Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Diaphragm pump

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Blue White Industries’ CD1 Dual Diaphragm Pump with Hyperlink Drive Technology pumps chemicals continuously, is self-priming, will not vapor lock and is engineered for zero maintenance, including the patented, ultra-durable diaphragm, DiaFlex®. The exclusive, single-layer diaphragm has been designed to last the life of the pump. The energy-efficient, brushless, DC variable-speed motor helps achieve a large turn-down ratio for extreme accuracy. CD1 has a feed rate of up to 7.20 GPH/27.26 LPH), leak detection, simple installation and setup as well as fittings for multiple configuration types. The Chem-Pro® CD1 provides a high-performance solution for precisely dosing harsh chemicals.
www.blue-white.com
info@blue-white.com

The Benefits and Risks of Bottled Water Supplies

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

Bottled water sales have been on a mostly steady increase for over a decade. It is now the number-one beverage in the United States and has been for several years running. While there are several benefits to bottled water, there are also some risks. This month’s On Tap will look more closely at the pros and cons of one of America’s favorite drinks.

Bottled water background
Municipal drinking, or tap, water supplies are regulated by the US EPA, while bottled drinking water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition to requiring producers to ensure the bottled water is from a protected water source, the FDA also monitors processing and packaging plants for quality-control practices and the sanitary conditions of facilities. There are many different types of bottled water products. FDA-approved labels include bottled water, drinking water, artesian water, mineral water, sparkling bottled water, spring water and purified water (including distilled, demineralized, deionized and reverse osmosis-treated). Waters may also have flavors or nutrients added.

According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans (on average) consume over 39 gallons (147 liters) of bottled water annually per capita.1 With sales surpassing soft drinks, bottled water has been a collective benefit for consumers seeking healthier, portable drinking options. Convenience is also a big plus among consumers. Single-serving sized bottled water has driven the measured growth in the beverage category, accounting for over 67 percent of the overall shares of bottled water sold.

Environmentalists have voiced concerns over the amount of waste produced from all those single-use plastic bottles of water. While pollution is an ongoing concern, bottled water manufacturers have made a concerted effort to reduce the amount of plastic in their packaging. According to data from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), the weight of half-liter plastic water bottles has been reduced by nearly 50 percent over time and consumers are increasingly contributing to frequent recycling.2

Historical bottled water outbreaks
What about the safety and quality of bottled water? Outbreaks of disease from bottled water exposures are not common, however, they do still occur. Based on surveillance summary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 1971-2014, at least 17 bottled water outbreaks were documented (Table 1).3 Not all waterborne hazards cause acute effects but rather may be more prone to long-term health outcomes, such as cancer, that would not be documented in outbreak surveillance measures.

It is important to read the bottled water label and understand the different types of source waters and associated treatments. One of my mentors and an icon in environmental microbiology, Dr. Charles Gerba, had an infamous line: “Every stream is a beaver’s latrine,” warning of the potential for microbial contamination in untreated drinking water sources. Although water that comes from protected wells and springs is less likely to be contaminated compared to surface or tap water sources, they are not typically subjected to additional treatments.
Bottled water that is labeled purified indicates additional treatment relative to spring water sources. Treatments designed to effectively remove parasitic organisms (such as Cryptosporidium) include reverse osmosis, distillation or one-micron absolute filtration methods that can remove waterborne parasites. Ozone and ultraviolet light also kill microorganisms in water when applied properly. These interventions are essential for the prevention of serious infections, especially in immunocompromised individuals.

Emergency response
Bottled water companies have provided lifelines to communities where municipal supplies (and even POU devices) have been compromised, especially in regions impacted by natural disasters and flooding. Following devastating impacts from hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, forest fires in California and lead contamination in Flint, MI, bottled water suppliers mobilized quickly to deliver water to areas where public supplies were impaired. In Flint, bottled water was provided to residents who could not reach the city’s free-water distribution centers. For many Flint residents, free bottled water was provided for nearly a year and a half, due to ongoing lead exposure potentials.In addition, standard preparedness protocols recommend that everyone have a two-week supply of water on hand in the event of an emergency. Bottled water can be stored for long periods of time to support basic needs should public supplies be compromised. The CDC recommends planning for a gallon of water per person per day.

Media mentions
Popular media has targeted the bottled water industry in recent years, along with the FDA, for alleged failure to enforce quality standards. In 1999, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) published a 133-page report on the wide range of bottled water product types and quality and the perception among consumers that bottled water is safer than tap water.4 A main focus of the NRDC report was the lack of FDA quality oversight on the rapidly growing product.

More recently, a Consumer Reports (CR) investigation found that the FDA cited bottled water companies at least 14 times over the last 10 years for violation of regulatory standards. In addition, FDA failed to issue product recalls or inform consumers of contamination events ranging from E. coli to arsenic.5 According to a CR survey, 40 percent of Americans believe bottled water is safer than tap water. Depending on the water source, treatments applied and the quality of the storage container, this may be true.

Regulatory compliance concerns have long plagued municipal water supplies, and on a much larger scale. Of the approximately 50,000 US EPA-regulated community water systems (CSWs), 40 percent violated at least one drinking water standard in 2018. That’s 20,000 facilities not meeting regulatory requirements. Seven percent (n=3,500) were non-compliant relative to health-based violations. In response, the agency formed the National Compliance Initiative (NCI) to reduce CSW noncompliance. NCI’s goal is to increase US EPA’s response capacity and reduce health-based standard violations by 25 percent by the end of the 2022 fiscal year.

Caveat emptor
Caveat emptor (Latin for “Let the buyer beware”) is a common disclaimer in the sale of consumer products where the seller may not transparently disclose all the information a buyer might need to make an informed purchase decision. In the case of drinking water, the sellers, whether they be from the bottled water industry or public municipalities, are primarily self-monitoring and self-reporting entities and discerning product quality is not an easy task.

Household POU water treatment is an equalizer to these uncertainties, regardless of the tap water source. POU devices let the buyer know exactly how their water is being treated, how those treatment works are being maintained and the performance efficacy of the methods. But what about the convenience and transportability of bottled water? Reusable, refillable, portable containers offer the same convenience as bottled water at a much lower cost and waste production. Just make sure to properly sanitize the bottles every day after using. Bottles may be sanitized in the dishwasher on the high heat and dry cycle or with a dilute bleach solution (one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water).

References

  1. Beverage Marketing Corporation. Latest News | Consulting, Financial Services and Data for the Global Beverage Industry. https://www.beveragemarketing.com/news-detail.asp?id=438. Published 2017. Accessed August 13, 2020.
  2. IBWA. U.S. Consumption of Bottled Water Shows Continued Growth, Increasing 6.2 Percent in 2012; Sales up 6.7 Percent. https://www.bottledwater.org/us-consumption-bottled-water-shows-continued-growth-increasing-62-percent-2012-sales-67-percent. Published 2013. Accessed August 13, 2020.
  3. CDC. Commercially Bottled Water. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/bottled/index.html. Published 2014. Accessed August 13, 2020.
  4. Olson ED, with the assistance JD, Poling D, Solomon JDG. BOTTLED WATER: PURE DRINK OR PURE HYPE? 1999. www.nrdc.org. Accessed August 14, 2020.
  5. Felton R. The FDA Knew the Bottled Water Was Contaminated. Consumer Reports. https://www.consumerreports.org/bottled-water/the-fda-knew-the-bottled-water-was-contaminated-the-public-didnt/. Published 2019. Accessed August 14, 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 Treatment Technologies Used with POU Water Coolers

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

By Rick Andrew

Certain POU water treatment technologies are designed for use with POU water coolers. When used with coolers, these technologies are treating potable water supplies to help address concerns with taste, odor, appearance or specific contaminants that may be present in the water. Use of this treatment with POU water coolers can add value to the cooler and enhance the experience for end users who drink water from the coolers.

