By David H. Martin

March’s Water Quality Association (WQA) Convention & Exhibition in New Orleans brought together, under one roof, all the ingredients for water treatment dealers to survive and thrive. The educational programs dealt with—often in depth—many of the key issues facing the water improvement industry from legislation to certification to emerging technologies to new niche markets to “best business practices.” The show floor was filled with booths of more than 200 exhibitors representing residential, commercial and industrial product sectors. Products included complete, ready-to-sell systems, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components, software, financing as well as a number of dealer “shared identity” programs with marketing support as well as branded products.

The only thing that seemed to be in short supply was a satisfying number of small independent dealers, free to buy from multiple vendors exhibiting at the show. Total attendance—like most trade shows over the last year—was down significantly from last year’s show in Orlando. (The early estimate was 600 visitors fewer than Orlando’s 3,700 the year before.) This was cause for concern for many independent component marketers and system OEMs who depend on the small independent dealer.

The WQA is exploring new avenues to attract larger numbers of independent dealers to future shows. These vary from holding future conventions in major population centers in mid-America only; holding several regional shows instead of one “national” show in alternate years; and sponsoring “WQA Pavilions” at broader-based trade shows (i.e., The International Housewares Show, Kitchen/Bath Industries Show and commercial/industrial events). But a contract has already been signed to bring the WQA Show to Las Vegas in 2003 and Baltimore in 2004. Both those venues generally draw well, though, it was stressed by WQA executive director Peter Censky.

Since attendance at the show was a sore spot among OEMs and other exhibitors, WC&P’s editors asked me to cover this show in the same manner I cover other shows for the magazine. The idea is to let those who didn’t attend gain an idea of what they missed—and why they should attend next year. The breadth of the WQA trade show is so wide it’s somewhat daunting to include in one column all that was displayed in New Orleans, but I tried…

New dealer identity programs
Osmonics (now reorganized into three operating units—Household Group headed by former EcoWater president Dick Elliott, Filtration & Separations Group by Roger Miller, and Process Water Group by Curt Witenauer) is coming off a big year with several new products, according to president Ed Fierko, interviewed at the company’s show booth. Announced last year at WQA Orlando, Osmonics launched its AvantaPure dealer identity program with a separate booth. It’s not a franchise program but possesses many of the same promotional elements, based on purchase of AvantaPure brand products from exclusive distributors—which assemble the units from Osmonics-manufactured water softener valves and RO membranes—and sold to consumers through independent dealers.

Alamo, San Antonio, Texas, showed its new ProTreat brand product line, backed with brand image support literature for independent dealers. Alamo also has its own brand name on the Aseptrol antimicrobial water softener disinfection tablets, a new product from Engelhard for which it’s the exclusive distributor. Aquativa, a division of Covenant Air and Water, Bradley, Ill., was promoting its own dealer identity program, offering marketing support along with its line of water softeners and RO systems under the same brand.

Canada’s Water Depot is a Barrie, Ontario, assembler of residential water softeners and drinking water systems, currently supplying five Ontario dealers with products and “Water Depot” store identity elements. President Al Dennis revealed plans to pilot a Water Depot Store in Michigan later this year. Plans to offer the program to additional U.S. dealers are undetermined, said Dennis.

LeverEdge, Tampa, Fla., showed its lines of SteelTec (stainless steel) and Avian water softeners. The company also markets a line of air conditioners and offers water improvement dealers proprietary financing packages from its Independent Savings Plan Co. subsidiary.

[A more broad listing of exhibitors and products and/or services they had on display in New Orleans can be found in the sidebar to this article (see Showing at a Convention Near You).]

Message in a bottle
Bottled water equipment seen at WQA 2002 was fairly extensive, considering the proposed new Bottled Water Section for the association. It was indicated that fully half the dealers present either already offered customers bottled water or were planning to do so. The dealers felt more work needed to be done, though, before the market segment got its own WQA section, according to Jack Lorenzen, Quality Water Services, Lincoln, Neb.

