Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Viewpoint: Safe water…what we do makes it better

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

The water treatment industry is at the forefront of water quality improvement, through technology, products, education and service. To say that dealers and distributors are on the ground floor of necessity is an understatement. As we tout the ‘water is life’ mantra, access to it may be hindered by a number of issues, such as natural disasters, local emergencies, even water scarcity. When water sources are compromised, it’s the water dealers who come to consumers’ rescue.

At press time, there are a number of situations clamoring for attention: the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s affect on health and societal norms; wildfires racing across parched California; heat waves across the desert Southwest and other weather-related destruction visited upon the Midwest and east coast, all of which are creating much higher demand and expectations for safe drinking water. And of course, bottled water is the mainstay of emergency preparedness and disaster response.

It is ironic to note that California’s exceedingly pro-environmental stance is in direct opposition to its needs: Napa Valley, Los Angeles County, Butte County and many others are suffering from wildfires that will adversely impact their populations and possibly their groundwater. California typically turns away from its anti-bottled water stance to embrace the bottled water industry when it needs it; however, it will again turn it’s back on this segment when the crises have passed. The state is currently contemplating even stiffer regulatory measures that will ultimately drive some of these companies out of business. See Global Spotlight for PWQA’s position on AB 1080 and SB 54, both included under the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.

Water vending is not new but not as widespread as in some countries that lack public water infrastructure. David Abraham of Josab India Pvt Ltd gives an in-depth look at this segment of the water industry and how India has put it into motion. While there are many water-vending companies in the US, it’s more a convenience than a necessity, as in less affluent and developed countries. UVC LED is becoming a viable technology for water coolers, water vending machines, office water dispensers and more. Sébastien Blumenstein, PhD, Crystal IS, presents a comprehensive article on the wide range of UV disinfection, how it works and why it’s a pivotal aspect of treatment for water devices.

For years, bottled water has outpaced soft drinks and other beverages, a trend that will likely continue. The healthy lifestyle movement, young but growing, will push favorites (such as soft drinks and juices) further down the standings over the next few years. To spotlight the bottled water industry, Jill Culora, IBWA VP of Communications, presents an overview of where the industry is headed and outlines its primary focus. Public Health Editor Kelly Reynolds, MSPH, PhD, takes it a bit further with a pro-and-con look at bottled water. With different regulating agencies in play, one might think that makes the bigger difference in quality. But the real difference is water sources and how they influence treatment and bottling processes. Waterborne illness traced to bottled water consumption is rare, but not unheard of so it must be noted as a possible outcome.

With so many conferences and other events being cancelled, postponed or moved to a virtual format, it appears we won’t be seeing you in person for awhile. Zoom just isn’t the same but it is a way to keep abreast of what is happening in the industry. WQA’s Mid-Year Leadership Conference, the Annual WateReuse Symposium and others have opted for a virtual participation that begs your attention. Don’t hesitate to take part in these to gain more industry insight on how to stay successful even when you can’t be there in person. Until we meet again, stay safe and do what is right. You won’t regret it.

Viewpoint: COVID-19: What’s Next

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

As the pandemic continues to confound scientists and health officials alike, we are left with a patchwork of state-by-state regulations and guidance. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work when there is such diversity of population. For larger metropolitan areas, the close proximity of living and working conditions highlight the risks. For those in rural areas, the risks might seem different but the outcome of infections are quite likely the same. Be it personal life or business, nobody can escape the reality this has brought to our doorstep.

NSF International, WQA, Underwriter Laboratories and others have put a lot of effort into drafting possible solutions to reopen businesses safely, outlining disinfection and personal protective equipment requirements, as well as reassuring both clients and employees that their safety is a top priority. There are so many considerations to be made, including how to deal with the possibility of lawsuits if someone contracts the disease in your area of operations. Reopening must be based on facts rather than fear, though there is little enough to guide one to the optimum result.

That COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future is not in question. How to salvage business from the total disruption of society on a global basis is somewhat murky. The level and amount of preparation required to reopen the business world may well carry a bigger price tag than we can yet imagine. Please let us know how you are proceeding, what precautions you have in place and how your clients are responding to your efforts.