The quality of these technologies can be established through assessment of conformance to certain of the NSF/ANSI Drinking Water Treatment Unit Standards. These standards address multiple aspects of the technologies in terms of their fitness for purpose when used with POU water coolers. By specifying and using technologies that conform to these standards, POU water cooler manufacturers, vendors, renters and users can have a high degree of confidence that use of these technologies will be beneficial.

Requirements
Each of these standards includes similar requirements, which address safety, structural integrity, contaminant reduction performance, end-user instructions and more. A summary of these requirements is presented in Figure 1. Some of the requirements, such as material safety, structural integrity and end-user instructions, are addressed very similarly and in some cases identically across the various standards. The contaminant reduction performance test methods, however, can vary significantly because the various technologies and contaminants behave differently. For this reason, there are multiple standards that address different technologies and/or contaminants, as opposed to one all-encompassing standard.

Scope and contaminant reduction claims
The scopes of these standards and protocols can generally be described based on technology: mechanical filtration, active media, RO, UV, etc., and on contaminant reduction claims. Basically, different technologies have different capabilities, limitations, operating modes, maintenance requirements and configurations, so it is logical to organize standards according to technologies. That way, the scope of the standard, the contaminant reduction claims available and testing methods are appropriate and applicable to the technology addressed in that particular standard or protocol.

For example, RO systems are constructed and operated very differently from GAC filters, with each having very different water treatment capabilities. Criteria that are important for evaluation of RO systems, such as TDS reduction performance and daily production-rate determination, are not relevant to GAC filters. Similarly, fundamental criteria for evaluation of GAC filters, such as replacement element capacity, are not relevant to RO systems. This leads to the test methods for evaluation of these technologies being very different from each other, with different sampling formats, end points, contaminants and test-water characteristics, allowing for appropriate challenging of their performance.

Taking into consideration the various technologies employed for water treatment in POU water coolers, it becomes more understandable that there multiple NSF/ANSI Standards for evaluating these technologies. Figure 2 provides a summary of the scope and examples of typical contaminant reduction claims available in the NSF/ANSI Standards, relevant to treatment technologies used with POU water coolers.

Establishing a basis for confidence
The NSF/ANSI Standards for treatment technologies used with POU water coolers are very rigorous, scientifically based documents, designed to evaluate multiple aspects of the technologies to help assure they will be safe, structurally sound and will provide effective treatment of the water according to the claims made by the manufacturer.

POU coolers can be appealing to end users because not only do they provide access to cooled and possibly also heated water, but also they include treatment to help assure that the water is the highest quality possible. This treatment is often tailored to the characteristics of the water and the preferences of the end user and can include a wide variety of possible technologies employed. Fortunately, the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards address each of these technologies very specifically to provide an appropriate and challenging test method to evaluate the contaminant reduction performance.

By using technologies that conform to these standards, end users can rest assured and have confidence that these technologies are safe and effective in treating the water, as claimed by the manufacturer. This confidence adds value to the equation for the manufacturer of both the cooler and the treatment technology, the distributor or cooler rental company and the end users who enjoy the drinking water they obtain.

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

The Best Kept Secret of the Plumbing Industry

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

By Emma H. Peterson

If there’s one thing Eric Brockmire knows about plumbing, it’s everything. After nearly 30 years of experience in the plumbing industry, Brockmire is highly renowned for his expertise in all things water filtration, drainage and pipes. He has had his foot in and out of several different businesses, including ones he started on his own, since he opened up his first company in 1993. He is the founder of Brockmire Plumbing Services and the Honest Water Filter Company, as well as being President of Rooter-Man Plumbers of San Diego, CA.

Rooter-Man is a privately held national franchise that has been ranked the number-one plumbing franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine for 15 consecutive years. They offer full-service plumbing and drain cleaning for residential and commercial properties throughout the entire San Diego County. Brockmire says that the mission for both of his companies is “to give the best quality service at a competitive price, to show the utmost respect, professionalism and kindness to our customers, and to always remember that the customer is number-one.” They feel great dignity in being a certified small business with big goals.

In 1995, Brockmire’s original business (Brockmire Plumbing Inc.) began installing a successful line of whole-house carbon systems for a water treatment company. They were the company’s exclusive installer until 2003, when Brockmire decided he wanted to seek out a water treatment builder to private-label their own brand of carbon filters and water softeners. Thus, Aqua Source Water Treatment was born. Aqua Source sold water systems not only to Brockmire Plumbing, but also branched out to other contractors, who then sold them to their customers. “I owned both companies until 2007, when they were bought by NuFlow America, at which time I began working for NuFlow,” he says.

After one year with NuFlow, Brockmire left to pursue his own path working for Aquion in 2009. (Aquion is a large water treatment corporation that owns RainSoft.)“I was hired to develop a new division called ProSystems that would sell carbon filters and softeners to the plumbing industry across the United States,” Brockmire said, “This division was very successful, and I held this position until 2012, when I was lured to start a similar division for Canature.” He only stayed with Canature one year before receiving the call again to branch out and pursue his own path. “I really missed the plumbing industry,” he said, so in 2014 he opened up Brockmire Plumbing Services. And as if that was not enough, in 2019, Brockmire started another new business, Honest Water Filter Company, where he was selling water treatment products to the plumbing industry once again.

Brockmire’s work-life was not always centered around plumbing practices, though. Before Brockmire Plumbing, Inc., he proudly served in the military as the “best tank driver in Europe.” He joined in 1986 and spent two years there before he was honorably discharged in 1988 after a terrible knee injury. Because of Brockmire’s service and sacrifice, Rooter-Man Plumbers of San Diego has long been admired as a certified Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise by the California Department of General Services.

After his time in the military, Brockmire went out and worked for different companies over a few years but realized something about himself: he was tired of working for someone else. Being the serial entrepreneur that he was, he was ready to branch out into a new territory on his own. He wanted to find a career where he could help people and be honest and transparent with his customers where other people maybe were not. “People say there’s always going to be bad apples in every business, but I wanted to be the guy who found those apples and threw them away,” he said. This passion led him to the plumbing industry.

As his business and reputation grew, Brockmire began training thousands of people about integrity in the plumbing field. Weeding out the bad apples over the last two decades ultimately inspired him to create his Honest Water Filter Company, of which the Honest Filters are rated the number-one POE cartridge systems in the world, based on performance as tested by NSF International. “We suspect we will have a real positive effect on our customers’ homes and health with these superior products,” Brockmire said. “In addition, Rooter-Man’s use of FostaPex pipe has provided a better water delivery system to their customers.”

Brockmire has started and sold several businesses over the past 25 years. He was the sole proprietor of his original company for four years. He has developed new divisions, more knowledgeable workers and enhanced products, making Brockmire truly the ‘best kept secret of the plumbing industry,’ as he dubs himself. With time and first-hand experience, Brockmire has been able to narrow down what the most important characteristics and strengths are in a person who is hoping to create a new, successful business for themselves. “First, you have to have fortitude and a thick skin,” he said, “and it all starts with having a dream. You have to have a dream and a desire to want to do the right thing.” Finally, Brockmire says, “You must have humility; you get humbled very fast when developing a new company. Flexibility goes along with that one, too.”

