Principled ethics!

Dear Editor:
I am appalled that WC&P would print the article by Carl Davidson that blatantly condones the unethical ploy of a company having a competitor do a demonstration in order to check out prices (“Bottom Line: How to Set Prices—Are Yours Too High or Too Low?” April 2003, pp. 54).

Mr. Davidson demonstrates a complete lack of consideration of human decency for the poor sap who unwittingly is wasting his time demonstrating for the benefit of his competition while he could be out earning an honest living. I would like to ask Mr. Davidson how he would feel if someone wasted his time.

In light of the unethical behavior of companies like Enron and Worldcom, there has recently been a heightened awareness of the importance of ethics in business. Market surveys and other methods of setting your prices are fine, but I think Mr. Davidson’s method crosses the line. Our industry is “cut throat” enough without having a consulting company training people how to do it.

C.J. Eccher
Water Science
Park City, Utah

Carbon is not the problem

Dear Editor:
Your April 2003 issue of WC&P in the Newsreel section on p. 12 had a report titled: “MTBE beats carbon.” I want your readers to understand that carbon is not the problem—the proper selection of the best carbon for the application is the real problem. All activated carbons are not the same.

Our laboratory results have shown activated carbons with the same ASTM Iodine Numbers can have drastically different performance in removing methyl-tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) from the aqueous phase.

We’re an independent service provider for the activated carbon industry over the last 20 years. I’ve been in the activated carbon industry for 30 years. I’m heavily involved with testing, consulting and training for companies and individuals interested in water and air purification technologies. The problem with MTBE and other molecules with similar physical and chemical properties is they do not fit the classical physical and chemical properties where carbon has been demonstrated and recognized as the best available technology.

MTBE needs high energy binding sites to remove it from the aqueous phase. Classical ASTM and AWWA testing methods do not do a good job of differentiating carbons for this application. Typically, a high apparent density carbon is best for this application. A recent article in WC&P (“New Test Method for the Activated Carbon Industry,” February 2003, p. 98-103) is relevant for further information.

We at PACS provide the test method called Gravimetric RPD. The Gravimetric RPD methodology can define the number of binding sites with specific binding force. MTBE needs high energy binding sites, but the ASTM Iodine Number provides the total binding sites, weak to strong. The MTBE application needs information about the needed threshold binding force to provide adsorption and the number of these sites in different activated carbons to choose the best carbon for the application.

Thanks for informing your readers.

Henry Nowicki, President
Pittsburgh, Pa.


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