Celgard Inc., of Charlotte, N.C., has entered into an exclusive agreement with Quest Technology Pte Ltd. Quest will act as the exclusive agent for Celgard’s Liqui-Cel Membrane Contactor product line in Singapore. 💧
Waterman Environmental Systems secured a contract in July to install its ionization system at the Laguna Beach Resort Hotel, of Phuket, Thailand. 💧
The water engineering business unit of HDR Inc., of Omaha, Neb., edited and updated the newly published second edition of Handbook of Public Water Systems in June. 💧
Brothers find 1963 valve; win cash and trip to Tahiti
A promotional contest held by the Fleck Controls unit of Pentair Water Treatment encouraged water treatment installers to locate old Fleck valves that were still in operation. Ultimately, the search paid off for brothers Jeff and Gary Hockersmith of Puritan Water Conditioning, of Crawfordsville, Ind. Jeff won a trip to Tahiti and Gary was awarded $1,000 for producing a 1963 Fleck 1500 control valve—the oldest one found in perfect working condition—in the home of Bob Wheeler, of Waveland, Ind.
Contest participants were asked to search their records, contact homeown-ers and take time-dated photos of old Fleck valves that are still in service. “The response was overwhelming,” said Jorge Fernanadez, president of Pentair
Water Treatment. “The number of Fleck valves from the 1960s these installers came up with solidifies Fleck’s reputation for producing the most durable and highest quality products on the market.”
Gary Hockersmith had previously made a residential service call to Browns Valley, Ind., and remembered the old Fleck valve being there. “The promotion was right up our alley,” said Jeff Hockersmith. “Since we were one of Fleck’s first original installers, we knew we had as good a chance as anyone at winning.” Puritan has been installing Fleck control valves since 1963, the year in which Fleck started to manufacture water-softening valves.
Water utilities put on alert; recent attacks worry many
The city of Detroit wants to make sure drinking water in southeastern Michigan is safe from contamination by terrorists. Kathleen Leavey, interim director of the city’s Water and Sewerage Department, said the department has been on security alert since Sept. 11 when terrorists attacked New York and the Pentagon. Meanwhile, Milwaukee has spent $89 million on its water system in recent years to upgrade its system, protect it against deadly bacteria and other contaminants. Milwaukee’s water is tested in labs 24 hours a day. In addition, computers constantly monitor water flow and quality. Like many other parts of the country, gas, electric and water utilities in the Boston area have been reviewing back-up plans and taking a variety of measures they hope will either prevent or mitigate any potential terrorist strike. Many utilities have implemented the same security plans used for Y2K preparations. For instance, the main entrance to the Kansas City (Mo.) Water Department is blocked, inspectors check the water daily for germs and inspect the water quality every four hours. In New Orleans, emergency management officials in Orleans and Jefferson parishes are aware of the danger to local water supply systems. Both districts monitor water quality around the clock, and at the plants, fire hydrants and river intakes. Still, officials must watch the large amounts of deadly chlorine gas that’s kept on plant sites to purify water and treat sewage. They also say New Orleans is high on the list of at-risk American communities. A few years ago in Arkansas, federal agents raided the compound of a domestic terrorist organization and discovered 30 gallons of liquid cyanide that was destined for use in water systems in Chicago and Washington D.C.
Report warns of arsenic
A new report from the National Academy of Sciences says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has underestimated the risk of bladder and lung cancer posed by arsenic in drinking water. The study was conducted by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Studies show that four to 10 of every 10,000 residents drink water containing 3 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic would develop bladder or lung cancer. The current USEPA standard for safe drinking water allows for 50 ppb of arsenic. Earlier this year, the agency issued a ruling that called for maximum allowable arsenic levels to be lowered to 10 ppb. That ruling was suspended by the Bush Administration, which said it needed further review. Some 13 million people in the United States routinely drink water with more than 10 ppb of arsenic, according to the USEPA. Arsenic is found naturally in rocks, soil, water and air.
