The St. John’s River Water Management District, of Palatka, Fla., has chosen R.W. Beck Inc., of Orlando, Fla., to investigate and evaluate desalination of seawater to help meet future water supply needs in northeast and east central Florida. The project will last 18 months. ?

Ionics Inc., of Watertown, Mass., signed in late June equipment supply and multi-year service contracts in Kuwait totaling $320 million with a project company led by Mohammed Abdulmohsin Al-Kharafi & Sons (the Kharafi Group), which will maintain a 100 million gallon per day wastewater treatment facility near Kuwait City. ?

Cott Corp., of Toronto, Canada, agreed to buy 90 percent of a new joint venture with Mexican bottler Embotelladora de Puebla SA de C.V. Terms weren’t disclosed. ?

Effective July 1, Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co. increased off-schedule prices for all grades of MDEA, NMEA, DMEA, DEEA and DMIPA by three cents per pound. Alkyl alkanolamines are widely used in the water treatment industry such as flocculants and ion exchange resins. ?

Met-Pro Corp.’s Systems Division, of Kulpsville, Pa., received an order for two large catalytic oxidizers, which will be used to purify the exhaust stream of a major pharmaceutical plant in Florida. Delivery on the $2.4 million contract is expected later this year. ?

The Fraser Valley Regional District chose ZENON Environmental, of Canada, to supply its ZeeWeed membrane technology as an expansion to the existing conventional drinking water plant. Valued at $5 million, the new extension will supply water to two cities—Abbotsford and Mission—near Vancouver, British Columbia. ?

The Water Management Group Inc., of Coconut Creek, Fla., was awarded a contract to provide water treatment systems and services for two new storm water pump stations in the Florida Everglades. The contract is worth $500,000 and includes filters, softeners, strainers, RO systems, storage tanks, pumps and other related equipment. ?

San Jose, Calif.-based Portola Packaging Inc. reported results for its third quarter of fiscal 2002, ending May 31. Sales were $53 million compared to $57.6 million for the same quarter of the prior year, a decrease of 8 percent. ?

Aqua Dyne Inc., of Brisbane, Australia, has initiated marketing of a water purification system known as the JetWater. Using jet after-burner technology and an application of an insulation product, the system can process up to 200,000 gallons of water per day. ?

Eagan, Minn.-based WTC Industries Inc. said its subsidiary, PentaPure Inc., received ISO 9001:2000 certification for the design, manufacture and supply of point-of-use/point-of-entry water treatment systems. ?

H2O Innovation Inc., of Canada, has acquired OxydH2O Canada Inc. and Bioflo Inc.—companies specializing in the design and manufacturing of wastewater treatment systems. ?


USEPA gives grant to NSF; arsenic program has begun
The USEPA has asked NSF for its help in promoting point-of-use devices in the home to comply with drinking water standards and the new arsenic rule. At the behest of the USEPA, NSF conducted a seminar in Philadelphia on June 4, to educate federal and state drinking water administrators on ANSI/NSF standards, testing and certification. There were 40 attendees including federal USEPA representatives. Many officials were aware that drinking water treatment unit (DWTU) standards contain requirements for specific contaminant reduction claims; however, few knew about the comprehensive requirements relating to materials, structural integrity and product literature. A focus was placed on the role of these devices in meeting the arsenic rule. A consensus was reached that the use of certified devices is necessary to provide the level of confidence in performance.

Furthermore, the USEPA awarded NSF a grant to pilot an actual implementation in a community. Some of the stated goals are to document the cost factors, ability to have sustainable system maintenance, and public acceptability and water quality. The pilot is under way and has an estimated completion of late next year. NSF estimates over 4,000 systems are expected to benefit from such an alternative for arsenic alone. There are three ballots related to DWTU standards currently out on arsenic. All are in the final stage of review and approval. They include:

  1. ANSI/NSF Standard 53 for pentavalent arsenic reduction claims
  2. ANSI/NSF Standard 58 for pentavalent arsenic reduction claims
  3. All six ANSI/NSF DWTU standards for the new material extraction requirement of arsenic

In other news, NSF released a new verification report for the ETV Drinking Water Systems Center—the Canada-based Trojan Technologies Inc.’s UVSwift Ultraviolet System Model 4L12. This report is located in its entirety on the NSF and USEPA websites (www.epa.gov/etv and www.nsf.org/etv/dws).

