-piece precision pick set; Vaughn 12-ounce (0.3-kg) soft-face mallet; John Guest collet release tool and more. Spare part kits may include: gears and belts; gaskets; conductivity sensors; O-rings; check valves; pressure switches and much more. Download the appropriate order form, complete and submit. Contact the company for ordering information for spare parts.
https://bluewatergroup.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=74beb512c3ceff199f9955709&id=ee8f0df58a&e=5cc3b17942, InfoUSA@bluewatergroup.com

PFAS modeling program

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

Battelle introduces its digital tool to determine where PFAS substances are going once they have been introduced into groundwater. The PFAS Predict program has options to scale dispersion processes based on modeling PFAS groundwater plumes. It takes into account the age of contaminants, degradation components and overall characteristics of PFAS chemicals in groundwater media. This proprietary program is compatible with industry standard MODFLOW groundwater flow models and conceptual site models. https://www.battelle.org/inb/pfas

Canned water

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

RightWater offers a plastic-free solution by packaging water from natural springs in 100-percent recyclable aluminum and BPA-free, 12-ounce (0.3-liter) cans. As a value-added product for water treatment-minded customers, this could give dealers the opportunity to provide a responsible hydration feature with a bonus charity component. Sales help fund clean-water projects. Produced in the US, every can is hand-inspected to ensure quality.

Matte black finish RO faucets

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

Tomlinson Industries’ Designer and Contemporary RO faucets are now available in a matte black finish, which brings dramatic elegance to the warm tone of black for an eye-catching result. Faucet features include: lead-free brass body; smooth operating lever-style handle; patented removable modular air gap; protective spout tip to prevent after-drip and a high-reach, 12-inch (30.48-cm), 360° swivel neck. Available in an array of finishes and all mounting hardware is included. Certified to NSF/ANSI 61-9 and 372, the faucets are compliant with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). www.tomlinsonind.com, pfranchino@tomlinsonind.com

From Exposure to Illness: What Happens If You Drink Contaminated Water?

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

Outcomes following exposure to waterborne contaminants range from absolutely nothing to rapid death. Diarrhea is the most commonly recognized outcome related to contaminated drinking water but for some, more serious health problems may occur, such as kidney failure or chronic health effects, including heart disease, arthritis or diabetes. Certain populations are more vulnerable than others to waterborne diseases, including immunocompromised persons, the young (especially those under the age of five) and the elderly (generally over the age of 65). The true impact of illnesses spread via the drinking water route is difficult to quantify, given continual under-reporting and similar symptomology to other infection routes or illnesses, such as food poisoning, colds or flu.

Waterborne disease tracking and reporting
Tracking causative agents of waterborne disease is complicated by a number of factors. One factor is that requirements for reporting diseases in the US are mandated at the state level. In the early 90s, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide a uniform criteria for defining disease for public health surveillance. The CDC’s national outbreak reporting system, or NORS, is a web-based tool for health departments to report waterborne outbreaks. Only a handful of waterborne diseases, however, were selected as nationally notifiable illnesses and are recorded in the database (Table 1).

Reportable waterborne illnesses may have short incubation periods (i.e., several hours) or it may take weeks for symptoms to manifest. Many infections are asymptomatic; however, the infected individual can still shed organisms in their stool and transmit the disease to others. Carriage rates range from days to months post-infection.

Often infections are self-limiting and mild but others can be serious or fatal. For example, cholera infection caused by toxin-producing bacteria Vibrio cholerae O1 or O139 produces highly variable symptoms, marked by diarrhea and/or vomiting. Due to similar symptomology to other pathogens, isolation of the organism from biological samples or detection of antibodies in host sera is required criteria for laboratory diagnosis. Other strains of Vibrio bacteria are not classified as cases of cholera. While only confirmed cases are listed in the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System, worldwide approximately three to five million cases of cholera occur resulting in about 120,000 deaths per year.

In 1993, Cryptosporidium was responsible for the largest documented US waterborne disease outbreak since formal surveillance and reporting began. Chlorine-resistant and commonly carried and shed in cattle feces, agricultural regions and storm water runoff are key variables for increased exposure risks. With incubation periods ranging up to two weeks, linking symptoms to sources may be difficult. Illness duration for cryptosporidiosis may last for up to four weeks and even longer for giardiasis or hepatitis.

Recently documented events
Approximately every two years, the CDC publishes a summary of US waterborne disease outbreak data. Table 2 lists the number of outbreaks by causative agent from the most recent surveillance period, 2013-2014.2 During these two years, 42 outbreaks resulting in over a thousand illness cases, 124 hospitalizations and 13 deaths were documented. The vast majority (57 percent) of outbreaks were due to Legionella. The greatest number of cases, however, were due to a chemical spill in West Virginia where MCHM (4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol) contaminated the drinking-water supply causing reported skin irritation and stomach upset.

