Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Variable speed systems

Monday, June 15th, 2020

Goulds Water Technology, a Xylem brand, introduces its e-HME and e-SVE pumps with integrated and variable-speed control and intelligence. These easy-to-install systems combine a state-of-the-art hydraulic pump with permanent magnet-motor technology and a variable-speed drive to provide up to 70-percent energy savings in residential and agricultural applications.

They are pre-programmed for quick installation and have stainless steel casings and inner components for minimal noise levels and long service life. The products are certified to NSF/ANSI 61 to deliver safe, quality potable water and are rated NEMA 3R for outdoor installation. Quickly install a system by adding power and plumbing, press start and the system is ready to perform. No external drive or controller is required.

https://unitedstates.xylemappliedwater.com/brands/gouldswater-technology/pump-controllers/smart-pump-range/

Remote-controlled track drill

Monday, June 15th, 2020

Lone Star Drills introduces an all-new tracked drill with an automatic SPT hammer for improved accuracy in geotechnical and soil sampling applications, based on the popular LST1G+HDA. Operators can position the drill in hard-to-reach areas and locations with delicate underfoot and maintain leveling control with hydraulics. The drill was designed to address the growing demand from customers wanting to access remote or environmentally sensitive areas. The tracks spread the drill’s weight and lower its ground pressure to 3.8 psi, minimizing the risk of damage to the underfoot. The tracks also minimize the risk of the drill getting stuck in soft ground conditions. The remote is battery-powered and includes a 50-foot (15.24-meter) tether cord in case of battery power loss.
https://www.lonestardrills.com/
(800) 227-7515

Ultrasonic flowmeters

Monday, June 15th, 2020

KROHNE, Inc. announces the availability of the OPTISONIC 6300 V2 ultrasonic flowmeter with a stationary, clamp-on design, ideal for a wide range of systems. It allows users to measure flow wherever necessary, all while processes continue. New features include a viscosity range of up to 200 cSt, no need for re-greasing due to solid coupling material, a next-generation signal converter for enhanced application range, Namur NE107 diagnostics and integrated thermal energy calculation. The OPTISONIC 6300 V2 is suitable for diameters ranging from 0.5-160 inches (1.27 to 406.4 cm). It has a process temperature range of -40 to 392°F (-40 to 200°C). This is a flexible solution, with a quick and easy installation requiring no process shutdown and no flow interruptions or downtime. https://us.krohne.com/en/

Low-fouling RO membranes

Monday, June 15th, 2020

Toray Membrane USA, Inc.’s ROMEMBRA TLF-400DG features an improved cross-linked, hydrophilic polymer layer that minimizes the accumulation of foulants on the membrane surface. The membrane coating helps RO plants reduce frequent chemical cleanings while converting wastewater into a reusable water source. These membranes offer excellent removal of impurities (99.5 percent) and permeability (11,500 GPD) at standard conditions. They feature the integrated Durable ‘D’ membrane chemistry for the widest pH tolerance (1–13) for cleanings. Advantages include one-third less energy requirement and increased cost-savings associated with decreased CIPs, chemical use and membrane replacement. Tested and certified under NSF/ANSI Standard 61 and manufactured under ISO 9001:2015 to ensure consistency in product and service quality. https://www.toraywater.com/products/ro/index.html

Ensuring Safe Building Water Supplies Before Reopening

Monday, June 15th, 2020

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

At press time, states were just beginning to lift restrictions around America, allowing previously deemed non-essential businesses to reopen. Many businesses are opening in a phased approach, serving clients at dramatically reduced capacity. Regardless of how businesses are choosing to reopen, a universal concern is that each considers the necessary precautions to minimize exposures to infectious microbes. While the world is intently focused on coronavirus, other harmful microbes, like Legionella, may be growing in the stagnant water of community distribution systems and closed building pipes.

What is Legionella?
Before SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, a pathogen of primary concern in the US was Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaire’s disease. Legionella is a water-based pathogen, meaning it is naturally present in water. It is commonly spread via aerosols created from showers, faucets, fountains or a variety of other equipment. Breathing in contaminated aerosols provides an entry point to the lungs. At low levels, Legionella rarely causes infection but higher concentrations and longer exposure durations increase one’s risk. People over the age of 50 and especially those who smoke or suffer from chronic illnesses, such as lung disease or who are immunocompromised, are at the highest risk of infection and more severe health outcomes.

Legionnaire’s disease is a pneumonia characterized by symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headache and fever. The organism can also cause a mild, flu-like illness, known as Pontiac Fever. Ten percent of people who contract Legionnaire’s disease will die from the illness. During the most recent (2013-2104) survey of waterborne disease outbreaks, Legionella was responsible for 57 percent of the 42 outbreaks and 100 percent (n=13) of the deaths associated with potable water.1 Cases are documented most frequently in large water systems typical of hotels, hospitals and long-term care facilities, and have dramatically increased in the last two decades.

Stagnant water risks
The national nonprofit, Alliance to Prevent Legionnaire’s Disease (ALPD), has taken to the newswire to warn and educate the public on the increased risk of Legionnaire’s disease, especially given increased risks associated with the pandemic-driven shutdown of businesses, schools, dormitories and personal residences (i.e., vacation homes).2 The organization has developed a new open letter and resource guide aimed at government officials, public health and water safety agencies, building owners and consumers. The guide contains best practices for reducing Legionella risks as buildings reopen after weeks of closure.3

The open letter highlights permissive conditions for bacterial growth in premise plumbing and distribution systems, including the water age, stagnation, dissipation of disinfectants, temperature (optimal growth range= 77-108°F) and other factors. Buildings that have been closed for weeks to months present a high risk of exposure to opportunistic bacterial pathogens that persist in plumbing biofilms. In addition to Legionella, other harmful bacteria can grow in stagnant plumbing water, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and non-tuberculosis Mycobacterium species, both associated with serious respiratory and lung infections. The proliferation of these organisms rapidly occurs once permissive conditions are established.