STS, Apyron fight arsenic
Severn Trent Services (STS), of Fort Washington, Pa., and Atlanta-based Apyron Technologies Inc. announced a partnership to develop and market innovative products that remove arsenic from drinking water. Both companies are collaborating to provide a wide range of arsenic treatment solutions for point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE), and small water system applications around the world. Currently, STS is marketing its SORB 33 line of arsenic removal systems for large municipal and industrial applications while Apyron offers its Aqua-Bind products for POU/POE, and small community water system applications. Last November, the allowable limit for the contaminant in drinking water was lowered from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb. Public water systems must comply with the law by January 2006. In other news, STS obtained NSF Standard 60 certification for its AQUAWARD line of calcium hypochlorite tablets used for disinfection in a wide range of potable water applications.

HPC forum receives kudos
More than 180 participants from academia, government, industry, public health organizations, water supply and trade associations convened on April 22-24, 2002 in Geneva, Switzerland, to answer the question—”Does HPC bacteria re-growth in drinking and packaged waters represent a significant health effects concern?” The symposium was designed to produce recommendations for the WHO Expert Panel meeting held on April 25-26, 2002, also in Geneva. This expert panel meeting strived to arrive at a scientifically based consensus on the appropriate interpretations of HPC measurements in drinking water. “The conference was a great success and exceeded our expectations, leading to scientific consensus on the HPC issue,” said Dr. Joe Cotruvo, director of the NSF/WHO Collaborating Center for Drinking Water Safety and Treatment and principal coordinator of the conference. “In general, the concluding statement from the symposium was HPC alone does not indicate increased health risks to consumers.”

“The symposium was one of the most successful conferences that the Center for Public Health Education has coordinated,” said Dr. Dennis Mangino, president and CEO. “It was an honor to be associated with the world’s leading experts on waterborne disease as they worked to resolve a vexing public health issue.” Dr. Jamie Bartram, coordinator of the Water, Sanitation and Health Programme at WHO, shared his excitement on the outcome of the symposium, “It was an important public health issue to address. The participants added tremendously to the discussion that helped bring about a clear understanding of the appropriate interpretation of HPC measurements.” Limited copies of the symposium proceedings, which contain all of the non-peer reviewed papers, are available for purchase from NSF by visiting http://www.nsf.org/conference/hpc/hpc_proceedings.html or by contacting Keri Broughton at broughton@nsf.org or (734) 769-8010.

Pentair launches new unit
Pentair Water Treatment, of St. Paul, Minn., has formed a new industrial/municipal business group. Its goal is to become the premier source of water treatment components, subsystems and evolving technologies for the North American and global industrial and municipal marketplaces. “By clearly separating and focusing our residential/commercial business from the newly formed industrial/municipal business group, we aim at better serving our customers,” said Jorge Fernandez, president of Pentair Water Treatment. The group will be dedicated to advancing water technologies. Pentair will target the municipal drinking water market for future growth as well as the industrial process, reuse and wastewater markets. The goal will be to develop one-stop shopping for components used in the production of process water such as enclosures and pumps. “Currently, Pentair Water Treatment provides the water treatment markets with a broad product line including CodeLine membrane housings, Fleck control valves and Structural pressure vessels,” said Jim Stephens, business director. “With the formation of our new business group, we further our reach and expand our customer base while increasing our potential for sales.”  

Osmonics gets city contract
Osmonics Inc., of Minnetonka, Minn., will provide the city of Clearwater, Fla., with two municipal, reverse osmosis systems including a pretreatment filtration system. The systems are designed to remove arsenic and treat the city’s drinking water supply. They will treat 3 million gallons of water per day and serve more than 100,000 residents. In other news, the company introduced The Alkaline Cleaner Recycling Handbook. It provides readers with practical insight on the benefits of using membrane filtration technology in aqueous-based, alkaline-cleaning processes. Also, Osmonics was awarded patent rights for its Selex absolute-rated depth cartridge filters. In addition, the company obtained ANSI/NSF Standard 42 drinking water treatment system components material safety certification for its Hytrex, Selex and Purtrex pure polypropylene cartridge depth filter lines. Meanwhile, the company announced its North American summer and fall dates and locations for the Autotrol brand products and world tour seminars. The tour provides product and market training for professional water treatment dealers involving Autotrol brand valves and controls. August locations and dates for the seminars include Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 13; Minneapolis, Aug. 15; Denver, Aug. 20, and Albuquerque, N.M, Aug. 22.

