By Karen R. Smith, WC&P Executive Editor

New Year – new opportunities

Has the New Year started well for our industry? That depends who you ask. In Arizona and Nevada where the residential building boom shows no signs of abating, the future looks rosy indeed. Small systems and large, private run and municipal alike, are scrambling to meet the U.S. EPA arsenic standards and that will represent a new opportunity to many as well. The dollar is in a stronger position in Europe than it has been in several years, paving the way for many to begin globalizing their efforts profitably.

Yet even when all seems well and there are no threats on the horizon, our industry must remain vigilant to potential dangers. As we went to press with this issue, a county regulatory agency in California produced a permit document for a proposed wastewater treatment plant. Labeled ‘tentative’ (roughly translated as bureaucrat-ese for first draft), the permit looked standard and harmless…until you reached the following section:


  1. 1. Waste received by the wastewater treatment plant (“influent”) shall be limited to domestic and municipal wastewater only. The Discharger shall not allow water softener regeneration brines to be discharged to the wastewater treatment plant.

Talk about blindsided! This agency had not told our industry of a policy change. They hadn’t reached out to the national or local associations, hadn’t held hearings or requested information. In short, it had been business as usual – which is why the discovery of this clause was such a shock.

Now, the good news is that in this particular area, our industry members – PWQA – are always and ever vigilant. They sprang into action, responded swiftly and effectively. And appear to have averted what could have been catastrophic consequences.

It is that vigilance that we must all maintain, even as things look good for business. The regulation and treatment of water is evolving every day, nationally and internationally. As treatment plants struggle to deal with rising TDS levels and ‘toilet to tap’ strategies look more palatable in many areas we have to presume legislative challenges lie ahead. What can you do? Join both the national and regional WQAs and get involved. Together, we can inform and educate policy makers. Together, we can work with the waste treatment industry to find cooperative practices.

I know many of you do not belong to any branch of the WQA. When a paragraph like the one highlighted above appears in your town, what will you do?

This year, the national WQA is making it easier for the regional chapters to attend and exhibit at WQA Aquatech. National is offering a single large booth, centrally located, which each regional WQA can share. While the savings can be significant (as compared with paying for a single booth, that’s not the best reason for each and every regional to jump in. Sharing the booth space will provide an opportunity to share successes and insights, trade information and plan future joint activities where distance permits.

In short, if you don’t know about the EWQA road shows or the PWQA legislative days your regional association can learn from both – and then find out their tricks for luring elk in Colorado! Reserve a place in this special booth for your regional WQA group right now by calling Kelly Thomson at national – 630/505-0160 ext. 525. I’ll see you there!


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