Experts estimate many more illness cases occur in the US than are reported, possibly ranging over 19 million per year.3 Another common waterborne contaminant is norovirus, a highly contagious organism, easily spread by infected humans, with a short incubation period of 15 to 50 hours. The onset of symptoms, which includes nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, fever, myalgia and headache, is typically rapid with the illness, lasting anywhere from four to 70 hours. Similarly, rotavirus is a common cause of enteric infections resulting in watery diarrhea, vomiting and fever, but typically in children between the ages of six months to two years.

Escherichia coli is commonly found in the intestines and feces of healthy people and animals. Some strains, however, can cause serious illness. Enteropathogenic (EPEC) E. coli is thought to be the main cause of persistent diarrhea and a leading cause of death, worldwide. Enterotoxigenic (ETEC), is an additional type causing an estimated 80,000 infections per year in the US. About five to 10 percent of people infected with Shiga toxin-producing strains of E. coli develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after about seven days of illness. HUS patients are often hospitalized, as kidney failure is possible as well as permanent organ damage or death.

Broad-spectrum POU devices provide effective final barriers for reducing exposures to waterborne, disease-causing contaminants. While exposure to some microbial contaminants may result in asymptomatic infection, mild illness or even inferred immunity (i.e., Salmonella and rotavirus), those exposures also invariably lead to the risk of infection, illness and death.


  1.  CDC. National Notifiable Diseases. Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Reporting. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/nndss.html. Published 2019. Accessed December 8, 2019.
  2. Benedict KM, Reses H, Vigar M, et al. Surveillance for Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated with Drinking Water—United States, 2013–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66(44):1216-1221. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6644a3
  3. Reynolds KA, Mena KD, Gerba CP. Risk of waterborne illness via drinking water in the United States. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2008;192:117-158. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18020305. Accessed June 19, 2018.

About the author
Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds is a University of Arizona Professor at the College of Public Health; Chair of Community, Environment and Policy; Program Director of Environmental Health Sciences and Director of Environment, Exposure Science and Risk Assessment Center (ESRAC). She holds a Master of Science Degree in public health (MSPH) from the University of South Florida and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arizona. Reynolds is WC&P’s Public Health Editor and a former member of the Technical Review Committee. She can be reached via email at reynolds@u.arizona.edu

Evaluation of Cyst Reduction for Bottled Water Filters

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

By Rick Andrew

The NSF/ANSI Drinking Water Treatment Unit (DWTU) standards include evaluation criteria for a wide variety of technologies and products. Requirements for a spectrum of products ranging from system components to multi-stage POU RO systems and whole-house filters are specified in these standards. Technologies including membrane filtration, active media, ion exchange, UV, RO and more are considered part of the wide-ranging landscape covered by these standards.

One of the more unique products and end uses covered by the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards is cartridge filters used in bottled water plants. Requirements for bottled water filters were added to NSF/ANSI 53 Drinking Water Treatment Units – Health Effects back in the late 1990s. Basically, the manufacturers of these filters were seeking a way to provide buyers with assurance that their filters were of high quality and would perform under conditions typical of a bottled water treatment and packaging facility.

Evaluation of material safety through formulation review and extraction testing, plus evaluation of cyst reduction performance, was determined to address the request for an assurance of quality for these filters. The way this evaluation is conducted, however, has a few nuances to be considered.

Nuances of evaluation
The first nuance is that these filters are sold as cartridges to be used in industry standard housings. With this in mind, evaluation of bottled water filters under NSF/ANSI 53 is limited to filters with -222 or -226 double O-ring seals or a similar redundant sealing mechanism. This type of seal is industry standard and the double O-ring redundant seal helps assure sealing with industry standard housings. Housings for testing purposes must be appropriate to the configuration of the filter (fin end or flat end, etc.) and also sized according to the sizing on the double O-ring seal of the filter being tested (i.e., -222 or -226).

The other nuance of the evaluation is the test method for cyst reduction. The operation of typical POU filters involves users periodically flowing water through the filter, opening and closing valves as they obtain filtered water throughout the day. Bottled water facilities, however, operate with continuous flow, filling bottles on a bottling line for hours at a time. With these operational modes in mind, the test method under NSF/ANSI 53 for typical POU and POE systems making cyst reduction claims that involve on/off cycling of flow is not appropriate for evaluation of filters to be used in a bottled water facility. So, a new cyst reduction protocol was developed.

Cyst reduction protocol
Polystyrene microspheres are used as a surrogate for Cryptosporidium and other protozoan cyst organisms. In order to make a claim of cyst reduction, bottled water filters must be capable of removing 99.95 percent of 3-µm polystyrene microspheres at all sample points, when tested according to the protocol in the standard. The microspheres themselves must have a tightly controlled size specification, with 95 percent of them in the range of 3.00 ± 0.15 μm.

Additionally, the spheres must have a low surface charge to assure that the mechanism of removal is purely mechanical filtration, as opposed to electrostatic adhesion. For this reason, the spheres must have a surface charge content of less than 2 uEq/g. The microspheres must also contain a fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) dye or equivalent, which makes them visible under an epiflourescent microscope. The test method requires that each sample of challenge water, as well as each sample of filtered water, must be examined under the microscope to accurately count the number of microspheres contained in the water.

