By Carlos David Mongollón

As the World Turns: The Euro, AquaTech, Mid-Year and email
Ah, much in the month of September rates worthiness of mention here.

In the middle of the AquaTech trade show (Sept. 26-29) in Amsterdam, the Danes—i.e., the folks from Denmark—gave thumbs down to a referendum to make theirs the 12th country to adopt the Euro as its national currency. Greece, Sweden and the United Kingdom still have to approve monetary union. This wouldn’t be a big issue except for the fact water treatment equipment dealers in Europe selling products of U.S. manufacturers are being caught in the squeeze of a strong dollar/weak Euro that—combined with high oil prices—has threatened their pocketbooks as well as the world economy.

Meanwhile, at meetings of Aqua Europa coinciding with the trade show (that were out of bounds for non-Europeans), the French and Italian delegations were to have presented an ultimatum to the German delegation—which again sought to push a dual- or multi-class softener standard that included requirements for automatic disinfection and hard water blending—to move forward on approving a harmonized standard without the restrictions. Instead, reading of the proposed standard was delayed until the association’s March 2001 meeting. See next month’s issue for a broader review of the AquaTech show from Peter Cartwright.

In this month’s issue, you’ll see highlights of the Water Quality Association (WQA) Mid-Year Leadership Conference held Sept. 6-9. A full review of the event is offered on our website, including a breakdown of committee and task force meetings as well as the Board of Regents reports. Again, we offer the most comprehensive coverage for dealers and others unable to attend themselves.

A hot issues at the conference was arsenic. On Sept. 20, WQA submitted a nine-page response to the USEPA’s proposal to lower the arsenic MCL to 5 ppb from 50 ppb. The document focuses on operation, monitoring and affordability issues for POU/POE equipment as they relate to arsenic removal and Safe Drinking Water Act mandates. The agency has dragged its feet on fully embracing RO, ion exchange and specific adsorptive media as “best available technology” in this instance for cost effectiveness reasons.

WQA technical director Joe Harrison noted all these issues are moot considering the ability of the industry’s equipment to more than effectively reduce arsenic to proposed mandated levels and instrumentation technology currently available. Harrison estimates RO rental costs at only $16 a month, while ion exchange would range from $20 to $40 a month. Rental data isn’t yet available on new arsenic media. He doesn’t expect a direct response to WQA’s letter: “They’ll get probably a roomful of comments like that.

“But one of the most significant things to emerge in the discussion is a coalition developing between us and ASDWA to get USEPA to make our equipment more accessible,” Harrison said. “State drinking water officials are very interested in making POU/POE work as a viable alternative for reducing arsenic and other contaminants, particularly for small systems. If we can get this coalition together—along with NSF—the three of us could get things moving in the right direction.”

By the way, WC&P has a new email address—[email protected]

The move comes as a result of adding a DSL or “digital subscriber line” for faster Internet transmissions here at our office. You can now reach each of our staff through a similar suffix via individual addresses, which are located in the column to the right under the WC&P logo.


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