Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

North America: De Nora certification announced

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

De Nora Water Technologies announced it has achieved NSF/ANSI 61 certification for its ClorTec® T Series On-Site Sodium Hypochlorite Generation System (OSHGS). Testing and review by NSF confirmed that contaminants that could migrate or leach from the product into drinking water were below the maximum levels allowed to be considered safe. Compliance to this health standard is required by most government agencies that regulate drinking water supplies and applies to water-supply components made, sold or distributed in the US.

Arsenic in Private Wells: An Under-recognized Hazard

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

Arsenic is naturally occurring in soil and rocks throughout the US and readily dissolves into water, particularly groundwater supplies. Exposure to arsenic via inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption can lead to cancers of the lung, bladder and skin. The estimated disease burden cost of known arsenic-related cancers in the US is $1.6 billion per year. Adverse outcomes other than cancers, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, affected pregnancy and child development outcomes, as well as skin lesions, have also been suggested.(1) The lack of a perceived problem, testing by well owners and controversy of risks at low-dose exposures contribute to a reduced concern over arsenic exposures that may otherwise be preventable.

Who should test for arsenic?
In the US, an estimated 43 million Americans utilize private wells as their drinking water source. Identification of arsenic contamination in household wells is difficult, given there is no federal oversight and no mandatory monitoring of these private sources. Arsenic in water has no taste or smell; therefore, homeowners may not perceive a problem with their water and thus, are generally not motivated to invest time and money for testing.

Monitoring and treatment costs are inherent barriers for the primarily rural populations at risk. Such barriers are particularly significant deterrents in lower-income households. In one study, families from households (n = 188) in Montana and Washington with income levels below the federal poverty level reportedly never tested their water or considered taking additional precautions. Water testing in these same households showed that nearly 27 percent of homes tested positive for at least one regulated contaminant at levels above a US EPA maximum contaminant limit (MCL). Contaminants and their isolation frequency above the MCL included: total coliforms (18 percent), arsenic (six percent), synthetic organic chemicals (six percent), nitrates (two percent), fluoride (two percent) and Escherichia coli (< one percent).1

US EPA has set an upper limit for inorganic arsenic in municipal water at 10 µg/L (10 ppb). Surveys from the US Geological Survey’s National Water Information System (NWIS) and others have found that nearly half of the 30,000 positive arsenic samples they collected from US waters (private and public) were below concentrations of one µg/L. Ten percent (mostly in the western US) however, exceeded 10 µg/L.2 Arizona and Nevada consistently reported the highest median and maximum values compared to other states.

Monitoring arsenic levels in water
Arsenic concentrations in groundwater are relatively persistent over time due to the natural dissolving properties of the contaminant from surrounding rock formations. Thus, historical concentration values are assumed to remain constant over time. Select wells are monitored for arsenic throughout the US via the National Ground-Water Monitoring Network (NGWMN) as required by the Subcommittees on Groundwater of the Federal Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI). The monitoring database provides over 15 years of information on arsenic concentrations, well construction, water levels and quality, and regional rock formations.

Based on a collection of over 7,000 public and private groundwater wells tested, arsenic concentrations ranged from 0.1 to 130 µg/L with a US average of 3.88 µg/L3 (see Table 1). The highest average concentrations of 4.9 µg/L were in the western US region, as expected.

dec2016_reynolds_table-1Are low dose exposures hazardous?
According to US EPA toxicological risk evaluations of arsenic, a risk probability of one in 20,000 is estimated for every µg/L of arsenic with risk increasing linearly in relationship to dose. Using these estimates, even low levels of arsenic in water are considered problematic. Estimating the risk of arsenic exposures at low-dose concentrations (common to US waters), however, is a controversial issue.

Well-known are the high-dose exposures in Taiwan, Chile and Bangladesh, exceeding the US EPA MCL a hundred-fold or more. Studies vary on whether or not there is a threshold exposure value below which arsenic is not harmful. Merely finding arsenic in water may not directly infer unacceptable risks. While there is some evidence for the threshold theory in laboratory rodents, the effect in humans may not be the same, prompting regulatory scientists to err on the side of safety and assume there is no dose threshold. The National Research Council has been critical of the US EPA’s method for risk assessment related to arsenic exposures, suggesting that early-life exposures, even at low concentrations, present unacceptable risks. These risks are greater for many vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant women or those suffering from chronic illnesses.

Given that arsenic is ubiquitous in nature, setting low regulatory limits that are achievable can be a challenge.4 Food is also a large source of arsenic exposure, where residual arsenical herbicides contaminate items like rice and apple juice. Use of arsenical herbicides in soil crops and as feed additives is being phased out but still make their way into the food chain.

Water treatment options
Extrapolation of arsenic low-dose effects from high-dose exposures may be inherently flawed but the real risk remains unknown. Risk estimates are further complicated by whether or not the necessary reactive arsenic metabolites are generated to react with and damage cellular proteins. Generation of the reactive metabolites may vary based on genetics, diet and individual behaviors, such as smoking.