Large buildings such as healthcare facilities and hotels are especially concerning due to the large number of water outlets to target for management and control, along with the likelihood of serving vulnerable populations. Information is available to help business owners reopen, while ensuring a safe water supply. The APLD created the resource guide to educate and empower the public to reduce their risk of bacterial exposures from stagnant piped water. The guide is divided into three sections: 1) Water Utilities: Actions to Take; 2) Facility Owners/Managers: Recommissioning Shuttered Buildings and 3) Legionnaires’ Disease: Understanding the Basics.

In the first section, short- and long-term actions are recommended for utility managers. Developing and distributing communication materials to building owners and encouraging the flushing of water mains are important firsts steps. Expanded water testing to closely monitor water quality and verify disinfectant residuals are essential next steps. Careful maintenance and monitoring of disinfectants and pressure should continue to be long-term priorities.

Utilities are not directly responsible for the quality of water delivered to premises. After the water meter, facility owners and managers are expected to be knowledgeable in the management and safe delivery of the water supply to building users (part 2 of the APLD guidance document). Water heaters, cooling towers, humidifiers, faucets, toilets, showers hoses, fountains, whirlpools and spas, POU/POE water filters, aerators, ice machines and more are potential point sources for exposure. Finally, part 3 of the APLD guidance is focused on weekly maintenance tasks to keep water systems operating properly.

Guidance on Legionella prevention
Detailed guidance and training on how to develop a water management plan are provided by The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These guidelines have been updated and made increasingly visible in recent years due to an increase in recognition of the widespread and common problem of Legionnaire’s disease. ASHRAE’s guideline has become an industry standard (Standard 188- 2018 Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems) that clearly outlines minimum risk management steps for building water systems.4 The CDC’s document is in the format of a toolkit with a one-page questionnaire aimed at assessing the need for actions outlined in a free training.5 The PreventLD Training was developed by researchers at the University of Arizona’s Zuckerman College of Public Health, the CDC, the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) and others.6

Additional guidance on how to reopen buildings following the unprecedented shutdown from the pandemic coronavirus outbreak is updated frequently on the CDC website and includes information on mold abatement as well as Legionella controls.7 Both organisms can grow to unacceptable and harmful levels in just weeks, depending on building characteristics. Changes in water conditions can also promote biofilm growth, pipe corrosion and lead leachates.

The first steps in managing building water quality are to ensure that water heater temperatures are set to at least 140°F and to flush hot and cold water through all points of use when reopening a building that has been shuttered for weeks or more. Any equipment used to process or distribute water (i.e., fountains, tubs, spas, etc.) should be flushed, cleaned and sanitized. Readers are strongly encouraged to review the full CDC and ASHRAE guidance for a complete overview of infection control interventions required.

Conclusions
Approximately 90 percent of Legionella outbreaks are thought to be preventable. Preventing Legionnaire’s disease, however, requires strict management of the building water supply and intentional application of controls when water use disruptions occur, such as with the COVID-19 business shutdown. A final note of caution: the premise plumbing flushing and equipment cleaning process may expose individuals to high levels of hazards. Thus, great care should be taken to protect workers and other vulnerable populations. Responsible individuals should wear properly fit and certified N95 respirators as per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard8 and high-risk populations should delegate the task altogether.

References

  1. 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
  2. APLD: Advocacy Group Warns COVID-19 Shut Down Increases Risk Of Legionnaires’ Disease. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/apld-advocacy-group-warns-covid-19-shut-down-increases-risk-of-legionnaires-disease-301050556.html. Accessed May 17, 2020.
  3.  APLD Resource Guide—PreventLegionnaires. https://preventlegionnaires.org/pdf-report/apld-resource-guide/. Accessed May 17, 2020.
  4. ASHRAE. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2018, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems. https://www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/bookstore/ansi-ashrae-standard-188-2018-legionellosis-risk-management-for-building-water-systems. Published 2018. Accessed April 19, 2019.
  5. CDC. Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth & Spread in Buildings A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO IMPLEMENTING INDUSTRY STANDARDS. 2017. https:www.cdc.gov/legionella/downloads/toolkit.pdf. Accessed April 19, 2019.
  6. CDC, UAMEZCOPH, WWPHTC N. Preventing Legionnaires’ Disease (PreventLD Training). https://moodle.publichealth.arizona.edu/course/view.php?id=66. Published 2018. Accessed April 19, 2019.
  7. Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html. Accessed May 17, 2020.
  8. 1910.134–Respiratory Protection. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134. Accessed May 17, 2020.

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

Standards for POU Activated Carbon Systems

Monday, June 15th, 2020

By Rick Andrew

There are a wide variety of POU systems that utilize activated carbon in granular form or in carbon block form, either as the primary treatment technology in the system or as a secondary technology, such as a postfilter to a POU RO system. Considering the widespread use of activated carbon for POU systems, it only stands to reason that there are well established NSF/ANSI standards addressing POU activated carbon systems. These standards include:

The term aesthetic effects in the context of NSF/ANSI 42 means that the contaminant reduction claims associated with that standard are related to aesthetic water treatment: taste, odor and appearance. Conversely, claims of treatment of contaminants with documented health effects at concentrations that have been found in source water and drinking water are included under NSF/ANSI 53.

NSF/ANSI 401 provides yet a third category of contaminant reduction claims: emerging compounds and incidental contaminants. These are trace compounds detected in drinking water or source water but not at levels that are documented to cause health effects or to be noticeable in terms of taste, odor or appearance of the water. Nonetheless, consumers would prefer to be able to reduce the levels of these contaminants as low as possible.

