By Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor
Waterborne contaminants around the world, Aquatech Amsterdam & 9/11 revisited
Recent waterborne pathogen outbreaks in Great Britain underscore the need for better surveillance of water quality. As of this writing, three people died, 90 were being treated and more than 1,250 were tested in a Legionella outbreak that began in early August in the town of Barrow-in-Furness in northwest England. (For details on the disease that takes its name for an outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976, see www.legionella.org or search WC&P’s website). Simultaneously, about 140,000 residents of Glasgow, Scotland, were asked to boil their water after high levels of Cryptosporidium were discovered in the water supply following a recent flooding.
Not that the UK has a monopoly on these issues. For example, a German also died July 30 after contracting Legionnaire’s disease on vacation in Slovenia. Six people died from and hundreds were infected with Legionella in an outbreak at a new hot spring resort in southern Japan in early August. And another 14 people became ill from the disease in Vermont in mid-August. Other headlines of late refer to: 1) a University of Georgia multi-state study of Staphylococcus infections in residents near farms treated with municipal sewage sludge; 2) typhus on the rise in Hawaii; 3) 141 transplant patients infected with Salmonella at Disney sports complex in Florida; 4) sewage discharges into Lake Michigan cited as cause of E. coli contamination on beaches; 5) infected moms may pass ulcer-causing bacteria, H. pylori, to children, according to German researchers; 6) Universal Studios Japan turns off theme park drinking water fountains due to high bacteria counts; 7) China worried about cholera from Afghanistan; 8) WHO: dengue fever risk raised by poor water supply and trash disposal, 9) 16 die in Bangladesh of dengue fever after flooding, 10) El Salvador declares national emergency over new dengue strain… I think you get the point.
Our industry is uniquely positioned to help ensure that the failings of centralized water treatment—or the lack thereof—can be overcome in the home to ensure not only an aesthetically pleasing alternative, but a safer one as well.
Speaking internationally, we look forward to meeting those of you attending the Aquatech expo in Amsterdam this month. WC&P has attended this event—the largest in the water industry—for 14 years now. A new participant will be Mel and Dan Entingh of Enting Water Conditioning Products. Mel is interviewed in this month’s Executive Q&A column (see p. 106). By the way, the expo’s organizers revamped their website (www.aquatechtrade.com) with a number of new features, including a directory, newspage, bulletin board, events calendar and job listings—as well as other shows it sponsors in Europe, Asia, South America and a special event in South Africa, WaterDome, to coincide with the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, Aug. 26-Sept. 4, in Johannesburg.
We also recognize this month will be the one-year anniversary of the tragic airline hijackings and attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. There are several related items in the Newsreel section of this issue. It’s hard to believe so much has changed and yet so much remains in a state of flux over ongoing fears of other terrorist attacks and the War on Terrorism. As such, we spoke with Robert Graham, chief of the Lake Bluff Volunteer Fire Department in Chicago, who gave a seminar on bioterrorism prevention to the Illinois WQA earlier this year. His basic message was that water treatment dealers should become very well acquainted, if they aren’t already, with officials at their local water agencies and related emergency response teams, such as area fire department, for preparedness reasons. It also should be stressed that, since there’s no testing of POU/POE equipment against biological agents, no claims should be made by dealers. And he pointed out that as time passes, the issue becomes more critical, not less. For the full interview with Chief Graham, see the bottom of the website version of this month’s Viewpoint column at www.wcponline.com