Private water supplies should follow the lead of municipalities and remove arsenic from drinking water prior to consumption to below the 10 µg/L MCL. Arsenic removal efficiency at public water treatment plants ranges from 12 to 44 percent, while targeted POU devices achieve an overall greater result.5 A recent study in a small community in the southwestern US found that POU devices removed up to 99 percent of arsenic concentrations.6

The ability of POU devices to remove arsenic in water depends on many variables, including pH and redox potential, which control arsenic speciation and thus drive treatment options. Activated carbon has been studied extensively for arsenic removal but carbon only removes a few milligrams of metal ions per gram of activated carbon.7 Other popular treatment options include reverse osmosis, adsorptive media (e.g., iron-based media and alumina) and distillation. Consumers should target POU devices certified for arsenic reduction as per American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) criteria related to removal via reverse osmosis (Standard 58); adsorptive media (Standard 53) or distillation (Standard 42). Certified devices have been tested for minimum reduction capacity at high arsenic influent concentrations in public or private drinking water.


  1. Zheng Y, Ayotte JD. At the Crossroads: Hazard Assessment and Reduction of Health Risks from Arsenic in Private Well Waters of Northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada HHS Public Access. Science of the Total Environment Febr. 2015;1(505):1237-1247. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.10.089.
  2. Welch AlH, Westjohn DB, Helsel DR, Wanty RB. Asrenic in ground water in the United States: Occurrence and Geochemistry. Ground Water. 2000;38(4):589-604.
  3. USGS National Water Quality Assessment Data Warehouse. 2015. US Geological Survey. http://cida.usgs.gov/nawqa_www/nawqa_data_redirect.html?p=136:1:0. Accessed June 1, 2015.
  4. Schmidt CW. Low-Dose Arsenic: In Search of a Risk Threshold. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2014;122(5):A130-A134. doi:10.1289/ehp.122-A130.
  5. Frey MM, Edwards MA. Surveying arsenic occurrence. Journal of the American Water Works Association. 1997;89(3).
  6. Lothrop N, Wilkinson S, Verhougstraete MP, et al. Home Water Treatment Habits and Effectiveness in a Rural Arizona Community. Water. 2015;7(3):1217-1231. doi:10.3390/w7031217.
  7. Mohan D, Pittman CU. Arsenic removal from water/wastewater using adsorbents–A critical review. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2007;142(1-2):1-53. doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2007.01.006.

About the author
reynolds_kelly_new2016_mugDr. Kelly A. Reynolds is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona College of Public Health. She holds a Master of Science Degree in public health (MSPH) from the University of South Florida and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arizona. Reynolds is WC&P’s Public Health Editor and a former member of the Technical Review Committee. She can be reached via email at reynolds@u.arizona.edu

Lead Reduction

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

By Rick Andrew

Has anyone recently heard concerns from consumers and other end users about lead in drinking water? Is the sky blue? Of course these days, lead contamination is one of the most prevalent concerns that consumers have regarding the safety of their drinking water. In fact, in 2016, about 40 percent of consumers who contacted NSF’s Consumer Affairs Office had concerns about lead in their drinking water. When you think about the wide variety of possible contaminants they could be asking about, 40 percent being related to one specific contaminant is a huge number.

Although there has been a recent spotlight on lead contamination, the issue is not a new one; lead has been a concern dating back many years. As such, the NSF/ANSI Drinking Water Treatment Units (DWTU) standards have long included requirements for lead reduction for filtration, RO and distillation systems.

General requirements
All of these standards require that treatment systems must reduce a challenge level of 150 µg/L lead to 10 µg/L or below. 150 µg/L is representative of high concentrations in real-world public water supplies, although in extreme cases, much higher levels have been detected. Often these really extreme cases involve large particles of lead (such as lead solder) that have been released by old plumbing in the building and are captured in the collected water sample; there can also be other scenarios leading to extreme concentrations of lead being detected. 10 µg/L is based on the Health Canada maximum acceptable concentration for lead in drinking water. The US EPA action level for lead is actually 15 µg/L. In order to be more protective, the NSF/ANSI DWTU standards refer to the 10 µg/L Health Canada maximum acceptable concentration.

Lead in drinking water
Lead in drinking water can be either soluble (dissolved) or, as mentioned above, it can be in particulate form. The solubility of lead in drinking water is quite complicated, with various forms of lead being possible given variation in pH, levels of oxidizers (such as chlorine) and other possible water chemistry differences. Very generally speaking (other parameters being equal), at low pH, lead tends to be more in the 2+ oxidation state and more soluble, whereas at higher pH, lead tends to be more in the 4+ oxidation state and less soluble. Because it is possible for lead to be soluble or particulate—or possibly a combination of some soluble and some particulate—it is important that treatment technologies are able to address both.

Treatment technologies
The NSF/ANSI DWTU standards address filtration, RO and distillation technologies for lead reduction. Each of these technologies can be tested and proven to be effective in reduction of soluble and particulate lead. For example, filtration systems can include active media to adsorb soluble lead and have mechanical filtering capabilities through a carbon block, ultrafiltration or similar technology. RO can reject soluble lead due to the electrical charge associated with it and the membrane can also prevent particulate lead from migrating. Distillation vaporizes and condenses water, largely leaving soluble and particulate contaminants (including lead) behind.

