Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

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

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

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Dear Reader,

As Interim Executive Director of the Water Quality Association, it is my great pleasure to continue the long-standing tradition of addressing Water Conditioning & Purification International magazine’s readers in this edition of Viewpoint. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about WQA’s big annual event, which is coming up next month. The show, formerly known as WQA Aquatech USA, is now the WQA Convention & Exposition, which will take place March 14-17. If you haven’t yet registered to attend, I’d like to give you a few reasons why you don’t want to miss this show.

WQA is taking an already successful event and making it even better at connecting water treatment industry professionals to the technologies, know-how, training, networking and business opportunities they value. We feel strongly that our Convention & Exposition is the most cost-effective way for professionals in our industry to develop relationships, learn about equipment and devices and pick up new business tips. This year, we’re taking our act to the Music City: Nashville, TN. No longer a sleepy country music town, come to the city that’s easy on the wallet, easy to reach and famous for making music that makes the whole world sing.

For those interested in pursuing professional certification from WQA, there will be a wide array of opportunities throughout the four-day event. From educational sessions regarding important topics to certification exams, attendees will come away from the convention  with valuable knowledge and expertise. You also won’t want to miss our keynote speaker, best-selling author and motivational lecturer Chester Elton. The author of several successful books on leadership and a highly sought-after leadership consultant, Elton will help attendees learn how to engage, enable and energize their workforces.

Our commercial water-treatment tour will also be very unique this year. We’ll be offering a tour of Bridgestone Arena, home of the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators, to take a behind-the-scenes look at how the ice is made and maintained for NHL hockey. Furthermore, we’ll be unveiling an exciting new service that I’m confident our member companies will find extremely beneficial! I personally invite you to join us in Nashville this March, whether as a sponsor, an attendee or an exhibitor. To get started, please visit www.wqa.org/convention. I look forward to seeing you there!

Feb2016_Westman mugSincerely,
David Westman, WQA Interim Executive Director

Guest Viewpoint

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Dear Readers,

It’s my distinct pleasure to continue a long-standing tradition in the partnership between the Water Quality Association and Water Conditioning & Purification International by writing the February edition of Viewpoint. I’d like to take this opportunity to invite every one of you to attend our annual convention and exposition, WQA Aquatech USA, which will be held in Las Vegas, NV, April 21-24. Whether you make it a point to attend every year or haven’t been to WQA Aquatech USA in a few years, we think you’ll be pleased with the improvements we’ve made; they are strategically designed to deliver even more value to participating companies and attendees.

WQA Aquatech USA has always been an unrivaled event for accessing information relevant to the water quality improvement industry. This year, we’ve taken a new approach by developing five different learning tracks to accommodate the varying needs of industry professionals.

The Water Treatment Basics track is ideal for anyone new to water treatment or seeking a review of introductory concepts. Participants will learn about common water- borne contaminants, installing equipment according to basic codes and several types of common treatment technologies.

The Residential Applications & Regulatory Matters track focuses on regulatory trends and technologies at the forefront of modern residential water treatment. Participants will learn about innovative advancements in electrochemical water treatment, ion exchange and water conservation.

The Commercial Applications track highlights the specific needs of various sub- sectors of the commercial water treatment market. This track also features a behind-the- scenes tour of water technology behind the Las Vegas show Le Rêve – The Dream, which utilizes a one-million gallon water tank!

The Process Water Applications track is designed to build the learner’s technical capabilities to pursue the ‘middle market’ between commercial and heavy-industrial applications. We will cover such topics as reverse osmosis system design, water reuse in beverage manufacturing and plumbing and instrumentation diagrams.

The Business Operations & Management track offers information and techniques to help water treatment industry professionals improve work performance and grow their business. This track is ideal for representatives of dealer companies with limited experience in the water treatment marketplace.

