Agua Latinoamerica

Viewpoint: Did spring come early this year?

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

You might not think that spring arrived early, based on the unusual weather that’s been occurring across the country. For California, though, the combination of record rainfall and record snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountains may continue to be cause for concern. Flooding in areas not touched by such a phenomenon has been consistent in the news reports over the past several weeks. And with warmer weather, melting snow packs may bring yet more damaging floods. The need for clean water resources can quickly outpace a region’s efforts to ensure the availability of potable water, a common enough theme in the Southwest as well. Mother Nature can and does throw an element of uncertainty into the best laid plans.
So what does this mean to water treatment specialists? Plenty! If you have routine maintenance scheduled for the change of seasons, you already know that weather can dictate a host of water issues, from bacterial growth due to warmer temperatures to broken piping from the cold. But how many are ready to handle flood-water intrusion to both small public and private well systems? Or sewage overflows that may impact the immediate groundwater resources? Floods bring silt, turbidity and organics front and center in the treatment scheme when unusual weather rears its ugly head. The need for bottled water increases exponentially during these events as well.
Since the Great Recession, many dealers have found themselves more involved in larger treatment applications, such as small businesses like restaurants, car washes and maybe a local hotel or motel. These can be much different than residential applications, although the same technologies may be used. In this issue, C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud addresses the chemistry of reactions found with ion exchange resins, which are used broadly in both residential and commercial water treatment. Greater attention must be paid to determining the right chemistry for the right application. In his usual in-depth fashion, Michaud explores the various types of reactions and how they relate to the ion exchange process and what is necessary to meet the needs of the client.
Who doesn’t have service vehicles? Are you doing all you can to save money on purchases, insurance and maintenance? What about safe driving? Rich Radi of ARI Fleet Management Systems offers insights on how to better track the performance of your vehicles and how safe driving can save a lot on overhead expenditures. It’s good business practice to make sure the vehicle with your company name on the side isn’t remembered for bad driving!
Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds, Public Health Editor, takes a closer look at PFOA and PFOS health effects, following up on a previous NSF International article on certification requirements to prevent these contaminants. While current information may indicate advisory alerts may be in order, there is still room for much caution on the part of water treatment specialists.
Conference season is in full swing and ever more activities are available to help you become better at what you do. Training, conventions, exhibitions…there is something for everyone at every level of water treatment. If you went to WQA’s Annual Convention & Exposition, you should have come home with lots of good ideas, additional training and a wealth of networking experience. There are more conferences on the horizon, some with a very specific water treatment focus and others that cover anything related to water itself. Be sure to take advantage of these whenever possible. The more you learn, the more you know, and that puts you a few steps ahead of your competitors.

Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

March Guest Viewpoint

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Donald McGhee, MWS, WQA Board President

