By Denise M. Roberts

Clear Creek Water Works is a family business owned by Salesman/Field Technician Mark Jones and his wife Andrea, who is also Financial Officer and Lab Manager. Jones has been a Master Plumber and Master Gasfitter for 25 years, with an additional certification to test backflow preventers. Clear Water Testing, a sister company, is a state-certified lab for testing bacteria in drinking water.

The business is the only full-time water treatment dealership that serves a 25-mile area in the New River Valley region of Christiansburg, VA. While not a large territory (because of the mountains of southwest Virginia) there are areas in that 25-mile radius that can take an hour to reach. The geology of the Appalachian Mountains is very challenging for water treatment. Mountains, valleys and plateaus, combined with abandoned coal and other mineral mines, present issues with hard water, iron in various forms, acidic water, arsenic, lead, sulfur gas, dissolved oxygen, CO2, methane, and any combination of these problems. A variety of issues, including total coliform/E.coli and iron-reducing and sulfur-reducing bacteria, must also be handled appropriately. There are also many spring systems for residential water supplies that often have bacteria problems and dissolved minerals, requiring treatment systems.

In the early 90s, while he was installing plumbing and gas piping in new custom-built houses, Jones realized there was a need for water treatment services. There was no specific company in the area that was trusted to provide consistent, high-quality water treatment sales and service. To overcome the lack of service, he decided to add another specialty to his toolkit of talents by becoming a water treatment dealer.

Jones sought the right company to provide quality water treatment equipment that was innovative and willing to support its dealers. He settled on Water-Right, Inc. of Appleton, WI, a family-owned company with an emphasis on quality of product, service of their equipment and dealer support. Water-Right’s proprietary media and innovative control valves were a match for the difficult water conditions in the area, and their willingness to innovate solutions that worked for those conditions was gratifying to Jones. The combination of Water-Right products and his expertise has been a good match over the years.

Mark Jones
In 2005, Jones also became certified as a service provider for Rinnai tankless water heaters. His knowledge of local water conditions was a major asset for providing troubleshooting and repair services for tankless water heaters.

In 2006, Jones moved the company from their home to a storefront for more visibility. In 2007, Clear Water Testing achieved state certification. Testing for bacteria in well water was a significant complement to the water treatment services. Working with other labs in the region, the company also provides certified tests for almost anything normally found in drinking water.

Andrea Jones
The combination of the lab and the water treatment has been a good match. Lab customers are continually asking for solutions to (primarily bacterial) water problems. This has prompted Jones to add well chlorination to its long menu of services, developing a detailed to water conditions, but will accept water samples brought in for free, in-house evaluations..

Jones’ combination of plumbing skills, ability to troubleshoot confusing situations and knowledge of regional water conditions enhances the service provided to customers. “Quality service is an important part of our customer satisfaction program,” Jones said. “An educated consumer is our priority. When they eventually need water treatment equipment, they will call the company that will help them make an informed decision. Our priority is to sell to the customer the equipment that meets their specific water conditions—not to simply make a sale.

“We emphasize the scheduling of service calls, tracking all information on equipment installed, changes in water conditions, tracking filter changes, UV bulb changes, etc. and calling our customers when it is time to service their equipment. Being on time for all appointments is a major priority for our company. Promptness is a significant factor for our customers, who are taking time out of their busy day. If an appointment is made for 2:30 p.m., then we are there at 2:30 p.m. This can lead to

procedure to disinfect both well and house piping. The company has also developed a well chlorination kit, specifically designed for the do-it-yourself homeowner or contractor, containing pellet and granulated chlorine, test strips, written procedures for the well chlorination, discussions on various issues that can affect the effectiveness of the sanitation process, and a log sheet for documenting the process. These kits are specifically calibrated to a particular height of the water column, with supplemental kits (and wholesale pricing) available.

Caitie, the unofficial mascot
The company’s website provides additional information to its customers and it is used primarily as an information source. Occasion- ally, this resource does generate sales leads, but owing to the localized service area, those generated from outside the firm’s service area are passed on to other Water-Right dealers in the consumer’s home area. Products are not sold through the website. Some products are sold at the storefront, but fewer scheduled sales and service calls and less efficient use of time, but the trade-off in repeat customers and word-of-mouth advertising is worth it.”

Caitie, the unofficial mascot

“We are constantly learning and looking for new ways to reliably treat difficult water conditions we find in our area,” Jones continued. “We try to keep abreast of changes in regulations and new technology to bet-ter serve our customers. Fortunately, Water-Right is a company that is willing to spend money on research and development in order to provide a better product to the consumer.”

Jones hopes the future economic outlook improves enough to add another service person and some additional lab services. “That will require a good, strong economy, which we don’t have right now,” he said.

“It’s a challenge for any water treatment professional to evaluate fads in water treatment and to pro- vide good technical information to our customers so they the company is primarily focused on in-home service and installation. Jones prefers to perform free, on-site water evaluations at the customer’s home, in order to customize solutions can make an educated decision regarding which type of water treatment is the most effective for their lifestyle. And I’ve always enjoyed a good challenge.”

 

 

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