Brockmire believes being able to conform to whatever curve-ball life throws at you and your business is a necessity. A global pandemic is proving to be more than enough to test their corporation’s flexibility, but they are taking it as a week-to-week game. Despite being scared to death in the beginning, Brockmire continues to be flexible and roll with the punches. “With the current pandemic environment and business shutdown, we were fortunate to obtain both a PPP and disaster loan, making it possible for our business to survive and provide for our employees, who are the lifeblood of our business,” he says.

In an ever-changing industry with new products and new crafts to be both learned and taught, Brockmire is excited for the future of his company and the water industry as a whole. “Our goal is to have my VP and business partner buy the Rooter-Man business within the next two years and continue growing the business model so that I can focus on growing and developing Honest Water Filter Company,” he says. “The water treatment industry is like a big Ferris wheel that turns slowly and is full of old-timers who are sitting back and enjoying their hard work. I see big changes on the horizon, as the industry is getting younger with more technology, producing superior products to solve emerging issues. We all need to hang on. It’s going to be a fun and exciting ride into the future of water treatment.”

Lifetime Versatility of UVC LED Technology for Water Purification Systems

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

By Sébastien Blumenstein, PhD

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, UVC LEDs have emerged as a pivotal technology for disinfecting surfaces, as well as creating safer environments in public areas, working spaces and households.1 The germicidal effect of UVC has been exploited for over a century in various application fields. Today, UV-enabled water disinfection is a standard method for appliances ranging from large-scale water treatment plants to POU water purification systems. With the rapid technological progress of UVC LEDs in the past decades, various types and sizes of UVC LED-based water purification systems2 have been proven a viable disinfection response to water-relevant pathogens, such as Pseudomonas, E. coli and Legionella.3

UVC LED technology for water purification today
Mostly found today in POU appliances (see Image 1), water purification systems that utilize UVC LEDs offer a range of advantages compared to traditional UV lamp systems by being more ecological, safer, reliable and cost effective. One outstanding feature of UVC LEDs is the ability to be instantly switched on and off without any drawback on lifetime. Thus, UVC LEDs can be activated on demand via flow sensors or simply by dispensing signals (e.g., from solenoid valves), which means that lifetime is only used when a purification system is activated by the consumer, i.e., when water is dispensed. Compared to traditional systems, in which UV lamps are often continuously activated, there is no need for extra warm-up time or for limiting cycling management to prevent accelerated degradation. This allows for UVC LED technology to offer a clear flexibility enhancement.

The instant on-off switching property translates into a specific water purification product lifetime, which equally depends on the appliance specifics as well as on the user behavior. Different use-cases illustrate the wide range of possible lifetime outcomes by representative system properties (flowrates) and consumption behavior (daily dispensed water volume). The analysis of the following use-case comprises the quantitative evaluation of end-of-service life (EOSL) in years, as well as the total water volume capacity to demonstrate the lifetime versatility of UVC LED-based water purification systems.

Lifetime versatility of UVC LEDs: A use-case
The lifetime definition of integrated UVC LEDs is crucial to the performance and reliability that a water purification system provides.3 Water disinfection system designs typically require a minimum total optical power to meet the UV fluence rate that ensures a specific disinfection performance claim, often specified in terms of a relative reduction rate (percentage or log-reduction value) for a water-relevant pathogen (e.g., Pseudomonas aeruginosa). As UVC LEDs degrade slowly and continuously over the time in which they are on (on-time), system designs should consider the output power of UVC LEDs at end of life as well as the related reliability value that statistically quantifies the level of confidence in ensuring the required optical power over the full product lifetime. Because of this, customers should pay attention to the confidence level that manufacturers attach to the disinfection performance claim of their products over lifetime.

For example, this use-case assumes that for a given UVC LED-based water disinfection system, a certain disinfection performance level is guaranteed for a total UVC LED on-lifetime of 500 hours. For a meaningful product lifetime discussion, two parameters are considered:

  • EOSL in units of years (y)
  • The treated total volume capacity in liters (L)
    The EOSL describes the effective lifetime in terms of years during which the water disinfection product (e.g., a UVC LED water reactor) is applied to an operative system after which the performance claim expires and when the manufacturer would typically recommend a replacement. The total capacity specifies the consequentially dispensed water volume used during that time. Both measures are evaluated as a function of:
  • Flowrate in liters per minute ( L/min)
  • Average daily water consumption in liters (L)4
    A simplified model considers that UVC on-time is used whenever water flows at a specific flowrate through the disinfection system during days of use. Additionally, the activation of UVC LEDs in regular intervals is recommended in order to prevent potential microbial growth, specifically prohibiting biofilm formation during periods of water stagnation, i.e., when the appliance is not in use (water maintenance). Mathematically, this model can be expressed by Equation 1.

Applying 500 hours total UVC LED on time, as well as an automated water maintenance cycle of two minutes UVC LED activation every 12 hours, sets the basis for Equation 2 in the quantitative analysis shown in Equation 2.

Figure 1 illustrates EOSL values calculated by Equation 2 for a range of flowrates between 0.5 and three liters per minute, and average daily water consumption between one and 50 liters. These parameter ranges have been chosen to represent various application scenarios such as domestic under-the-sink filtration systems (UF [typically up to three L/min], RO [typically less than one L/min] and others), commercial bottled water coolers (ranges down to smaller one L/m), POU water coolers in office environments (typically 1.5 to 2.5 L/min) as well as addressing professional POU water appliances in public and hospitality spaces (typically greater than two L/min). Within these parameter ranges, the shortest EOSL amounts to 0.8 years for 50 liters consumed per day at a flowrate of 0.5 L/min (Figure 1, bottom right corner) and the longest reaches 19 years for one liter consumed per day at three L/min (Figure 1, top left corner). While these values are calculated extremes, the majority of EOSL values (75 percent) in this evaluation lie between two and 11 years, with a mean of 5.6 years. This points out the impressive breadth of possible effective lifetimes of a UVC LED-based water purification product in the field, especially when compared to typical UV lamp replacement schedules between six and 12 months.

Figure 2 depicts three selected horizontal cross-sections of Figure 1 together with total capacity values. One can clearly recognize the non-linear dependency for EOSL and total capacity on the average daily consumption, as well as their reversed curve progression (Equations 2 and 3). When daily consumption increases, more water gets treated and less UVC LED on-time is used for water maintenance (in relative terms), while the effective product lifetime decreases due to longer UVC LED usage periods per day.

For the parameter range of this use-case, treated water volumes at EOSL are found between 5,000 liters (14 years) and 73,000 liters (2.2 years) with a mean of 36,000 liters. Again, this demonstrates the wide range of possible water purification applications served depending on user behavior and system flowrate. Figure 2 also emphasizes the consequences at different flowrates. As shown, tripling the flowrate results in up to five years longer EOSL, while total capacity can increase by a factor > 2.5. Because a certain water volume is treated faster at higher flowrate, UVC LED activation periods are shorter. Therefore, less UVC LED on-time is consumed per day for a specific daily water consumption.5

Additionally, product lifetime is impacted by periods of non-use or days of no water consumption. For example, a UVC disinfection system used for domestic under-the-sink filtration might be used daily, whereas a professional POU system in a hospitality environment could experience one day off during the week, while a water cooler installed in an office space might even go through a full weekend of water stagnation. Noteworthy, this emphasizes the need of an automated water maintenance cycle to prevent microbial growth during such periods of water stagnation.