Exhibitors included Sunroc Corp., showing a complete line of floor and countertop hot/cold units, including three models under its CORDLEY/Temprite brand; Koolworks Inc., San Raphael, Calif., with its thermoelectric water cooling devices for cabinet bottled water coolers and POU; Coster Engineering, Mankato, Minn., industrial RO bottling equipment; Culligan, water coolers and bottling equipment; Market Design & Development Inc., Dalton, Ga., displaying its UV Cooling Technology’s antibacterial cooler; Oasis Corp., Columbus, Ohio, showing cabinet style bottled water coolers; Severn Trent Services Inc. (Universal Aqua Technologies), Torrance, Calif., showing RO-based bottling equipment; SHURflo, Santa Ana, Calif., bottled water dispensing equipment; STC Plastics, Chino, Calif., displaying its polycarbonate water bottles and bottled water dispensers, and Water Resources International, with its membrane-based bottling equipment.

Norland International Inc., Lincoln, Neb., showed distillation-based bottled water plants, PET bottle blow molding system plus two new products. Its new BF 150/5 gallon bottle filler can be ordered with optional BF 150 small bottle adaptor kit that allows bottlers to tap the growing “private label” bottled water market. Norland can supply short print runs of labels, bottles, caps and boxes.

POU coolers
Cabinet-style POU systems seen in New Orleans included complete lines of carbon filtration and RO systems by Oasis and Sunroc, which also sells systems under its CORDLEY/Temprite brand. The systems feature hot/cold faucets and are available in both countertop and floor models. Industrial Hot & Cold Ltds., Santiago, Chile, showed hot/cold POU coolers and cabinet RO systems. Liquid-Air Inc., Reno, Nev., showed its cabinet style combination water generator/electrostatic air filtration system with hot/cold water faucets. Mollendo Equipment Co., Long Island City, N.Y., showing Puretech units, combining carbon block and membrane technologies. PHSI Pure Water Technology Division, Sandpoint, Idaho, showed its line of POU coolers, including an advanced double-stage ozone unit.

innowave inc. featured its model 270 cabinet water purification system that combines ion exchange, distillation and carbon filtration technologies for “broad spectrum” protection from contaminants. It also showed UV/carbon cabinet systems and its model 360 distiller, suitable for dental offices with re-contamination issues.

The 2002 WQA Show in New Orleans experienced many of the same problems that currently affect other trade shows outside the industry, including declining attendance by small independent dealers. As more independent dealers are acquired by larger dealers, especially those affiliated with “shared identity” marketing programs, the problem is likely to worsen as the independent dealer universe continues to decline. Some WQA programs may seem redundant in the expanding world of the “programmed” dealer, whether the program is a franchise or a less formal group identity, offering training and marketing resources alongside those offered by the WQA.

Still, if you are an independent dealer or assembler and want to remain that way, you missed a wonderful opportunity to improve your chances of survival if you weren’t in New Orleans, especially as a WQA member. Just ask the exhibitors named in this roundup story!

Showing at a Convention Near You—WQA 2002

Soft on water
Residential water softeners shown in New Orleans included: Alamo Water Refiners, San Antonio; Addie Water Systems, Janesville, Wis.; AquaCare Systems, Vista, Calif.; Charger Water Treatment, Elgin, Ill.; Culligan International, Northbrook, Ill.; EcoWater Systems, St. Paul, Minn.; Enting Water Conditioning, Dayton, Ohio; Great Lakes International (GLI), Racine, Wis.; Hague Quality Water International, Groveport, Ohio; Hellenbrand Water Conditioners, Waunakee, Wis.; Ionics Inc., Canonsburg, Pa.; Kinetico Inc., Newbury, Ohio; Bauer Soft Water Co., Granger, Ind.; Mid America Water Treatment, Hanover Park, Ill.; Nelsen Corporation, Norton, Ohio; Osmonics, Minnetonka, Min.; Pegasus Water Systems, Cape Coral, Fla.; Pentair, Chardon, Ohio; RainSoft, Elk Grove Village, Ill.; Rayne Corp., Ventura, Calif.; Springsoft International, Bloomingdale, Ill.; Water Resources International, Phoenix, and Water-Right, Appleton, Wis.