Reverse osmosis technology has been at the forefront producing safe, high-quality water for decades. Even though there is no indication that COVID-19 has been found in water supplies, RO’s ability to remove almost all contaminants could be a factor to drive more innovation and sales. We have two articles about RO this month. Canature Water Group’s Toby Hughes delves into the problem of reject water and waste, while WC&P Contributing Editor David Martin reminisces about RO pioneer, Donald Bray.

With attention focused on global water scarcity and the impact that will have on future water supplies, water reuse and recycling has been gaining in popularity over the past decade. As such, the NSF/ANSI 350 standard was created to help manufacturers take advantage of this water-saving technology. NSF’s Sharon Steiner provides insight on water scarcity and how the standard applies to current conditions.

Public Health Editor Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD, takes a closer look at how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and at home. She focuses on best practices that can help to reduce exposure risks while dealers are interacting with the public and transitioning back to life/travel.

Each month, more events are cancelled, postponed or turned into virtual events. We are trying hard to keep up with the changes that occur on a daily basis. Please note those changes in the Upcoming Events section and if you know of an event status that has changed, please let us know. We strive to keep the most in-depth calendar available in print and online for our readers and we hope that before too long, we can remove the special identifiers we’ve added and can see you in person again. Until then, be safe, be sensible and good luck.

Guest Viewpoint from WQA President Steve Ver Strat

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

Steve Ver Strat, President, Water Quality Association
Amway Regulatory Policy Director

What an exciting time to be the Water Quality Association President! Our industry is stronger than ever, our association growing and expanding, and we are preparing to develop our Vision 20/20 at the upcoming WQA Convention and Exhibition. The industry continues to strengthen for several reasons. A key driver is the fundamental shift in consumer attitudes toward their drinking water. In the wake of Flint, MI (and now Newark, NJ), consumers continue to be concerned about lead.
Media reports are also leading them to worry about PFAS (the so-called ‘forever chemicals’) and other emerging contaminants. Although municipal water suppliers do an amazing job providing drinking water that meets state and federal standards, customers are increasingly looking to our industry for peace of mind. This need for credible assistance only reinforces the importance of our representatives to be trained and certified. WQA maintains a focus on the importance of certified products and works to speak authoritatively on behalf of our industry. As an example, last year we traveled to Newark to help the city educate the public on the use of certified products to protect against lead in their drinking water.
WQA’s updated Code of Ethics became effective in January this year. The associated marketing guidelines now set the expectation that member companies use terms like water softener as the industry has defined them in the WQA Knowledge Base Glossary. All WQA members and certified professionals pledge to uphold the Code of Ethics and this is essential for our credibility. We reviewed some of the updates to the code in a February 5 webinar, which can be viewed at wqa.org/webinars. We also are planning a general session panel discussion during the WQA Convention and Exposition, Ethics in the Water Treatment Industry, for which I highly recommend your attendance.
In fact, I highly recommend you attend all three days of the convention, April 1-3 in Orlando, FL. In view of our Vision 20/20 theme, we’re going to explore all the great ways our industry is growing and flourishing in 2020, and this continued expectation for years to come. Our keynote speaker, Simon T. Bailey, is the author of 10 books on being fearless and creating our future. He’s going to talk about how to “be the spark” for your business as part of our Opening General Session. Updates on the state of the association, inspiring words from WQA leaders, presentation of annual leadership awards and election of new members to the WQA Board of Directors will also be included in that session.
Our trade show will feature nearly 250 exhibiting companies offering the latest products and services in water treatment. We’ve expanded the hours this year so that everyone can take advantage of all the exposition has to offer, including the Learning Lab and Business Spotlights. Dozens of fascinating and challenging education sessions will cover such topics as emerging contaminants, commercial and industrial applications of water treatment, WQRF research and business operations topics. Attendees are welcome to visit most of the committee, section, advisory council and board of directors’ meetings, which will feature lively discussions on industry topics. Certified professionals can pick up potentially dozens of hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits at the technical sessions.
If you are looking for more education in water treatment topics, consider our two technical workshops, the Commercial/Industrial RO Sizing Workshop and Introduction to Water Contaminants and Drinking Water Regulations MEP Workshop, offered on April 3 at an additional registration fee. Each offers the opportunity to earn 0.4 CPD total. If you are a dealer looking for practical tools and tips for running your water treatment business, consider coming a day early for the WQA Business Boot Camp on March 31. Create the Vision is the theme for the day-long, intensive workshop that features water industry and outside experts’ presentations on leadership, hiring, retaining and onboarding employees. More information and registration for all these events are available at our convention website: wqa.org/convention.
My presidency draws to a close at convention time, but I could not be more excited about the future of this great association. Thank you again for working with me and I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