ITT buys Waterlink unit
ITT Industries Inc., of White Plains, N.Y., acquired the Pure Water Division of Waterlink Inc., of Columbus, Ohio. The purchase includes the WET, C’TReat and WETEC product lines. They will complement ITT’s pumps, mixers, aeration equipment and wastewater process systems and is expected to provide significant growth opportunities for ITT in the growing water treatment market segment. Water Equipment Technologies (WET), of West Palm Beach, Fla., designs, manufactures and commissions residential, commercial, industrial and municipal water purification systems. C’Treat, of Woodlands, Texas, offers offshore seawater desalination systems that supply potable water, which is continuously generated from seawater using a reverse osmosis (RO) process. C’Treat builds and tests complete RO systems. The WETEC product line, based in Clearwater, Fla., provides sales and service of deionization tanks throughout Florida. In all, the Pure Water Division employs approximately 85 people and will function as an operating unit of ITT Sanitaire. The acquired product lines represent annual revenues of about $16 million. In other news, ITT is in discussions with the State Environmental Protection Administration in China to sponsor the country’s entry in the Stockholm Junior Water Prize starting next year (see People this issue). ITT employs more than 6,000 employees in 12 facilities in China.

WQA’s board tackles various issues; plans set for updates on softener ban
The following is from a WQANews Fax report on the WQA Board of Governors meeting in Lisle, Ill., on May 16-17.

One of the issues broached was a new membership retention program that will focus on staff-to-member direct contact on an ongoing basis. The plan is for every staff person to call one member a week throughout the year to get feedback about the WQA mission, services and benefits. Another topic was a dues formula revision; the manufacturers’ dues formula needs to be revised in time for the 2003 billing cycle.

Potential legislation in a few states was also an issue. Among these was the California brine issue. In addition, the Texas ban on water softeners in septic systems was also examined. The WQA is working with the Texas Department of Natural Resources to enact a reversal of the ban. If this fails, the association is reviewing the possibility of an injunction based on available data. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, the WQA is fighting proposed legislation that would require only licensed plumbers to install POU/POE equipment.

The attendance drop at this year’s New Orleans convention was examined. It was noted that show attendance for all industries has fallen off for the last several years. Some of WQA’s proactive moves will include reducing meeting length as well as potential joint shows with other organizations (perhaps the IBWA), moving the shows northward in the country where dealer concentrations are higher (Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, etc.), and several other strategies.

Public relations activities were discussed at length. Many members cited the “Got Milk” campaign as a good model to inform the public, until someone mentioned it was a $25 million a year campaign. Wide support was given for narrowly focused campaigns such as Bob Greene approaching fitness trainers to promote the value of good hydration via POU/POE products. Another PR approach will be pavilions at annual shows such as Home Builders, Kitchen/Bath Industry and others. This is intended to build awareness to economic sectors that may have a significant impact on sales for the industry, and it will begin this year.

As a result of this year’s WQA convention, a Strategic Planning Committee has been formed and invitations sent to potential members. It will look at all aspects of the association—structure and governance, dues structures, member benefits, etc. The committee was scheduled to meet face-to-face in July and September, and again via conference calls in October and November. In addition, the board will be advised throughout the process. A draft of the plan will be submitted to the board in January, and a second draft will be posted on WQA’s website (www.wqa.org) for comments in February. The final, amended document will be submitted for approval at March’s convention in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, beginning Jan. 1, 2003, the state of California will allow local water districts to ban or restrict water softeners if the utility or local government meets a series of state-mandated criteria. In lieu of this, the WQA in conjunction with the Pacific WQA distributed an informational fax designed to keep members abreast of any developments related to the legislation, the POU/POE industry response, and the response of water utilities and their associations. In the first installment, SB 1006 (the legislation passed in 1999) is defined and explained in detail. Under a heading titled, “What criteria do water districts have to meet before they can ban water softeners?” the fax covers five different criteria. According to the two-page release, the next installment will deal with “How to monitor actions by your local city council, water board, and utilities.”

International

German firm picks up PCT
As of May 1, Progressive Composite Technologies (PCT), of Vista, Calif., is the membrane pressure vessel division of Bekaert Corp, of Kortrijk, Germany. Bekaert is a $2.5 billion world manufacturer in advanced metal transformation and coating technologies as well as the leading supplier of membrane pressure vessels in Europe and the Middle East. Effective immediately, the name Bekaert Progressive Composites will refer jointly to PCT and Bekaert Composites in Spain. “The combination…positions us as the second largest membrane pressure vessel supplier in the world,” said PCT president Doug Eisberg. The Vista, Calif., facility will serve as the focal global point for Bekaert membrane pressure vessel technology.