Crowing about RO
Residential reverse osmosis (RO) systems exhibited at WQA 2002 included many with optional UV lamps for bacteria and virus protection. Among exhibitors: Addie; AquaCare; Aquaflex International, Corona, Calif.; AvantaPure; Charger; Clack Corp., Windsor, Wis.; Culligan; CUNO/Water Factory Systems, Meriden, Conn.; EcoWater; Enting; Good Water Warehouse, Fullerton, Calif.; GLI; Hague; Hydrotech Inc., Valencia, Calif.; Ionics; Kinetico; Mid America; Nelson; Nimbus Water Systems, San Marcos, Calif.; Pegasus; Rainsoft; Rayne; So~Safe Products, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Springsoft; TGI Pure Water System, Brea, Calif.; Water Resources International; Waterworld USA, Stafford, Texas, and Premier/Watts Industries, Phoenix.

Membranes and RO components were represented by Applied Membranes Inc., Vista, Calif., showing RO membranes and components; Dow/FilmTec Corp., Midland, Mich., with its FilmTec RO membranes and Dowex ion exchange resins; Flowmatic Systems Inc., Dunnellon, Fla., with its complete line of RO components; Hydranautics, Oceanside, Calif.; Hydrocomponents & Technologies Inc., Vista, Calif., with its stainless steel and fiberglass pressure vessels and membrane components; Osmonics; Osmotik, Buena Park, Calif., showing advanced membranes for home and industry; Precision Installation Products Inc., Foothill Ranch, Calif., a master distributor for RO component parts; R.O. UltraTec USA Inc., Fallbrook, Calif., showing spiral-wound membrane components and RO housings.

Undercounter carbon filters
Carbon-based undercounter POU filtration systems seen in New Orleans included those from Charger; Clack; Culligan; CUNO; Doulton Water Filters, Onsted, Mich. (carbon/ceramic); EcoWater; Filtration Plus, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; GLI; H2O International, Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Hydro Systems International, Plantsville, Conn.; Crane/Kavey Water Equipment Corp., Palmetto, Fla.; Keystone Filter, Hatfield, Pa.; Kinetico; Mid America; Nelson; PentaPure Inc., Eagan, Minn.; Puretech Company, Ltd., Seoul, Korea; Shelco Filters, Newington, Conn.; Sta-Rite Water Treatment Group, Delevan, Wis.; Sun Water Systems, Ft. Worth, Texas; Vortech Latinoamerica, Miami; Waterlink Pure Water Division, West Palm Beach, Fla. Also, CoolWorks Inc., San Rafael, Calif., showed its in-line water chiller that delivers chilled treated water from the tap.

A radiant alternative
Ultraviolet exhibitors at WQA 2002 included Aquaflex International, showing its line of stainless steel chamber Germicidalight UV lights ranging from 2-100 gpm. Others included Atlantic Ultraviolet Corp., Hauppauge, N.Y., showing its complete line of UV purifiers, lamps, quartz sleeves and electronic ballasts; innowave inc., Omaha, Neb., showing its line of UV cabinet-style POU systems; Instapura, Cuernavaca, Mexico; Nero Systems, King of Prussia, Pa.;   R-Can Environmental, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, showing its Sterilight UV sterilizers; So~Safe Products; TGI Pure; Trojan Technologies, London, Ontario, Canada, showing its line of TrojanUVMax residential and commercial sterilizers; WEDECO-Ideal Horizons, Poultney, Vt., showing UV for domestic, commercial and industrial applications, and Wyckomar Inc., Guelph, Ontario.

Zoning in on ozone
Ozone equipment exhibitors included ClearWater Tech, San Luis Obisbo, Calif.; Dell Industries, San Luis Osbispo, Calif., a designer and manufacturer of a complete line of ozone water treatment, including mobile units and portable systems for water and air treatment; Good Water Warehouse Inc.; Osmonics Inc.; Ozotech, Inc., Yreka, Calif., showing ozone generators, POU/POE ozone systems; Pacific Ozone Technology, Inc., Brentwood, Calif., showing ozone generators for multiple markets; R-Can Environmental Inc.; Sunroc Corp., Dover, Del., showing its TechXpress Sanitizer for bottles; WEDECO-Ideal Horizons, Inc., and Wyckomar Inc.

