Where do we go from here?
For many years, there have been reports of failing infrastructure and the need to address those issues before calamity struck. Lack of funding, lack of political will and several other factors have been waiting in the wings for just the right time to become the dreaded perfect storm. While not the only municipality to deal with contamination, Flint, Michigan became the poster child for all that is wrong in the water production industry. And the only hope for those residents was the efforts of the water treatment and bottled water industries to come to their immediate rescue. We’ve seen this before, in natural disaster scenarios. Companies large and small, regional and national, swoop in with treatment equipment and bottled water to meet the immediate needs. But that’s reacting to a crisis, not preventing one. If the state of infrastructure throughout the country is even slightly as bad as that of the older cities, more disasters are in the offing. And now, the American public is even less trusting and more suspicious about their water sources. This presents our segment of the water treatment industry with an opportunity that has always existed but is now more crucial than ever.
In this issue, Jose Maria Gonzalez of UV Pure Technologies presents a case study on UV treatment that resolved several critical issues for a small community in Colombia, while Technical Reviewer Gary Battenberg continues his series on the basics of ion exchange. Often, we’ve found that these back-to-basics articles are valuable to a broad cross-section of dealers and installers. Training should be ongoing and WC&P International supports that effort through our valued authors and reviewers. We were treated to a good many presentations at the annual WQA Convention & Exposition in Nashville. Otto Schwake, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, outlined what went wrong in Flint and how it could have been prevented. In addition to the regularly scheduled WQA business affairs, as detailed in this issue, nearly everyone seemed focused on Flint, lead and other contaminants and how water treatment specialists could protect consumers. The reality-check of what it would cost and what it would take to fix the municipal problems has not gone unnoticed by equipment manufacturers, dealers and distributors. Their products and services, so well presented at Music City, have evolved from luxury to necessity.
Dr. Kelly Reynolds, Public Health Editor, also presented at WQA, giving an update on two Water Quality Research Foundation projects in which she is personally involved. Emerging contaminants being her special focus, this month she explores the possibility of a waterborne element to a relatively obscure but potentially fatal condition, Elizabethkingia, which has already claimed more than 20 lives in Wisconsin and Illinois.
So, what’s in the water? More than we realize and much of it can be deadly. The job of every manufacturer, distributor, dealer and installer is to provide the means for consumers to have a safe source of potable water. This industry has a lifelong commitment to successful implementation of water quality equipment and services. If the news is any indication, that commitment will only increase as time goes on.
Kurt C. Peterson