Calgon obtains UV patent
Calgon Carbon Corp., of Pittsburgh, was granted a Canadian patent for controlling Cryptosporidium in drinking water using ultraviolet (UV) light. The company had been previously granted patents for controlling Crypto in the United States and the Netherlands. Calgon Carbon has also applied for patents in Asia, Australia, Europe and South America. Crypto is highly resistant to traditional methods such as chlorination. The company’s research discovered low levels of UV could be used to prevent Crypto from replicating.

Plastic pays for water
WorldWater Corp., of Pennington, N.J., has shipped the first production models of its “AquaCard” and “Aqua Meter” systems to the island province of Cebu in the Philippines to initiate utility water service in communities. The new debit card systems operate directly with the company’s solar water pumping stations in the community. Residents insert the cards into the AquaMeters, which deliver the requested number of liters of clean drinking water from the nearby solar pump. The microchip on the card reads when the card needs to be recharged by the customer at the community bank. The bank then turns over the money to the community government, which uses the funds to pay back the loan used to purchase the equipment and installation from the company. WorldWater maintains a carrying charge of 10 percent net of the card gross for service charges during the life of the contract (currently 10 years). The company expects to implement the system in other countries as well.

Coke and Danone form pact
Coca-Cola Co. and French conglomerate Groupe Danone formed a partnership in mid-June to sell several of Danone’s bottled water brands in the United States. Talks were ongoing for at least a couple of months (International, June 2002). Coke will pay Paris-based Groupe Danone $128 million for a 51 percent stake in the venture, which includes five production plants, a license for Danone’s Dannon and Sparkletts brands, and ownership of several other inexpensive brands sold regionally. The agreement doesn’t include Coke’s Dasani or Danone’s Evian brands. In April, Coke agreed to market and distribute Evian in the U.S. and Canada (Newsreel, June 2002). The partnership includes plants in Anaheim and Mount Shasta, Calif.; Grand Prairie, Texas; High Springs, Fla., and Milesburg, Pa. The companies also discussed a similar deal for Danone’s Canadian water businesses.

Dow group soars in revenue
Ian Barbour, global business director for Dow Liquid Separations, said business reported record revenues last year and foresees more growth in 2002. Dow is supplying membranes to more water filtration plants. Examples include a seawater desalination plant in Telde, Spain, and a nanofiltration plant for drinking water in Mery-sur-Oise, France, which both began in the last two years.

Attendance spiked at IFAT
The number of countries represented via visitors at IFAT 2002 in Munich, Germany, increased (122 vs. 109) from IFAT 1999. The international wastewater and environment show occurs every three years. Of the 2,041 exhibitors from 39 countries at this year’s fair, 25 percent were from abroad. The breakdown of visitors were as follows—32 percent were private utility and waste removal companies; 26 percent were from the industry and manufacturing sector, and 20 percent were municipal utility and waste removal companies. The next IFAT show will be April 25-29, 2005.

CSA expands testing program
CSA International, of Canada, announced an expansion of its water filter testing program to include in-line water filter certification and testing to ANSI/NSF Standards 42 and 53. The expansion extends CSA’s existing pour-through water filter testing program, providing manufacturers certification and testing services for both standards including material contamination, pressure and performance testing. This new service complements the organization’s existing full-service plumbing and drinking water evaluation programs, all located at CSA’s Toronto, Ontario, facility.

Vivendi shares hit bottom
In late June, Vivendi Universal SA shares fell more than 23 percent to a 13-year low as investors became increasingly concerned about the company’s liquidity position and debt load following a complex series of transactions aimed at raising cash quickly. Most of the attention has been paid to Vivendi Environnement (VE), a water treatment arm and former core of Vivendi’s business that owns USFilter and Culligan. The company’s stake in VE has fallen from 82 percent last December to 63 percent this spring to the current 42 percent. Jean-Marie Messier, the company’s much-maligned chairman, faced more scrutiny from Vivendi’s board at a meeting on June 25. Despite a vote of confidence then, he lost key support on the board and by early July was replaced by Aventis’ Jean-Rene Fourtou, who was expected to begin selling off assets to get the company back on stable footing. That could include a bigger slice of VE. Vivendi also announced it would be selling its stake in Philadelphia Suburban Corp., a U.S. water utility valued at $200 million. Meanwhile, French regulators raided Vivendi’s Paris headquarters on suspicion of similar accounting scandals plaguing U.S. corporations.

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