Filters & cartridges
POU/POE filters and housings seen in New Orleans included Aqua SRL, Italy, showing plastic housings, cartridges and self-cleaning filters; Clack Corp., showing filter cartridges with many specialized media; Chester Paul Company, Glendale, Calif., showing filter components including John Guest, Aquatec, Amtrol, Omnipure and Fiberdyne; Doulton Water Filters, Onsted, Mich., showing ceramic filter elements; FilterCor, Inc., Sun Valley, Calif., showing string wound, pleated and carbon filters; Filtration Plus USA, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., showing coconut carbon block air and water filtration products; Hydro Systems International, Plantsville, Conn., showing a wide variety of housings, cartridges and filters including GAC, carbon block and KDF; Filtteck Co. Ltd., Taiwan, showing Poly-Ray pleated filter cartridges with microfiber media for pre-filtration of membranes and A-B pure polypropylene cartridge filter; Housingsytems, Minneapolis, showing disposable filter/media housings; KX Industries, Orange, Conn., showing its line of MATRIKX extruded carbon block filters and PLEKX spiral wound filters; Keystone Filter Division, showing standard housings plus specialty units including giant reinforced nylon and high-performance cellulose filter and microfiberglass cartridges; Omnipure, Caldwell, Idaho, showing its CL-Series GAC inline filters as well as carbon block and sediment filters; PentaPure Inc., West St. Paul, Minn., showing commercial and residential filters using Pentalodide resin disinfection technology; Pi-Tech America Inc., Lincolnwood, Ill., showing Pi-Water multi-media filtration said to energize water; Rusco Inc., Brooksville, Fla., showing spin-down sediment filters; Shelco Filters, West Hartford, Conn., showing a complete line of industrial filters; Specialty Sales Inc., Lyons, Ill., showing hose, tubing and fittings; USFilter’s Plymouth Products Division, showing a new ¾-inch port filter housing design for greater strength and versatility; Water Inc., Carson, Calif., showing Everpure filtration products; Waterworld USA, showing filters and cartridges in many configurations, and Waterpia Co. Ltd., Republic of Korea.

Media, resin, salt & chemicals
Filtration and ion exchange media and chemicals were represented by ADI International Inc., Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, showing filtration media for arsenic reduction; Alcan Chemicals, Naperville, Ill., showing activated alumina for arsenic removal; Antunes Filtration Technologies, Carol Stream, Ill., showing multi-bore capillary membrane technology; Apyron Technologies Inc., Atlanta, showing media for arsenic reduction; Barneby Sutcliffe Corp., Columbus, Ohio, showing coconut shell carbon media; Carbon Activated Corp., Gardena, Calif., showing coconut-shell and coal-based carbon filter media; Carbon Resources, Oceanside, Calif., showing carbon media and carbon impregnated paper; Clack Corp., showing an industry-leading selection of media; Futamura Chemical Industries Co. Ltd., Japan, showing activated carbon filtration media, including carbon fiber sheets; Hangzhou Zhengguang Resin Co., China; Inversand Company, Clayton, N.J., showing manganese greensand filter media; KDF Fluid Treatment Inc., Three Rivers, Mich., showing KDF process media for chlorine, metals and bacteria reduction; K&M Plastics/Composites, Elk Grove Village, Ill., storage tanks; Mid America, Hanover Park, Ill.; Mineral-Right Inc., Appleton, Wis., showing silica gel zeolite for problem water; Morton Salt, Chicago; Nu-Calgon, St. Louis, showing food-grade phosphates; North American Salt, Overland Park, Kan., showing salt and K-Life potassium chloride regenerants; PentaPure Inc., showing PentaPure idionated resin; Purolite Co., Bala Cynwyd, Penn., showing its line of ion exchange resins; ResinTech, Inc., Cherry Hill, N.J., showing its lines of highly selective ion exchange resins and carbon media; Rohm and Haas Co., Philadelphia, showing ion exchange resins; Spectrum Labs, St. Paul, Minn., showing its expanded line of water treatment chemicals; Thermax Ltd., Mumbai, India, ion exchange resins, and United Salt Corp., Houston.