Specific test methods
There are various forms of lead in drinking water and differences in how technologies treat that contamination. Each test method in the NSF/ANSI DWTU standards for evaluating the various technologies are specific to them, as defined below.

Filtration systems
NSF/ANSI 53 includes requirements for evaluating filtration systems for lead reduction. It requires that lead reduction be tested at both pH 6.5 and pH 8.5. The test methods include very specific requirements for the test water, especially at pH 8.5. The pH 8.5 water must be formulated in a highly prescribed and detailed fashion to result in 27 to 33 percent of the lead being in particulate form, with at least 20 percent of the particulate lead being between 0.1 and 1.2 µm (microns) in size and the rest of the particulate lead being 1.2 µm in size or larger. In contrast, the pH 6.5 test is addressing lead that is completely soluble in nature. Successful testing at both pH 6.5 and pH 8.5 is required to establish a claim of lead reduction. The tests must be conducted to 200 percent of the manufacturer’s recommended treatment capacity or 120 percent if the filtration system includes a performance indication device (PID) that lets the user know when it is time to change the replacement element. Samples of the challenge water and treated water are collected at six points throughout the test to establish treatment performance.

RO systems
Requirements for evaluating POU RO systems for lead reduction are included in NSF/ANSI 58. The test water for lead reduction for RO systems can be tap water meeting certain criteria for pH, TDS, turbidity and temperature, with lead added to the tap water to achieve the required 150 µg/L concentration.

The test itself is conducted over the course of a week, with various operational cycles to take into account several different possible operating conditions of a typical POU RO system. For example, for a typical POU RO system with a storage tank and automatic shut-off valve, there are operational cycles involving:

  • completely emptying and filling the storage tank
  • emptying the storage tank to the point where the automatic shut-off valve is activated and allowing the tank to refill
  • drawing five percent of the daily production rate of the unit and allowing the tank to refill
  • forty-eight-hour stagnation with no water drawn from the storage tank
    Samples of the challenge water and treated water are collected throughout the test period at points where water is drawn from the storage tank. These samples are analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.

Distillation can also be an effective treatment for lead in drinking water. NSF/ANSI 62 includes requirements for evaluation of distillation systems for lead reduction. These requirements indicate that, based on the 1991 study, Evaluation of Total Dissolved Solids as a Surrogate Parameter for the Reduction of Inorganic Contaminants by Distillation Systems (conducted for the Water Quality Association by NSF International), TDS may be used as a surrogate for verifying the reduction of arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead and selenium, when the system is tested for TDS reduction according to NSF/ANSI 62.

This test for TDS reduction involves test water prepared by adding sodium chloride to RO/DI water to a concentration of 1,000 mg/L. The distillation system must reduce the TDS by 97 percent over the course of the test protocol. The test protocol for distillation systems covers a one-week period, involving either batch or continuous operation depending on the operating characteristics of the distillation system. A stagnation period is included in the protocol. Samples of the challenge water and distilled water are collected throughout the test to establish the TDS reduction performance. Unlike filtration technologies, distillation effectiveness is not sensitive to the form of the lead. So, a claim of lead reduction may be made for systems that meet the requirements for TDS reduction under NSF/ANSI 62.

More than one way…
Lead in drinking water is a hot topic these days. Fortunately for our industry, there are various treatment technologies that can be used for water that may have lead contamination. And just as there is more than one way to treat drinking water that is contaminated with lead, there is more than one way to test the effectiveness. In each case for testing, a very high concentration (150 µg/L) of lead is included in the challenge water and the treated water must contain no more than 10 µg/L of lead. Rigorous test protocols take into account the treatment mechanism and operating characteristics of the treatment system to help ensure real-world effectiveness based on testing according to the NSF/ANSI standards. By testing products according to these protocols and requirements, manufacturers can help assure consumers and other end users who have these concerns about lead in their drinking water that the treatment systems will be effective, despite the complexities and variations that can occur with different real-world scenarios involving lead contamination.

About the author
Andrew_Rick_mugRick Andrew is NSF’s Director of Global Business Development–Water Systems. Previously, he served as General Manager of NSF’s Drinking Water Treatment Units (POU/POE), ERS (Protocols) and Biosafety Cabinetry Programs. Andrew has a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He can be reached at (800) NSF-MARK or email: Andrew@nsf.org

Mission to Satisfy Every Customer, Every Time: “Did We Earn a Perfect 10?”

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

By Donna Kreutz

dec2016_dp_info-boxJoel J. Brow started working at his parents’ RainSoft water purification dealership at age 12 with the incentive of earning a car. “I was there to just do whatever you needed—dig a ditch, get a tool or sweep the warehouse. After two years of training, at the age of 14, we had two jobs in one morning. My brother Marty left me the parts, tools and equipment and said ‘you can do the first one yourself now and I’ll pick you up before lunch once I finish mine.’ I started installing units independently from that point forward. At 12, my dad said he’d buy me any car I wanted if I worked for a dollar an hour until I was 16. I learned you have to set a goal, have a plan and a great attitude toward achieving your goals. My parents showed me these principles and they are part of our company’s founding principles.”