POU products making claims of aesthetic treatment and of treatment of health-related contaminants often conform to both NSF/ANSI 42 and NSF/ANSI 53. Some products have associated claims under and conform to all three standards. This idea of products conforming to multiple standards and having multiple standards for the same products can cause confusion; however, the key to sorting out this confusion is to consider the similarities and differences among the standards.

Requirements under the standards
These standards include criteria and test methodologies for evaluation of several critical aspects of POU activated carbon systems, including:

  • Safety of materials in contact with drinking water
  • Structural integrity for products connected to a pressurized water supply
  • General requirements for flowrate, etc.
  • Contaminant reduction
  • Product literature (user information) including data plate, performance data sheet, replacement element packaging and installation and operation instructions

The three standards are well-aligned in terms of requirements for safety for contact with drinking water and structural integrity. In fact, the requirements are identical, such that a POU filter conforming to NSF/ANSI 42 for material safety de facto conforms to NSF/ANSI 53 and NSF/ANSI 401 for the same requirements.
There is also substantial alignment for general requirements and product literature among the three standards, although the requirements are not identical. The differences arise because of specific aspects of the products or the requirements that may vary depending on whether the treatment is aesthetic or is related to health claims or claims of reduction of emerging compounds or incidental contaminants.

For example, NSF/ANSI 53 and NSF/ANSI 401 include requirements for performance indication devices (PIDs) that inform users when replaceable treatment elements are due to be changed. Because NSF/ANSI 42 is addressing only aesthetic treatment of the water, however, there are no requirements for PIDs in NSF/ANSI 42. Other general requirements spelled out under the three standards include prohibitions on sharp edges that could cause injury, criteria for ease in changing of replacement filters, minimum acceptable flowrates and some other miscellaneous requirements.

Product literature requirements that spell out user responsibilities are also quite similar under the three standards. These requirements address system data plates, installation and operation instructions, performance data sheets and replacement element packaging. All are addressed by specifying information that must be included. There are a few differences in these requirements due to the differences in the types of contaminant reduction claims under the standards. For example, NSF/ANSI 53 includes requirements for detailed information for systems making arsenic reduction claims, to help users clearly understand system capabilities and limitations.

Test methods for contaminant reduction
In contrast to other sections of the standards, the requirements for contaminant reduction testing do have some significant variation among the three standards. Although there are many similarities, such as the concept of checking performance at multiple points throughout the test as opposed to only at the end, there are also some fundamental differences. It is these fundamental differences that form the rationale for separating into three different standards instead of including all of the requirements in a single standard. Figure 1 demonstrates a comparison of the three standards contaminant reduction test method criteria across several different critical parameters, highlighting the similarities and differences in approach among them.

NSF/ANSI 53 is generally more conservative (more difficult) than NSF/ANSI 42 because the contaminant reduction claims have health effects associated with them. Manufacturers and consumers are better protected by a more rigorous standard that sets a high bar for claims of reduction of contaminants that have health effects associated with them. This higher level of conservatism in NSF/ANSI 53 is demonstrated across multiple parameters within the test method requirements: flowrate, end point, contaminant concentration in the challenge water and required reduction of the contaminant. NSF/ANSI 401 tracks more similarly to NSF/ANSI 53 but the basis for influent and maximum product water concentrations is not based on health effects because the compounds in NSF/ANSI 401 don’t include health effects at the levels at which they are being detected in source water and/or drinking water.

Conformance to all three standards
It is quite common for POU activated carbon filter systems to conform to NSF/ANSI 42 and NSF/ANSI 53, and sometimes to all three standards. The significant overlap in the criteria facilitate conformance to all three. One extraction test for safety of materials in contact with drinking water and one set of structural integrity tests address these requirements under all three. One evaluation of the minimum service flowrate, the ease of changing of replacement filters and for sharp edges likely to cause injury addresses requirements in all three standards. Evaluation of the PID, if applicable, according to NSF/ANSI 53 addresses that requirement for both NSF/ANSI 53 and NSF/ANSI 401. Although most product literature requirements are similar under all three standards, there must be assurance that all applicable requirements are included in the installation and operation instructions, on the system data plate, in the performance data sheet and on the replacement element packaging. Finally, testing for contaminant reduction performance according to the requirements of the applicable standard for each claim made by the manufacturer establishes system conformance to all three standards.

Conclusion
The concept of having three standards applicable to the same products can sometimes cause confusion. Keeping in mind the overlap in the standards (and those aspects of the systems that have identical or similar requirements under all three standards) definitely helps with understanding. Similarly, remembering the differences in contaminant reduction testing and the greater robustness (more conservatism) associated with contaminant reduction testing under NSF/ANSI 53 (and not having regulated levels as a basis for contaminant reduction testing under NSF/ANSI 401) rounds out understanding of the similarities and differences among the three standards. All of this understanding makes it clear why so many products conform to NSF/ANSI 42 and NSF/ANSI 53 and some to all three standards.

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

“That Sounds Like Better Math!”

Monday, June 15th, 2020

By Emma H. Peterson

Alan Branson had never given much thought about the quality of his water. It was never on his radar that water from one place could have a completely different texture and taste than the next. But once life moved him to a little farm in Texas, Branson became submerged into that new reality. This farm’s water source came from a well on the property. It did not take long for him to recognize how unusual the water felt in his new home.

Branson noticed that the water was making his skin feel rough and itchy. Whenever he took a shower, he only felt dirtier. At the time, Branson was also working in the fire department, where one of his new neighbors (Graham Parks) worked as well. The neighbor had heard him speak of how awful the water at his farm was and knowing something that Branson didn’t, the neighbor told him to go with him to this small-town fair to meet someone.