As the 2016-2017 Water Quality Association (WQA) Board President, I have had the opportunity to serve and interact with very skilled and astute folks to serve the many needs of the water treatment industry. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of WQA and the impact that it has had on me as a dealer in a small market. I became involved with the association to gain access to its products and educational offerings, as well as connecting with industry professionals. Over time, I was drafted by WQA staff to participate on a national level by serving on the association’s Market Development Committee. It was through this committee that my involvement within the association grew. Eventually, I was asked to join the Board of Directors and, most recently, the Board of Governors.
As Board President, I have had the pleasure of seeing several initiatives come to fruition and/or completion. WQA’s Board recently completed the process of moving a highly skilled, dynamic person from within the organization through a mentoring program that allowed Pauli Undesser to ascend to the position of Executive Director. The process was so extensive that it would be an understatement to say it was equal to the process of obtaining a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in association management. Undesser’s leadership and skill set will provide WQA with a strong foundation to continue emerging as a national voice for water quality advocacy.
The desire to become the national advocate for the water quality industry has challenged the association to take a two-pronged approach with federal and regional advocacy efforts. First, by partnering with the Gephardt Group in Washington, DC, we have the ability to remain proactive with issues at the legislative levels and with agencies such as the US EPA, which has broad-reaching oversight in areas that greatly affect water quality. We have also created a stronger focus on regional advocacy by matching volunteers and staff that can bolster action at the respective levels. By doing so, we have clearly moved the ball toward WQA being recognized as a go-to resource when it comes to ongoing water quality issues.
Issues like we saw in Flint, MI will not be going away. For those who follow WQA on its social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, we see a lot of evidence of other cities, counties and regions that are experiencing significant issues when it comes to how consumers are affected when contaminants find a way into drinking water supplies. If there ever was a right that we should be proud of, it is that we, as a country, have access to safe drinking water. We have assumed for many years that access would always come safely from municipal treatment systems. WQA finds itself in a unique position by providing certified products to consumers at reasonable costs to make it easier to apply POU or POE systems so that removal of specific contaminants will provide safe drinking water. This is crucial as we know what happens when infants and school-age children are exposed to hazardous contaminants like lead.
The issues we face as consumers and as an industry leave no doubt in my mind that the original reasons I became involved with WQA (products, education, networking) have even greater importance for me today. If you are new to the industry or new to WQA, I strongly encourage you to attend the WQA Convention & Exposition, March 28-31 in Orlando, FL. The technical and business-related education sessions by themselves are more than sufficient reason to attend this year’s event. The opportunity to interact with other professionals is just the cherry on top. If you are not a member of WQA, I cannot over-stress the importance of becoming involved with WQA by joining today.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the Board President over this past year; I have gained more from serving than I was able to give in service to the board and the association. The future looks very bright for our industry and I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

Guest Viewpoint: WQA Executive Director Pauli Undesser

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

By Pauli Undesser, MWS, WQA Executive Director

feb2017_undesser_mug_2017_colorThis is the year of impact for the Water Quality Association. With the crisis in Flint, MI still fresh in the minds of consumers and regulators, our members will be called upon to help educate and protect the public, perhaps in new and innovative ways. It is, without a doubt, a pivotal time in the water treatment industry. With our 2017 consumer opinion study being conducted this year, WQA and its members will be able to gain new insights into consumers’ perceptions about the quality of their drinking water and what types of treatment they might consider for their homes or workplaces.
The Flint crisis has permanently changed consumer perceptions about drinking water. But it was just one of many water-related stories making news across the nation in the past couple of years. Toledo had a crisis involving microcystin contamination in its municipal water system; 10 thousand gallons of crude 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) spilled into the Elk River in West Virginia. So, it’s not just Flint and it’s not just lead. We see a variety of threats and concerns across the nation.
In the wake of the Flint crisis, WQA updated its crisis plan to offer a quicker response and resources when warranted. Once an event is considered a crisis, the plan calls for WQA to:
•    Send out emails to its members with updates on the crisis
•    Reach out to the appropriate state association, if available, to lend support
•    Distribute news releases announcing WQA’s position on the crisis and make appropriate resources available
•    Create informational handouts for members
•    Reach out to local and state authorities, offering WQA as an educational resource and pointing to certified products and professionals
One of my goals as the new Executive Director is for WQA to more firmly establish itself as a valuable source of information and knowledge. WQA’s Government and Regulatory Affairs will remain active in building recognition for WQA and its members on Capitol Hill, within federal agencies and in key state legislatures. WQA formed a federal political action committee this year to increase the association’s participation in the political process and further foster relations with legislators to ensure our needs are heard.
WQA continues to position itself as the leading advocate in the drinking water industry when it comes to professional and product certification. This year, our Professional Certification Department will continue to revise its exams to reflect an emphasis on field-work experience. It will also continue to develop the POU cooler-specific installer training module. Meanwhile, Product Certification will continue to develop and offer new certification services in 2017 to meet domestic and global market needs, such as NSF/ANSI 401 for pharmaceutical reduction.
So, the spotlight on our association and our industry is shining brighter these days. We’re rising to meet the new challenges. It’s our hope and mission to continue to do all we can to educate and inform the public, while equipping our members to be the very best in promoting the betterment of clean drinking water.