To conduct the test, two bottled water filters are installed in housings per the manufacturer’s instructions. They are then conditioned using the general test water described in Figure 1. After conditioning, cyst microsphere challenge water (see Figure 1) is introduced to the filters at the rated service flow specified by the manufacturer. A dynamic test manifold inlet pressure of up to 620 kPa (90 psig) is used to achieve this flowrate. The test proceeds with continuous flow of challenge water. The manufacturer’s rated service flow (± 10 percent) is maintained throughout the test using a control valve located downstream of the test filters. The cyst microsphere challenge water is introduced until the collection of the start-up samples is completed.

The laboratory then changes the water being introduced to the filters from the cyst microsphere challenge water to the test dust loading water (see Figure 1). This water is introduced to the filters until the pressure drop across the filters is 25 percent of the manufacturer’s maximum recommended pressure drop. At this point, the laboratory changes to the general test water for 10 minutes.
The laboratory then changes to the cyst microsphere challenge water for 20 minutes. At the end of the 20-minute period, a pressure pulse is administered to the filters by causing a rapid interruption and resumption of flow typical of a fast-acting valve located downstream of the filters under test. The pressure pulse is included in the test protocol to assure that the filter integrity is sufficient to withstand an event of this nature, yet continues to provide 99.95-percent removal of cysts. Immediately following the pressure pulse, challenge water and filtered water samples are collected.

After sampling, the laboratory changes the water being introduced to the filters from the cyst microsphere challenge water to the test dust loading water. The introduction of the test dust loading water is continued until the next sampling point (50 percent of manufacturer’s maximum recommended pressure drop), at which point the procedure is repeated, starting at the point of the laboratory changing to the general test water for 10 minutes. The test continues in this manner, ultimately with cyst microsphere challenge water and filtered water samples collected and microspheres counted under the microscope in samples from the start of the test and at 25, 50, 75, 100 and 150 percent (± 10 percent) of the manufacturer’s recommended maximum pressure drop at the rated service flow.

If the manufacturer specifies filter maintenance procedures, such as reuse, backwashing, cleaning, sterilization, etc., then the filters are tested a second time after the manufacturer’s maintenance procedures are followed. These filters must pass the test both times.

Manufacturer and buyer confidence
The bottom line is that the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards are tools to help assure confidence in products. Manufacturers, distributors and end users all gain confidence from products that are third-party certified to meet these standards. These criteria and methods for evaluation of bottled water plant filters for cyst reduction performance and safety for contact with drinking water ultimately provides additional quality assurance at two levels in the supply chain. First, it allows manufacturers of these filters to assure the quality of their product and second, it helps bottlers to assure the quality of their product by using filters that conform to these requirements.

About the author
Rick Andrew is NSF’s Director of Global Business Development–Water Systems. Previously, he served as General Manager of NSF’s Drinking Water Treatment Units (POU/POE), ERS (Protocols) and Biosafety Cabinetry Programs. Andrew has a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He can be reached at (800) NSF-MARK or email: Andrew@nsf.org

‘A Pioneering Leader in the Distillation Industry’

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

By Donna Kreutz

In 1984, Al Meder recognized the vast potential and need for high-purity water, foreseeing a growing demand domestically and globally. That’s when he and his wife Pauline moved from Michigan to Lincoln, NE to purchase and operate a water purification company. In just four years, Meder was named Nebraska’s Exporter of the Year. He made quick work of diversifying the company now known as Pure & Secure and establishing an international presence, drawing on his previous global experience at Amway Corporation. Pure & Secure has provided water distillation equipment to more than 120 countries worldwide.

“We are a pioneering leader in the distillation industry, fully committed to the protection provided by and reliability of distillation—a process utilizing the thermal properties of water converting to steam. While we have had experience with RO and filtration, we have concentrated on distillation because, in our opinion, it is the single most effective process. With the ability to remove a broad spectrum of contaminants (biological, organic, inorganic and even radioactive) we take pride in providing families, businesses and the US government with the best method by which to reduce their exposure to environmental toxins.”

Pure & Secure serves residential and commercial drinking-water markets (families, businesses and the health and wellness industry), as well as non-drinking users of high-purity water (science labs, medical/dental facilities, the battery market, printing industry and many industrial uses). With customers all over the world, the company confronts a wide variety of water issues. Most typically, people seek distillation when they want the best treatment possible for the range of contaminants they could encounter.

A full team of experts
The company is now a second-generation family business. The Meders have raised three children who have kept the company going strong. Though Meder still refuses to retire, his sons and daughter (and her husband) now run the business. Paul Meder is VP Technical and Courtney Lawyer is VP Client Relations. The eldest son, Glenn Meder, frequently works with the company on contractual projects. “We couldn’t do it without the rest of the team and are grateful to have talented new additions to our Pure Water family, as well as several experienced employees who have been with us for decades,” Meder said. The company also has a resident water chemist who’s been on staff for more than 40 years. Known as Dr. Water, Eldon Muehling “is one of the most knowledgeable persons on the planet regarding water chemistry and we are grateful that he has been at the forefront of our education program. He has authored many articles on water and done many interviews on radio and television,” Meder said.