Covering all three scenarios, Figure 3 illustrates EOSL and total capacity values over daily water consumption at a fixed flowrate of two L/min. When considering a UVC disinfection module attached to a water dispensing unit in an office space, EOSL decreases with fewer closed-office days, which is mainly due to the intuitive fact that average daily consumption takes place during work days.(4)
In contrast, the total water volume treated increases, because less UVC LED on-time is effectively consumed for the automated water maintenance routine over product lifetime. Overall, the effective lifetime of the same UVC LED-based water purification system can vary up to two years depending on the application environment. Knowing the end user’s application environment and identifying daily average consumption helps manufacturers and servicers to optimize replacement schedules and thus, reduce costs significantly.

Lifetime flexibility powers more versatile disinfection solutions
These application examples give quantitative evidence for the versatility of UVC LED-based water purification products provided by a large-scale lifetime flexibility. The intrinsic ability of UVC LEDs to be activated on demand only extends end-of-service-life (EOSL) expectations substantially compared to systems based on traditional UV lamps. In particular, moderate water volume consumption scenarios that apply to domestic POU, for instance, benefit from replacement cycles easily exceeding 10 years.

This analysis gives confidence to manufacturers and servicers of POU water dispensing appliances that switching to a UVC LED solution provides a multiple-year, maintenance-free disinfection feature, adding value to their business through predictable planning for replacement, as well as to their customers, with reduced maintenance expenses. UVC LED technology continues to progress at a rapid pace, which will continuously widen its market penetration into water, food and beverage, hospitality and building spaces.
Today, the lifetime versatility of UVC LED-based disinfection systems already serves a large application range by easily adapting to diverse end-customer usage behaviors. IoT-compatible units with functional indications are available as customizable components for OEMs, as well as autonomous plug-and-play modules for retrofit and optional accessory to serve a broad range of water purification appliances.2

References

  1. F. Javier García de Abajo, Rufino Javier Hernández, Ido Kaminer, Andreas Meyerhans, Joan Rosell-Llompart and Tilman Sanchez-Elsner, “Back to Normal: An Old Physics Route to Reduce SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Indoor Spaces,” ACS Nano ASAP, 2020. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c04596
  2. GWI market map. “Reduced scalability obstacles spell bright future for UV-LED systems,” Chief Technology Officer, Vol 21, Issue 3 (March 2020) https://www.globalwaterintel.com/global-water-intelligence-magazine/21/3/market-map/reduced-scalability-obstacles-spell-bright-future-for-uv-led-systems
  3. A.W. Miller, R.M. Mariita, Disinfection Performance of UVC LEDs against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli and RNA Bacteriophage Qβ at Different Conditions, Conference Proceeding, UV Technology Advances 1, IUVA Americas Conference, Orlando, FL (2020) https://www.iuva.org/2020-AC-Conference-Tuesday
  4. Here, the definition of average consumption per day refers to days of usage only. Days of non-usage are respected by the evaluation with an extra term in Equation 1.
  5. Please note, that the disinfection performance of a water purification system will typically differ depending on flowrate, which is not discussed in this article.

About the author
As Field Application Engineer, EMEA, Dr. Sébastien Blumenstein has technical responsibility for Crystal IS UVC LED projects, including water disinfection applications. He supports in integrating off-the-shelf Crystal IS water disinfection products as well as customized solutions to meet specific customer needs. Prior to Crystal IS, Blumenstein worked at Excelitas, a photonics technology leader delivering OEM optical solutions. He holds a PhD in physics from the Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany). Blumenstein can be reached at sebastien.blumenstein@cisuvc.com.

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

2020 Bottled Water Industry Update

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

By Jill Culora

Bottled water reaffirmed its position as America’s favorite drink by outselling carbonated soft drinks (by volume) for the fourth year in a row in 2019. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC), sales of bottled water grew by 5.2 percent in 2019, reaching $34.6 billion USD (retail) and consumption grew by 3.6 percent to 14.4 billion gallons (54.5 billion liters). In addition, per capita consumption was up 3.1 percent in 2019, with every person in America drinking an average of 43.7 gallons (165 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 25.5 percent in 2019. Carbonated soft drinks hold the second position, with 21.4 percent, reflecting a clear trend of consumers increasingly choosing healthy, convenient, zero-calorie bottled water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. In fact, 66 percent of the growth in bottled water sales (from 2006 to 2019) has come from people switching from soft drinks and fruit drinks to bottled water.

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) has always 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. Some observations from the past year include:

  • Backlash against the industry took a back seat in early 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused people to stockpile bottled water, despite no authority advising people to do so. Social media posts and stories that disparaged bottled water, mostly for perceived environmental impacts, were down 81 percent in the second quarter of 2020 (2,910 posts versus 15,221 posts in 2019).
  • 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 one 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. All bottled water containers are 100-percent recyclable—even the caps. And PET plastic bottled water containers can be recycled over and over again. Research shows that bottled water drinkers are the best recyclers, with water containers making up approximately 55 percent in curbside recycling 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 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 #PutItInTheBin recycling campaign. This campaign harnesses the power of social media to help educate consumers about the value of recycling.

IBWA’s COVID-19 response
From the start of the COVID-19 public health crisis, IBWA staff worked hard to make sure its members had the information they needed to stay in business successfully through the pandemic. IBWA issued regular email bulletins for its members and developed a COVID-19 members-only handbook, which pulled together a vast variety of information and resources, and also offered guidance on operating a facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. IBWA drew this information and guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), Hogan Lovells (IBWA’s outside counsel) and other organizations. IBWA continues update its members and revise its handbook to incorporate new government and IBWA updates as these occur.

In addition, IBWA created a COVID-19 Information and Resources webpage to provide members with a central, online location to go to for relevant and timely information about the COVID-19 crisis. Members are encouraged to visit this page if they are looking for general COVID-19 information they can share with their consumers; answers to frequently asked questions (e.g., “Can I get the coronavirus from food, food packaging or food containers?”); state business-closure updates and helpful resources published by the CDC, FDA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, US Chamber of Commerce, US Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and US Department of Labor, among others. The web page also highlights IBWA member charitable activities, such as donating well over a million bottles of water and numerous face shields to healthcare workers and others around the country. IBWA continues to work hard to make sure that its members have the information they need to conduct business successfully during this crisis.

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 bottled water 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. IBWA’s 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 has developed 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:

  • Equipment check/process controls
  • Meter use/water mapping
  • Water recycling/reuse
  • Training/education
  • 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 are 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 Best Practices Guide for Plant Siting. This guide is a tool that bottlers can use to review the requirements for developing a bottling facility and help them integrate with the community and develop a working relationship that is mutually beneficial.

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 opposed a bill in Pennsylvania that would prohibit the use of containers or food packaged in containers (which include bottled water containers) that contain BPA at a level of 0.1 parts per billion (ppb). IBWA pointed out the many studies that demonstrate the safety of BPA, including the most recent research by FDA known as CLARITY (Consortium Linking Academic and Regulatory Insights on BPA Toxicity). At press time, no further action on the bill had occurred. IBWA continues to monitor proposed legislation and potential action in other states.

