Nalco Chemical Company, Naperville, Ill., announced a price increase within its North American Basic Industries Group, which serves the industrial water treatment market. The increase, in the range of seven percent, is attributed to offsetting rising costs that could not be neutralized by ongoing efficiency improvements. ?

Calgon Carbon, Pittsburgh, Pa., will increase the price of its activated carbon products by five percent as per its new strategic plan. ?

Reverse osmosis (RO) systems by Topway Global Inc., Brea, Calif., with the brand name of TGI Pure Water Systems are now tested and certified to ANSI/NSF Standard 58 and are authorized to use the NSF mark with the products. The systems have been certified by WQA Gold Seal S-300 since 1996 and all RO systems are ISTA certified. The system TGI-525 is also certified by the states of California and Wisconsin, and the Series E systems were chosen by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. ?

Dow Chemical Co.’s FILMTEC® home drinking water elements rated up to 75 gpd have received component certification for NSF Standard 58 which is transferable to customers of the membranes. Currently, 29 FILMTEC elements available for home systems qualify for transfer of NSF performance test data. ?

Innova Pure Water Inc., Clearwater, Fla., has reached a tentative agreement with Culligan to introduce Innova’s portable water filter products to the market under the Culligan brand name. Innova and Culligan also plan to work jointly on several future development projects. ?

Over 110 filtration products from Everpure Inc., Westmont, Ill., have earned the Water Quality Association’s Gold Seal validation, the oldest independent third party testing and validation program in the water treatment industry. Everpure’s exclusive precoat technology filters particles as small as ½ micron in size. ?

According to research by Frost & Sullivan, Mountain View, Calif., total revenues for U.S. ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membrane element markets have climbed from 1998’s $202 million to $215.3 million in 1999, with steady market growth anticipated through 2006. ?

Price Pfister, Pacoima, Calif., was recently awarded “Best New Product” by Today’s Homeowner magazine for its TwistPfit™ faucet installation system, the one-tool system designed to make above counter faucet installation quick and easy. ?

CAT PUMPS of Minneapolis, Minn., has acquired RAM PUMPS Ltd. of the U.K., significantly expanding its available flow from 75 to 660 gpm, discharge pressures from 7,000 to 18,000 psi and horsepower requirements to 1,140 hp. ?

Bayer Corp., Pittsburgh, Pa., will increase its prices for its Lewatit® ion exchange resins by 5 percent to offset the rising costs of raw materials, product delivery and to justify ongoing investments required to ensure a reliable supply, according to a company release. ?

Aqua Care Systems, Coral Springs, Fla., has completed the refinancing of debt it incurred from the June 1997 acquisition of the Filtration Systems Div. of Durco International. Aqua Care’s debt from the buy was approximately $5.2 million, which was paid down to $1.8 million just prior to the new refinancing. ?

Display tables for products at this year’s Eastern Water Quality Association Spring Seminar at the Lancaster Host Resort in Lancaster, Pa., are only $65 per table, which includes lunch. Silent exhibits for non-attendees are also available. ?

Texas water vendors now need certification

As a result of a law passed in 1999 to clarify duties of the Texas Department of Health and Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, water vending machine operators in Texas have to get or renew a “certificate of competency.” The rule, which was in effect suspended for three years as responsibilities were shifted between the two agencies, applies to all bottled or vended water operators who distribute water to the public.

Operators must file an application with the TDH Manufactured Foods Division, pay a $25 certification fee and pass an examination with a score of 70 percent or higher. Those renewing certification do not need to take the test unless they fail to renew by June 1.

Julie Loera, TDH evaluations officer, said there are 75 questions on the exam, the majority of which are on rules and the balance on information in a study manual that can be downloaded online or requested from the Manufactured Foods Division. “There is no fee,” she said. “It’s free.”

Loera said the TDH board approved renewing applications, certification fees and the examination on Jan. 14 and the requirement went into effect at the end of February. The certifications are valid for three years.