Osmonics gets RO contract
Minnetonka, Minn.-based Osmonics Inc. was awarded a $3.8 million contract for a reverse osmosis system to desalt and purify Brazos River water from the Granbury Reservoir, southwest of Fort Worth, Texas. The system is made up of four skids with the capability of purifying over 6 million gallons per day.
Filters work on uranium
A pilot program run by the South Carolina department of health and environmental control is showing that filters can reduce the levels of uranium in well water. Earlier this year, the department installed filters on the water systems of two Simpsonville homes (see Newsreel in WC&P September 2001). They were among the first discovered to have high levels of uranium in their well water. One has a whole-house unit, and the other has a filter only on the kitchen sink. Recent tests show that the water from each has only a trace of uranium—well below harmful levels. Overall, only 2 percent of all public wells in the upstate contain high levels of uranium.
Zenon snags 2 contracts
The newly created Dickson County Water Authority in Tennessee and the Laguna Sanitation District in California both chose Zenon’s membrane filtration technology in late September for their new water treatment plants. Zenon is based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Providing an alternative for Tennessee’s newest county, the larger plant will provide 5 million gallons of water per day for distribution to the various communities once it’s completed in early 2003. Meanwhile, the company also received a repeat order to supply its membrane technology to treat the secondary effluent of an existing wastewater plant in Santa Maria, Calif. The facility will provide 3 million gallons of treated wastewater per day and is expected to be completed by the middle of next year. In addition, the treated effluent will meet California’s strict discharge requirements. Both contracts total nearly $8 million.
Pall suffers profit drop
Filtration systems maker Pall Corp., of East Hills, N.Y., said that fourth quarter profits fell about 44 percent and the company expects to see continued earnings weakness in the first two quarters of next year. The firm was hurt in the fourth quarter by the negative effect of weak foreign currencies and weakness in the industrial unit of its U.S. business. Pall said it expects a continued shortfall in the beginning of next year and doesn’t see an industrial recovery until the second half of 2002.
Threat of MTBE spreads
A U.S. college professor says the gasoline additive MTBE, which has been blamed for contaminating groundwater, is showing up in fuel supplies in states where it’s not required. Reynaldo Barreto, associate professor of chemistry at Purdue University North Central, said that means the entire country is potentially at risk of pollution. He presented his findings at a National Chemical Society meeting. In California, oil companies have until the end of next year to phase out its use. Barreto based his research on more than 200 samples collected from gasoline stations in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan—none of which are required to use MTBE. More than 70 percent of the samples in all three states contained MTBE, and 25 percent of the total samples contained significant amounts, he said. In Indiana, 40 percent of the gas stations sampled contained a significant amount of MTBE—over 500 parts per million. Barreto said one ounce of MTBE is capable of contaminating 1,000 tons of water. A study released last year by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oregon Graduate Institute’s Department of Environmental Study said about a third of drinking water wells in 31 states might be contaminated with MTBE.
Disease found in Iowa pool
Dozens of people who used a wading pool in Iowa this summer were sickened by an intestinal bacteria. It’s the latest incident in a growing number of outbreaks nationwide tied to recreational pools. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identified 69 likely infections of shigella, which causes diarrhea and fever and can lead to severe dehydration. The wading pool was found to be inadequately disinfected, filled with city water each morning and drained each night but never treated with chlorine, the CDC reported. Shigella is found in the feces of an infected person, and other people contract it by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. An outbreak of shigellosis—the name for the symptoms caused by the bacteria—sickened more than 50 people in August at daycare centers and public schools in Ohio and Kentucky. More than 7,000 cases were reported in North Carolina in a 1987 outbreak of shigellosis, the nation’s largest on record.