And more recently in 2020, IBWA worked with allies to prevent the advancement of a Virginia House Bill 640 that called for prohibiting the manufacture, sale or distribution of any container intended for the storage of liquid food or beverages that contains the industrial chemical BPA. The most concerning aspect of the bill was that it directly cited ‘commercial water cooler jugs’ as a target for the prohibition.

FSMA deadlines
IBWA continues its efforts to assist members in complying with FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). 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 three years and continues to offer workshops as requested. These workshops provide both member and non-member attendees an opportunity to become a PCQI for their facility(ies), in compliance with the preventive controls 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.

Microplastics
IBWA continues to follow microplastics developments through its working group and collaboration 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. In August 2019, the WHO reaffirmed IBWA’s position, finding that there’s not enough evidence to conclude that microplastics pose any risk to human health.

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.

Water Vending in India

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

By Dennis Abraham

In today’s global setting and with increasing human demands, people often like to get what they want, where they want. This is the same for drinking water as well. Gone are the days when people had to carry bottles filled with water at home; such practice was replaced with bottled water being sold at retail outlets. While bottled water is a convenient option, it is neither economically feasible to all the sectors of the population (due to high pricing), nor is it sustainable, due to the amount of plastic waste being generated.

The best solution at this juncture is a water vending machine, most commonly called a water ATM.

A water ATM, as the name implies, is a water vending machine similar to bank ATMs, except that money is inserted into the machine in return for water. These machines (which run on a cash as well as prepaid card or smart card systems) are built, owned and operated by private companies that have been granted rights over public resources such as land and water.

Since the 1990s, the government has encouraged several private-sector projects in the water industry, in the hope that transferring the responsibility of water to private companies will bring more transparency and accountability to the process. International financial organizations (like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency) also support the Indian government by providing external funding for various projects. Several of these projects are operating on the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

The concept of water vending is simple: the customer owns his own bottles and fills them at his convenience. An added bonus is 24-hour access. Water vending provides a fantastic opportunity for existing water business operators, provided adequate support is given by local governments or governing bodies. Water stores usually start small but end up having to increase staff as business grows. A vending machine in a storefront can also ease the need for additional labor requirements.

Table 1 shows the continued growth of both bottle and bottle-less water dispensers in the US. Table 2 shows the Indian market of vending machines is growing exponentially with a broad scope of future usage, in view of current forecasts.

While we can observe from these statistics that water dispensers are a growing business, the success of this industry is mostly dependent on the support from the governments. The core fact that we all have to understand and acknowledge is that access to pure and safe water is a basic human right and governments are completely responsible to provide pure, safe and affordable drinking water to its citizens. Nevertheless, in context to the extensive geography of India, providing 100-percent pure, safe and affordable drinking water to the last mile or the end user is a task for local and federal governments alike. The best solution towards solving this problem would be setting up decentralized water treatment systems, such as the water dispensers/water ATMs.

Water is one of the most commercial products of the century. Though it may sound bizarre, it’s true. The stress on the multiple water resources is a result of a multitude of factors. On the one hand, the rapidly rising population and changing lifestyles have increased the need for fresh water. If opportunity costs are taken into account, it would be clear that in most rural areas, households are paying far more for water supply than the often-normal rates charged in urban areas. Meanwhile, other sources of water (such as tanks) have dried up. As the problem of water shortage increases by the day, slum dwellers are being forced to fetch water from other sources located at a distance from their houses. There are also reports of quarrels between slum dwellers over fetching water from public taps.

Conceived with an objective to provide clean drinking water to people, water ATMs are widely used in different public places today and their benefits can be felt at both social and individual levels:

  • Meeting community needs. These clean water dispensing machines prove to be particularly beneficial for the less-developed pockets in India, where more than 163 million people do not have access to clean water. The installation of water ATMs can not only enhance lifestyle in some of these drinking-water-scarce regions, but can also reduce the waterborne disease in communities that lack access to clean drinking water. In multiple locations of rural India, these water stations brought clean and safe drinking water to hundreds and thousands of families that suffered immensely due to the lack of access to safe drinking water and that was without taxing them financially. Delhi is a good case in point.
  • Awareness building. When people have to pay (no matter how much) for their drinking water, they come to realize the value of this resource. They start considering it as a valuable commodity that has to be used prudently. Growing public awareness helps prevent water wastage. Clean and affordable drinking water in public places immensely benefits individuals who have to stay outdoors through the better part of the day.

Be it daily commuters using local transport or long-distance travelers using railways, tourists thronging to vacation destinations or pilgrims visiting the country’s holy places, people suffer immensely due to lack of easy access to safe, affordable drinking water while spending a long time outdoors. Governments, as well as corporate bodies, are introducing initiatives on a large scale to combat this challenge. Water ATMs have become a real solution in providing tourists, commuters and others with easy access to affordable drinking water. Installed in multiple sites (ranging from railway platforms to a bus terminus, market places to temples), these water dispensers help people quench their thirst in a pocket-friendly manner. Additionally, these facilities can go a long way to enhance the image of a city or any place/organization that installs a water ATM.

Water ATMs
Nowadays, automated vending machines are in wide use as they make various activities not only easier but also more efficient. The machine has numerous input and outputs to supply service to the customer, similar to a vending machine. Coin-operated, it accepts only coins (such as an Indian rupee, in any sequence) and delivers water. The main focus of this technique is to avoid environmental pollution and water wastage, with the assistance of water control valves.

Water scarcity is quietly associated with poor water allocation, inefficient use and lack of adequate and integrated water management. In recent decades, several monitoring systems integrated with water level detection are accepted; therefore, water-controlling system implementations have potential significance within the society. The vending machine is to be developed in such a way that water will be efficiently and cost-effectively served to the customers. The specified quantity of water and amount of cash required for purchase are set to affordable levels for most.

The main benefits of a water vending machine for public places are:

  • 24 / 7 water provision
  • Water quality accountability and control
  • Cashless dispensing and pay-per-use methodology
  • Price transparency and flexible purchase

These systems also benefit project sponsors/stakeholders as follows:

  • Off-grid functionality and environment-friendly
  • Low operation and maintenance requirements ensure the water fee is affordable.
  • Information layering (through Cloud connectivity) for accountability (tracking each user transaction)
  • Service optimization by monitoring key process parameters in real-time online
  • Adaptable to various location types (community, school, hospital, etc.)
  • Potential for targeted subsidies
  • Increases social impact (per rupee) invested

India’s urban scene is expected to undergo a sea change in the future with multiple smart city projects expected to take off in the upcoming years. The concept of water ATMs can play a critical role in water system management for these young cities. Urban players, however, get to choose the proper solutions for installation.

While all the above factors provide fair demand-side opportunity to the solution providers, it is a hard fact that none of the companies (for profit) who have set up and are operating water ATMs in India are making profits; 80 percent have not even reached a break-even point. This brings us to the point of retrospection about the functionality and modalities of private players establishing and operating the water ATMs (the PPP model). This scenario is taking a toll on most companies and though there is a demand and necessity for decentralized water dispensing solutions, most of the companies are backing out from existing and upcoming projects due to the non-viable structure of the PPP model.

If we look deep into the PPP models of Indian governments, when a private company proposes an interest to establish a water ATM, the government assumes that the private company would take all the burden off its shoulders. While this may be possible in other sectors, it is definitely not a possibility in the water supply sector. Rather, the private companies could facilitate technologies and robust solutions towards ensuring supply of pure and safe drinking water to the end user.