Guest Viewpoint: A Message from WQA Executive Director Pauli Undesser, MWS

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Our theme for the WQA Convention and Exposition in Orlando April 1-3 is Vision 20/20 and there is no better time to peer into the future and begin to plan for the changes our dealers, manufacturers and suppliers will face in the coming decade. Every year I look forward to convention because of the discussions and debates that drive our vision for the future. It doesn’t matter if these engaging ideas come from private conversations or public discussions, together they help us set the vision of who we are as individuals and as the WQA, and that helps us make a more robust industry and a better world for us all.
Technology will play a key role in promoting the betterment of water quality around the world. To that end, we are launching an Innovation Showcase at this year’s convention. Exhibitors can display new products or leading-edge innovations in a special area on the trade-show floor. More than 240 companies will be exhibiting at this convention and we’ll also offer a wide range of education sessions on water quality issues, emerging contaminants and treatment solutions. By doing so, we expect to expose convention goers to many new ideas and innovations as part of their Vision 20/20.
Speaking of technology, we are concerned about consumer confusion and that our products and their performance capabilities are clearly explained and marketed. That is why, starting this year, a revised WQA Code of Ethics guides members in using marketing terms as defined in the WQA Knowledge Base Glossary. We want to make sure, for example, that member companies avoid using the term ‘water softener’ in ways that are inconsistent with how our industry has defined it.
We also continue to battle marketing scams that cause harm to consumers and our industry’s reputation. We want to be able to talk about legitimate water quality concerns and trustworthy solutions without crossing the line into scare tactics or violating the Code of Ethics marketing guidelines. Expect to hear more about that at the convention and beyond.
When it comes to legitimate water quality concerns, WQA will continue to monitor and speak authoritatively about issues such as lead, per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS) and other contaminants in the news. We remain vigilant about lead. In October, we supported the city of Newark, NJ (and WQA member PUR) in their efforts to educate the public on the use of certified products to protect against lead in drinking water.
We continue to reach out to regulators and legislators, serving as a valuable source of information and expertise on water quality issues. WQA’s Government and Regulatory Affairs department has been successfully building recognition for WQA and its members on Capitol Hill, within federal agencies and in key state legislatures. We’ll be in Washington, DC again in March for our annual Water Resources Congressional Summit with the Irrigation Association and National Groundwater Association. At this event (known more informally as the DC Fly-In) members have a unique opportunity to have their voices heard in the halls and offices of the Capitol.
Lastly, we envision continued growth in professional and product certification as we train the next generation of water treatment professionals, while testing and certifiying the products that consumers will need to address the growing water quality challenges across our nation and around the world. The vision is clear, bold and exciting. We invite those in the industry who are not yet members to join with us and help us meet these new opportunities head on. Let’s make our 20/20 vision a reality.

