By Denise M. Roberts
In 1978, Ken Kremer got his start in the water treatment industry by working with a corporate water purification chain. Having a desire to provide the Low Country region of South Carolina with the best products and customer satisfaction, he researched products offered by other companies and was very intrigued with Watts Water Technologies, which has been in business for over 140 years. In 1998, Kremer Water Treatment was launched, with Watts as the product supplier.
Now independently owned and operated by Earl White, Kremer Water Treatment continues to serve the Low Country as it has for over 30 years. White came to the water treatment industry by way of a chance encounter with Kremer. “After retiring in 2005 from the United States Marine Corps with 20 years of dedicated service, I started a handyman service while figuring out what to do with my life,” said White. “One of the projects I was hired to do was remove a portion of a patio and cut holes in walls to prepare for the installation of a water softener. When Ken came to install the softener, I asked if I could assist him. As a result of my background in aviation hydraulics, I found I had a natural aptitude for working with water purification equipment and was immediately interested in the many facets of water treatment. Ken was kind enough to answer many of my questions over the following year.”
During one of these conversations, White jokingly commented: “If you keep telling me all this stuff, you’re going to have to sell me your business.” Kremer didn’t hesitate to mention that he was thinking about retiring and selling the business. From that point on, White started working and training with him. He officially purchased the business in November 2011 and it remains an independently owned and operated enterprise. “I wanted to remain in business for myself and I felt I gained an opportunity to do something that I really enjoy,” White said. “With my experience in aviation, I get the opportunity and challenge of working with fluids and pressures again.”
Kremer Water Treatment serves Beaufort County, which includes Hilton Head, Bluffton and Beaufort, offering both residential and commercial water treatment. His range of services for commercial clients includes hotels, restaurants and car washes. The main problems for residents in this area who use municipal water are hardness, high TDS and taste. Residents with wells have hydrogen sulfide and iron issues, which are their primary concerns.
“I address these problems with a variety of products offered by Watts,” White noted. “In an effort to improve efficacy and prolong the life of appliances, customers frequently request softeners as well as carbon filters. Watts offers a more environmentally friendly, no-salt softener that utilizes Scalenet Anti-Scale Media. For well water customers, I generally install a Filox filter that removes both iron and hydrogen sulfide. My best selling product though, is the Watts Quick-Change reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System. After all, nothing quite compares to a refreshing glass of clean, crisp water!”
Kremer Water Treatment is, essentially, a one-man operation, although White is assisted by his fiancé, Heather. While she’s not an employee, she periodically assists with large projects and salt deliveries. Even though White does not carry WQA certification, he believes every day is a training day. White has found his transition to water treatment has many benefits. “Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of water treatment has been the opportunity to solve customers’ water quality issues,” he said. “I often receive calls from customers who have contacted other service providers looking for water treatment solutions. Both the challenge of a new problem and the satisfaction of
providing businesses and homeowners with viable water purification solutions makes water treatment an occupation that couples an essential need with reward. Clean water is not just a luxury, it’s a necessity. It’s for that reason I plan on continuing to provide the Low Country with the best customer service and water treatment I can.”
Over the five years he has been in the water treatment industry, White has encountered many challenges, some routine, some odd. “I would say my best situations are when I arrive at a home and inform the homeowner that I can repair their system when others said it needed to be replaced. On the weird end of things, while not necessarily what I would call a bad situation, an encounter with wildlife came into play. While repairing a softener and UV light that was damaged by a falling tree, a raccoon decided he wanted to hang around and help. I gave him a dog treat for his efforts. Probably one of the biggest challenges I face, though, is trying to please customers who say this water isn’t like their water up north.”
As he looks to the future of his company and the industry, White has contemplated what factors may drive the industry. “I think the public is becoming more conscious and aware of their water quality,” he noted, “and they realize the benefits of clean pure water. I would like to see the public filter their water source instead of purchasing bottled water that pollutes our environment. Part of the satisfaction of serving the Low Country comes from being able to personally serve my customers. For this reason I intend to keep Kremer Water Treatment independently owned and operated. I would ultimately like to find a replacement, however, just as Ken did with me, to continue providing quality service and products to the Beaufort County area. With personality, perseverance and dedication, coupled with Watts support, Kremer Water Treatment continues to live up to its slogan: SAVING LIVES…8 Ounces At A Time!