At the fair, Branson was introduced to the man from whom he bought his first water softener. He didn’t know much about it, but after the system had been established, he was hooked. Branson had a new-found love for how the contraption worked and was fascinated by the wonder that it did to make his water go from grimy and hard to fresh and smooth. He knew in that moment he needed to find a way to get involved. Shortly after his interest sparked, Branson began working part-time with the water softener company.

Years went by. Branson had worked for three businesses in the industry, all of which shut down due to tax and accounting problems. He knew that if he wanted to work for a responsible and reliable company, he was going to have to branch out on his own. He said to himself, “If a company would maintain and service the equipment so the customer was always happy, they would tell everyone they know. They wouldn’t buy another one in five years, but those they tell would. That math looks better to me and I can feel good about what I do.” And thus, Aqua Sphere was born.

Branson started Aqua Sphere in 2000. Despite the fact that he “didn’t have a clue how to run a business,” he always knew he was building something that would make a difference. Branson realized that businesses in the water quality industry in his area knew how to sell the products, but few knew how to fix them. He founded the company with the goal of being dependable and accommodating, the flip side of what he had been taught: “Offer a product, sell it, done.”

Branson knew there was no such thing as a product that doesn’t need maintenance or service, unless it was throw-away, land-fill fodder to begin with. “The answer is the technicians, not the product,” he said. With an engineering background and the drive to serve his customers, Branson learned and taught people how to renovate these water quality systems. To build his company he had to work every position imaginable; sales, service, installer, receptionist, mechanic and custodian. He worked day and night for many years, testing water, selling equipment, making repairs, doing maintenance, while keeping records and analyzing data, to build a company that could solve any customer’s water problem and keep it solved. He created Aqua Sphere “to make [the customer’s] water the way they want it to be.” A single product cannot do that, but a well-trained water treatment specialist with access to all technologies can.

Today, Branson’s attraction to the water quality business remains the same. “I just love what we are able to do for our customers,” he says. “We get to use biology, chemistry and engineering on a daily basis to improve the quality of people’s lives and support special industries.” Branson believes that the key to a great life and a rewarding career comes from the desire to want to enhance the lives of both clients and employees. “The most rewarding thing for me is to watch my team members grow,” he says. “We constantly train and develop them, and I get to see them become some of the best professionals I have ever known. It is a real blessing to have a part in their lives and careers. I get to pass on to them what so many have done for me.”
Branson also attributes a large portion of his personal success and growth to his dad, his wife Tammie, his awesome team and the relationships he developed working within the Texas Water Quality Association. “They are such a magnificent group of successful people who took the time and effort to aid and mentor me.” He doesn’t believe the industry would be the same today without them.

Aqua Sphere is a multi-generational, family-owned business. Branson’s wife holds the title of VP. Other family members in the corporation include their daughter, Toni Pina (Administrative Executive) and son-in-law Zack Johnson, who oversees the service and installation side of the company. When Branson was asked what he considered to be the best and worst situations he has encountered in the industry, his simple answer is “working with family.” As most people would likely attest, Branson says working with family is just as much a blessing as it is a challenge.

Because Aqua Sphere is such a close-knit, family-oriented business, it can be very difficult trying to find the right people to add to their team. “We have implemented a very drawn-out, in-depth hiring process, which helps us make better choices.” Branson only wants the best for his team and therefore the employees are all very well-trained; technicians are licensed by the state of Texas. They even do a once-a-week training day where everyone learns something new so they can remain informed and diverse.

Aside from the blessings, there have been no shortages of tribulations that Aqua Sphere Inc. has faced and overcome. 9/11 and the Great Recession of 2008 were some of the most noteworthy trials. These days with COVID-19 prevailing, there have been many never-before-seen hardships, but Branson believes that as they have survived before they will certainly endure again. “We have been able to survive by the grace of God, keeping our noses to the grindstone and adapting to provide the best service we can during those times.”
With a great team and goals to continue growth, they are excited for the future. “Our plan for the future is to continue our normal growth pattern by continuing to provide the best service possible. Our customers know they can trust us and depend on us to be there for them, so they tell others. This is what drives our growth. It also creates more great careers for more people and the team grows as well.” For the future of the industry, Branson believes that “it is important that we as water treatment specialists continue to be more professional in every way. New technologies and products are great, but they must be properly applied and professionally maintained in order to work properly and I think that is going to become more and more apparent as we move forward.”

ASSE 1087–2018 Commercial and Food Service Water Treatment Equipment Utilizing Drinking Water

Monday, June 15th, 2020

By Thomas Palkon

After joining the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) in 2015 from the Water Quality Association (WQA), I began studying the US and international plumbing codes in greater detail. Having worked in the water treatment industry since 1997, I was familiar with the model plumbing codes and state plumbing codes, but since there were very few requirements for water treatment equipment, it was never a significant regulatory focus for the WQA nor its members. The model plumbing codes are updated every three years and with each three-year cycle, water quality continues to become a bigger focus for consumer health and safety in homes and businesses.

Drinking water contamination is a global problem. People who travel quickly notice the varying water quality aspects throughout the US and abroad. Most travelers would never consider drinking tap water in emerging countries or even in many developed countries. Even in the US, where tap water is considered safe, we continue to hear about tap water contaminated with lead, DBPs, perfluochemicals, arsenic…this list is never ending. Drinking water contamination notices and related publicity have increased the need and demand for residential and commercial water treatment products. How do the plumbing codes ensure all the water treatment products that are being installed to improve tap water are safe or that they do not negatively affect the plumbing design?

Several existing standards are referenced in the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and the International Residential Code (IRC). These standards include NSF/ANSI 44 for residential cation exchange water softeners, NSF/ANSI 58 for POU ROs, and NSF/ANSI 42 and NSF/ANSI 53 for residential water filtration equipment. One of the major gaps that exists in the plumbing codes today is a set of requirements for commercial water treatment equipment. The primary reason for this gap is that a standard to evaluate the health and safety of commercial water treatment equipment did not exist. ASSE 1087 has been developed and published to fill this gap.