The learning and exchange of ideas that will take place at WQA Aquatech USA won’t be limited to the educational sessions. If you’re looking for technical advice, the trade show is a great place to find it. We will facilitate ‘Ask the Expert’ Q&A Roundtables in special lounge areas on the trade show floor. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about select products and services directly from the experts in a relaxed, informal setting.

If you want to build your credibility and expertise by pursuing professional certi- fication through WQA, you’ll have ample opportunities to experience WQA’s Modular Education Program (MEP) first-hand. There will be a MEP Café next to the WQA booth and you will have an opportunity to log in and test out the new program at several edu- cational sessions. WQA Education & Professional Certification staff will be on hand to explain how to leverage the MEP in achieving professional certification.

Whether it’s at our educational sessions, networking with fellow industry profes- sionals or checking out the latest products on the trade show floor, we’re confident you’ll leave WQA Aquatech USA with plenty of valuable information that can help you grow your business. I encourage you to visit www.wqa.org/Aquatech for more information or to register for WQA Aquatech USA 2015. I look forward to seeing you there.

David Westman
Interim Executive Director, Water Quality Association

Guest Viewpoint

Monday, February 17th, 2014

And now a word from WQA CEO Dave Haataja

“Water is becoming a high-stakes business where there’s money to be made everywhere you look.” That is the compelling statement from Charles Fishman, The New York Times best-selling author of The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water and our keynote speaker for WQA Aquatech USA 2014. Fishman will set the tone for the convention with a fresh look at how the world’s understanding of water will provide us remarkable new opportunities and pressures. And on the floor of the show (as well as in insightful education and discussion sessions), you will see these realities firsthand.

If you haven’t attended a WQA Aquatech USA show recently, think of it as the one place you can find all the key people, new ideas and innovative technologies you’re looking for. The reality is that WQA Aquatech USA 2014 is going to be the most cost- effective way to develop relationships, learn about equipment and devices, and pick up business tips to make every dollar count. You’ll find hundreds of influential services, suppliers and manufacturers, dozens of practical educational sessions on the trade show floor and networking with more than 5,000 industry professionals.

We’ve continued to build on our wide educational menu to give you the practical training and skills you need to stay ahead of the competition. Among the topics to be covered are:

  • Residential water treatment FAQs (experts’ panel)
  • Corrosion causes and treatment
  • Building relationships with plumbing engineers
  • Residential water treatment basics
  • Water treatment case studies
  • Orientation to the culture and standards of industrial water treatment
  • Marketing success with ‘softened water benefits’ research results
  • Sizing treatment for commercial facilities (tour)
  • Sales and marketing tips and building business value

In addition to education, the convention is your chance to help shape the industry and to learn about the drivers that will be defining what we do for years to come. During our task-force meetings and numerous sessions, we’ll talk about how the dominance of environmental concerns (particularly sustainability and water scarcity) will mean new growth opportunities and new threats. Also, we are likely to see new opportunities to promote the Final Barrier and to put more emphasis on commercial and industrial water treatment.

As you think about whether to make the investment in attending WQA Aquatech USA, consider this fact from another authoritative source: “The advanced drinking water treatment market…is expected to see steady growth through 2019, with the majority of the market experiencing maturation.”

That comes from a report issued this summer by the United States Advanced Water Treatment Systems Market. If you want to be part of that growth and learn from others in our industry who are at the forefront of change, there is one place you need to be this March: Orlando, Florida.

Dave Haataja
CEO, WQA

 

Guest Viewpoint

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

WQA Aquatech USA preview

“It has significantly enhanced my company’s market exposure and the ability to make sales.” That’s a direct (and very telling) quote from long-time dealer Don McGhee (CWS-VI, Hydro Systems, Inc.), talking about just one of the practical benefits of WQA Aquatech USA. “The WQA Aquatech USA show allows me to interchange ideas, whether it’s in the meetings and sessions, or hallways and receptions,” McGhee says. “The new acquaintances I have made are very valuable.”