Viewpoint: A bright start to the new year

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

It’s taken far longer than what most people expected, but it appears the economy has rebounded enough to say things are getting better. It’s unfortunate, however, that the pace of boil water advisories, chemical spills and infrastructure failures have not diminished. This makes it even more important for the water treatment industry to be at the top of its game, ready to respond to the needs of consumers and clients.
US EPA’s Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) is a list of contaminants that are currently not subject to any proposed or promulgated national primary drinking water regulations, but are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems. Contaminants listed in the CCL may require future regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). This past November, the agency announced the Final CCL 4, which includes 97 chemicals or chemical groups and 12 microbial contaminants. In other words, the water treatment specialist may now have even more to remove from tap water. Visit the US EPA website to view the full list:
In light of the new CCL being published and remnants of the Flint, MI crisis still fresh in everyone’s mind, standby treatment protocols have never been more important, whether as a first line of defense or a multi-barrier approach. Filtration is (and has been for centuries) the primary treatment option, with many advancements over the past five decades that have given both treatment specialists and consumers more peace of mind. Dr. Kelly Reynolds, Public Health Editor, focuses on POU filtration in this issue. This is not a luxury as many have thought in the past. As recent news highlights, home water treatment systems are becoming an essential part of family health.
Membrane separations comprise another aspect of filtration treatment, many of which are typically seen more as specialty options, such as ultrafiltration for commercial, industrial and laboratory processes, in addition to microfiltration, nanofiltration and the like. Although each is a different type, they are filtration nonetheless and are designed for a broad array of applications. Technical Reviewer Greg Reyneke, MWS, offers an in-depth introduction to these types, their application and the benefits.
We are soon to begin a very active convention season, with a larger number of activities being reported and added to Upcoming Events than in the past several years. One of the best ways to gain a good foothold in water treatment is learning about the industry. Attending conventions and expositions enhances the educational element of any business and these events are usually loaded with such opportunities. Whether one is seeking certification, enhanced job knowledge or a more in-depth understanding of water treatment, consider these as both business and educational opportunities.
Each new year, we have high hopes for a better year. And we have even higher hopes for our industry. It’s been a long haul to return to profitability for many, though some may not be there yet. Still, things are looking far brighter than what we’ve encountered over the past five to seven years. Let’s make the most of it and bring the water treatment and improvement industry to the highest level of productivity we can reach and maintain. We’ll be there by your side, each step of the way. Let us know how your business is doing and how you’ve achieved prosperity and success. We’re all in it together, after all!

Happy New Year from all of us to all of you and your families!

Viewpoint: Cycles dominate our way of life

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

Whether you are looking at things from a business perspective, a personal one or wondering about the climate, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are all cycles of one kind or another. What is surprising is that even though most people accept this realization, they still seem to be stymied when the predictable happens and someone else uses it as a tool or for their own agenda.
In our industry, we also deal with cycles, one of the most important being the hydrologic cycle. You will see it crop up in a variety of articles on various topics. Water is our most precious resource. As some say, water is life. It is also our history. For millenia, we’ve been trying to find ways to effectively and safely retrieve that which is below ground and harvest it into the most usable form. Mother Nature adds elements of her own (arsenic, perchlorate, selenium, radon and others) just to keep us all on our toes, right?  More than a few industries overlap to meet the rigorous requirements designed to provide safe water globally. Some are niche, some are broader based and some are specialists. It takes more than one to accomplish these goals and the groundwater industry is at the forefront of bringing water to us to meet our needs. (Even cities dig wells, after all.) And as climatic conditions shift, the need increases for more effective methods to extract and purify water from the ground rather than surface sources and the collaboration between industries is becoming ever more important.
In recognition of the groundwater industry, we present a report on the recently held California Groundwater Association’s annual convention. This event is a precursor to Groundwater week, which is probably going on while you read this. Well drillers, equipment manufacturers, specialty vendors…all take part in their industry with a great deal of enthusiasm and pride, just as water treatment specialists do. This is never more evident than at the Pacific Water Quality Association’s annual convention, which took place in October. Take a look and see who you know. Remember that these are the people who have worked long and hard at defeating onerous legislation not just in California, but nationwide. Kudos to their continued efforts on behalf of the industry!
UV has been making inroads to the residential marketplace but is still seen as a technology for larger, industrial and municipal use. Even so, some of the newer methodologies may include options to scale the technology to different application levels. Dr. Rajul Randive of Crystal IS explores newer UV systems with LED technology, which could come into wider use in the not-too-distant future. Dr. Kelly Reynolds, our inimitable Public Health Editor, provides more insight on arsenic in private wells as an unrecognized hazard.
As we close this year with hearty wishes for a very Merry Christmas, we want to help you celebrate the New Year by continuing to be your go-to publication. If we don’t cover it, ask us why. If you want to contribute, contact us. We welcome your feedback and contributions to make this publication ever better. With high hopes and a multitude of new possibilities on the horizon, let’s celebrate with each other in the years to come!