When Brow’s parents founded RainSoft Water of Pompano Beach in 1966, they became the first RainSoft dealer in south Florida. Today he owns Broward Water Consultants Inc. and runs the company with his two daughters. “I purchased the business from my father in 1983 after working as an installer, delivery person, service representative, sales person, sales manager, general manager and telemarketing manager.” He also is a WQA Master Water Specialist and Certified Installer.

Brow never actually intended to be in the family business. He went to the University of Southern California and received a Bachelor’s Degree in biology. “After getting accepted to the school of pharmacy, my father asked me to take a small break to help him manage his water business. That’s when I got hooked.” Brow never went on to pharmacy school.

“What do I like about the water business? I love being part of something that really improves people’s lives and health. In medicine you say ‘take these pills and let’s do some blood tests next week; we’ll check if they are helping or causing more problems. But pure water is preventive medicine. It makes a healthier life for you and your family—and it’s good for the environment.”

Trajectory to $20 million a year
This summer, Broward Water Consultants Inc. celebrated 50 years in the water industry. Yet Brow is still going full steam ahead. “Now that my daughters have entered the picture, I’m working harder and having more fun. We grew 200 percent last year and we’ll do twice that this year. We’re going to reach $20 million by 2019—that’s our goal. We have two offices now and will have four in the next two years. With my daughters in the business, I don’t have to be there for the day-to-day work as much. I can work on the business instead of in it. This makes a big difference since now I can focus more on customer care, creating new connections and nurturing the ones we already have. I now have a team of 10 managers and 75 full- and part-time employees to do the in-business work. We serve the southeast Florida area for residential and commercial service and travel the southeastern US for commercial installations and service. Some of our customers we have served for 50 years. They do love us. We are looking to create great raving fans of our business. Out of the total amount of business we’ll do this year, a little over 20 percent will be in referral sales.”

Brow is a man on a mission and with a strong mission statement. “One of the essential things that I think made a difference in our growth is everybody is on the same plan that I have. Their mission is my mission and my mission is their mission.” In fact, the company’s 191-word mission statement is read at the start of every sales meeting. In part it says: “Through the formula of recruiting, training and motivating, success and growth will endure… The leaders of our company have been commissioned to provide and promote a positive, progressive atmosphere that stimulates confidence, pride, value and service to both our associates and customers…Trained, motivated, dedicated individuals will carry the opportunity of satisfying every customer, every time…”

“Our staff consistently follows up with customers to ensure they are happy with the company’s products and service. Did we provide what we were striving for?” Their commitment to customer service is worn with pride. The company uniforms carry this message: “Did we earn a perfect 10?” Case in point: “We do lot of business with our major partner, Home Depot. We had 116,000 leads from only 16 stores in just the first nine months of 2016. We have a 9.8 Voice of Customer score with Home Depot—one of the highest in their home service industry.”

Brow often meets with employees over one-on-one lunches to discuss their field of work, company development and growth, and to get to know the people who work for him better. “I try to give a lot each and every day. I just spent time with a sales rep who is an unbelievably talented and smart man. He just started with our company and I’m looking forward to working with him. He wants to open up branches in India. Nothing would give me more joy than to help him reach this goal.”

‘No better feeling than making a sale’
Brow is a born salesman, like his father before him, who started the business selling water conditioning units from the trunk of his Cadillac. “There’s no better feeling than making a sale,” Brow said. “It’s artwork. We’re educating consumers, letting them know they can have crystal-clear water right from the tap—without the plastic bottle. In doing so, it saves them thousands of dollars over their lifetime using RainSoft water, while protecting the environment. No more bottled water, no more trash bottles, no more waste. We’re dream merchants.”

Brow has seemingly endless energy. “If you’re happy, you have more energy.” In addition, he is an avid reader. At the moment he’s reading John C. Maxwell’s three-in-one special edition, The Winning Attitude / Developing the Leaders Around You / Becoming a Person of Influence. He draws inspiration from Don Miller, who was the number-one dealer in the nation for 15 years, and the Randolph RainSoft organization in Altamonte Springs, FL, the current number-one RainSoft dealer in the world.

“At a seminar Miller once said, ‘we don’t only need to teach people how to do their jobs. We also need to help them with their lives so they can do their jobs better.’ It is important to help each other out, whether it is a friend, colleague, business partner or family member. We have to be more compassionate towards one another. We have a strong united team inside the business, as well as outside the business. We stand by each other. RainSoft dealers are really close. We call each other, help each other. It’s like an extended family. I love being a part of the RainSoft family. It has given me so many friends all around the country and the world.”

Steady industry growth ahead
Brow said the water industry will always have room to grow and evolve. He sees changes, particularly with the increased use of desalinization. “Most coastal communities are putting in RO plants. In certain areas, water hardness has gone down to a considerably small amount (three grains per gallon) so the water softening business is affected. We at RainSoft have already solved that particular problem. We have a detergent-less laundry solution, an air solution, RO and carbon filtration. Hardness is only one factor. People are very conscious about their water today. I never thought we’d be as diverse as we are with water treatment and creating environmental solutions for the home. You may have to look at different options. Think about bottled water. That hasn’t done anything but help our industry.”