This April, join McGhee and thousands of others as we gather in America’s crossroads: Indianapolis, IN. Simply put, WQA Aquatech USA is the best business opportunity you’ll find to see and be seen. It is a showcase of what’s new and cuttingedge in the industry, and it gives you the opportunity to learn from each other. You will also be offered the very best information on where the industry is headed and find out how you can take advantage of changes to develop your business. We are offering hands-on and practical learning throughout. These sessions will allow you to work through various problems in a live setting, not merely from textbooks. There will be crucial advice on technical aspects of the trade, business management and more. Think about it. WQA Aquatech USA is the only show that represents every segment of the increasingly complex water treatment and supply market, including the household, commercial and industrial markets.

The convention is also our chance to talk together to solve problems, look for new opportunities and chart our future. Along with the leader members of WQA, I look forward to hearing your thoughts about what direction the association and industry should head. At task force meetings and elsewhere, we will implement solutions to advance the strategic planning we have been undergoing, which includes:

  • WQA’s retooled education progra
  • Building relationships with legislators
  • Increasing industry awareness
  • Ecolabeling
  • Sustainability
  • Government and regulatory affairs issues
  • Globalization
  • Product certification advances

So join us in Indianapolis, located in the hard-water belt, including a high concentration of WQA members and prospects. Did you know over a third of WQA members are located within a day’s drive, so the show attendance will benefit from first-time attendees? In fact, historically, Indianapolis is one of our highest-attended events. The city includes hotel brands across all price points, spectacular renovation (in downtown, hotels, airport) due to the Super Bowl and a variety of things to do. The hotels, convention center, restaurants and bars are located within a two-mile radius. Over 4,700 hotel rooms, restaurants and shopping are connected to the Convention Center by skywalk Indy. Getting there should be as easy as ever, too. Indianapolis is a day’s drive from half of the US population. Its International Airport is only 15 minutes away from downtown and nine major airlines serve Indy. In fact, airfare is among the lowest in the country (accordingto the US Department of Transportation).

It’s time to register and secure your housing (the headquarters hotel is the J.W. Marriott). For more information, including registration, key highlights, schedule of events and information on exhibiting, visit wqa-aquatech.com. Questions? Contact registrar@ wqa.org or phone (630) 505-0160. I look forward to seeing you there!

Dave Haataja
Executive Director

Guest Viewpoint: WQA Preview

Monday, February 7th, 2011

As we start 2011, water quality is back in the news. Don’t just take our word for it. That is the conclusion of one of the premier engineering trade association publications, PME, as the media and consumers are increasingly thinking about their families’ health and safety. And it is one more strong reason to attend WQA Aquatech USA 2011. The Associated Press, the New York Times, and other media outlets have been ramping up coverage of numerous water quality issues, and the federal government is also increasingly looking to our industry. At the trade show, we will be talking about ways to help consumers understand how to react to these changes and challenges. It is your opportunity to get in front of the stories with proven, credible approaches. The conference and exhibition will be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX, March 8-11.

Consider some of the news stories and developments that consumers have confronted recently:

  • An environmental group that analyzed the drinking water in 35 cities across the United States discovered hexavalent chromium in many cases. This is the carcinogen featured in Erin Brockovich.
  • The US just enacted a law to drastically reduce the allowable lead in plumbing fixtures.
  • Many communities have faced local concerns, such as radium in Houston and lead in New York City.
  • The New York Times published a major series, ‘Toxic Waters’ about contamination in America’s drinking water supply.

Clearly, consumers are becoming more educated about drinking water quality issues. In addition to stories in the media, the industry (in recent months) has opened up a dialog with public officials on the final barrier in an attempt to encourage policymakers to understand that the most practical solution to water-related issues is to integrate POU and curbside systems into the current regulatory paradigm.

WQA Aquatech USA is designed to help those in the industry develop strategies to respond to changing consumer and public policy climates. Through keynote addresses, on-floor education, and networking, those attending will be able to come away with the tools they need to react successfully. In addition, the show will continue to offer other great value to those attending. The exhibition/trade show will feature new products, services, and suppliers. Industry-leading business services, suppliers, and manufacturers will be featured.