In October 2018, ASSE International published ASSE 1087, a comprehensive health and safety standard to cover commercial and food-service water treatment equipment. Regulators and inspectors in the US, throughout Canada and where adopted internationally will no longer need to rely on manufacturers’ performance data when approving the use of commercial water treatment equipment in buildings, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and schools. This article discusses the key sections of the standard and the products included in its scope.

Scope
ASSE 1087 standard includes plumbed-in water treatment devices and components, POE and POU, that are used in buildings (e.g. businesses, schools, hospitals, churches, hotels, restaurants, etc.) to improve the quality of the water. The standard covers all water treatment products that are connected to a building’s plumbing system for potable water. Examples of water treatment equipment include: softeners, POE and POU filters, deionizers, POE RO equipment, UV systems, ozone systems, alkaline equipment, distillers and any other water treatment equipment used in restaurants and commercial buildings. The standard is not intended to cover products used for process water, wastewater applications or residential water treatment equipment.

Performance requirements and compliance testing
The following is a list of the standard’s requirements and a brief description of the purpose of each test.
Service-flow and pressure-drop testing is required on complete systems. Service flowrate and pressure-drop information is critical when sizing the plumbing system of new buildings or for determining the properly size treatment equipment in existing buildings. This testing includes requirements for specified service flowrates and maximum flowrates (peak flow) with corresponding pressure-drop data. This data can be used by plumbing engineers for proper sizing of systems to comply with the plumbing code.

Backsiphonage during system regeneration testing is required on products such as cation exchange water softeners that use brine to regenerate the system. Areas of the US are beginning to require regenerating water treatment equipment to be installed with an additional backflow prevention device. This test has been designed to confirm the system will not allow fluid in the brine tank to enter the potable water system. Systems meeting this design will not need an additional backflow prevention device because this safety mechanism is designed into the water treatment system. It is important to note this test is designed to evaluate backflow of the brine tank. Proper air gaps are also required on systems that include a drain connection.

Bypass flow capacity during system regeneration testing is required on products such as cation exchange water softeners. Flowrate and pressure-drop testing will be conducted on the water treatment equipment while the automatic bypass is engaged. This test is designed to ensure the building will not be restricted from water if there is a demand when the system is regenerating.

The standard includes four structural integrity tests to verify the integrity of the system or component. A 24-hour pressure loss test is required on complete systems and pressure-bearing components. This test has been designed to demonstrate the system or component will not leak under pressure over a 24-hour period. The pressure shock (water hammer) test checks the system’s ability to withstand water hammer up to twice the maximum rated working pressure of the device. The hydrostatic test is performed to ensure the system or component will be able to withstand peak pressures experienced in a plumbing system. Finally, cycle testing is performed to ensure the system or component will be able to withstand repeated pressure cycling for a simulated 20 years of life.

Material safety testing refers to the existing NSF/ANSI 61 standard that has been used for decades to ensure products are safe to contact drinking water. POU products would reference the corresponding NSF/ANSI standard covering filters, ROs and distillers. ASSE 1087 also requires systems and components to comply with the requirements of NSF/ANSI 372 to verify compliance with the US EPA’s lead-free requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Contaminant reduction testing to verify marketing claims is not currently required in the standard because most commercial products are specifically designed and constructed for commercial building water treatment needs. Creating contaminant-reduction test protocols for uniquely designed products of varying sizes can be challenging. Industry manufacturers, however, have already initiated proposed revisions to the standard, to include voluntary contaminant reduction testing to verify a system’s marketed claims. As these protocols are finalized and validated through laboratory testing, the standard will be opened for revision.
The ASSE 1087 standard will provide regulators, inspectors and code developers an opportunity to improve health and safety requirements for commercial water treatment products that connect to a building’s drinking water supply. It seems that the news media publishes new articles daily that highlight major concerns about poor drinking water quality around the globe. Water treatment in commercial buildings continues to expand because of the water quality issues. Creating the ASSE 1087 standard to cover all commercial drinking-water treatment equipment is an important step to improve the safety of drinking water.

Conclusion
The new standard follows ASSE’s motto, Prevention Rather than Cure, by allowing companies, inspectors and regulators to verify the safety and performance of commercial water treatment equipment before installation. Plumbing codes are quickly recognizing the need for high-quality water treatment equipment. As new products are engineered, ASSE is committed to helping the industry create new product standards that can ultimately be referenced in the plumbing codes to protect public health and safety.

About the author
Thomas Palkon is IAPMO Research and Testing Executive Vice President of Water Systems and ASSE International Executive Director. He participates in many industry standard development activities. Palkon has a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from the University of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana) and an MBA from Keller University. He can be reached at (708) 995-3006, tom.palkon@iapmort.org or tom.palkon@asse-plumbing.org

COVID-19 from a Water Guy’s Perspective

Monday, June 15th, 2020

By Peter S. Cartwright, PE

Introduction
There’s so much we don’t know about the virus behind this pandemic, but we are learning a little more each day. To the microbiologists, this virus is known as SARS-CoV-2, closely related to SARS-CoV-1, the virus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002-3. Most of the current scientific information and recommendations are based on what we learned in dealing with the SARS virus, but there are significant differences. The normal incubation period is two to 14 days after infection; however, during this time, these people may be contagious without even knowing they are infected.

What are its effects?
In addition to the well-known symptoms of fever, coughing and loss of breath, the CDC has recently added chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste and/or smell. Additionally, medical personnel are now reporting blood clots and issues with kidneys, heart, intestines, liver and the brain. Doctors also suspect a link between COVID-19 and a rare inflammatory condition, Kawasaki Disease.