Are lessons from big water the answer?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

As an unrelenting drought continues to make its mark on California and the Southwest, technologies once thought to be separate from the residential and smaller commercial markets have come into clearer focus. No longer is it a case of if these technologies will become mainstay applications, but when. California’s recent wet winter may have staved off more drastic water reduction legislation but there’s no clear indication that the drought is over. Texas, in the midst of severe drought for a couple of years now, resorted to desalination as its savior. The difference is that Texas did what California only talks about.
We all drink recycled water, no matter how we play it. Over the eons, the process Mother Nature uses time and again to keep the planet fruitful and healthy continues its life-renewing cycles. When your clients turn on the tap, they believe their glass of water is as fresh and clean as if it just rained down from the clouds. But we know that water is not pristine! Mother Nature recycles everything. In the arid regions of our country, it’s not unusual to hear someone say that the desert recovers its own. That’s the natural process that continues to make the planet habitable.
Desalination, long considered a bastion against desertification, is no longer just for the Middle East, where lack of potable water is a given. Desalination plants continually supply populations with safe, potable water. Only in the past few years have more municipalities considered this an option in the US. Recycling and reuse, often termed toilet-to-tap, is also gaining more positive reviews. Wastewater plants employ methods that ensure water is clean and safe to drink. If everyone who said “Yuck!” really thought about it, they’ve been drinking water the dinosaurs contaminated that Mother Nature has been recycling for eons!
Dr. Tim Mollart of Element Six presents an article on a diamond technology in broad use for wastewater treatment plants that is beginning to get more attention. Peter Cartwright extends his overview of the not-so-positive aspects of claims made by manufacturers for devices that have failed to gain qualified, third-party validation. In the closing season of conferences, the Eastern Water Quality Association reports on a very successful and memorable annual event. Dr. Kelly Reynolds explores the connection between fracking and water quality. Although this is a topic that has been in the news cycle for some time, definitive information about the impact on water quality has been less well covered.
As we near the end of 2016 and begin preparation for the holiday season, we look back and count our blessings for all of our successes over the years. We hope you can tally more than a few on your balance sheet for the year. Until we meet again, all of us at WC&P International wish you a warm, safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Back to school, water bottles in hand?