“We offer in-house training for staff and distributors on water quality, purification methods, testing, sales, marketing, product knowledge, installation, service and troubleshooting. We also encourage our employees to participate in outside training, when appropriate. We are proud of our employees and the company that we all have created. Our people make Pure Water an amazing company,” from customer service technicians to assembly employees, many who’ve been with the company 15 years or longer. They work closely with a wide network of distributors. “Our in-field distributors make it all tick. Our dealers and distributors work on getting the word out and providing excellent service on a local basis. We are very proud of our distributors,” he added. “We also work directly with some customers who want customized solutions to their water needs.” In addition, the company maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Meder’s expertise and passion within the water treatment industry is evident not only in his decades of global success and published trade articles, but also his involvement with the Water Quality Association (WQA), serving twice as Chairman of the Distillation Committee and writing Distillation: Process and Technology for the Educational Services publication. (This study guide has been used throughout the world by water treatment professionals seeking WQA certification.)

Effective and global
“Our distillation systems are so effective that water treatment problems have not been an issue for us, as our systems effectively remove nitrates, lead, all types of arsenic, viruses and even biological contaminants, radioactive substances and much more,” said Meder. “Perhaps our biggest challenges have been product certifications. With each country or region having their own set of dynamic product certifications to meet and maintain, it makes selling internationally increasingly challenging and time-consuming, particularly for small businesses.”

Pure & Secure continues to manufacture its distillation products in the US to exacting standards, Meder said. “In addition to manufacturing the best water distillers in the world, we feel that it is our mission to educate the people of the world about the vital importance of consuming only fresh distilled water. You can compare us against any other water filter, reverse-osmosis system or competitive water distiller on the market. We make the best, anywhere. And we have independent test data to back it up.

“Our customers include families, athletes, diabetics, cancer patients, doctors, dentists, schools, preschools, scientists, multinational corporations, government agencies and many more. More than 100 US embassies use our water distillers to produce fresh distilled water as protection for their staff against harsh water conditions and potential terror threats to their water supplies.”
An article on the company’s website asks many questions. For example: “How pure should the water be that you put into your body?” Or, in other words: “How much arsenic, lead, nitrates, copper or other contaminants do you want to consume?” Meder added, “I believe a Pure Water distiller is the absolute best way to protect yourself from the full spectrum of chemicals and contaminants that may be in your drinking water. I believe there should be no compromise on purity.” Looking ahead, Meder said: “Steadily decreasing water quality and availability will lead to increased demand for safe, clean water globally and increase the demand for distillation.”

The company’s five-year plan includes expanding into new market niches and increasing penetration into existing and new global markets with innovative products and a larger field sales force; developing a digital presence by improving online sales and technical support, and broadening the ground support team to offer service in more locations worldwide. “Our main sales effort is simply to educate people about the vital importance of drinking pure water. We have excellent educators and are in the process of expanding our education program online,” Meder said. “Pure & Secure is only ‘scratching the surface’ at present, with plans to raise consumer awareness on the advantages of the distillation process. Public education is paramount.”

2019 Bottled Water Industry Update

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

By Jill Culora

Bottled water reaffirmed its position as America’s favorite drink, outselling carbonated soft drinks (by volume) for the third year in a row in 2018. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC), sales of bottled water grew by 7.3 percent in 2018, reaching $18.4 billion (wholesale) and consumption grew by 4.9 percent to 13.8 billion gallons (52.2 billion liters). In addition, per capita consumption was up 4.3 percent in 2018, with every person in America drinking an average of 42.3 gallons (160 liters) of bottled water last year. BMC also reported that bottled water has increased its ‘share of stomach’ of the overall beverage market from 14.1 percent in 2009 to 24.8 percent in 2018. Carbonated soft drinks hold the second position, with 21.9 percent, reflecting a clear trend of consumers increasingly choosing healthy, convenient, zero-calorie bottled water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.

As anticipated, bottled water’s continued reign as the No.1 package beverage was met with backlash from its adversaries. Indeed, much of the traditional and social media coverage in 2019 has focused on the perceived environmental impact of the bottled water industry. The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) has stayed on the front line, monitoring news clips, responding timely to media requests and reaching out to editors and writers to make corrections in false or misleading articles. IBWA actively promotes the facts about bottle water’s very small environmental footprint, which includes points such as:

  • It has the lowest water and energy use of all packaged beverages. On average, only 1.39 liters of water (including the liter of water consumed) and 0.24 mega joules of energy are used to produce one liter of finished bottled water.
  • Bottled water is a very small water user. Of all the water used in the US, bottled water uses a very tiny amount: just 0.011 percent.
  • Containers are 100-percent recyclable, even the cap. And PET plastic bottled water containers can be recycled over and over again.
  • Consumers are the best recyclers in curbside recycling programs. Bottled water containers make up 54.6 percent of the PET plastic containers collected in curbside programs.
  • The industry is working with partners (such as Keep America Beautiful and The Recycle Partnership) to educate consumers about the importance of recycling.