Guest Viewpoint: A message from the WQA Executive Director

Friday, March 15th, 2019

Undesser

Pauli Undesser, MWS, CAE, Executive Director
While the Water Quality Association is marking 70 years of leadership in water treatment this year, our gaze will be firmly on the future during the 2019 WQA Convention & Exposition (wqa.org/convention), April 23-25 in Las Vegas, NV. The convention theme this year is ‘solutions.’ The trade show, education sessions, inspiring words from industry leaders, section and committee meetings and, of course, the WQA Business Boot Camp, are all designed to help you find solutions to the challenges you face now and in the future. For example:
• Chloride reduction, microplastics, emerging contaminants like PFAS and problems associated with high levels of iron and manganese in drinking water are addressed in our robust education lineup. The technical education sessions provide Continuing Professional Development credits toward professional certification.
• Speaking of certification, if you’re ready, increase confidence in you and your employees by preparing for and taking a professional certification exam while at the convention (and at a discounted price).
• Former Speaker of the House Richard Gephardt and WQA’s Global Governmental Affairs Director David Loveday will discuss the regulatory climate for businesses and some legislative issues to watch on Capitol Hill and in your own state legislature.
• We will present the results of our 2019 Consumer Opinion Study (and give you a report to take home) so you can better understand the needs of your customers…and potential customers.
• Learn about new products and services that can help your business operate more efficiently. On the exposition floor, you’ll make important contacts so that in future you’re doing business with someone you’ve met, rather than a faceless company.
• Keynote speaker Marilyn Sherman will help you understand how you are in charge of your own future in her presentation, Front Row Leadership: How Top Performers Never Settle for Balcony Seats. (Thanks to Clack Corporation for sponsoring the keynote address. If you’d like to hear Sherman preview her talk, listen to our WQA Radio podcast at blog.wqa.org).
• If you’re a manufacturer, you can speak with WQA staff about Gold Seal Product Certification and how it can help your products earn a better spot in the marketplace.
• Dealers can benefit from staying an extra day to attend the 2019 WQA Business Boot Camp on April 26 at the Wynn Las Vegas resort. This day-long intensive training in business planning, leadership and employee engagement can help you take your business to the next level.
• You can help focus on our industry’s future by attending WQA section, committee and advisory council meetings.
I’d like to talk just a little more about our two advisory councils, Women in Industry (WIN) and Young Professionals (YP). Maybe you fit into a category that one or both of these advisory councils was formed to support. If so, look for education sessions sponsored by these groups to provide your feedback, ideas and your voice. But even if you’re not in either target group, you can help support these members. Can you serve as a mentor or a sounding board for a YP or WIN? Do you have ideas for how they can best prepare for a long and lucrative career in water quality? Would you like to understand how you or your company might unintentionally hold back young people or women? Come share your experiences, suggestions or questions with these advisory councils.
Now, back to that history I mentioned in the beginning. While WQA as it is structured today technically was formed by the 1974 merger of the Water Conditioning Association International and the Water Conditioning Foundation, our history actually traces back to 1949, the year both founding organizations were opened to all the manufacturers, suppliers and water treatment dealers now included in the association. The 70-year logo WQA is using in 2019 has a phrase that points to our bright future, as well as our rich past: “Water quality solutions for 70 years and beyond.” Won’t you join me at the Convention & Expo to celebrate both?

Guest Viewpoint: A message from the WQA President

Friday, February 15th, 2019

Chris Wilker, President WQA

Happy New Year! The new year brings in the 116th Congress to Washington, DC. Those elected will be faced with tough decisions about issues such as the trade, economy, infrastructure, drinking water and US EPA directives. The impact on businesses could be significant. Further complicating the issues will be the fact that many of those elected will have little background on drinking water chemistry, alternatives to centralized treatment and the challenges facing our industry today. Therefore, I am addressing you to discuss ways you can actively participate in our political dialogue.