Brow’s own family is all about water. In addition to his parents, two of his brothers worked for the family business and in the industry. His oldest brother David was recruited as soon as their dad realized that the water units he was selling had to be installed. He thought the purchasers did that themselves. David eventually established his own RainSoft dealership, then worked in the RainSoft factory and finally in the corporate office for over 35 years. His brother Marty currently runs the water treatment plant for Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. His sister Kathy also was involved in the company’s early growth.

Looking forward to the business being a third-generation RainSoft distributorship, Brow’s oldest daughter Stephanie is his VP of finance and younger daughter Danielle is Sales Administrator. Just like their father, both started in the business as kids. “They used to work in office filing and I had them do surveys for the sales department. They’d tell me, ‘I never want to do this. I never want to be in this business.’ Now they say, ‘we love this place. We want to be a part of it and see it grow. Let’s do it.’ ”

Seven Decades of Packard Culligan Celebrated

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

By Derek Packard

dec2016_packard_groupPackard Culligan group celebrated its 70th anniversary in conjunction with its annual managers meeting at the historic St. Paul Hotel in St. Paul, MN, October 18-20. Present at the meeting were all managers from the organization as well as select key leaders. The hotel was a fitting site for the meeting and anniversary, as it is the oldest operating hotel in Minnesota.

John and Derek with the governor’s proclomation

John and Derek with the governor’s proclamation

On Wednesday, the participants broke from meetings for the evening and dressed up for the 70th Anniversary Gala at the historic Landmark Center across the street from the hotel. Guests included managers, key leaders and business partners, as well as several retired, long-term employees. The attendees enjoyed each others’ company as they were greeted with cocktails and live jazz music before the program began; it was destined to be a night to remember.

The first speaker came as a surprise to nearly everyone: Governor Mark Dayton stopped in to give congratulatory remarks to all and discussed some of the water issues many of the state’s residents are facing that he is tasked with remedying before his second term ends.

Governor Dayton and John Packard

Governor Dayton and John Packard

He also gave a special proclamation and deemed October 19 as Culligan Water 70th Anniversary Day in the state of Minnesota. Governor Dayton delivered the well-deserved honor to John Packard on stage to a thunderous applause.
Many toasts were delivered throughout dinner and into the end of the program. Kind words, fond memories of the past and well wishes for the future were delivered by myriad speakers. It was a festive mood throughout the entire evening and the emotional toasts only made the milestone more meaningful. So many positive things have transpired in the business since F. Wayne Packard and Clayton Packard set everything in motion in 1946, but it’s the quality people who have been involved in the organization that have been the key reason for its success and longevity.
The Packard organization moves forward into a promising future in water treatment with 33 Culligan dealerships, Unco Data Systems and over 500 employees. Here’s to another 70!

From Zero to $16 Million in Revenue with Just 20 Employees

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

By Donna Kreutz

dec2016_ei_info-boxCarbon Enterprises Inc. has only 20 employees yet generates an astonishing $16 million in annual sales worldwide. Most of that business is in municipal drinking water and wastewater. Rick Ciminello started the company in Centerville, OH in 1998 and  long-time colleague Ryan Carter joined him a few months later. “Both of us did everything: answering the phone, accounting, warehousing. We started out small and we just kept growing,” Ciminello said.

“When municipalities are closing down their filters to switch out materials, they don’t have a lot of time. That’s our niche. We can provide all the materials needed and control when they arrive. That’s very important on a job site. Our average job is 20 to 30 truckloads: first gravel, then sand, then anthracite. That way, the job site is clear and the timing is right for the work that needs to be done.

“We have our own anthracite plant, CEI Anthracite, in Hazleton, PA. When you actually manufacture the product, you not only gain control of the quality and cost, but you can control production to make sure materials get to the job site on time. We also own CEI Logistics, our freight brokerage firm. We cut the cost on freight by working directly with more than 500 carriers.”

Ciminello makes it sound so easy. “Well, we’ve done this for a long time. It is easy. But if you tried to do this just starting out, it would not be very easy at all. We’ve gotten it down to a science. We both have the same ideas about how to run a company, we invest in our employees and we treat customers the way we want to be treated. Our biggest growth came from word of mouth. We gave our beginning customers great service, quality and pricing; they told everybody they knew. Our customers were our best advertising.”

Customers in US, South America and beyond
CEI has grown dramatically every year. “We went from zero in 1998 to revenues of more than $16 million. For many years, our company doubled in size every year.” That was their norm. “In the last five years, it got to the point that the increases were 10 to 20 percent and we were unhappy. Our accountant had to tell us ‘you do realize that’s normal?’ ”

Ciminello has 30 years in the water business, mostly in activated carbon. Carter’s background is in sand, gravel and anthracite. “Because of what we did, we both dabbled in each other’s area.” That’s how they got to know each other. “We work well as a team because we believe in the same values: our honesty and our faith. We have a true partnership. Basically we’re like brothers, so it’s worked out well,” Ciminello said.