Controls, faucets, accessories
Valves, faucets and other components were represented by Air Gap International, Irvine, Calif., showing code-approved air gap units; DMT Co. Ltd., Republic of China, showing push-in tube fittings; Eco-Tech, Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich., showing drain connections and air gaps; Eldon James Corp., Loveland, Colo., showing a wide selection of water fittings; Erie Water Treatment Controls, Elk Grove Village, Ill.; Evolutionary Concepts Inc., San Dimas, Calif., showing solenoid valves; G.A. Murdock, Madison, S.D.; G.C. Valves, Simi Valley, Calif., showing solinoid valves and manifolds; John Guest USA Inc., Pine Brook, N.J., showing plastic and brass push-in fittings, polypropylene shut-off valves and linear low-density polyethylene tubing; KIP Inc., Farmington, Conn., showing solenoid valves, lever controls, flow switches, check valves and manifolds; Opella Inc., Marietta, Ga., showing its ¼ turn ceramic cartridge faucets, including a new air-gap faucet; QMP Inc., Sun Valley, Calif., showing lead-free faucets, valves, housings; R&D Specialties, Midland, Texas, showing electronic water treatment controls; Sun Pacific Industries, City of Industry, Calif., showing water store supplies; Tomlinson Industries, Cleveland, showing Pro-Flo No-Drip POU faucets and fittings; Touch-Flo Manufacturing Co., Burbank, Calif., showing its broad line of ceramic disc valve POU faucets with designer finishes; Watts Regulator/Taras Valve Division, North Andover, Mass., showing bronzeand plastic bypass valves and accessories.

Getting tanked
Pressure vessel exhibitors seen in New Orleans included A&M Composites Corp., Big Spring, Texas, showing its line of fiberglass RO pressure vessels; Amtrol Inc., West Warwick, R.I., showing its line of recharged diaphragm tanks; K&M Plastics/Composites; Pentair/Structural, Chardon, Ohio, showing its broad line of composite pressure vessels for water storage, and Sta-Rite/Park International, Long Beach, Calif.

All pumped up
Pumps were represented by Aqua SRL; Aquatec Water Systems; Blue White Industries; CAT Pumps, Minneapolis, showing new reciprocating pumps up to 660 gpm; Dynaflow Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan, showing its diaphragm pumps; Fluid-O-Tech International, Inc., Plantsville, Conn., showing its rotary vane pumps and oscillating pumps; General Pump, Mendota Heights, Minn., showing high pressure water pumps; Giant Industries, showing high pressure pumps and accessories; Goulds Pumps, Seneca Falls, N.Y.; Milton Roy, Conroe, Texas, showing metering pumps and controllers; Nelsen Corporation; Pentair/F.E. Myers/Well-Mate; Progressive Pumps Corp., Houston, showing metering pumps; ProMinent Fluid Controls Inc., Pittsburgh, showing chemical metering pumps, sensors and controllers; Pulsafeeder, Punta Gorda, Fla., showing chemical metering pumps and controls; STC Plastics; Stenner & Co. Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., showing chemical metering pumps; Sta-Rite, Delavan, Wis.; Water Resource Technology Inc., Freedom, Wis., showing groundwater pump and treatment for “free phase” well contaminants, and Weber Industries Inc., St. Louis, showing water pumps and booster pumps.

Iron, sulfur & sanitizers
    Sanitizers and iron and sulfur removal products included Action Manufacturing & Supply Inc., Cape Coral, Fla., showing well water aeration systems; Addie Water Systems, showing its Iron Ox iron removal systems that combines filtration with compressed air and manganese dioxide; Aquatechnics Manufacturing Inc., St. Augustine, Fla., showing its Odor Oxidizer aeration systems for chemical-free H2S removal; Better Water Industries, Tyler, Minn., showing its Sentry I chlorinator and BWI well sanitation packs; Hellenbrand Water Conditioners Inc., showing its commercial water softeners and iron filters; LWC Ltd., Maumee, Ohio, showing its patented forced air system for sulfur and iron; Pro Products/Iron Out Inc., Ft. Wayne, Ind., showing water treatment chemicals under the Pro-Line brand.

