Reducing the risk of radon
Recognizing indoor radon as a significant cause of lung cancer around the world, the World Health Organization has launched the International Radon Project. Focused on increasing public awareness about the risks of indoor radon, WHO is orchestrating Radon safety workgroups and advertising campaigns. The U.S. EPA is contributing about $120,000 to the international effort, which compliments the ongoing nationwide effort to warn the public about the risks of airborne and waterborne radon in the home.
Protecting water, air in North America
Environmental ministers from the Mexican, American and Canadian governments reaffirmed their commitment to strategic planning partnerships in a coordinated effort to protect the environment throughout North America. The group’s new five-year strategic plan for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation focused on results, quality information and analysis based in sound science. The countries embraced several priorities, including: sharing information for decision making, strengthening institutional capacity to manage cross-border issues and enhancing the integration of work on renewable energy, enforcement of environmental law and joint prevention projects.
United States: Fire and theft at Culligan facility, arson suspected
A Culligan Water facility in Evansville, Ind., was the victim of arson in late July in an incident that police believe was an attempt to cover up a break-in and theft of money, the Evansville Courier & Press reports. The blaze, which began in the early morning hours of July 23, began in the hallway with no apparent accidental cause. The arson investigation showed that someone had forced their way into the facility, broke into a cabinet and stole a money box. No arrests have been made in the incident.
Michigan limits bottled water
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has barred new bottled water plants from the state unless the water they produce is sold solely inside the Great Lake Watershed. The moratorium on new and expanded bottlers was included in legislation that has languished for more than one year. The state’s Chamber of Commerce and Nestlé Waters Inc., which operates a plant in western Michigan, are considering a legal challenge to the new restrictions.
WQA sees POU/POE potential in U.S. House vote
The U.S. House of Representatives vote to retain language that protects manufacturers of the water contaminant MTBE from lawsuits by consumers should be seen as an economic advantage for POU/POE dealers whose products act as a ‘final barrier’ against the suspected cancer-causing agent, the Water Quality Association says. Congress had debated removing the protection in this year’s Energy Bill (MTBE is a gasoline additive that enhances octane), but ultimately approved the bill without an amendment removing the protection. Products certified under NSF/ANSI Standard 53 remove MTBE from drinking water and the WQA urges its members to help consumers in areas affected by MTBE explore home filtrations systems to alleviate the problem.
PWQA show breaking records
The Pacific Water Quality Association is set to welcome members and other attendees to the PWQA 48th Annual Convention and Trade Show, its biggest show in five decades. The show, in Riverside, Calif., from Nov. 1 to 4, will feature seven hours of education training for WQA continuing education credit and certification testing, as well as three days worth of trade show activity. For additional information on the show, contact the PWQA (760) 644-7348 or visit http://www.pwqa.org.
MTBE clean up could cost $85 billion
In other MTBE news, two new studies commissioned by the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies estimate the cost of cleaning up MTBE from public water supplies could be as high as $85 billion or more. The jump from a 2001 estimate of $29 billion results from new evidence that cleaning up leaking underground storage tanks does nothing to remediate wells and water supplies that are already contaminated. And, by identifying thousands of water systems are already contaminated by MTBE at levels at which consumers can taste or smell the chemical in their water, the studies show that new methods for cleaning and remediating the problem of MTBE contamination need to be explored immediately.
Pilot program to detect water loss
The largest water services provider in the United States, American Water, has started a new program that uses acoustic information from an automatic meter reading system to detect and repair water leaks. The first-of-its-kind program, piloted in Connellsville, Penn., includes the installation of 500 detecting sensors on water meters, linked to software designed to determine the size and scope of any potential leaks in the system. American Water chose Connellsville because its unique geography enables leaks to flow to an underground river undetected. Non-revenue water exceeds 25 percent in the area and the cost of water is at a premium for the system, providing a strong financial drive for effective leakage reduction.
‘Big box’ acquires National Waterworks
The Home Depot, Inc. has acquired National Waterworks Holdings, Inc., a distributor of water and wastewater transmission products principally owned by JPMorgan Partners. National Waterworks which distributes a full line of pipes, fittings valves, meters, fire hydrants, service and repair products and other water transport components. The company will become part of The Home Depot’s maintenance, repair and operations products growth platform. Through its network of more than 130 branches in 36 states, National Waterworks sells directly to municipalities and contractors with annual sales of $1.5 billion in 2004. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Drink water, earn airline miles
Dannon Natural Spring Water is giving consumers an opportunity to earn frequent flier miles through American Airlines when they purchase 15-packs of the spring water at Walgreens and other participating retailers. The promotion, launched earlier this summer, gives water drinkers 100 AAdvantage miles per case of water. The deadline to mail in proofs of purchase and redemption certificates is Oct. 7, 2006 and additional details regarding the promotion can be found on the package.