“We are probably more old-fashioned than a lot of companies. We have real people who answer the phone. And our two main sales people are the owners. You don’t have to go through a bunch of people before you finally get to the decision makers. We quickly fix whatever problem pops up. We are now the largest company in our field but we still handle each customer like we did in the beginning. Most of our customers are in the US and we do a fair amount of business in South America. We sell to large equipment companies and they get sales overseas. Our product ships with theirs.”

No turnover in 10 years
CEI invests in its employees, all 20 of them. Benefits include 100-percent-paid medical and disability insurance, a 401k program and year-end bonuses. “We both worked for various people in our past and we wanted to create a situation where people want to come to work, not dread having to go. We have great employees and want to keep them. We allow our employees to take off for activities their kids are in without having to use vacation or sick time. We celebrate birthdays. We have a company Christmas party with a Santa for the kids. Faith and family come first, then comes work. Our employees are happy. Nobody has left us in the last 10 years. By treating our employees great, they treat our customers great.

“We also do a golf outing each year in May. It’s a company outing and a charity event. All proceeds go to charities. We invite customers and cover a variety of local charities with the money we make. It’s not a lot; it was around $4,000 last year. We plan on growing that, maybe add a silent action in the future.”

Ciminello said, “Ryan and I really appreciate our staff, Spencer Wellington, Tiffany Pickett, Megan Edgington, Erick Madison, Bob Dalvet, Liz Corch, Dave Shevokas and the anthracite plant workers. It is a team that makes our company successful.”

Ciminello and Carter have a hands-off management style. “If everyone is doing a good job, we will not bug them. We have a general manager who runs the anthracite plant great. We told him, ‘if you run the plant and are always in the black, you’ll never see us. If you’re in the red, you’ll see every day.’ And we haven’t had to visit there much at all, so that’s good.”

Full circle back to drinking water
“We handle things differently than most people. If there’s something we can do by computer, we’ll do that. Erasable boards? We can do that. We tie everything into what is easier and best for the company. We don’t force-feed anything. We always joke about KISS: keep it simple stupid. If something works, that is not a reason for us as owners to jump in and mess it up. That’s really how we work.”

The company’s main headquarters is in a state-of-the-art, 21,000-square-foot facility. The anthracite manufacturing plant is a 26,551-square-foot office and warehouse facility on 2.6 acres in Hazleton. “We are the largest distributor of GreensandPlus. We also offer gravel, sand, garnet, pumice, zeolite, resin, activated carbon, KDF-55, KDF-85 and much more. All our products exceed AWWA B-100 standards and are NSF-approved.

“We are always looking for new filter media as they become available. We have expanded our overseas sales efforts. We do shows. We will have a booth at WQA, AWWA and WEFTEC in 2017. We’re also looking at doing more with drinking water. Municipal work and wastewater sort of took over the business. We’d like to get back into drinking water again and we’re really looking forward to that.”

California Groundwater Association Annual Convention Recap

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

By Denise M. Roberts

One of the more pleasant aspects of the California Groundwater Association’s annual convention is the close-knit relationships and overall camaraderie among both attendees and vendors. dec2016_cga-convention-pics-1Although this is a contractor-heavy event, it’s apparent that the variety of products and services available to anyone involved in groundwater applications can be found here, from pipes and shaft collars to drilling rigs.

A total of 181 vendors/exhibitors occupied 79 booths, representing 81 companies. Over 400 people attended the two-day convention held in Reno, NV. Exhibitors and visitors were invited to take part in the annual golf tournament and enjoy some family fun at the Edge Nightclub. Attendees were met with a full slate of educational offerings, including a two-hour presentation from McEllhiney Lecturer Peter Cartwright, PE, of Cartwright Consulting. He will give another presentation at the national convention in December.
dec2016_cga-convention-pics-2As with every conference, the organization honored its members and took care of association business while everyone was together. Awards included: Contractor of the Year, Bruce Hunter, Sam Jorgensen Pump Co.; Manufacturer/Supplier of the Year, Craig Newman, Newman Well Surveys and Woman of the Year, Anita Tullis, Quick Tanks, Inc. Association officers remained the same and included President Ron Hedman, Hedman Drilling; Vice President Mike Meyer, Gregg Drilling; Treasurer Dave Fulton, Diamond Well Drilling; Secretary Mike Guardino, Water Well Repair, Inc. and immediate Past President Mike Maggiora, Maggiora Bros. Drilling.

CGA is excited to return to the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno for the 69th Annual Convention and Trade Show, October 19-21, 2017. Call the CGA office at (707) 578-4408 for more information. We look forward to seeing you next year!

PWQA’s 59th Annual Convention Better Than Ever

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

dec2016_pwqa-convention-pics-1By Pacific Water Quality Association

The City of Industry, CA played host to the Pacific Water Quality Association’s Annual Convention and Trade Show. A staple in the water treatment and improvement industry, the association’s annual event has consistently received rave reviews from members on how well it is scheduled and the multitude of offerings for everyone. From training to products, nobody walked away empty-handed.

