By Karen R. Smith

“It is time for this baby to be born!” said Dave Parke at the meeting of the Task Force to Develop Test Protocols for Physical Water Treatment. His sentiment garnered unanimous agreement.

In their session on Tuesday at the WQA-AQUATECH show in Orlando, they were joined by WQA staff and interested observers, a first for the small group dedicated to alternative water treatment. Their agenda was simple: to finalize the protocols previously submitted and the adjustments suggested by separate sub-committees, putting test protocols together with the input of all and move them forward . The next step in this process is being formatted in preparation of presentation to ANSI for acceptance and certification.

The major discussion at this meeting focused around the water chemistry required for product testing. On one side of the issue, several members of the task force felt the group should establish a set of water chemistry requirements for the tests. On the opposing side, was a group of task force members who believed it best to establish only the minimum hardness levels for the test protocols, with the balance of the water chemistry to follow US EPA guidelines. The issue was that using only a hardness minimum would mean that tests performed in one location could have different water chemistries than tests performed in a second location. While this may sound to some to be an exercise in minutia, this is a very real question. Some in the group felt it critical, others not.

As the discussion progressed a consensus formed to consult an expert on water chemistry to resolve the issue. Several individuals were suggested and it was decided that Dave Parke, as task force chairman would follow up with qualified individuals, to gather information relative to this question, for the committee to review.

All agreed on proposed test revisions and changes, authorizing Parke to email a final revised and amended version to all the members of the task force one final review before sending the tests to IAPMO for formatting into the appropriate and necessary language of standards.

Parke summed up the end stage of the process. “Our job is to develop the actual tests. We are one step away from finishing that assignment and moving on. We will leave the scientific aspects to the technicians, chemists, physicists and bio-chemists at IAPMO and ANSI to codify.”

The task force is designing test protocols for the prevention and/or reduction of scale build-up, not water softening. As to the concern that a physical water treatment dealer, distributor, or manufacturer may make claims beyond these specific protocols, there is no difference in that respect between conventional and alternative treatments. It is individual dealers, distributors and manufacturers who create the ethical climate we seek to do business in – those making unfounded and inaccurate claims exist in each aspect of this and every industry. This task force was established to develop scale prevention and/or elimination criteria for physical water treatment and has done precisely that. If it becomes necessary to develop additional tests in the future for any other aspect of physical water treatment, then another task force can be established.

There is no question that the tests as designed will prove or disprove the efficacy of the equipment being tested relative to scale prevention and/or reduction. “Beyond that, we must go through the process of ‘fine tuning’ these tests to achieve ANSI certification. That is the ultimate goal and it will be accomplished,” Parke explained.

Those on the task force by and large hope that the majority of those in the water treatment industry will come to view physical water treatment as a potential new addition to their arsenal of products – something else to offer potential customers.

“We in physical water treatment know that this technology (PWT) in its various forms only adds to the sales volume of those few dealers who have embraced it as simply another product offering for their potential customers. Many of those who now offer both types of technology have realized a growth in business. Those who have taken an adversarial attitude have simply lost market share. This has been true in areas where softeners have been banned and in areas where softeners have not been banned. Why would an otherwise intelligent businessperson choose a path that looses money?” Parke wondered aloud.

If you are interested in attending the PWT task force meetings or in reviewing the test protocols once the final draft is ready, contact chairperson David Parke at dparke@indwatpro.com or telephone him at (480) 200-7457.

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