Source
So where did this particular virus come from? Virologists estimate that about 1.7 million viruses are lurking on this planet, 75 percent of which are in wildlife. Many of the dangerous ones (SARS, MERS, Ebola, rabies, etc.) have been identified in bats and are readily transmitted to humans, possibly through another vector such as snakes. There is lack of agreement on the specific source of this one.

Is it waterborne?
COVID-19 is spread through respiration from the lungs. Diseases such as salmonellosis and cryptosporidiosis result from eating or drinking but the experts do not feel that COVID-19 can be spread that way. In other words, we catch this disease from inhaling, not from eating or drinking. The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a March 19 Interim Guidance wherein they state: ”Although persistence in drinking water is possible, there is no evidence from surrogate human coronaviruses that they are present in surface or groundwater sources or transmitted through contaminated drinking water. The COVID-19 virus is an enveloped virus, with a fragile outer membrane. Generally, enveloped viruses are less stable in the environment and are more susceptible to oxidants, such as chlorine.”

The virtually ubiquitous practice of chlorinating municipal drinking-water supplies in the US has reinforced the conclusion that this virus will not survive in drinking water. This document goes on to state: “Heat, high or low pH, sunlight, and common disinfectants (such as chlorine) all facilitate die off.” In centralized water treatment applications, WHO specifies a free-chlorine concentration of equal or greater than 0.5 mg/L, at least 30 minutes contact time and pH < 8.0. For non-centralized applications, in addition to chemical treatment (0.5 percent sodium hypochlorite or equivalent disinfectant), they recommend “…boiling or using high-performing ultrafiltration or nanomembrane filters, solar irradiation and, in non-turbid waters, UV irradiation.” Based on this, POU RO technology should be effective. All of these assume careful, hygienic handling practice.

This WHO document also states: “There is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus has been transmitted via sewerage systems with or without wastewater treatment.” As with other pathogenic viruses, it may be present in sewage, but does not appear to present a greater operational hazard to wastewater plant workers wearing the necessary protective equipment.

So how is it spread?
The bad news is that the COVID-19 virus appears to be transmitted through the air in tiny droplets, typically larger than 5µ. Although the virus itself is extremely small, measuring about 0.1µ, it is readily carried in respiratory droplets. When someone coughs or sneezes, huge quantities of droplets are released. What may not be so obvious is that we spray droplets even by talking (also breathing?). These droplets may be suspended for a long time (hours?) and travel significant distances by air movement. The six-foot rule is just an educated guess and some experts feel it should be much farther, perhaps up to 12 feet.

This underscores the value of face masks. It is suggested that N95 masks be reserved for medical and other personnel in direct contact with infected people. This is good advice, as these masks are manufactured to ensure filtration of at least 95 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns. The good news is that most droplets containing the virus are much larger than this and, depending on the particular face-mask construction, should be effective at removing these droplets. Even home-made masks constructed from old T-shirts or other cloth will help prevent the wearer from infecting people nearby.

The second pathway of COVID-19 exposure is from surfaces. Experts estimate that the virus is infectious for as much as three hours in droplets, four hours on copper surfaces, 24 hours on cardboard and three days on plastic or stainless steel. Note the antimicrobial credit given to copper, which also includes brass. It also appears to be able to survive on the soles of shoes for up to five days. The SARS-CoV-2 virus will not survive for any length of time outdoors, thanks to the excellent disinfecting properties of UV radiation from sunlight. It appears that UV radiation in the 200 to 222-nm wavelength will effectively inactivate (kill) the virus without harm to human skin. It is also readily inactivated by wiping surfaces with bleach solutions (four teaspoons per one quart of water).

The virus can readily enter the body through mucous membranes around the eyes, nose and throat. It is critically important that we keep the virus particles off our hands (which is why we are inundated with advice regarding hand-washing) and to avoid touching your face. If you think of this virus as sitting on everything you touch, that should be motivation to constantly wash. The experts tell us that the optimum procedure is with soap and water (for 20 seconds) and that hand sanitizer (minimum alcohol concentration of 60 percent) should be used only if soap and water are not available.

Facts and fallacies
As with anything so dominant in the news and on social media today, there is a plethora of misinformation circulating. The list below presents some of these along with the truth as provided by respectable authorities.

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is more deadly than any other pathogen. The data so far indicate the fatality rate at one to three percent; SARS was 11 percent and MERS was 34 percent.
  • Getting COVID-19 is a death sentence. 80 percent of those infected have mild symptoms and get well.
  • This disease is less deadly than the flu. COVID-19 appears to be more deadly than the seasonal flu.
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is the most infectious pathogen. Pathogens that cause measles, polio, diphtheria and whooping cough are more contagious.
  • Pneumonia and flu vaccinations will protect you from COVID-19. No, they won’t.
  • Antibiotics will work. These are only for bacterial infections and will not work on viruses.
  • Sipping water every 15 minutes will prevent infection. Absolutely will not work.
  • Taking garlic, ibuprofen, echinacea, vitamin C, zinc, elderberry juice, green tea, steroids and other home remedies. There is no evidence that any of these will prevent infection or lessen the symptoms.
  • Hand dryers will kill this virus. No.
  • Either cold or hot weather will kill it. No evidence to support this.
  • Hot baths will prevent infection. No.
  • It can be transmitted through mosquito bites. No evidence to support this.
  • If you cannot hold your breath for 10 seconds without coughing, you have COVID-19. This is not true.
  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soap. While hand washing with soap is absolutely the best way to remove the virus from your skin, the antibacterial ingredient is considered ineffective and is actually a significant pollutant in water supplies.