The ubiquitous golf tournament, sponsored by Performance Water Products, took place at the Babe Golf Course at Pacific Palms, kicking off at 7:30 am on Wednesday with a shot-gun start. The race for best of the best was on! When all was said and done, everyone had a great time competing. dec2016_pwqa-convention-pics-2The first place team included Kurt Peterson (WC&P), Brent Simmons (Omnipure), Mike Conte (John Guest) and James Good (Good Water Warehouse). In second place, a full house of Rayne dealers took their best shots: John Foley, Peter Pak, John Brooks and Steve Blomeke. The esteemed Chuck Rodent team included Bill Hanson (AquaCon), Mike Mecca (Performance Water Products), Courtney Hanson (AquaCon) and Dave Smith (Pentair). Grabbing honors for Men’s Longest Drive was Pak, joined by Irma Bishop (Hall’s Culligan) for the Women’s title. Russ Harrison (Kinetico) nailed Closest to the Pin.

Taking care of business, Ken Steitz of EcoWater passed the gavel to incoming President John Miller of Vertex. He will be joined by Melodie Bullock (Cal Aqua) as Vice President and Shannon Murphy (TST) as Secretary-Treasurer. Steitz will remain part of the board as Past President. New board members were also inducted, including Tracy Strahl (South Bay Salt); Courtney Hanson; Bishop; Cliff Fasnacht (Pacific Purification) and Marty Jessen (Pionetics).

In the purely fun department, PWQA’s own beautiful Vanna (Ron Ruef of Morton Salt, for the uninitiated) assisted Mark Mecca with the auction. He flew in from Wisconsin especially for this assignment. Prizes included an impromptu, private dinner party (offered during the auction by an inspired Senator Hertzberg) with Assembly Member Bill Dodd and six guests; wine packages; designer purses; Newport harbor cruises; a pair of beautiful, custom women’s Lucchese boots and many more wonderful items. It was one of the most successful auctions ever.

Members were treated to a wide variety of educational and technical seminars as well as the opportunity to take WQA certification exams. Kelly A. Reynolds, PhD, University of Arizona, presented an overview of the costs and benefits of POU drinking water filters as well as an update on the most recent salinity study. Marianne Metzger (National Testing Labs) talked about water testing procedures and Red Fox Advisors’ Greg Reyneke detailed productivity and efficiency in service departments. Adrian Aspensen (NSF) presented an overview of softener certifications and C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud presented a closer look at fluoride and arsenic reduction. Tech Talks included membrane separation and RO sizing given by Dow’s Mike Kim; chloramine reduction by Frank DeSilva (ResinTech); Troubleshooting Coffee Applications with Mike Mecca and Fleck 5810/5812 Teardown and Programming by Dave Smith (Pentair).

During the welcome reception and banquet, industry leaders covered legislative issues and presented the annual PWQA awards. California State Senator Robert Hertzberg gave an overview of current and possible legislation that could impact the water treatment and improvement industry. Pete Conaty also gave a comprehensive review of what is happening and what the association needs to be ready to tackle. Annual award winners included Performance Water and Pentair; each received the Special Service Award for dedication to the industry, resulting in the achievement-of-association outreach goals. Sean Caughron was presented with the President’s Award for his dedication to the industry and the association’s marketing efforts. Frank DeSilva was honored with the Marino Pomares Award for public relations for his consistent and continuing dedication to the industry and the achievement of its goals. All honorees have exemplified the best of the organization and the industry by their unswerving support.

As we bring the year to a close on a successful note, remember there is always something that needs to be addressed when it happens, not when it gets out of our each. Be aware of business dynamics, federal and regional legislation and consumer trends. Help us help you enjoy the level of success your efforts have garnered and your hard work has fostered. And we can do this all again next year at the 60th Annual Convention!

Germicidal Effectiveness of UVC LEDs

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

By Rajul Randive, PhD

Inventions in solid-state lighting, particularly the advancements in white-light LEDs, have been driving the most significant transformation in lighting since the very first introduction of the incandescent light bulb. Headline-making or notable societal impacts of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) include energy-efficiency and environmental benefits. Additionally, the versatility of design options opened up by the compact nature of LEDs has been touted across an array of applications in industries, including consumer, automotive, commercial and industrial.

Similarly, performance improvements in deep-ultraviolet (UVC) LEDs are driving innovation in drinking water disinfection systems as these devices begin to match the economic requirements of POU systems around power, lifetime and price-point. UVC LEDs provide designers with a more effective germicidal light source. As UVC LEDs gain traction in these applications, new challenges have emerged in how to calculate the required power output, as there is not a one-to-one replacement with traditional mercury-based lamps. By understanding the impact of the LED spectral emission on microbe action spectra, engineers can develop highly compact, more durable and effective disinfection systems.

UVC LEDs provide access to the right germicidal wavelengths
In UV disinfection light in the range of 250 to 280 nm is most effective at inactivating the DNA of microorganisms, thereby rendering them unable to reproduce. (Traditionally, POU system designers have relied on low- and medium-pressure mercury arc lamps to access this germicidal range.) Low-pressure mercury lamps emit a single output at 253.7 nm; the total output power of the lamp is equivalent to the output power in the UVC range, albeit at a non-optimal wavelength. Medium-pressure mercury lamps emit a broader range of wavelengths that include the germicidal range, but also unnecessary wavelengths for disinfection purposes (as shown in Figure 1). In fact, only about 20–30 percent of the light is emitted in the UVC range. On the other hand, the continuous spectral response of UVC LEDs is predominantly within the desired UVC range, which allows for a more efficient system.