The ’WQA Primetime’ Lineup – an overview of the industry’s hot topics, will include keynote speakers. The convention will also include an Industrial Forum/Networking Event, as well as education/training sessions and AquaStages, a series of exhibition floor education/product demonstrations. Educational sessions on the trade show floor are open to all registered. Significant hands-on product training and user group sessions will also be offered. Registration and hotel reservations are now available. For more information and to register, go to www.wqa-aquatech.com.

Peter J. Censky
Executive Director, WQA

 

Guest Viewpoint

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Study benefits explained to Congress

This past year, the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) and WQA poured a lot of money into two key studies that will pay real dividends for our industry for many years to come. I realize that most of those who were involved in the Battelle Study and the Soap Savings Study immediately saw their benefit in helping members sell more equipment. But the real benefit of these studies goes much further than that. In September, WQA President Robert ‘Bob’ Hague, traveled to Washington DC to brief key Congressional staff about the important energy-savings benefits that come from softened water (i.e., water that has been softened to remove calcium and magnesium). In this country, 13 percent of all household expenditures go toward heating water, and those costs can be reduced dramatically by removing calcium and magnesium from the water to prevent the buildup of scale deposits in hot-water heaters. The Department of Energy was very interested to hear Hague’s report because the kind of savings he was talking about will translate into huge energy savings for the country. Soon we will be releasing another study, this one on soap savings from softening water. Again, this kind of research will help sell more softeners. But there is a bigger story that is emerging from this research. It appears that households will use dramatically less soap when doing laundry in cold water when calcium and magnesium have been removed. And, get this, clothing comes out cleaner, too. Washington needs to know that this benefit helps communities as well because it is much more costly for their waste plants to remove the excessive soap residues caused by the presence of calcium and magnesium than it is to deal with slightly higher salinity in the waste stream. This will be another subject for a visit to Washington in the coming months.

Now, you may wonder, why we would bother reporting this to Congress. Well, the answer is straightforward enough. The regulators in Washington, and in your state capitals, have been demonizing softeners for too long; they need to hear the positive side of our industry. Yes, those products do put salt in the waste stream and in some areas, this is a problem. But it’s also a fact that our manufacturers have been spending millions of dollars over the past two decades to reduce the ’salt footprint’ of ion exchange water softeners, and they’ve been enormously successful at this. Regulators and homeowners need to understand that the pollution of our waste streams from the excessive use of soaps and detergents in cold-water laundry is a costly problem for many communities. Removing calcium and magnesium from cold and hot laundry water causes consumers to use less soap. The regulatory community needs to know this. And they need to know that the country could save massive amounts of money by reducing the high energy of heating water in hard-water areas. Both of these benefits come when you eliminate calcium and magnesium from water, which is what ion exchange softening does. There are other technologies out there that claim to reduce scale, but they don’t soften water! The removal of calcium and magnesium is what leads to the benefits I’ve mentioned above. This is what our industry means by ’softened water’.

Now this is just one of the briefings we conducted in Washington within the past few weeks. In October, we again briefed key Congressional staff about our industry’s capabilities to clean up the nation’s drinking water supplies. We call this the final barrier between consumers and the multitude of emerging health contaminants that will be hitting the news in the next two or three years. You will be hearing much more about this in the months and years to come. The bottom line is that our industry provides consumers with real protections and cost savings. And just as important, we provide our communities with those same savings and protections as well.

My last point is this: you have to be a member to be able to make use of the studies and the materials we are producing. And you really need to attend the upcoming convention in March 2011 in San Antonio, Texas to get the latest information, and to see the new technologies that are going to be rolled out at the trade show. If you haven’t been to a convention in a while, I guarantee this show will knock your socks off! I hope to see you in Texas in March; it will be a very profitable experience for you!

—Peter Censky

 

 

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