“It applies to bottled water operators in general, vended water operations such as water stores or vending machine operators. A lot of people that have come into the business in the last three years have asked why this new rule, but they’ve always had to have it. This is nothing new. We just temporarily lost the authority to require a certification fee and give an examination.”

Sean Hoffman, general manager of vending machine maker Aqua Star International, said such certifications are a benefit to the industry because it ensures operators are aware of proper health and maintenance issues to maintain a high quality product.

“It’s a good thing, definitely,” he said. “The state of Texas does a good job on how they monitor the vending market. This is all in the interest of protecting consumers and offering them the best product possible. We have no problem with that.”

Jerry Gordon, president and CEO of Glacier Water, agreed: “Obviously, Glacier—with just about 14,000 machines throughout the United States—we’re the largest water vending operator. But this business has a lot of small operators in it and, for the industry, it’s better to have regulations. Competition is great, but we’re supplying consumers with really a very volatile product in water; and everyone ought to follow the rules.”

For questions or to get an application and manual, call (512) 719-0243 or go to the TDH website: www.tdh.—Carlos David Mogollón

Court rules on chloroform
A U.S. Court of Appeals ruling against the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) said the regulator violated the Safe Drinking Water Act by failing to use the “best available peer reviewed science” in establishing the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for chloroform. The chlorine disinfection byproduct was given a zero MCLG rule in December 1998, and in the decision the judge stated this was “arbitrary and capricious, and in excess of statutory authority,” saying the USEPA overlooked the best available scientific evidence in making the ruling. “This decision demonstrates that science matters,” said Chlorine Chemistry Council Executive Director C.T. “Kip” Howlett, adding that his organization was looking forward to working with the court and USEPA to establish a new, non-zero MCLG. He thanked the 10 utilities that joined the suit and others that assisted.

WTC to make GE filters
WTC Industries Inc. of St. Paul, Minn., and its wholly owned subsidiary, PentaPure Inc., have been selected as the exclusive supplier of the water filtration systems for all of General Electric’s (GE) 2001 model-year refrigerators containing Smart Water and Smart Water Plus water filtration systems. Shipments to GE manufacturing facilities are expected to begin October 2000; WTC anticipates approximately $10 million in annual revenue annually from the order.

Water co. is a ganga deal
The town council of Oro Valley, Ariz., spent $1.5 million to buy its own water company, a price that included not only the Midvale Water Company, located in Southwest Tucson, but 74 acre feet of ground water rights and 2,000 acres of land. The deal clincher, however, was an allotment of 1,500 acre feet per year of water from the Central Arizona Project (CAP), which is Colorado River water shipped via canal to Southern Arizona and used as an alternative surface water source for the area. The CAP water allotment is said to be worth more than the asking price of the property and company.

‘Brockovich’ brings in green
In what could be translated as testimony for growing public concern over water issues, the Universal movie “Erin Brockovich” earned more than $75.8 million in its first three weeks in theaters. The movie—starring Julia Roberts and based on the true exploits of a brassy single mother who gets a job at a law firm, stumbles upon a case of water contamination by a California utility and wins a record $333 million settlement for the victims—remained the No. 1 movie in the country for the first three weeks of its release. The movie opened March 17.

Antibacterial product gets NSF rating
Microban Products Company of Huntersville, N.C., has earned NSF International certification for its materials for use with drinking water components. The ANSI/NSF 61 certification was approved for the Microban antibacterial product protection material, an ingredient incorporated into many of its everyday plastic and textile items including kitchen tools, humidifiers and even socks. The technology is based on the active ingredient found in antibacterial soaps and, when built into a product during the manufacturing process, helps resist the growth of bacteria, molds and fungi.