Figure 1 shows that the low-pressure mercury lamp emission line intersects the typical DNA absorption curve below the peak absorption. Although this is not the optimum germicidal wavelength, there is sufficient emission for DNA inactivation. The emission of the UVC LED delivers more overlap of the most critical wavelengths for disinfection, making it a more efficient light source for these systems. These differences in emission spectra, however, require a new methodology to account for disinfection effectiveness.

Determining the germicidal power of UVC LEDs
As UVC LEDs gain traction in disinfection applications, engineers and product designers need a useful and systematic approach to specifying and comparing useful disinfection power output. In the same way that lumen provides a universal measure of brightness, the most useful specification in these applications is the power output that is useful for inactivating pathogens. This is known as the germicidal power. The most accurate method to specify germicidal power involves first knowing the specific pathogen to be inactivated and then its action spectrum (i.e., the pathogen’s unique profile of sensitivity by wavelength to a light-source). Once the action spectrum is determined for the pathogen (or in some cases a cocktail of pathogens) of particular relevance, the cross product of those spectra with the emission spectra of the particular light source is the germicidal power of the light source.

dec2016_randive-figure-2Differences in wavelength susceptibility
The susceptibility of a pathogen to UVC energy varies; however, their peak is generally understood to be 265 nm. Figure 2 shows the action spectra for three common target or challenge pathogens used in water disinfection systems.

Although these pathogens all present peak absorption at roughly 265 nm, there is variation in the sensitivity to discrete wavelengths. Table 1 illustrates this difference in wavelength susceptibility based on their spectral sensitivity. dec2016_-randive_table-1By multiplying the emission of UVC diodes by the weighting, one can determine the power output in terms of the power available for disinfection for this specific pathogen. This multiplication of the two emission curves, or convolution, provides the germicidal power value for the light source.

Application of germicidal power for commercial production
As applications for UVC LEDs expand, the number of providers will increase. This will offer more choices for OEMs, but also variation in provider product specifications. Throughout product development or design, it may be the engineer’s preference to observe each spectrum of an individual light source in order to determine optimum benchmark performance criteria. High-volume manufacturers, however, are requesting a more systematic approach for specification of germicidal output power. This approach of convolution (i.e., normalizing LED output in terms of germicidal power) has that desired effect.

Figure 3 shows a number of UVC LEDs plotted by their germicidal to total power ratio (based on B. subtillis as defined by the ÖNORM standard). While the total diode power output (Pt) is the same from each provider, the different peak wavelengths of the diodes result in a large distribution in germicidal power. This could mean that an equivalent powered diode at 285 nm from one supplier would provide only 40 to 50 percent of the germicidal effect of a 265-nm device from a second supplier. Figure 3 also highlights the inconsistency in germicidal effect as diodes stray away from the peak absorption of DNA (265 nm). This could be the difference between meeting dosage requirements for safe drinking water and leaving active pathogens in the drinking water to infect customers.

While complex microbiological systems have no single approach that fits all needs, this is a step forward in simplification that allows the engineer to create reasonable designs for manufacturability. High-performance UVC LEDs are allowing manufacturers to migrate from mercury lamps to solid-state lighting solutions. The higher efficiency in the germicidal wavelengths and compact footprint of UVC LEDs allows for more effective disinfection systems. With the ability to produce a reduction of more than 99.99 percent in pathogens, UVC LEDs have proven effectiveness in water disinfection. There is little question that these light sources are a viable alternative to traditional methods and will continue to trend in innovative new designs.

About the author
Rajul Randive, Director of Application Engineering at Crystal IS, is responsible for designing, building and testing various prototype applications that use Crystal IS UVC LEDs. He works closely with customers to develop applications and maps those to engineering requirements that result in a market-ready product. Randive also ensures test protocols meet customer specifications. With more than 20 years experience with UV application development, he is a frequent industry author and presenter. Randive is a voting member on the ASHRAE Committee for Guidelines for the application of ultraviolet germicidal devices to control the transmission of airborne pathogens. He also holds a patent for a high-throughput vaporizer (Patent #6789789). Randive earned his MBA from the State University of New York at Albany as well as a PhD in organic chemistry and an MS Degree in chemistry from Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York.


Boynton hired as King Lee engineer

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

dec2016_boynton_mugKing Lee Technologies announced the appointment of Jessica N. Boynton, PhD as Business Development Engineer and Product Manager for the company’s new web-based system performance diagnostic tool. A graduate of the University of California-Davis with a PhD in chemistry, she has a special interest in potable reuse and desalination. Boyton brings experience in chemistry, business relations and design that will contribute broadly to the team—from R&D support to business development and marketing. She will strengthen King Lee’s customer support for RO chemical needs across the Americas.

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