Canada’s Choice buys Echo
Canada’s Choice Spring Water Inc. has completed acquisition of Echo Springs Water Co. Ltd. for $11.5 million. Pete Fearon, chairman of Canada’s Choice, announced the appointment of Mark Rundle as the corporation’s new president and chief executive officer. Fearon and Rundle also announced the appointments of Ian Bootle as senior vice president and chief financial officer; Derek Wilson as vice president of production and opertions; Dave Bryant as vice president of sales and marketing; and Stephen Hayes as vice president of finance. Canada’s Choice will expand its board of directors to nine members appointing Rundle and Doug Hatch, former chairman of Echo Springs, to the board. In other news, Canada’s Choice achieved consolidated sales of $2,138,312 during the third quarter ending June 30—up 72.5 percent over the same period last year.
Water leaves foul taste
Algae-tainted water spilling over the Morse Reservoir dam into the White River is giving many Indianapolis residents another dose of foul-tasting drinking water. But Indianapolis Water Co. officials said they have no immediate plans to apply algae-killing chemicals to Morse again. Although algae concentrations are fairly high in the reservoir, water forced over the dam by heavy rainfall in early September is diluted by the White River and blended with water from other sources. This is the third year of problems being identified.
HPC meeting slated for 2002
NSF International is helping to sponsor “HPC Bacteria in Drinking Water—Public Health Implications?” It’s an international symposium presented by the NSF/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Drinking Water Safety and Treatment. The symposium will take place April 22-24, 2002, in Geneva, Switzerland. This will mark the first international symposium on heterotrophic plate count (HPC) bacteria in drinking water and its public health implications. The event will feature technical papers and discussions from international experts on drinking water microbiology, water treatment and public health. Sponsors include Aqua Europa, the European Bottled Watercooler Association, the International Bottled Water Association and the Water Quality Association. To submit papers, see www.nsf.org/conference/hpc
USFilter makes acquisitions; gets contracts in N.Y. and N.C.
USFilter acquired ProCycle Oil & Metals Inc. in September. With approximately 2,500 customers, ProCycle is a major provider of hydrocarbon fluid and wastewater management services to commercial and industrial markets in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. The acquisition is a strategic move by USFilter Recovery Services to further penetrate the hydrocarbon fluid and wastewater market in Texas. ProCycle, of Springtown, Texas, was founded in 1991 and has grown into a major provider of used oil and used oil filter recycling services. Also, USFilter acquired Texas-based Modular Environmental Technologies (MET), a national provider of wastewater treatment and by-product chemical recovery technologies and services. USFilter Operating Services has begun operating and managing seven outsourcing facilities that serve MET’s 11 industrial clients located throughout the United States.
In other news, USFilter was awarded a contract to provide a 6,700 gallon-per-minute water treatment system for Con Edison’s East River Repowering Project in New York City. The water treatment system will include the largest electro-deionization installation in the world.
The system is scheduled for delivery next August. New Jersey-based Washington Group is the engineer on the project.
Chemical industry soars in Europe; more firms look to ultrapure water
The chemical industry’s broad spectrum of products has raised its status among one of the leading customers for water and wastewater treatment equipment, accounting for 24 percent of the sector’s total industrial client base. According to a Frost & Sullivan study, manufacturers are looking more to obtain ultrapure water qualities, measure resistivity and pH levels and minimize water pollutants (i.e., suspended solids) in incoming water. These factors play a part in the need for water and wastewater treatment equipment in the chemical industry.
Sales of water and wastewater treatment equipment to the European chemical industry is expected to rise from $319.0 million in 2000 to $409.8 million in 2007. A Frost & Sullivan survey shows 49.1 percent of customers have already installed on-site wastewater recycling systems. Degrémont carries the highest level of brand recognition in the European water and wastewater treatment equipment market, the study says. On a regional level, Culligan and Guinard Centrifugation are strong brands and claim some of the highest ratings. In the mid-range levels, Millipore, Pall and HOH also garner strong supply positions.
