By Karen R. Smith

If you didn’t attend MidYear in Quebec City, you missed a lot! The biggest news was the premier of the six-years-in-the-making C&I education program draft, which holds the promise of future growth for the WQA at new and unprecedented levels.

At the Water Sciences Committee meeting, informational updates included introducing attendees to the Arizona Point Of Use Compliance Program Guidance report, released this past summer by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). The agency supports the use of POU where appropriate, “…provided the program established by a water system provides the level of public health protection required in the Safe Drinking Water Act” (view the report now at pdf and watch for our article in November).

For the first time, WQA representatives will speak at the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) Conference. As too many members have learned in recent years, the most vocal opponents of water softening equipment are often those in the waste water treatment sector, where, with neither science nor documentation, our products are assumed to be the cause of TDS-related treatment problems. Joe Harrison will be speaking at this gathering, presenting a report he prepared with C.F. “Chubb” Michaud (see Michaud’s article, What’s the Big Stink on Septic Discharge, WC&P, May 2005 on our website).

The Nominating Committee met behind closed doors, selecting those members who should receive coveted awards this year. So many give of their time and efforts to help the WQA that this is a difficult process. Winners will receive their awards at WQA Aquatech 2006.

Flush with the success of WQA Aquatech 2005, the Convention Task Force met to coordinate activities that will make the event even better in Chicago come Spring.

From reception volunteers to speakers and educators, there is much to be done. Those interested in helping are encouraged to reach out and volunteer today. Call WQA’s offices at (630) 505-0160.

Spirited discussions highlighted the Manufacturers’/Suppliers’ Section Meeting regarding the California Water Treatment Device Certification program (WTDC) and the WQA’s request for reevaluation and re-tooling of the program, which is run by that state’s Department of Health Services (DHS).

Currently, DHS cannot keep up with demands, causing extensive and expensive delays as production deadlines are missed and manufacturers suffer significant harm. In addition, unclear enforcement policies have been costly for some, while reviews for incomplete package filings have languished beyond 135 days in some cases—despite the regulations setting a 45-day limit for such rulings.

The Dealer Section Meeting was an open discussion of topics of interest for the upcoming WQA Aquatech USA Show in Chicago, March 28-April 1, 2006. This Section will meet on March 30 at that gathering and brainstormed to devise subject areas for workshops during that event. Everything from ways to combat rising gas prices (see this issue’s Tech Talk) to how to reasonably provide employee benefits was considered, with all in agreement that the cost of doing business has been rising on a variety of fronts. The goal is to provide dealers with the tools to combat these increases while maintaining high quality service.

One of the more interesting meetings was that of the History Task Force. WC&P’s own Sharon Peterson will be taking an active role in this project, as she has volunteered both to serve on the body and to share the nearly half a century of archived photos that the magazine has acquired over the years reporting the news of the industry.

Bob Ruhstorfer said that the goal is to create an active, living, evolving history in an electronic format that can be accessed by WQA members and their families. “We are here at a unique moment of opportunity,” he noted, “as there are still industry founders alive to tell their own story while, in other cases, their children are now retiring, turning the reins over to a third generation. Simultaneously, large corporations have entered the water treatment and purification sector, bringing a vibrant meta-history of their own, where technological innovations reflect the state of the country and the world,” he explained.

This project will require funding, which will be secured both via sponsorships and by selling individual ‘keepsake’ versions of the history to WQA members, so that in addition to the evolving history on the Worldwide Web, families will have the opportunity to purchase a plaque or certificate to commemorate their participation, featuring their loved ones’ contributions. Upcoming issues of the WQA newsletter will feature bits of the organization’s history to entice more members to get involved. Custom book creation may be an option once the history is in use on the website.

Rich Clack proposed using a standard set of questions, so a chronology of the industry can be assembled during the interview process. That will enable the writers—probably outsourced—to determine the what/where/who of the industry’s progress as they speak to members both nationally and internationally. “We’ll end up with a vibrant, living timeline,” he explained.

C&I (Commercial & Industrial)
The Member Services Committee heard the C&I draft program from Chubb Michaud and Peter Censky, as follows:

WQA categorizes the needs for water purification as either residential or industrial. Commercial systems border on both but are more akin to being a larger-sized residential technology. All water treatment disciplines use the same technologies but in different combinations and to different degrees of sophistication. Industrial water treatment is not defined by the purity of the treated water or by the size of the equipment used to produce it, but by the consequences of failure should the equipment not deliver the quantity or quality of water necessary. Reliability of the process for 24/7 operation requires a higher level of design sophistication than most residential or commercial equipment and achieving a proper design requires a far better understanding of the basic fundamentals of water purification and the synergies derived by properly combining those processes. Industrial designs are also driven by competing technologies to optimize the economics of initial and ongoing operating costs.