USFilter to increase rates
USFilter Corporation has increased its rates by three percent for mobile demineralization, clarification, filtration and reverse osmosis systems, citing the rising costs of labor, chemicals, transportation and environmental requirements. The increase will not affect mobile water treatment contracts that were in place prior to July 1. “The adjustment is timely and measured and it maintains our competitive position in the marketplace,” said Pete Sesing, Vice President for mobile and onsite services.
NSF/EPA partnership for desal testing
NSF International, the U.S. EPA, the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Reclamation will test a desalinating water treatment system as part of the first Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) program, designed to quickly verify the performance of innovative water treatment technologies. NSF will oversee the testing to ensure compliance with ETV program requirements.
AWWA call for abstracts
The abstract submission deadline for the American Water Works Association’s 125th Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE06) is Sept. 12. The ACE-6 professional program is organized by AWWA’s Technical and Education Council and will consist of more than 100 half-day sessions, each comprised of several presentations. Presentation topics include distribution, plant operations and maintenance, engineering, design and construction, small systems, waste water issues, water quality and water resources/reuse. ACE06 is scheduled for June 11 to 15, 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, visit http://www.awwa.org/ace06.
NGWA awards scholarships
The National Ground Water Association’s Research and Educational Foundation has awarded six university students with a total of $7,000 in scholarships for their groundwater studies. Through the Foundation’s Len Assante Scholarship Fund, five students received $1000 awards and Andrew Rieschick of Falls City, Neb., received the $2000 Past President’s Award. Rieschick is a civil engineering student at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
A clean, refreshing glass of hog waste?
A hog farmer in North Carolina has developed treatment system that purifies the putrid water in which thousands of gallons of hog waste is discarded (known as hog lagoons) into clean, potable water in just six hours. Don Lloyd developed the $150,000 system, which reduces the operating cost of a hog lagoon by 40 percent, with a state environmental grant. He has licensed the technology to Smithfield Foods, one of the nation’s largest pork producers. While the water is safe to drink for humans, the water produced is supplied back to the hogs to and a second compost by-product can be used on the farm as well.
Oregonian wins U.S. Junior Water Prize
Kathryn VanderWeele of Portland, Ore., has been named the U.S. winner of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. The 15-year-old freshman from Oregon Episcopal School will compete in the international competition that recognizes students for excellence in water science research. VanderWeele was selected from a pool of 46 state SJWP winners for her research on arsenic removal using water hyacinths. The international prize was to be awarded at the end of August. At press time, the results of that competition had yet to be disclosed.
AWWA standards update
American Water Works Association Standard C708-05 Cold-Water Meters – Multijet Type, has been revised to correct a metric equivalent for 5/8” meter size. The Standard has also been amended to include information on fire flow service, standard straight-reading registers and a section on register colors. For additional information regarding the revision, or to obtain a copy of the updated standards, visit http://www.awwa.org.
New dealership programs
Pure 1 Systems announces the introduction of two new programs to help companies expand their business and significantly increase their profitability. These programs, Exclusive Dealership and Authorized Operation, are in addition to the company’s standard product offering to operators who rent SemperFresh™ filtration systems and SemperPro™ RO systems. For additional information on either program, contact Pure 1 at http://www.pure1.com.
Europe: University spins successful water biz
Water Innovate Limited has completed its successful spin out from the internationally renowned School of Water Sciences at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. With a consortium of investors to fund technical developments and bring products to market faster, the company serves as a “conduit for the transfer of new technologies out of the laboratory and into the water industry,” says WI Technical Director and Professor Tom Stephenson. Water Innovate’s funding has been provided by the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, Oxford Technology 4 Venture Capital Trust, Cranfield Enterprises Limited and the company’s management.
Middle East: UAE minister to open congress
The UAE Minister for Health, Hamad Abdul Rahman Al Midfa, will head a platform of speakers at the Second Global Bottled Water Congress this month in Dubai. Under the theme “Meeting Global Demands,” there will be sessions on world market trends and branding, value to consumers, emerging markets and responsibilities, product innovation, flavor and function waters, fitness and sports.
$15 billion needed for Iraq water
Up to $15 billion is needed to repair the aging infrastructure of the Iraqi water system that has been both neglected and crippled in the wake of war, the country’s water minister said. According to Minister Latif Rashid, huge investments are needed immediately in order to repair dams, irrigation canals, sewage systems and purification systems for drinking water. Additional money is needed to protect the water infrastructure from a widespread and potentially devastating attack from insurgents. The U.S. government has earmarked $3.7 billion to help rebuild the Iraqi water system and a large part of that has been cut back in order to pay for security concerns, CNN reports.
Asia: Zenon to install Olympic Village system
Zenon Environmental Inc. has been chosen to provide the tertiary water treatment in China’s Olympic Village. The $5 million order, for a Zenon ZeeWeed membrane system, is part of the massive infrastructure improvement project underway in Beijing to betteraccommodate the 2008 Olympic Games. With the aid of the Zenon technology, it is estimated that by 2008, 90 percent of the urban sewage in the village will be collected and treated, with about half being recycled and reused for various non-potable purposes such as landscape irrigation and in ponds and lagoons.