Cooler sales heat up Europe
The European water cooler market has grown exponentially, said a report from Zenith International. Total units grew by 36 percent and passed the million mark at the end of last year, compared with under 200,000 five years ago. Volume rose 35 percent to 187 million gallons, 2 percent of total West European bottled water consumption. The United Kingdom is still the leading market with a 36 percent volume share. France is second with 17 percent. Italy experienced 80 percent growth in 2000 to finish third. The emerging Austrian and Swiss markets saw even faster growth of 142 percent and 86 percent, respectively.
Vivendi grabs part of pact
A consortium, which includes the water unit of French utilities firm Vivendi Environnement, has won a 25-year, $800 million contract to build a seawater desalination plant in Israel. The consortium includes Vivendi Water, Israel Desalination Engineering and Dankner—an Israeli investor—and together would invest $110 million to build the plant in Ashkelon, south of Tel Aviv. The plant, billed as the world’s biggest desalination plant, will produce 13.2 billion gallons of water a year—the equivalent of drinking water for a town of about 700,000 people.
Pakistan builds hydro plant
Pakistan President Rafiq Tarar expressed concern over the water shortage in the country—part of a severe drought affecting Central Asia. He was speaking at a ceremony held in connection with the inauguration of the Chashma Right Hydro Electric Power Plant at Chashma in late February. It’s the first bulb hydro project in Pakistan. Tarar said that had there been proper water management, the drought-like situation, prevalent for the last two years, could have been averted.
Group vows to list names
The names of European hotels implicated in outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease could be officially published on the Internet under new guidelines drawn up by public health officials. Carol Joseph, coordinator of the European Surveillance Scheme for Travel Associated Legionnaires’ Disease (EWGLI), told the annual scientific conference of the Public Health Laboratory Service that the new guidelines were imposed after a Dutch newspaper reporter used the Dutch freedom of information act last year to obtain access to all confidential reports on the international database. Interest in Legionnaires’ disease was at its height in the Netherlands at the time following a major outbreak at a flower show in 1999 that led to some 200 people being infected and around 30 deaths. Nearly 400 cases of travel-associated Legionnaires’ disease were reported to EWGLI last year. The disease normally kills 10 to 15 percent of victims. The website that would name hotels is www.ewgli.org
Aluminum tied to disease
A French research team has concluded that drinking water with high aluminum levels may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. For eight years, the team followed almost 2,700 individuals to identify new cases of probable Alzheimer’s or other dementia illnesses. Researchers found that high concentrations of aluminum in water could be connected to 17 of 253 study participants who had been diagnosed with dementia. Furthermore, 182 of the group were believed to have Alzheim-er’s, and 13 of those of those had been exposed to high levels of aluminum.
China calls on Severn Trent
Severn Trent Services, of Fort Washington, Pa., has received a large contract to help manage a water recycling project in Dalian, China. The company will utilize its TETRA Process deep bed filtration system to recycle water. The filters, used for potable and wastewater systems, utilize a combination of nozzle-less filter bottoms and spherical monomedia to provide solutions in all phases of the filtration process.
RWE creates waves in U.S.
German utility RWE AG made an offer in mid-September for New Jersey-based American Water Works in a $7.6 billion deal, which will help it accentuate surging growth in private U.S. water services. RWE said it would pay $46 a share, or $4.6 billion in cash, and take on $3 billion in debt. The proposed acquisition would be tied to the U.S. activities of its UK-based Thames Water arm, and make it the No. 1 water company in the United States and the third largest worldwide. American Water is the largest privately owned water group in the U.S. market and, with a presence in 23 states, is three times bigger than the next largest.
RWE said it expected growth of some 15-16 percent a year nationwide for the water operations and maintenance sector alone in the near future, and some 10 percent through 2005. Meanwhile, American Water supplies 10 million customers with water and provides wastewater services to over one million people in nine states. RWE has bolstered its water activities since acquiring Thames Water, of Britain, last year. It also plans to divest non-core operations as it focuses on energy and water, and to expand in four key business areas—electricity, gas, water and waste-management services. RWE expects to receive shareholder approval by the end of this year, with the transaction closing within 18-24 months following regulatory approval.