1. Learn about the Water Quality Association’s Political Action Committee (WQA-PAC). The WQA-PAC was created from feedback WQA leadership received from members to enhance the association’s presence in DC. It is an opportunity to share the water treatment industry story. Check out the WQA-PAC webpage (https://www.wqa.org/programs-services/government-affairs/pac).
2. Sign up for the 2019 Water Resources Congressional Summit on March 5-6. Coordinated by WQA, this two-day event in DC offers you the opportunity to meet with congressional offices. With a better understanding of the role we play in helping those who work and live in America, Congress can provide the framework to improve the quality of life for Americans. As we have seen in years past, continuing this dialogue has brought our industry into the fold as a primary provider of solutions to drinking water issues. To register, visit this link: https://www.wqa.org/programs-services/government-affairs and https://www.wqa.org/programs-services/regulatory-affairs.
3. Attend the WQA Convention & Exposition from April 23-25. Along with a full education program and tradeshow, attendees can observe WQA committee meetings as a chance to keep informed on industry issues. On the government affairs side, be sure to check out the Federal Government Affairs Committee and the Regional & State Government Affairs Committee meetings.
4. Visit the Government Affairs and Regulatory Affairs webpages (https://www.wqa.org/programs-services/government-affairs and https://www.wqa.org/programs-services/regulatory-affairs). Access additional resources and updates on government affairs and regulations, including China/US tariffs and counterfeiting.
In 2018, we saw several wins for the industry, including securing federal funding for the CDC to conduct a nationwide study on PFASs; securing federal funding for POU/POE installations in rural water systems and private wells, and multiple states embracing the final-barrier concept by requiring water filters be installed to protect consumers from lead. To learn more about our achievements in 2018, I encourage you to read the 2018 Government Affairs Recap Report at https://www.wqa.org/programs-services/government-affairs/updates-and-bills-list.

Let’s take advantage of this momentum! Our WQA Government Affairs Team is here to help and answer your questions. Please direct those questions to WQA Global Government Affairs Manager, Kathleen Fultz, kfultz@wqa.org.

Guest Viewpoint: A message from the WQA President

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Robert ‘Bob’ Maisner, President , Water Quality Association

Water treatment professionals and industry leaders are always looking for opportunities to improve the lives of others through effective water treatment. It’s no secret these are challenging times when it comes to water quality around the country, as well as the world. When it comes to staying on top of research, the latest trends and innovation, there is no place better than the annual WQA Convention & Exposition. This year’s Convention in Denver, CO (March 26-29, wqa.org/convention) promises to be one of the best. Not only is Denver an amazing city surrounded by picturesque mountains and plenty of sunshine, but everything about the convention and trade show is focused on helping our attendees serve their customers and improve the lives of others.

Whether it’s emerging contaminants, Wells 101 or addressing chloride discharge, our education sessions will help attendees know how to position their companies in the months ahead. We’ll have top-level industry speakers who can address these challenges from hands-on experience. The trade show floor promises to be one of the best with a full array of products and services on display. There are plenty of hot topics, such as the regulatory climate for businesses, the impact of the new tax law, the door-to-door water treatment scams from this past summer and the growing problem of counterfeit filters. Technical issues include everything from the impact of well construction to addressing PFCs.

We are going to have a fantastic Opening General Session. The program features David LaFrance, CEO of the American Water Works Association and keynote speaker Ross Shafer, author and Emmy-award winning TV host and comedian. We’ll also be giving out a brand-new award this year. Our Excellence Award will honor two of our member companies that went above and beyond when it comes to excellence in business operations, innovation or customer service.

We are also excited to have a full day Business Operations Boot Camp which takes place on Sunday, March 25, the day before the convention officially opens. It’s a full-day intensive workshop aimed at our dealers, primarily. Attendees will get new tools and practical tips they can take back to their dealerships or companies and really improve their organization as well as their bottom line.  Presenters include Tim Miles, Michael Thompson, Denise Urbans and John and Derek Packard. Topics range from strategic planning, succession planning and cutting overhead, to how to coach without being a drill sergeant. (Learn more at wqa.org/bootcamp)

The WQA Convention & Exposition is also a great way to network and reconnect with colleagues and friends. We all need to break out of our routine, raise our level of knowledge, get inspired to try new ideas and stay on top of the changing trends and new research in the industry. When you consider all that the Convention & Exposition has to offer, it’s a tremendous bargain and a tremendous opportunity.

This is good time for me to thank our members for making it the amazing organization and industry that it is. We need each other to build for the future and continue to work for the betterment of water quality everywhere.