IBWA continues to be at the forefront in utilizing new and innovative digital communications tools and has a robust organic and paid social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. The association’s recently launched podcast H2O In The Know highlights important industry issues, covering a range of topics from recycling and regulation to healthy hydration and water resource management. IBWA has also expanded its social media efforts by partnering with like-minded organizations (such as those mentioned above), along with other organizations, for its Put It In The Bin recycling campaign. This campaign harnesses the power of social media to help educate consumers about the value of recycling.

Water use best practices
Bottled water companies have a long, deeply held tradition of effectively and responsibly protecting, managing and using all water resources. Having long-term and sustainable water sources is essential for the bottled water industry, so IBWA members are notably efficient users of those water sources. As the leader for the industry on these issues, the organization helps to bolster its members’ water stewardship practices by developing guidance documents, such as the IBWA Water Stewardship Best Practices Guide. The Environmental Sustainability Committee developed the guide based on the Alliance for Water Stewardship international standard for water stewardship. The guide provides a reference for current or prospective members to use with existing facilities and when developing new bottling facilities. IBWA is currently developing a checklist to be used along with the guide.

This effort complements another project aimed at helping our members better manage their water use, the Water Risk and Best Practices Study. This study includes a best-practices framework, which is presented in five topic categories:

  1. Equipment check/process controls
  2. Meter use/water mapping
  3. Water recycling/reuse
  4. Training/education
  5. Supply monitoring/management

It is designed for all bottled water companies to use, regardless of production size, location and/or development stage of their water stewardship program. Key aspects of each best practice were divided into three approach categories: initial, advanced and leading. Members can use the information contained in this study to evaluate their current water stewardship practices against others in the industry and identify opportunities for improvement or outreach.

Bottled water plant siting and permitting opposition
Activist groups have seized upon plant siting and permitting activities as an opportunity to attack the bottled water industry. Their stated objective is to prevent bottled water companies from siting, permitting and re-permitting bottled water plants and is aimed at both groundwater and public water-source bottling facilities. These actions are often aimed at large bottled water companies; however, many of their proposals would also impact small and mid-size bottlers. Anti-bottled water groups perpetuate false claims that are built around fear, conspiracy and corporatization and directly tie them to the siting, permitting or re-permitting of bottled water plants.

IBWA’s Plant Siting and Permitting Working Group has developed a draft Best Practices Guide for Plant Siting, which will equip members with guidance and advocacy materials that are based on facts. Members use these materials to combat local efforts, respond to any anti-bottled water industry media stories, step up aggressive social media efforts, reach out to respected third-party organizations to seek their support and work with state and regional bottled water and business associations on this issue.

Safety of BPA
IBWA continues to actively monitor new developments and defend the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastic, which is used in many three- and five-gallon water cooler bottles. This includes responding to news stories and social media posts that contain false or inaccurate information about BPA and opposing local, state and federal bills that would restrict its use or negatively impact bottled water products. In June of 2019, IBWA submitted testimony in opposition of a bill in Pennsylvania that would prohibit the use of containers or food packaged in containers that contain BPA at a level of 0.1 ppb. IBWA’s comments to the committee cited the many studies espousing the safety of BPA, including the most recent research by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) known as CLARITY (Consortium Linking Academic and Regulatory Insights on BPA Toxicity). At the time of printing this article, no further action on the bill had occurred. IBWA continues to monitor this proposed legislation and potential action in other states.

California’s Center for Environmental Health (CEH) filed a lawsuit in 2017 against a bottled water company, alleging that it violated Proposition 65 by failing to warn consumers that they may be exposed to BPA through the consumption of water bottled in three- and five-gallon polycarbonate plastic containers. (This litigation is particularly important for those companies that do business in California. But it has a greater significance for the entire US bottled water industry since other states may look to California as a model for action when considering the BPA issue.) The parties to the California lawsuit entered into a settlement agreement in 2018. Under the agreement, the bottled water company agreed to take the following actions:

Stamping covered products. Each newly manufactured polycarbonate bottle used to deliver or sell drinking water in California is stamped with the year of the bottle’s manufacture.

Covered products removal. Beginning on January 1, 2023, the company will remove from the active inventory of bottles, through a periodic review occurring at least once every three months, each bottle that is stamped with a manufacture date that is five or more years in the past. Any bottles not bearing a manufacture date will be removed from the active inventory of bottles only based on visible signs of wear.

Removing additional covered products from inventory. The company has agreed to remove older bottles that have been in use for the longest period and have visible signs of wear.

Timeframe. The company must increase the number of removed bottles over the baseline figure by one percent in the first year (2018), adding a percent each year until 2022.

FSMA deadlines
IBWA continues its efforts to assist members in complying with FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which was signed into law in 2011. As of late 2018, all bottled water companies, including very small companies, must comply with FDA’s final rule for Current Good Manufacturing Practices, Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls for Human Food. Among other things, this new rule requires food facilities to have preventive controls-qualified individuals (PCQIs) on staff.