Among commercial and industrial market products represented were Axonn LLC, New Orleans, showing wireless sensors for remote monitoring of water pressure, pH, tank level and turbidity; Bauer Water Systems, showing its industrial logic controller for monitoring softening and iron removal efficiency for industrial and commercial high-volume water users; Claude Laval Corp., Fresno, Calif., showing its Lakos sand separators and filtration systems; Crane Environmental, Venice, Fla., showing C/I RO systems; Dolphin Capital Corp., Moberly, Miss., showing its applied disinfection technology for industry and water treatment plants; Dosatron International Inc., Clearwater, Fla., showing water-driven dispensers of water treatment chemicals; Econozone Inc., Quebec, Canada, showing Airblo brand industrial RO, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration for ultrapure water; H2O Innovation, Quebec, Canada, showing centrifugal membrane filtration for ultrapure water; Haliant Technologies, Sarasota, Fla., showing its double-pass industrial RO systems and new Ultra-EDI-7 electro-deionization (EDI) system for the production of deionized ultrapure water; Harmsco Filtration Products, North Palm Beach, Fla., showing its lines of C/I filters with stainless steel housings; Kavey Water Equipment Corp., and Kemtune Inc., Ft. Wayne, Ind., showing non-chemical equipment for lime scale and corrosion control.; Osmonics and Pentair.

Instrumentation, labs & testers
Water testing and instruments companies in New Orleans included Danaher/Hach Co., Loveland, Colo.; Fuller Engineering Inc., Anaheim, Calif., showing its water quality test kits for sales demonstrations; GLI Inc., Milwaukee; Good Water Warehouse, showing dealer testing equipment; Hanna Instruments, Temecula, Calif., showing analytical and testing equipment, including its new HI 98321 and 98322 portable RO meters with LCD display; Heemang Electronic Inc., Seoul, South Korea, showing its TDS meters and precipitators; Industrial Test Systems Inc., Rock Hill, S.C., showing its test strips; LaMotte Co., Chestertown, Md., showing water quality test kits and demonstration tools; National Testing Laboratories, Cleveland, showing dealer customer generation program; NSF International, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Spectrum Labs Inc., St. Paul, Minn., showing its expanded offering of demonstration/test kits and laboratory analytical services; Sprite Industries Inc., Corona, Calif., showing its conductivity meters and sales aids; Oakton Instruments, Vernon Hills, Ill., showing its line of electronic water testers, and Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Northbrook, Ill.

Dealer financing and leasing, computer software, and promotional programs at WQA 2002 included Advantage Route Systems, Turlock, Calif., showing its computerized dealer route software system; American Business Systems, Northbrook, Ill., showing its water dealer management software system; Aqua Finance Inc., Wausau, Wis.; Carmel Financial Corp., Carmel, Ind., showing its dealer finance programs; Chesapeake Funding Inc., Columbia, Md., showing its dealer finance programs; Commercial Business Systems Inc., Marion, Ind., showing dealer business management software; Dataman Group, Boca Raton, Fla., showing its telemarketing and mailing lists for dealers; Independent Savings Plan Company, Tampa, Fla., showing its primary and secondary dealer finance programs; Liquid Soap Products Inc., Grain Valley, Miss., showing its lead generation program built around a line of household cleaning and personal care products; Nevada Computer Center Corp., W. Des Moines, Iowa, showing its WaterFlex management system using handheld computers to assist with dealer calls; Pure & Gentle Soap Products Inc., Cibolo, Texas, showing its lead-generation program based on soaps and household cleaners, and UNCO Data Systems Inc., Minneapolis, showing account receivable/routing software.

Shower filters and other specialty products included AquaBrew Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., showing thermal coffee brewing equipment for RO systems; H2O International, with KDF shower filters; Canpro Water Treatment Inc., Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, displaying its self-cleaning KDF shower filter; Oxion Water Technologies, San Antonio, Texas, with its multiple technology approach for large swimming pools and well water treatment that involves combined titanium and brass flow cells with a flocking agent to oxidize, sanitize and condition water without chemicals, and Sprite Industries Inc., showing its expanded line of patented KFD shower filters.

About the author
David H. Martin is president of Lenzi Martin Marketing, of Oak Park, Ill., a firm specializing in water improvement and environmental marketing that integrates old and new media. He can be reached at (708) 848-8404, e-mail: or website:


Comments are closed.