MTBE and the Texas impact
As the Clinton Administration moves to ban the groundwater contaminant MTBE, Texas manufacturers of the gasoline additive are lamenting the move saying, among other things, that it unduly favors the corn lobby and will compromise air quality. Texas produces the majority of the additive made in the United States, contributing an estimated $2 billion in revenue for Gulf Coast manufacturers alone. Statewide production was about 2.8 billion gallons of the 3.8 billion gallons made in the U.S. per year. The producers see the USEPA efforts against the soluble additive as a political bone being tossed to the corn farmers who help produce ethanol, currently the only alternative to MTBE. A spokesperson for the Oxygenated Fuels Association is quoted in the Houston Chronicle as calling the ban “a pretty transparent attempt to offer the ethanol community a mandate and make a political point that something is being done despite the fact that nothing needs to be done.”

AWWA: President’s budget ignores MTBE cleanup
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) reported that President Clinton’s proposed USEPA budget ignores the issue of MTBE contamination cleanup. “Americans should not have to choose between safe drinking water and clean air,” said AWWA Executive Director Jack Hoffbuhr. “This is a national problem that merits the attention of the nation’s leader.” The new budget makes no mention of direct funds for MTBE cleanup, only other general funding available in state revolving funds, which traditionally have many issues to address including infrastructure, treatment and testing. The cost of cleaning up the water supplies of Santa Monica, Calif., which have been contaminated by MTBE for several years and was the subject of a January “60 Minutes” broadcast, is estimated to be $150 million alone. AWWA expects MTBE clean up on a national level to surpass $1 billion.

NWRI revises UV guidelines
Over 170 professionals attended the National Water Resources Institute’s two day technical symposium in Costa Mesa, Calif., focusing on technical, financial and regulatory challenges facing water utilities interested in using ultraviolet UV disinfection for drinking water treatment. At the forefront was the need to update and revise the UV Disinfection Guidelines for Wastewater Reclamation in California and UV Disinfection Research Needs, published by the NWRI in 1993. Presently, the 1993 guidelines have been adopted by more than 20 U.S. states and Australia. The guidelines need to be updated to reflect “the current state of knowledge” on such topics as closed pipe systems, pulsed UV, low pressure high intensity UV and medium pressure UV technologies. The revision process will include organizing working experts, with the revised guidelines to be available in the fall.

Mass. bans computer dumping to protect groundwater
Massachusetts is instituting the nation’s first ban on residential disposal of computer screens, TV sets and other glass picture tubes in landfills and incinerators as environmental officials are trying to head off an overflow of potentially toxic electronic refuse. The focus of the new regulation is on the cathode ray tubes—the technical term for the glowing screens used in televisions and computer monitors—which on the average contain 5-to-8 pounds of lead that can seep into groundwater under landfills or, if the tubes are incinerated, go into the air. The state is setting up collection centers to handle the items, and cities and towns must transport the throwaways to those centers.

Pollution backlog grows
Efforts at the federal level for abating water pollution are falling behind, with more than one-fourth of the nation’s 6,000 top sources of pollution operating with expired control permits. Seven states plus Washington D.C. are listed with the USEPA as having severe backlogs. The state with the most factories, sewage plants and other water pollution sources is Texas, where Gov. George W. Bush is making an effort to build a pro-environmental record for the presidential campaign in the fall. The backlog of permit renewals, however, has grown under the Clinton administration, whose chief environmental spokesperson has been Vice President Al Gore.

Commitment to quality: Grundfos Pumps Manufacturing Corp, Fresno, Calif., received the California Governor’s Achievement Award for Quality Excellence March 3 in San Diego, Calif. Pictured from left are Steve Brooks, president of the California Center of Quality Education and Development; from Grundfos: Bob Early, president; Sandra Morales, advanced production technician; Heifa Mukhtar, former vice president of total quality; and Sam Sit, senior quality engineering team leader. Also pictured is Bruce Grogan, deputy secretary for California’s Department of Trade and Commerce. 


Colombia sells water works
Colombia’s government will auction concessions to operate waterworks services in 17 cities throughout Colombia, including 11 department capitals, in order to modernize facilities. Upgrading the waterworks infrastructure will create 57,000 direct jobs and 150,000 indirect, in each of the cities. The entire waterworks development plan is estimated to require total investments of US$2.5 billion, US$800 million of which will come from a World Bank loan.