On the other hand, amenities that are under the government’s purview (such as water, electricity and land) are provided only as payable commodities to the private partner. On the contrary, the government decides the price at which the private partner has to sell water at the ATM kiosks. Thus, private companies ultimately suffer losses due to nil subsidies, lack of support from the local bodies, etc. If the governments want to charge these businesses for projects such as water ATMs, the core ideology of safe water being considered as a human right is at stake.

At a time when the water crisis is escalating in several places, the government must ensure adequate access to clean and pure drinkable water. The government sector is very active in delivering basic services, such as drinking water. The private sector now needs to step up and support those government initiatives. From a business point of view, installing water vending machines in schools, bus depots and factories can be an excellent CSR activity.

E-Rikshaw water ATM
To quench the thirst of the people on roads and markets, many municipal corporations across India have approved the installation of smart public drinking through automated mobile water vending machines, called e-water ATMs. The operating company pays rent to the municipal corporation for putting up such machines across the city. A pilot project using recyclable paper containers with drinking water at WHO standards will be launched in the near future, in which one can operate the machine with coin, prepaid cards or through a mobile app.

The machines will dispense water in 250-mL (0.06-gallon) amounts with payment of two rupees and one liter for five rupees. The recycled paper containers will be of one-liter capacity. The e-water ATMs will also have display screens showing the product-water purity along with the temperature—if the temperature increases above 20°C (68°F) in the machine, water dispensing will be stopped automatically.

How should customers pay?
There are several ways to simply accept money through the machines. The simplest and most trouble-free may be a straight coin acceptor. Many operators choose this method because the cost to get and maintain equipment is low. There are few moving parts and service requirements are rare. A downside is exact change is required. But most customers are repeat customers and know the coin requirements. Coin changers offer the ability to provide change to the user.

Some operators also offer prepaid cards. This provides cash up front and allows the operator to offer volume and frequency incentives to increase customer loyalty. Prepaid cards and the card readers required to use this technology are extremely varied, with multiple platforms that usually are not interchangeable. Operators should consider a card system carefully. Purchasing a machine with a card system often can restrict the owner to a single manufacturer’s system. Some systems allow programming through the machine’s card reader itself, while others require a separate programming unit.

Maintenance considerations
Inevitably, all equipment will require servicing at some point. Potential operators should ensure that the machine is simple enough for them to work on themselves or with minimal assistance from any competent water or vending technician. Simple electronic board replacement should be possible, as well as easy access to plumbing parts and assemblies.

Future growth
Ensuring that a machine can be upgraded to deal with the future growth of a business is another factor to consider. Operators may choose to purchase a coin-acceptance-only unit at the outset, but may need to upgrade to a coin changer and bill validator later on. There is no end to sophistication and product betterment.

Roadblocks to growth
Water kiosks can be the future, if the government or funding agencies like the World Bank take complete or part ownership of the asset, while establishing a fixed remuneration for maintenance by the private partners. Government should support and channel funding like CSR, etc., for existing water kiosks or new ones. It is most important to push for ecological, natural and dynamic water treatment options that can treat water that comes to the kiosks through government-supplied water. In most states during the rainy season, it becomes difficult to consume due to higher rates of sediment runoff, dissolved impurities (fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals from industry, etc.) bacteria and viruses that can cause dysentery and other waterborne diseases. Just installing RO and demineralizing water or using chemical-based treatments could jeopardize the utility of a kiosk, which might also be needed during times of water distress. Thus, if government places emphasis on resolving these issues and moving ahead with a collective approach, the water ATM model would definitely benefit all stakeholders involved.

About the author
Dennis Abraham Thazhamon, Managing Director of Josab India Pvt Ltd for the India and Southeast Asian regions, is a highly qualified marketing and management professional with a primary focus on entering new markets. A water expert who focuses on sustainable living for everyone , he has been honored with the 51 Fabulous Global Water and Water Management Leaders award. Abraham is currently working towards making a difference in the lives of people via natural treatment of water so they can continue enjoying good health by drinking treated, natural water.

About the company
Josab India Pvt Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Josab Water Solutions AB, Stockholm, Sweden, has been providing safe drinking water solutions in India since its launch in 2012. The company produces and sells products, solutions and services for ecologically sound water purification. Because of the Aqualite™ filter material, large volumes of water can be purified in an ecologically safe way at a low cost, leading to long-term sustainability. The company’s primary focus is on rural areas, where access to safe drinking water is barely minimal. Since its launch in India, Josab’s Aqualite-based technology has been approved and acclaimed by various public and private entities. Currently Josab India is expanding its territories in terms of acquiring market and diversification where the requirement for pure water is pivotal.

Coping with the COVID-19 Era Via Interactive AR Training Webinars

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

By David H. Martin

This column is a companion piece to An Industry Training Veteran’s View: The Evolution of Training, which appeared in the March issue of WC&P. David Scurlock, who had been scheduled to speak at the canceled 2020 WQA Convention, is the Director of Training and Business Development for Canature WaterGroup. He can be reached at (920) 896-2295 or david.scurlock@canaturewg.com

When David Scurlock talked with me about leveraging technology for training at the beginning of this year, little did we know that for most of the year interactive training was to become the rule, not an option, in the era of COVID-19. Zoom meetings, virtual conferences, remote learning and hybrid learning are all terms and concepts that have become very commonplace.

Scurlock reports that, beginning in January, he was conducting up to 12 interactive webinars per week, reaching hundreds of people. These web-based training sessions involved Canature customers and potential customers, as well as members of the company’s internal sales, customer service and engineering teams. He feels that experience helped demonstrate the collaborative power and business impact that virtual webinars can have. According to Scurlock, one technology that is proving to be especially impactful for technical training is augmented reality.

WC&P: What exactly is AR or augmented reality?
Scurlock: Using video, audio and dynamic 3D graphics, to create highly interactive training modules. Some people get virtual reality and augmented reality confused with each other. With virtual reality you put on a headset and play games. Or, for another example, where firefighters or emergency responders need to be immersed in the situation or environment. That’s virtual reality. Augmented reality, on the other hand, can be demonstrated on a paint manufacturer’s website, where different wall colors can be projected on room settings for the purpose of facilitating paint color decisions. That’s augmented reality.

WC&P: Are there other common uses of AR that we might be familiar with?
Scurlock: Many people may have heard of Pokémon GO, the game that uses your mobile device and superimposes virtual characters in the actual surrounding that you are in. Or you may have shopped online for furniture and had the ability to superimpose the item you were considering in the onscreen room or environment. The auto industry is already using augmented reality to show all the aspects of a vehicle, including the engine, in great detail. Car dealers can easily show how the vehicle looks with a black interior, a leather-look interior or a fabric interior. Real estate professionals are using video-capture technology to provide virtual tours of homes and apartments, another example of augmented reality technology applied to every-day life. Most people don’t know that the smart phone they have in their pocket has augmented reality technology built in. So, in the coming months and years, more people will be scanning information into their phones or other devices for any number of augmented reality applications!

WC&P: How can AR be used in the water treatment business sector?
Scurlock: By providing technical training on installing, troubleshooting and repairing product. Imagine a GoPro camera in the hands of your water equipment technician. Through the eye of the camera and with a headset, the trainee can experience the subject matter and entire training process, looking down into the valve, seeing how the valve works, how the board goes in and goes out, in a realistic virtual presentation. The technical trainer is using his hands to demonstrate the action, while the trainee is watching through the eye of the camera.