To help members comply with this new requirement, IBWA conducted numerous PCQI training workshops in various locations around the US over the past two years and has held additional workshops in 2019. These workshops provide both member and non-member attendees an opportunity to become a PCQI for their facility(ies), in compliance with the new rule. The workshops are run by a Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA)-trained lead instructor. Attendees are trained in the development and application of risk-based preventive controls, which include preparation of the food safety plan and validation of the preventive controls. IBWA encourages all bottled water producers to participate in PCQI training and, as such, it has invited non-IBWA members to sign up for these workshops.

IBWA has taken a number of measures on microplastics, including forming a working group and collaborating with the European Federation of Bottled Waters to monitor and assess research and news stories reporting on claims about microplastics being found in food and beverages, including bottled water. IBWA continues to reach out to news editors and producers requesting that stories be updated or revised to include the industry’s point of view on this very serious topic. IBWA makes sure to point out that current research is not based on sound science and there is no scientific consensus on testing methodology or the potential health impacts of microplastic particles. Therefore, most published articles do nothing more than unnecessarily scare consumers. Recently, in August 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) reaffirmed IBWA’s position, finding that there’s not enough evidence to conclude that microplastics pose any risk to human health. WHO’s position is that more research is needed to draw firm conclusions.

Looking ahead
BMC predicts that bottled water will continue to build upon its growth history and gain more market share. As consumers continue to increasingly choose bottled water as their healthy hydration beverage, IBWA will continue to work hard to create a favorable business and public-affairs climate for the bottled water industry, as well as to proactively promote and strongly defend the interests of all its member companies.

About the author
Jill Culora is Vice President of Communications for IBWA. She holds a Post-Baccalaureate Degree in journalism from the University of King’s College (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in political science from Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia).

About the organization
IBWA is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters, including spring, mineral, purified, artesian and sparkling. Founded in 1958, its membership includes US and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with FDA, which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, to set comprehensive and stringent standards for safe, high-quality bottled water products. In addition to FDA regulations, member bottlers must adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the code is a mandatory annual plant inspection by an independent, third-party organization. IBWA is also a supporter of the Drink Up initiative, which encourages Americans to drink more water more often, whether from the tap, a filter or in a bottle. Choosing water is always the healthy choice.

The Light Side Versus the Dark Side of UV-C LEDs: Validation, Claims and Current Applications

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

By Oliver Lawal and Mitchel Hansen

Ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UV-C LEDs) provide new opportunities for water treatment. Over the past decade, they have increased in power and reduced in cost, providing UV equipment design engineers something over which to obsess. The expansiveness of this technology provides the possibility for whole new applications to be explored.

Does this new technology offer a bright new future of opportunities and science-based solutions or a dark side filled with little regulation and understanding of the limitations? This question looks at emerging UV-C LED technology through two distinct lenses. One, which is optimistic, perceives small UV LED disinfection systems as easily integrated and able to tackle problems never before possible with conventional UV lamps. The other, more dangerous view, perceives a lack of design rigor and validation, coupled with over-reaching marketing claims.

Why is this even a question? What is wrong with applying existing UV technology regulations to UV-C LED technology? This is not a unique case. As a rule, applying existing regulations to new technologies restricts the innovative nature of the new technology, preventing it from fulfilling its potential. Consider the requirement for an exhaust pipe to exit the rear of an electric-powered car. The opposite case also applies where there is potential for exploitative approaches to be taken. Consider an electric car claiming to be emission-free, while ignoring the electric power generation needs for recharging.

Consider the system
UV-C LEDs themselves get a lot of attention for their specific characteristics:

  • Compact footprint
  • Selectable wavelength
  • Instant on/off
  • Mercury-free

They are, however, merely one component in a complete UV water disinfection product—batteries in an electric car, for example. The complete UV system must be considered. Ultimately it is the UV system that must deliver the required disinfection and, while wavelength and power are important, so too are fluid dynamics and intensity distribution. The number and variety of water disinfection applications for UV-C LEDs are large but can be simplified into four categories (see Figure 1).

Each of these categories offers different solutions for different customer needs. Static disinfection is viable if the water remains in an appropriately sized tank for a designated time period, with a correctly sized UV lamp placed in the correct location, in addition to other design characteristics. Active flow processes require advanced system engineering, as UV intensity and residence time in the reactor are key to applying the appropriate UV dose in a single pass. Intelligent design is required to provide reliable and consistent disinfection results and the necessary control interfaces: on/off switching, alarm reporting, etc.

Some mercury lamp-based UV systems now available are marketed based on microbiologically verified testing and computational modeling verification. For the new generation of UV-C LED low-flow systems, the trend seems to be heavily weighted toward microbiologically verified sizing. It is not uncommon, however, to see products challenged using E. coli and the performance reported as a percentage inactivation.