EU boosts water market
A study of the overall water and wastewater treatment market in Central and Eastern Europe by Frost & Sullivan reports the market is being stimulated by implementation of European Union (EU) water purification and wastewater management standards, but is also restricted by limited availability of environmental funds and administrative failings. The market size was estimated at US$4.04 billion in 1999, a figure that has risen steadily over the last few years with an overall market expansion predicted at US $6.23 billion by 2006. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are the strongest markets for sales revenues and are forecast for strong growth in the next few years.

Apyron hosts Indian envoy
Apyron Technologies of Atlanta hosted a delegation of public health officials from India, part of a two-week U.S. tour sponsored by the U.S.-Asia Environmental Partnership Program to establish an exchange forum between experts on arsenic remediation in groundwater. Apyron was selected as the Atlanta host after its patented adsorptive media systems showed success in arsenic removal throughout India, where over three million of the nation’s tube wells—the primary source of drinking water—are infected with arsenic.

NSF, JIA agree on mark
NSF International recently entered a joint agreement with the Japanese Gas Appliance Association (JIA) allowing NSF customers to use the Water Mark on NSF-certified drinking water filters and plumbing products. The Japanese Water Mark indicates compliance with new Japanese water quality standards developed by the ministry of health and welfare. NSF earned the right to use the mark as a result of a long partnership with the JIA, one of four organizations in Japan that own the water mark.

Merger rumors subsiding
Rumors of a three way mega-merger between France’s Vivendi and Canada’s Seagram and Cox Communications companies are dying, but speculation remains concerning a Vivendi purchase of Seagram, which owns Universal Pictures, Universal Music, drink brands and theme parks. Analysts say Seagram’s entertainment groups would go well with Vivendi’s plans to develop a multi-access Internet portal. Vivendi has been separating its traditional water treatment and urban services activities into a separate company that would carry most of its borrowings, floating it separately and leaving an almost debt-free media and communications business. Analysts also speculated Vivendi might sell its traditional businesses to German utility Handelsblatt RWE AG to give the French firm investment capital.

Aussie filter study released
Results of a three-year, $3 million water quality study in Melbourne, Australia, are now available online at under the heading: “No health benefit to filtering Melbourne’s water.” The double-blind study, conducted by the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Monash University, showed no gastroenteritis difference for families with water treatment units and placebo units. This was interpreted by Water Quality Association technical director Joe Harrison as additional data supporting the organization’s contention that common bacteria in filters, heterotrophic plate count (HPC) bacteria, pose little if any health risk.

BWT, DVGW lose on W-512
The Austrian maker of the AQA Total electrochemical water treatment device, BWT Inc., and German standards institution DVGW lost a ruling in a Bonn regional court last fall ordering DVGW to withdraw its W512 “mark of conformity” for the AQA Total device and “prohibit their further use”—according to translated documents recently received by WC&P. The certifications—granted in March and October 1998—were questioned by a German company Grünbeck, which had devices tested against the standard’s specifications by a third party lab. They failed,and Grünbeck questioned problems it saw in the standard that left it open to manipulation, which prompted DVGW’s Technical Commission to vote in February 1999 to modify W512. After the Bonn ruling in September 1999, DVGW only “restricted its validity (preliminarily)” until BWT furnishes proof of necessary modifications for units with serial numbers below 524.802, a point it clarified in a Jan. 26, 2000 news release. Grünbeck is contesting this on the basis any new certification should start over from scratch. Meanwhile, the AQA Total 2600 (524.802) passed revised tests and was granted the DVGW test mark on Jan. 6. Stephane Hersen, BWT USA general manager, said his view of DVGW restrictions, however, was the mark remains valid for units with lower serial numbers as well. DVGW gave no confirmation as of presstime whether this was the case.


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