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

By Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

When we think of the end of summer, it’s usually with a sense of nostalgia. But for children, it’s more about reuniting with friends, new adventures and more independence. How often do we plan for their safety? The many reports of contaminated source waters has prompted rethinking on how we keep our families safe outside the home. Are you sending your children to school with your own bottled or cooler-generated water, in BPA-free bottles?
Our industry has been called into service to educate consumers on the viability of in-home water treatment systems because public water safety has been challenged. Whether a treatment train is employed, a water cooler installed or bottled water purchased, there are choices consumers can make. The water treatment industry professional can be the most influential factor in the decision-making process.
September has been dedicated to the aforementioned technologies for several years. The dynamics of water cooler usage has changed over that period, with home and home office delivery (HOD) becoming more widely used and dealerships delving into bottled water operations. Manufacturers have incorporated water delivery systems that include hot water for tea, hot chocolate, instant soups and more. Bottled water vendors have adopted multiple-sized containers, while water vendors have incorporated RO, carbon filtration, even alkaline water to their offerings. And these markets have more room to grow.
In our coverage this month, Gary Battenberg presents the basics of water cooler maintenance, an often-overlooked and essential step for every system. As part of the maintenance of a system, professionals should be trained on all of a system’s details, not just the installation, as this article notes. IBWA VP of Communications Chris Hogan offers a detailed and extensive update on the bottled water industry. As trends change, so do tastes, which Americans embrace with their wallets. With a focus on healthy living on the list of inclusions for most businesses, bottled water is surpassing sales of sodas and other sugary beverages, something that will continue for some time to come.
In the Innovations category, the background of quantum disinfection’s inventor is explored more thoroughly. The focus of Dr. Kelly Reynold’s On Tap column is Legionella and  new measures that could help prevent more outbreaks. The risks to public health are well-known and the ability to resolve issues of water contamination well-established. But preventable outbreaks continue to be reported. Should there be an enforceable regulation to encourage prevention by focusing also on water in the air, the primary vector for the spread of Legionella?
Over the course of the next few months, there will be a flurry of activity as school resumes, final vacations are taken, seasonal changes prompt different treatment requirements and the convention season continues. Be mindful of what you represent and how you represent it. As a first line of defense in water treatment, reputation is everything. Even one misrepresentation can be damaging to the industry. While you watch the bottom line, ensure the company reputation stands just as tall as the signage in front of the business.

Summer fun should be safe

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

As the weather heats up in most places, the big attraction is the local swimming hole. That might be a city pool, a lake or maybe a backyard pool. All of them offer relief from the heat and a time to enjoy water to its fullest. But is it safe? Every year, there are many reports of near drownings, infections and injuries associated with this favorite American water sport. Many of these can be mitigated with known best practices and procedures. A cautionary tale, however, comes from Florida, as it grapples with more cases of Vibrio vulnificus (otherwise known as flesh-eating bacteria), that has affected swimmers in the state’s warm-water areas. Many Americans enjoy fresh- and salt-water sports, which makes them vulnerable to those elements of Nature that we cannot always overcome.
And while we may not be able to control the causes of water contamination, we can condition and purify with a host of treatment options in the home and public bathing spaces. It’s imperative that treatment addresses the contaminant issue without adversely affecting human health—a tricky balance that is often as difficult to achieve as with drinking water. Residential pool treatment is often accomplished by the homeowner or a pool service company, though this application is also a specialty of many water treatment dealers as well.
Of the many treatment options, ozone has proven very useful in water environments. Greg Reyneke, MWS, goes in depth in his Dealer Dynamics column on the uses of ozone for a variety of applications. While most residential applications are confined to pools and spas, there are many viable uses for this technology. Another that is coming to the fore in pool and spa treatment is AOP technology, which is outlined by Nick Rancis. C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud, MWS, ventures further into the requirements for water recycling in his second installment, focusing this month on maximizing this limited resource. Kelly A. Reynolds, PhD, examines how we use chlorine for disinfection and if, like many other countries, it would be possible and feasible to eliminate its use in favor of other methodologies.
Florida WQA recently held a very successful annual convention, as did Clear Choice, Water-Right’s professional dealer network. We’ve provided a recap of both events, including highlights and photos. At the height of convention season, there is much to be learned at the many trade shows and conventions hosted by organizations, companies and others. Don’t be left out of the loop; whatever your water treatment specialty, there’s something for everyone in a multitude of events that run throughout the year, around the world.

Viewpoint: What has changed?