The use of E. coli is particularly troubling for UV systems (due to its relative ease of inactivation, giving poor transferability to other, more resistant, microbial species) and the high degree of variability between various E. coli strains. Using a dedicated test organism, such as MS2 phage (see Figure 2), is both more predictable and provides verification with a high level of safety margin. For example, a UV dose of 30 mJ/cm2 will achieve ~1.5-log reduction of MS2, but a 3-log reduction of E. coli. A UV dose of 10 mJ/cm2, however, shows widely different results between these two pathogens with 0.5-log reduction in MS2 and 2.5 from E. coli. The non-linearity and relatively low UV inactivation level of E. coli makes it a poor test marker. Sizing UV product performance to one of the easiest pathogens to inactivate is akin to testing an electric car’s miles per charge while driving down a hill with the wind behind you. This type of microbiological validation causes the end user to question the validity of the technology, forcing them to run tests of their own to either verify the performance for their needs or to simply pass on this technology for a later date when regulations are in place. Luckily there are manufacturers that have provided credible third-party validated performance and their products have begun to be implemented into real-world applications (see Figure 3).

UV-C LEDs already integrated
Steam ovens. Professional steam ovens combine dry heat and steam to offer advanced cooking options to professional chefs. Steam ovens with UV-C LED disinfection offer low-temperature steam ovens require an easy-to-implement, compact and reliable UV system to be integrated into their ovens as the temperature is not high enough to disinfect on its own. (A UV-C LED solution was chosen due to its compact size, low power consumption and proven efficacy in eliminating food-borne pathogens during the testing stages.) The use of the UV LED system provides enhanced food safety and quality without adding hazardous materials to the process. The single LED device UV system in this example provides a UV Dose of over 20 mJ/cm2 at 1.2 Lpm, offering over 3-log reduction of multiple target pathogens, such as Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli.

UV-C LED disinfection for bottle fillers
The key goal of drinking-water system manufacturers (bottle fillers, water coolers, bottleless coolers, etc.) is to provide clean drinking water with low environmental cost. A new endeavor in a bottle-filler product line provides POU disinfection through a UV-C LED system. Preventing in-line bacteria growth is a growing concern for water-cooler companies and working with leading UV-C LED-system manufacturers enables UV technology for their product lines. The UV-C LED system provides 2.5 Lpm at 40 mJ/cm2 offering point-of-consumption protection from waterborne pathogens and biofilm growth in the bottle filler. This technology provides both clean water without the use of chemicals and offers low power consumption and less frequent replacement intervals, reducing the environmental footprint of the system as a whole.

It is an exciting time to see the development and new application of LED technology in water treatment processes. Tens of thousands of UV-C LED-based products have been produced over the past year, and volumes are increasing exponentially. As the list of these products grows, however, the question of safe implementation needs to be addressed. The responsibility for design, production and operational quality largely sits with the manufacturer. At present, manufacturers are taken at their word that their products meet their marketing claims. System integrators (OEMs) should (and in most cases do) require manufacturers to verify their claims in scalable production.

Spurious product claims risk the health of unassuming end users across the world, with the potential to degrade trust in UV systems and set an unnecessary barrier to the widespread implementation of a technology with so much promise. While some marketing claims for these products can distort the true ability of their products, other companies hold themselves to high standards. Manufacturers who can show third-party validation of their products are set to succeed until regulations become standardized for this new technology. As time passes, it will be apparent which UV LED system manufacturers are following this rule based on the OEM suppliers that chose to partner with them.

About the authors
Oliver Lawal, Founder and CEO of AquiSense Technologies, has been involved in the development of UV LED disinfection systems for more than a decade and has been involved in the UV industry for 20 years. He is also the President of the International Ultraviolet Association.
Mitch Hansen is the Marketing Specialist with AquiSense Technologies and has been an advocate for UV LED technology for several years, promoting their benefits over conventional applications.

About the company
AquiSense Technologies is the global leader in UV-C LED systems design and manufacture. The company works with leading LED manufacturers to evaluate their devices and then design efficient disinfection products. Using a combination of patented technology and in-depth know-how, the company integrates LED devices into products that solve real-world problems in water, air and surface applications. Contact: info@aquisense.com

The Risk of Pure Water Microbial Contamination in Beverage and Service Appliances

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

By James Peterson

While centralized or equipment-inlet purification systems address source-water quality and contamination concerns for commercial beverage and service equipment, they are not addressing the full scope of risk in products, particularly as these appliances become more complex. Recent trends indicate that consumers are looking for added features, such as flavoring and carbonation in their water appliances. For instance, nearly 574 million gallons of sparkling water were sold in the US in 2016 alone (worth $6.1 billion), compared to 263 million gallons in 2011 (worth $2.6 billion).(1) As new features are incorporated into product design, however, the most important feature, purification/sterilization, becomes increasingly challenging to ensure a hygienic environment within the appliance.

When water is brought into or enters an appliance, it flows through an initial filtration unit to remove chlorine, making the water vulnerable to rapid microbial contamination. Improper water quality management in appliances can not only pose a significant health risk, it can also result in expensive ongoing maintenance and unexpected repairs. Implementing water purification in beverage and service appliances is essential when designing safe products that also align with consumer trends.

Growing complexity of water-based appliances
Consumer preferences for beverage consumption have become increasingly complex over recent years to go beyond just selecting tap versus bottled water or regular versus decaf coffee. For instance, trace minerals are now considered a crucial factor to the way water tastes, and can affect the taste of beverages like coffee, espresso and tea. From a wellness perspective, balancing the mineral content, pH or additions of functional extracts or nutrients has brought the market into the high-value region of consumer wellness. Sparkling water has also gained popularity, with some brands becoming trendier among consumers. In the same vein, consumers are increasingly looking beyond regular drip coffee to cold brew, espresso and lattes.