In other words, that’s how today’s technicians learn: through demonstration, instead of paging through printed manuals. Each demonstration, as seen through the eye of the camera, proceeds in a step-by-step progression (“Step one: remove the valve cover, etc.”) At the same time the tech-installer has access, through scanned PDFs, to the same supporting information found in printed manuals.

WC&P: Is it easy to use?
Scurlock: Yes, that is one of the advantages of AR. You can simply scan a QR code or access a web site with any mobile device and you have the information right at your fingertips. In the training world this is referred to as getting information or training ‘just in time’ versus trying to learn everything ‘just in case.’

WC&P: Is it expensive?
Scurlock: As with any training it requires an investment. Like most technologies, investments in AR can be scaled, based on the company’s goals and budget. There are several approaches that could be used, from in-house production, to third-party companies who specialize in creating AR content. Knowing your budget and goals upfront will help you identify which content creation options are best suited to your situation. Remember that your budget can be partially or substantially offset by the savings from reducing or eliminating classroom meetings or training sessions.

WC&P: Here are the benefits to a business in using this type of training.

  1. Once created it can be used for new-hire training, cross-training and refresher training.
  2. It supports the fact that technical training requires visual support and the ability to practice.
  3. It can be cost effective, as training modules can be revised and updated.
  4. You can capture training from subject matter experts (SMEs) and reinforce best practices.
  5. You can reduce costly errors and mistakes in the customer’s environment.
  6. In the COVID-19 era, it is a safe way to provide training.

WC&P: Can digital AR training be efficiently combined with traditional classroom training?
Looking beyond the current COVID-19 crisis, Scurlock foresees an era when AR training will be combined with classroom training, as needed. This combined training approach is called hybrid training. In this scenario, the trainee would first experience any given AR module with step-by-step content. This virtual session would be followed by in-person instruction on the same content, as the trainer looks over the shoulder of the tech-trainee working with actual components and tools. The trainer is the hands-on coach, there to reinforce the AR pre-training. Scurlock believes hybrid training will speed up and facilitate the learning process considerably over traditional training alone.

WC&P: Is AR adaptable to an individual’s learning pace?
AR training is highly customizable to each trainee’s learning pace, says Scurlock. With AR, the technology is adaptable to the learner, not the learner trying to keep up with the instructor. Thus AR training, he believes, is more efficient than classroom training alone and even traditional PowerPoint webinars. With AR training, content can be focused by subject, in short bites of less than 30 minutes. What technicians want (and that AR delivers) is a practical sequence of ‘show me, let me do it, then correct me.’

Conclusion
Augmented Reality technology debuted in the electronic games industry. Now it is showing its potential as an important training and marketing tool by companies including Canature WaterGroup, looking for more efficient and creative ways to involve customers, sales, customer service and engineering teams in interactive technical training webinars. The COVID-19 era has quickened the pace of acceptance of AR by the water treatment and other training-intensive industries. The long-term, positive effects will be felt for years to come.

About the author
David Martin, President of Lenzi Martin Marketing, has more than 30 years experience in the water quality industry working with dealers, distributors and manufacturers. He can be reached at (708) 848-8404 or dmartin@lenzimartin.com.

People

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Battenberg appointed at Argonide
Argonide has appointed Gary Battenberg as a Business Development Manager-Senior. His primary focus will be to drive short- and long-term growth of the company through implementation of proactive strategies and to enhance market share. The company will leverage Battenberg’s vast design experience to develop new products for its NanoCeram and DEAL technologies. Previously, he was Technical Manager, Water Treatment Department of Dan Wood Company. Prior to that, Battenberg was Technical Support and Systems Design Specialist with Parker Hannifin Corporation. His 30+ years of experience in the water industry provides a perfect fit for Argonide, with a proven, successful track record in areas of sales, service, design and manufacturing of water treatment systems. Battenberg’s technology base covers mechanical and adsorptive filtration, ion exchange, UV sterilization, RO and ozone technologies. He has worked in the domestic, commercial, industrial, high-purity and sterile water treatment arenas. Battenberg, a contributing author to WC&P International magazine and a member of its Technical Review Committee since 2008, was voted one of the magazine’s Top 50 most influential people in the water treatment industry in 2009. He can be reached by email at gary@argonide.com or by phone (407) 488-7203.

Cotruvo honored by NSF, NEHA
NSF International and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) have presented Joseph Cotruvo, PhD, BCES, with the 2020 Walter F. Snyder Environmental Health Award. He received the award at the virtual 2020 NEHA Annual Education Conference, in recognition of more than 45 years of dedicated service to environmental and public health through leadership, collaboration and consensus national standards development. Cotruvo’s accomplishments as a ‘clean water crusader’ include 23 years as Director of US EPA’s Criteria and Standards Division, Office of Drinking Water, as well as Director of the Risk Assessment Division in Toxic Chemicals. He also worked four years at NSF International, first as a Senior Regulatory Executive and later as VP of Environmental Health Sciences, where he helped to advance the NSF/WHO Collaborating Center for Drinking Water. Cotruvo later established the professional environmental consulting firm of Joseph Cotruvo & Associates.

McGinnis named McEllhiney Lecturer
Kevin McGinnis, President of Cotey Chemical Corp. has been selected as 2021 McEllhiney Distinguished Lecturer by NGWA and the Groundwater Foundation. The William A. McEllhiney Distinguished Lecture Series in Water Well Technology was established in 2000 to foster professional excellence in water-well technology. McGinnis has presented workshops across the country for NGWA, the American Groundwater Trust and state organizations. He graduated from Texas Tech University in 1984 with a degree in business administration and began his career in the groundwater industry when he started working at Cotey Chemical for his father-in-law Ken James in 1993, eventually purchasing the company in 1995. Cotey Chemical designs and manufactures products to rehabilitate and develop all types of water wells.

NGWA award winners named
The National Ground Water Association congratulated recipients of its 2020 Awards of Excellence, Outstanding Groundwater Project Awards and Sectional Awards, which will be presented this December during Groundwater Week in Las Vegas, NV. Long-time NGWA member John Pitz, President of N.L. Pitz Inc., NGWAF, received NGWA’s most prestigious Ross L. Oliver Award for outstanding contributions to the groundwater industry. Also honored were: James Butler Jr., PhD, Senior Scientist and Chief, Geohydrology Section, University of Kansas Geological Survey, M. King Hubbert Award; David Henrich, CWD/PI, CVCLD, President, Bergerson-Caswell Inc., Robert Storm Intersectional Cooperation Award and Standard Bearer Award; Mike Barcelona, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Western Michigan University, Life Member Award; Francis Weedon, President/Owner of Frontier Logging Corp., Technology Award; Marcia Degan, PhD, PE, Technical Services Manager at Virginia Department of Health, Special Recognition Award; Jeffrey Smith, MGWC, Smith Well Drilling and Janice Hawk-Baldwin, CWD/PI, Hawk Well Co., Special Recognition Award.