WQA has long recognized that a solid program of industrial water treatment education was lacking—not just within the WQA organization, but throughout the entire water treatment industry. Furthermore, WQA had primarily been known as a residential or home water treatment organization, so it did not attract many members from the industrial sector. If a credible C&I education program was developed, who would it serve?

As with any trade association, WQA provides support for its membership by providing a more level playing field on the legislative front and opportunities for members to meet new customers through conventions and conferences. In return, members support WQA through dues and sponsorships.

Over the past 10 years, there has been much consolidation in the water treatment industry. This consolidation has resulted in a reduced number of dues-paying members and thus, industry support. In order to rebuild membership, WQA has to rebuild its product line and offer something new. To that end, WQA has proposed the policy of ‘build it and they will come’ to go forward with the development of a first-class educational program to teach the basic core fundamentals of advanced water treatment processes and equipment design. Coupled with the partnering of the RAI, a well-recognized European organizer of industrial water exhibits and promotion, WQA looks forward to an expanded role as a provider of industrial water technology.

The well-rounded water treatment engineer is a rare commodity in today’s technical circles. This technology is pretty much learned in-house and is limited to those areas of technology engaged in by the parent company. Where do you go to learn about EDI or hydraulics? How do you size a pump or calculate power requirements? Where do you learn about packed bed deionization, new filter media or the latest in membrane technology? Why not the Water Quality Association?

Who would benefit from a well organized industrial water education program? Certainly the manufacturers and users of industrial equipment… suppliers and users of PEDI tanks… the producers of dialysis and pharmaceutical grade products. In addition, major support would come from the suppliers of ion exchange products, chemical treatment suppliers and manufacturers of membrane and RO products.

Scope of the training
The Industrial Water Specialist (IWS) program would consist of six areas of discipline:

  • Water Technology: water as a resource, water as a chemical, fluid dynamics, pipe, power, pressure, the nature and chemistry of water including the handling of the water analysis, basic chemistry and the use of the Periodic Table and glossary of terms as well as a review of metric terms and units of measure and conversion.
  • Filtration: multi-media, oxidation, GAC, adsorption, neutralizing, cartridges, filtration theory and capabilities, hydraulic and performance design criteria, life cycle and maintenance requirements.
  • Disinfection: ozone, chlorine, chloramine, bromine, iodine, peroxide, UV, distillation, THM formation and avoidance. Emphasis on pre-RO, DI maintenance and closed loop systems.
  • Membranes: RO, nano-, micro-, ultrafiltration and cartridge, use of performance programs, systems design, operation and maintenance.
  • Ion Exchange: softening, DI, selective, EDI. In depth exposure to all types of resins and performance limitations, system designs, start-up procedures and maintenance.
  • Chemical Treatment: anti-scalants, pH control, anti-corrosion, anti-microbial for pre-RO, cooling towers, etc.

It is proposed that each subject area consist of a basic fundamentals course coupled with Internet study courses and outside reference reading from assigned texts. Together, seat time, progress assignments, quizzes and outside study would expose the candidate to 40 to 60 hours of advanced study. This is roughly equivalent to a one-hour college course with should help visualize the level of instruction and intensity of the courses.

Upon completion of the course of study, the candidate would take an exam consisting of a combination of true/false, multiple-choice and problem solving. Fifty percent of the test would be questions from the CWS exams and 50 percent would be more advanced concept questions and word problems designed to test the candidate’s true understanding of the subject. Upon achieving a passing grade and subject to a board review, the candidate would be identified as an IWS-I. (Industrial Water Specialist).

A candidate wishing to enter into the IWS program would apply in writing and make a ‘contract’ with an appointed Review Board to complete the course of study within a prescribed time frame. This review may recommend that the candidate first complete a CWS program as a prerequisite for the advanced study if his current and past work experiences are deemed insufficient to achieve the proper level of understanding for the more advanced level of study. Upon completion of a study course and successfully passing the exam, the candidate’s qualifications will again reviewed by the Board before granting the title of specialist. The review criteria will be determined by the board that will be appointed by the Water Science Committee and the WQA Director of Education.

Ultimately WQA hopes to have this course of study and test achievement recognized by an accrediting organization so it can lead to a ‘certification’ status similar to small plant operators and certain engineers.



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