As a result of shifting trends in water and coffee consumption, there is a growing market opportunity to design appliances that offer more features to meet these consumer demands. Manufacturers are eager to capitalize on this opportunity and are looking to offer as many of these functions in one appliance as possible. For instance, one system includes flavoring, carbonation and sweetener options all in one machine. Coffee appliance makers are creating all-in-one solutions to offer a wide variety of coffee and tea beverages. Regardless of whether an appliance offers one or 20 water-based drinks, there is one feature that must always be a top priority: purity.

Increased risk of water contamination
Whether a product is dispensing coffee, flavored or sparkling water, appliance manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that the appropriate purification methods are in place. As the focus moves from safety to luxury in the design process, there are new risks for bacteria growth from these feature and component additions. The first line of defense is traditionally chlorine, which is used to minimize the growth of microorganisms as water flows from the treatment source to the tap or appliance at the other end. Once water travels from the source and reaches the appliance, it will often pass through a carbon filtration device to remove the chlorine, not only to make it safe for consumption but also to improve the taste and odor of the water.
When dechlorinated water moves into a storage tank, heater or chiller (depending on the appliance), it’s now unprotected against opportunistic waterborne pathogens and vulnerable to contamination. For example, water sitting static in a storage tank, especially in heating appliances, warms to the ambient temperature, creating an environment where biofilm may form, which can host a range of bacteria, algae and other microorganisms. The most common points of vulnerability or risk within an appliance include:

  • Inlet water. Both benign and potentially pathogenic bacteria can enter a system from aging infrastructure.
  • Inlet filter. Once organisms (benign or pathogenic) get into the filter, they can continue to multiply, generating concentrations of microorganisms higher than what may be just harmless levels from the tap.
  • Hot/cold storage tanks. When filled or even just damp, these tanks continue to provide an environment for bacterial growth.
  • Spigot or tap. Exposure to air can quickly support and accelerate the growth of microorganisms on the surface of the tap, potentially spreading the bacteria back into the appliance lines.

How to incorporate water purification into modern water systems
Minimizing bacteria once present is time consuming and expensive. It is therefore critical to have the right tools and processes in place to mitigate the risks before they become a problem. Every system, whether serving a single-family home, a large corporate office or more sensitive populations such as schools or healthcare facilities, should have some form of end-of-line disinfection to provide treatment to the problem itself rather than relying on intermittent sanitization shut-downs or constantly reacting to contamination issues after they occur. There are several methods for mitigating contamination risks within a complex water system. For instance, high-performance microbial filtration cartridges use extremely fine membranes to filter out microorganisms and reduce bacteria. While effective, these advanced membranes generally require expensive annual replacements and have the potential to clog if particulate levels in the water exceed membrane ratings. Another approach is to implement a regular (and frequent) schedule for sanitizing equipment, which is commonly recommended by the appliance manufacturer.

Mercury lamp UV systems are also highly effective at reducing microorganisms, but they are less efficient and must be replaced at least annually at each dispense location. With UVC LED systems, the disinfection technology is similar to that of mercury lamps but with a smaller footprint and extended lifetime. Similar to LED light bulbs, this LED chip technology requires less frequent maintenance and offers more consistent performance from on/off cycling for most dispenser systems. Also due to their small size, UVC LEDs can be integrated into appliance locations where UV lamps have been historically challenging to use. As a result, appliances are now beginning to emerge with LEDs integrated directly into tanks or spigots to help protect those areas that can support bacterial growth between cleaning cycles.

The future of consumer water appliances
As beverage appliances become more complex in features and with the growth of bottle fillers—both for the hotel, restaurant and café industries as well as consumer use—more beverages are going through some kind of purification process. While there is so much opportunity for innovation and growth in the water market as a result of evolving consumer trends, there are new risks and concerns for consumer safety that need to be addressed head-on during the design and installation processes. It is critical to equip appliances such as coffee makers, water coolers and beverage dispensers with the proper tools and technology to ensure that they are dispensing safe, clean water.


  1. USA Today. “Fizz quiz: What’s the hottest new thing in soft drinks?” https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/food/2018/02/01/flavored-sparkling-water-sales-bubbling-up/1059761001/

About the author
James Peterson is responsible for the strategic direction of Crystal IS products focused on water markets. He develops business models for UVC emitters and ensures these product lines meet specific customer needs in water markets. Prior to Crystal IS, Peterson co-founded Vital Vio, a company that designs, engineers and manufactures LED lighting systems that reduce bacteria and other organisms from at-risk environmental surfaces.

About the company
Crystal IS, an Asahi Kasei company, is a manufacturer of high-performance UVC LEDs. The company’s products are suitable for monitoring, disinfection and sterilization in a variety of applications, including commercial and consumer POU water purification, as well as infection control in air and on surfaces in healthcare industries. For more information, visit cisuvc.com.

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