ACS Rising stars announced
Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) unveiled its sixth annual Talented 12 list in mid-August, which highlighted early-career researchers in the chemical sciences who fearlessly tackle difficult global problems. The list included: Kevin Barnett, Pyran; Josep Cornella, Max Planck Institute for Kohlenforschung; Robert J. Gilliard Jr., University of Virginia; Osvaldo Gutierrez, University of Maryland; Mireille Kamariza, Harvard University; Lingyin Li, Stanford University; Laura-Isobel McCall, University of Oklahoma; Lynn McGregor, Novartis; Brett McGuire, MIT; Wendy Lee Queen, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne; Jessica Ray, University of Washington and Rudy Wojtecki, IBM.

IAPMO compliance inspector announced
IAPMO R&T has enlisted the services of Martin Weiss as Continuous Compliance Inspector for current and prospective European clients. He spent the previous 20 years at Grohe Research and Development Department (Germany) in various technical areas, including thermostats, one-hand mixers, kitchen faucets and sanitary systems. In addition, Weiss served as Project Supervisor responsible for drinking water systems. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in energy and heating technology from the University of Applied Sciences in Giessen-Friedberg, Germany, and began his career as a test engineer at the Grohe Function Laboratory. Over the next two decades, Weiss would serve as Deputy Supervisor, Supervisor and head of the department. His achievements at Grohe include overseeing the opening of a new laboratory, which included merging three laboratories into one.

Global Spotlight

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

North America
PWQA against recycling legislation
PWQA has reiterated its vehement opposition to AB 1080 and SB 54 (collectively known as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act). Recent amendments do not address the overarching, fundamental issues that PWQA has with the bills and they raise new, significant concerns. Both bills still require millions in new spending at (and delegate expansive new regulatory and fee authority to) Cal Recycle, fail to address on-going challenges with existing programs and the need for significant additional infrastructure statewide to implement the bill, all while the state struggles financially and has slashed spending in other areas. For some businesses, the single-use products and single-use packaging covered by these bills are critical to their livelihood. PWQA will provide updates when available.

WQA news
WQA announced it will relocate its international headquarters and laboratory to an expanded, more modern facility that will allow increased capacity and flexibility for product testing and more efficient membership services. The association has committed to a building only about a mile from its current headquarters in Lisle, IL, about 30 minutes from O’Hare International Airport. Sale of the current building to a nearby non-profit organization was completed in March, with WQA allowed to maintain business in its current space until the move is completed. The WQA Board of Directors officially approved the relocation plan in April 2019, after more than two years of research and planning.

As schools prepare to reopen for in-person learning around the country, WQA offered general guidance on bringing water treatment systems back online in buildings that have been vacant or seen little or no water use. Available on WQA’s website, the guidelines suggest actions water treatment professionals can take as part of an overall recommissioning plan for schools as well as commercial, industrial, manufacturing or retail businesses shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document also can be used as a resource by restaurant and coffee shop owners, small businesses and retail establishments, and even homeowners.

IAPMO news
As reported by IAPMO, US EPA has released its long-awaited final regulation on the Use of Lead Free Pipes, Fittings, Fixtures, Solder and Flux for Drinking Water. IAPMO has been an active participant in the rule-making process from the beginning and submitted numerous comments for consideration. The rule’s goal is to reduce lead in drinking water and assure that states, manufacturers, inspectors and consumers have a common understanding of lead-free plumbing. In the final rule, the agency makes conforming changes to existing regulations based on the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act of 2011 (RLDWA) and the Community Fire Safety Act enacted by Congress.

IAPMO and AWWA have entered into a Cooperative Development Agreement to develop a manual of recommended practice to support providing safe and effective water efficiency and water quality provisions for the built environment. Recommended Practices for the Safe Shutdown and Startup of Building Water Systems Due to Emergency will be developed and administered by IAPMO’s Codes and Standards development resources under a set of development procedures jointly established and agreed to by both entities. A committee of subject-matter experts appointed by both will oversee its creation.

Well owner website relaunched
NGWA, in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and US EPA, has re-launched its flagship website,WellOwner.org, long the go-to resource for well owners in search of information on properly testing, tending and treating their private water systems. The site is now easier to navigate and contains even more resources to protect private water wells. Updated features include new and improved Contractor Lookup; blog posts from water well experts; a modern, professional and responsive look on all devices; enhanced search functions and new Know Your Well podcasts with NGWA staff interviewing experts from across the US.

ASTM standard developed
ASTM International’s new D7936 standard will help to measure organic compounds that can cause significant issues, including pollution and carcinogen generation, in water. ASTM’s water committee (D19) developed the new standard. The test method described therein covers the catalyzed hydroxyl radical oxidation system for in-stream or laboratory analysis of total organic carbon, total carbon and total inorganic carbon in drinking water, wastewater, industrial process water and effluent water.

WEF safety guideline issued
A blue-ribbon panel of experts convened by WEF to evaluate safety of wastewater workers during the coronavirus pandemic concluded that occupational risk of infection is low, standard wastewater treatment processes inactivate the virus and additional research should be conducted to further increase understanding of hazards and protections for personnel. The panel also updated the guidelines for protection of wastewater personnel from potential pathways of exposure to biological hazards, including coronavirus.

Kinetico, Ayala agreement announced
Ayla Networks announced that Kinetico Incorporated has selected the Ayla IoT platform to power a new generation of innovative, differentiated products and drive market growth. The platform provides comprehensive device, cloud and mobile app connectivity for any kind of product. Its end-to-end integrated technology includes the latest standards and protocols to enable Kinetico to connect its smart products to the cloud along with the software applications that are used to control them.

Nelsen Corporation announced the completion of construction of its new distribution and warehouse facility at 14035 W. El Cielo, Goodyear, AZ, southeast of the Phoenix Goodyear Airport. The property provides for additional growth and expansion in the future. A video of the construction may be viewed at https://youtu.be/8TxVrsduVXE.

Europe
ACS, Poland publishing agreement announced
The American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications Division announced that it has signed a transformative ‘read-and-publish’ agreement with the Polish Academic Consortium. The agreement, which lasts through 2022, will benefit 51 institutions across Poland and will enable hundreds of articles to be made open access each year.

Middle East
ASSE, Israel standards agreement announced
ASSE International and the Standards Institution of Israel (SII) have entered into an agreement for SII to license two ASSE standards for adoption in Israel, which will allow SII to easily adopt ASSE standards for the Israel market, preventing the need for the development of duplicative international standards. The agreement was developed initially for ASSE 1055-2018, Performance Requirements for Chemical Dispensing Systems with Integral Backflow Protection and ASSE 1030-2016, Performance Requirements for Positive Pressure Reduction Devices for Sanitary Drainage Systems. The agreement, which will automatically renew annually after the first three years, calls for SII to prepare its standards in Tel Aviv, distribute copies of them to the public by sale, rental, lease or lending and publicly display them.

Asia
PolyCera acquired by Singaporean firm
PSP.US, Inc. has acquired the assets of US membrane company PolyCera, Inc., which in 2018 began commercialization of its highly differentiated organic metal membrane products that combine the robustness of ceramic membranes with the cost efficiencies of polymeric membranes. The assets include all of PolyCera, Inc.’s physical and intellectual properties. The acquisition was finalized on June 23; financial details are not being disclosed. A Delaware corporation, PSP.US was formed in 2020 and is wholly owned by PSP PTE. LTD. in Singapore. As the largest shareholder in PSP PTE. LTD., leading Chinese membrane company Beijing Daking Eastern Technology Co., Ltd. (Daking) also maintains the largest interest in PSP.US.

©2020 EIJ Company LLC, All Rights Reserved | tucson website design by Arizona Computer Guru