Guest Viewpoint: A Message from WQA’s Executive Director

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Pauli Undesser, WQA Executive Director

It would be an understatement to say the challenges the water treatment industry faces in the coming year are enormous. And yet, challenges usually bring out unique opportunities to serve and work for the betterment of water quality. Three of the challenges are likely very familiar to you: perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), lead and counterfeit filters. Each one presents a challenge and an opportunity for our industry.

PFCs, such as PFOA and PFOS, are man-made substances that find their way into the environment through such products as fire-fighting foams, non-sticking cookware, food packaging and many other applications. The challenge with PFCs is that they are difficult to remove with centralized drinking water treatment processes. We fully supported efforts by Congress to include a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in November which authorized a nationwide study on the implications of PFCs on drinking water. In addition, we endorse efforts by the US EPA to launch a cross-agency effort to deal with PFCs, along with state, local and tribal partners. In the meantime, the water treatment industry is making a difference. POU and POE water treatment devices can play a huge role in filtering out these chemicals.
Lead is an ongoing challenge again this year. Denver, CO—where we are hosting the WQA Convention & Exposition  (March 26-29)—estimates it has as many as 90,000 lead service lines that need to be replaced. Another example is Chicago, located just 30 miles from WQA headquarters, which has somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 lead service lines still in use. Again, POU and POE devices offer effective solutions for homeowners who need help, especially those in older homes or areas where the threat is higher. Last year, we provided a guide for school administrators on what to know about testing their schools’ water supplies for lead (http://go.wqa.org/leadinschools) and what steps they can take to help protect their students.

The problem of counterfeit products is very real and we’re taking a proactive approach to keep untested and non-certified products out of the marketplace. The Water Quality Association is part of a new group of associations that are working together to find solutions to halt counterfeit products from entering the United States.  Known as the Coalition to Combat Counterfeiting (CCC), we hope to see an official launch in early 2018. We want to raise awareness while working to identify the major sources of counterfeit production and improve enforcement.
These and other issues are sure to dominate the discussion at our upcoming annual convention in Denver. Our educational agenda is designed with an eye toward what impacts our members, both from inside and outside the industry. This year’s technical topics run the gamut of water quality issues, everything from the impact of well construction to reducing chloride discharge, from naturally occurring health hazards in private wells, to addressing PFCs, unintended consequences of chloramination and even water treatment for poultry.

We also have a business track with the popular issues of hiring, firing, leadership and business ethics, as well as  a one-day Business Operations Boot Camp that will take place the day before the convention opens, on March 25. Of course, we don’t know when the next hurricane will strike or when the next contaminant will emerge but we’re prepared to stay on top of these and other challenges as we seek new solutions to improve our water quality.

Guest Viewpoint

Monday, March 20th, 2017

By Donald McGhee, MWS, WQA Board President

As the 2016-2017 Water Quality Association (WQA) Board President, I have had the opportunity to serve and interact with very skilled and astute folks to serve the many needs of the water treatment industry. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of WQA and the impact that it has had on me as a dealer in a small market. I became involved with the association to gain access to its products and educational offerings, as well as connecting with industry professionals. Over time, I was drafted by WQA staff to participate on a national level by serving on the association’s Market Development Committee. It was through this committee that my involvement within the association grew. Eventually, I was asked to join the Board of Directors and, most recently, the Board of Governors.

As Board President, I have had the pleasure of seeing several initiatives come to fruition and/or completion. WQA’s Board recently completed the process of moving a highly skilled, dynamic person from within the organization through a mentoring program that allowed Pauli Undesser to ascend to the position of Executive Director. The process was so extensive that it would be an understatement to say it was equal to the process of obtaining a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in association management. Undesser’s leadership and skill set will provide WQA with a strong foundation to continue emerging as a national voice for water quality advocacy.