And the future?
Unfortunately, without much more testing, it will be virtually impossible for the experts to gain the critical knowledge necessary to trace this pandemic and make informed decisions about when and how we can return to some semblance of normalcy. Will recovered patients be immune to reinfection? For how long? Will blood plasma containing antibodies from these people help those with COVID-19 disease recover more quickly? When flu season comes this fall, will COVID-19 come back with a vengeance? Unanswered questions.

At the time of this writing, there is an antiviral drug, Remdesivir, which has shown promise in small studies and has been approved for treatment in hospital settings. Another one, Leronlimab also appears promising in limited trials. Meanwhile, there are at least 70 drugs under development globally, including vaccines from Oxford University and China, as well as those under development by Bointech/Pfizer and Moderna. In the meantime, we owe it to ourselves and loved ones to maintain a healthy lifestyle and outlook, both physically and mentally. The byword today is stay safe—we will get through this if we all work together!

About the author
Peter Cartwright entered the water purification and wastewater treatment industry in 1974 and has had his own consulting engineering firm since 1980. He has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota and is a registered Professional Engineer in that state. Cartwright has provided consulting services to more than 250 clients globally. He has authored over 300 articles, written several book chapters, presented over 300 lectures in conferences around the world and is the recipient of several patents. Cartwright also provides extensive expert witness testimony and technology training courses. He is on numerous editorial advisory boards and technical review committees of several trade publications and a frequent lecturer in numerous technical conferences globally. Cartwright is a recipient of both the Award of Merit and Lifetime Member Award from the Water Quality Association and is the Technical Consultant for the Canadian Water Quality Association. He was the 2016 McEllhiney Distinguished lecturer for the National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation and gave over 35 lectures throughout the world on groundwater contaminant mitigation. Cartwright can be reached via email, peterscartwright@gmail.com or visit his website, www.cartwright-consulting.com

Do’s and Don’ts of Activated Carbon Application

Monday, June 15th, 2020

By Gary Battenberg

Brief history
The ancient Egyptians used charcoal to smelt ores to make bronze, adsorb unpleasant odors, cure intestinal ailments and for use in the preservation of the dead as far back as 3750 B.C. Phoenicians were credited for charring barrels to hold drinking water on long sea voyages around 400 B.C. and this practice was adopted by many other seafarers throughout history until the 1800s. The charring of oak barrels also removed those pesky volatile organic chemicals to give whiskey its delicious personality. Hippocrates is among the most historical figures of medicine and by 50 A.D., started using charcoal for numerous medical purposes, including treatment for epilepsy, chlorosis, vertigo and other ailments. By 2 A.D., Claudius Galen had written nearly 500 papers on the use of charcoal in medicine.

In 1776, the year the Declaration of Independence was written and the US became a nation, experiments with carbon proved that color was removed from liquid phase solutions. From that time on, applications for various forms of carbon quickly grew, including decoloring of sugar to produce a whiter, more appealing sweetener. In 1881, Heinrich Kayser coined the term adsorption, which described charcoal’s affinity to uptake gasses. That term is used in our industry vocabulary today when describing application for many other contaminants that carbon has proven to be effective.

Relative effectiveness of GAC
Granular activated carbon (GAC) has been widely used in water conditioning since the early 1960s and is generally accepted as the best available adsorbent for chlorine removal. Under proper operating conditions one cubic foot of GAC will remove one part per million (ppm) of chlorine from one million gallons (3,785,000 liters) of water. There are many other applications for GAC and when properly applied has a very high affinity for and capability to remove color, taste and odor, tannins, phenols, pesticides, detergents, trihalomethanes (THMs), organics and toxic organic compounds. As great a workhorse as GAC is, however, there are also conditions where GAC is not applicable and others where GAC is a poor choice and not recommended. Let us look at the viability of GAC and rate the use on a scale of zero to five, with zero being the worst and five being an excellent, proven application.

Zero: not applicable
Contaminants remaining in water after passing through GAC include carbon dioxide, hardness (calcium and magnesium), lime, nitrates and phosphates. These are among many inorganic constituents in water for which GAC has no affinity. There are few exceptions where contaminants that are organically complexed may be reduced using GAC. Examples of these are arsenic, chromium and mercury, which may be bound by oxidized iron. It has long been a standard practice to effectively remove/reduce arsenic from water where iron is present by using an oxidizer, such as chlorine or hydrogen peroxide. Other treatment includes manganese greensand filter regenerated with potassium permanganate, which has been used for many years in municipal water treatment plants very effectively for the removal of iron and arsenic.

One: poor, not recommended
Other contaminants that are virtually unaffected after passing through GAC include ammonia, boron, fertilizers, inorganic acids, metal salts and seawater. Here again, inorganic makeup of these constituents is unchanged or only slightly changed in the effluent stream from GAC. There is a renewed interest in dioxin removal from municipal water sources. Dioxin is a byproduct of the cooling of flue gasses in various incineration combustion processes of municipal or industrial waste and is responsible for toxic contamination of the environment. GAC is not a recommended choice for dioxin removal because of the very slow adsorption process of GAC. Powder activated carbon (PAC) injection, however, has shown exceptional adsorption capacity. Due to its very small particle size, PAC is injected into wet or dry flue-gas emission streams and has proven to be a very effective, economical and flexible technology to remediate the problem.

Two: fair/limited application
Here we see some reduction of contaminants but it must be understood that performance expectations are not a primary function of GAC, regarding the inorganic makeup of emulsions consisting of two or more liquids that are unmixable and/or tend to have very limited mutual solubility. Other inorganic constituents include fluorides, formaldehyde, suspended oil, precipitated iron, precipitated sulfur, sediment, soluble iron, suspended matter (silt) and urine.