Friday, July 15th, 2016

By Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

For several years, we’ve been reporting on emerging contaminants, improved technology, better treatment methods. So why are we still grappling with the continuing and wide-spread occurrences of water contamination? The industry has risen to every occasion, providing many options and opportunities to ensure that everyone has a safe source of clean water. Still, the news reports on lead, perchlorate, even pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) found in our drinking water supplies just keep coming back to the top of the list of public safety concerns. The crumbling water infrastructure is the biggest problem but the lack of knowledge about water treatment options isn’t far behind. Be the expert, the go-to guy, when you hear of something in your neighborhood. Give people the sense of security that has been squandered by the lack of political will to fix the problems at their most basic levels. You’ll have customers for life if you make the water safer and present options that are of value to any home.
RO hasn’t changed much over the last 50 years, other than better membrane manufacturing that has resulted in better and cheaper systems. As new testing protocols have modified limits from parts per million to parts per trillion, this mainstay treatment technology is one of the better options for many customers in all segments of the water treatment industry. And due to the serious and unrelenting drought that has plagued the western states since 2000, reuse is coming more into vogue, as is water harvesting. But water is not pure and treatment is often a must, especially when consideration for reuse of highly treated wastewater becomes a discussion point. As more municipal players opt for reuse to supplement their finite resources, treatment demands will only increase.
C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud tackles these subjects in tandem this month, with the initial installment of a three-part series. The new realities for water purveyors and suppliers is that there isn’t an infinite supply of potable water, something we’ve tried to explain many, many times over the past decade. To make use of what is available will take all of the technologies now in use and whatever else the industry can invent to meet those needs. We present a new article under the Innovations banner about a technology that may be ‘the next big thing’ in water treatment. Written by Ed Knueve and David Thomas, the article details the path to invention for something called quantum disinfection. Rounding out the July coverage is Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds’ article, which revisits the recurring Legionella outbreaks and their consequences.
Conference season is in full swing. New companies, technologies and products, all of which are or could be business opportunities, will greet you at a host of annual conventions and trade shows. Take advantage of the opportunity to see things first-hand, talk to the decision makers and stay on track with the rapidly changing world of water treatment. While some tried-and-true technologies and systems maintain their place as the workhorses of our little corner of the industry, there’s always room for more and better. We can’t be everywhere so if you see something that is innovative, with tangible application benefits, let us know!

Viewpoint: Summer means travel, fun and more business opportunities

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher

Looking back at the past few summers, I think this one is much different. Why? Let’s take a look at my list of reasons. The economy has done a turnaround of sorts. Business owners don’t seem to be in a state of panic about what will happen next and fewer businesses are closing their doors. More people are taking advantage of convention benefits. New opportunities for water treatment professionals are appearing more often than in the past. That last one, though, is a double-edged sword.
The importance of good quality water has been escalating to much higher levels, not through advertising or experience with good products, but because of preventable disasters. From the massive algal bloom in Lake Erie to the chemical contamination event in Elk River, WV and now the massive lead contamination in Flint, MI, those who previously took the availability of potable water for granted are clamoring to protect themselves and their families. It’s no longer a third-world problem but a common situation right in our own backyard; yet these events are preventable. The industry has proven time and again that the proper systems, personnel, equipment and training can prevent the poisoning of our society. Without the regulators and other governmental officials operating hand-in-hand with the water treatment professionals and specialists, though, we can only wait for the next preventable disaster to occur.
Water treatment is a centuries-old practice. New methods and technologies are constantly evolving, based on our need to secure clean water. And humans have done a pretty remarkable job of finding ways to protect their water resources. But the old ways are also still in play. One of the most common treatment options is the use of activated carbon (AC) in a multitude of filtration configurations. This month, Oxbow Carbon’s Robert Potwora gives an overview of the importance of particle size. Jon Maurer, Green Technology Consulting, provides information on AC sourcing for the coming century and Henry Nowicki of PACS investigates a possible renewable source. Aquaphor’s Alexey Aksenov and others present a case study on newly designed carbon blocks for POU/POE systems.
Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD, looks more closely at why Americans are now worrying about their water resources. WQA is taking an active part in making the government aware of the wide range of talent and expertise our segment of the water treatment industry can provide, anytime, anywhere. Kathleen Fultz, WQA’s regulatory guru, offers insight on the most recent interaction between WQA and US officials to help resolve the water problems that should never happen. Also in this issue, Gary Battenberg of Parker Hannifin concludes his series on ion exchange basics.
Old systems need to be replaced, new systems sold and installed and others put on hiatus for absent owners; there’s always a need for water treatment. You are an on-demand water professional, a specialist who knows the answers and the go-to person when calamity strikes. Be the best and keep our water safe.

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