The desire to become the national advocate for the water quality industry has challenged the association to take a two-pronged approach with federal and regional advocacy efforts. First, by partnering with the Gephardt Group in Washington, DC, we have the ability to remain proactive with issues at the legislative levels and with agencies such as the US EPA, which has broad-reaching oversight in areas that greatly affect water quality. We have also created a stronger focus on regional advocacy by matching volunteers and staff that can bolster action at the respective levels. By doing so, we have clearly moved the ball toward WQA being recognized as a go-to resource when it comes to ongoing water quality issues.

Issues like we saw in Flint, MI will not be going away. For those who follow WQA on its social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, we see a lot of evidence of other cities, counties and regions that are experiencing significant issues when it comes to how consumers are affected when contaminants find a way into drinking water supplies. If there ever was a right that we should be proud of, it is that we, as a country, have access to safe drinking water. We have assumed for many years that access would always come safely from municipal treatment systems. WQA finds itself in a unique position by providing certified products to consumers at reasonable costs to make it easier to apply POU or POE systems so that removal of specific contaminants will provide safe drinking water. This is crucial as we know what happens when infants and school-age children are exposed to hazardous contaminants like lead.

The issues we face as consumers and as an industry leave no doubt in my mind that the original reasons I became involved with WQA (products, education, networking) have even greater importance for me today. If you are new to the industry or new to WQA, I strongly encourage you to attend the WQA Convention & Exposition, March 28-31 in Orlando, FL. The technical and business-related education sessions by themselves are more than sufficient reason to attend this year’s event. The opportunity to interact with other professionals is just the cherry on top. If you are not a member of WQA, I cannot over-stress the importance of becoming involved with WQA by joining today.

It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the Board President over this past year; I have gained more from serving than I was able to give in service to the board and the association. The future looks very bright for our industry and I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

Guest Viewpoint: WQA Executive Director Pauli Undesser

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

By Pauli Undesser, MWS, WQA Executive Director

feb2017_undesser_mug_2017_colorThis is the year of impact for the Water Quality Association. With the crisis in Flint, MI still fresh in the minds of consumers and regulators, our members will be called upon to help educate and protect the public, perhaps in new and innovative ways. It is, without a doubt, a pivotal time in the water treatment industry. With our 2017 consumer opinion study being conducted this year, WQA and its members will be able to gain new insights into consumers’ perceptions about the quality of their drinking water and what types of treatment they might consider for their homes or workplaces.

The Flint crisis has permanently changed consumer perceptions about drinking water. But it was just one of many water-related stories making news across the nation in the past couple of years. Toledo had a crisis involving microcystin contamination in its municipal water system; 10 thousand gallons of crude 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) spilled into the Elk River in West Virginia. So, it’s not just Flint and it’s not just lead. We see a variety of threats and concerns across the nation.

In the wake of the Flint crisis, WQA updated its crisis plan to offer a quicker response and resources when warranted. Once an event is considered a crisis, the plan calls for WQA to:

  • Send out emails to its members with updates on the crisis
  • Reach out to the appropriate state association, if available, to lend support
  • Distribute news releases announcing WQA’s position on the crisis and make appropriate resources available
  • Create informational handouts for members
  • Reach out to local and state authorities, offering WQA as an educational resource and pointing to certified products and professionals

One of my goals as the new Executive Director is for WQA to more firmly establish itself as a valuable source of information and knowledge. WQA’s Government and Regulatory Affairs will remain active in building recognition for WQA and its members on Capitol Hill, within federal agencies and in key state legislatures. WQA formed a federal political action committee this year to increase the association’s participation in the political process and further foster relations with legislators to ensure our needs are heard.

WQA continues to position itself as the leading advocate in the drinking water industry when it comes to professional and product certification. This year, our Professional Certification Department will continue to revise its exams to reflect an emphasis on field-work experience. It will also continue to develop the POU cooler-specific installer training module. Meanwhile, Product Certification will continue to develop and offer new certification services in 2017 to meet domestic and global market needs, such as NSF/ANSI 401 for pharmaceutical reduction.
So, the spotlight on our association and our industry is shining brighter these days. We’re rising to meet the new challenges. It’s our hope and mission to continue to do all we can to educate and inform the public, while equipping our members to be the very best in promoting the betterment of clean drinking water.

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