Three: good results
Now we can see where application of GAC will generally yield good results when properly applied. Contaminant removal/reduction include acetic acid (a component of vinegar), amines (ammonia derivative), detergents, heavy metals (copper, particulate lead, selenium, zinc), hydrogen sulfide, nitric acid, plating wastes, soap and vinegar. Note that particulate lead (Pb) is mentioned herein. Soluble (dissolved) lead is removed at a higher percentage using carbon-block filters specially formulated for lead removal/reduction. Performance expectations using GAC are best where service flowrates do not exceed six gpm per square foot of surface area. Example: a 10-inch diameter tank has a square foot area of 0.54. Multiply 0.54 by six and the maximum service flowrate should not exceed 3.24 gpm.

Four: very good
GAC yields good results when properly applied to contaminants such as acetone, alcohols, antifreeze, chloramine, chlorophyll, citric acid, lactic acid, mercaptans (odorant in natural gas), methyl acetate, methyl alcohol, methyl chloride, organic acids, ozone, potassium permanganate, solvents, sulfonated oils, tannins, taste and odor, and taste from organics. Performance expectations using GAC are best where service flowrates do not exceed 1- 1.25 gpm per square foot of surface area. The service flowrates drop considerably when organic chemicals are the target for removal. Here is where empty-bed contact time figures into the interpretation of the water analysis and the total of contaminants competing for adsorption sites on the carbon bed. Routine testing of the effluent water is required and prompt replacement of the media is essential to ensure consistent contaminant-free water.

Five: excellent
GAC is a proven application with a very high affinity for toxic organics removal from water when properly applied. There are many organic chemicals and toxic organic compounds that make up the US EPA primary (health-related) drinking water regulations. Because many of these contaminants are highly complexed, the recommended service flowrate should not exceed 0.7-0.9 gpm per square foot of surface area. Again, empty-bed contact time must be calculated to ensure optimal removal of the target contaminants. A partial list of contaminants include benzene, butyl alcohol, butyl acetate, calcium hypochlorite, chloramine, chlorine, chlorobenzene, chlorophenol, diesel fuel, dyes, gasoline, glycols, herbicides, hydrogen peroxide, hypochlorous acid, insecticides, isopropyl alcohol, ketones, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), naphtha (dry cleaning), odors (general) dissolved oil, organic esters, oxygen, PCBs, pesticides, phenol, plastic taste, rubber hose taste, sodium hypochlorite, THMs, toluene (dry cleaning), trichloroethylene, turpentine and xylene (dry cleaning).

When specifying GAC for contaminant removal, there are correction factors that must be considered when calculating the removal efficiency relative to the target contaminants. These factors include pH values between five and 10; temperature from 50°F to 100°F; efficiency factors from 90 to 99.9 percent and finally, the mesh size of the carbon, including 8 x 30, 12 x 40 and 20 x 50. The mesh size of the GAC will determine the backwash rate required for lift and reclassification where backwash is required. When the mesh size and type of carbon are selected, the volume of GAC is multiplied by the factors of pH, temperature and efficiency, relative to the target contaminants. An accurate water analysis is essential to assure effective removal of the target contaminant(s).

Dealers participating in markets where water sources contain known contaminants for which GAC exhibits high affinity are no doubt selling and servicing RO drinking-water appliances or specialized carbon filter products to remove unwanted contaminants from customers’ drinking water at a point of use. POE products that treat all the service plumbing of the home or business are becoming more prevalent, given the high profile of contamination issues in the 24-hour news cycle.

For commercial, industrial and institutional applications where performance specifications are very tight, it is best to consult a carbon supplier that has application specialists to assist with analysis interpretation, adsorption isotherm calculations, pilot-scale products and testing to confirm efficacy before the actual scaled project is approved. A note of caution is needed here relative to atmospheric conditions when working with wetted carbon. Wet activated carbon depletes oxygen from air. Whenever workers enter a vessel containing [wet] carbon, all precautions must be taken since dangerously low levels of oxygen may be encountered. Atmosphere sampling and work procedures for potentially low oxygen areas should be followed. Facilities with large installations that require ingress into large vessels typically have safety stewards on staff with safety gear and personnel onsite during service to GAC filters.

Conclusion
As we have seen, carbon has been in use in various forms for many types of applications for many years. While GAC covers a lot of ground regarding water treatment, there are some water constituents that remain unchanged after being exposed to carbon. If you are not sure if carbon is an acceptable media to use for a certain application, do not guess and compromise your customer or prospective customer. Be diligent and do obtain accurate water testing and counsel from a supplier with the expertise to support you in service to your community. Your business reputation is on the line, so scrupulous attention to detail is where problem-water issues require very accurate analysis interpretation before specification, installation, start-up and commissioning of critical applications.

About the author
Gary Battenberg, an industry veteran of 38 years, is Technical Manager Water Treatment Department, at Dan Wood Co. His primary focus is training personnel in water testing, application, installation and startup, service/diagnostics and maintenance for the department. Battenberg will be responsible for water system specification for commercial and problem water applications. Previously, he was a Technical Support and Systems Design Specialist with the Fluid System Connectors Division of Parker Hannifin Corporation. Battenberg’s expertise includes the fields of domestic, commercial, industrial, high-purity/sterile water treatment processes. He has worked in the areas of sales, service, design, installation and manufacturing of water treatment systems and processes utilizing filtration, ion exchange, UV sterilization, reverse osmosis and ozone technologies. Battenberg can be reached by phone at (269) 329-0050 or by email, gary.battenberg@danwoodco.com.

About the company
Dan Wood Quality Home Services Company of Portage, MI is a state-licensed contractor for plumbing, heating, air conditioning, boiler service and installation, well pump service and installation, and water conditioning dealership. The company was founded in 1908 by Dan’s Grandfather in Detroit, MI. Today, the company is in its fouth generation, carrying on the family tradition of quality home services with a service vehicle fleet of 35 trucks. The company maintains an A+ consumer rating and provides 24/7/365 service to the local community.

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