March 2003
Volume 45 Number 3
 

Website of the Month: A Catchall for Water Treatment—Stroking the Industry with a Broad Site
by Ronald Y. Pérez, WC&P Managing Editor   Pages: 

More and more, we’re seeing a greater influx of water treatment dealers in previously uncharted territory—commercial, industrial, small systems, office building applications. So, the question becomes, “Where can I find all these water segments under one website umbrella?” The following site is reviewed based on its potential to be a comprehensive stop for the aforementioned dealers.

www.waterindustry.org
An organization called Environmental Market Analysis (EMA) is behind this site. According to the home page, the group “provides market analysis and development assistance to water system companies planning for U.S. market penetration.” Note to the site’s editor: You may want to run a copy editor over some of the text.

Speaking of editors, I emailed the site’s editor and, on the same day, received a reply. Larry Chertoff runs the site and is also the president of EMA. He describes waterindustry.org as a “free non-commercial water news public service.” It was intended as the home page for the Water Industry Council when it was launched in 1996. Chertoff calls the site a “news, archive and background fact repository.” No sponsorship or fees exist and he says companies are free to submit press releases and job offerings at no charge. This may be something to consider for many of this column’s readers.

Walking the tightrope
Performing a balancing act between being a news-based service and a product catalog, this site has five main buttons on the home page—Industry News, Water Facts, Archives, Jobs and Supplier Directory. Under Industry News, a linked listing of water-related news items pop up from 1999 to the present.

Water Facts takes me to a Pandora’s box of news goodies that scrolls seemingly forever with links, charts and graphics littered all over. Fortunately, the page contains a table of contents-like listing near the top. Some topics found here are water filtration, microfiltration and ultraviolet water, and arsenic and hormones in our water. A very international-tinged flavor is evident within this section.

Next, Archives does what it says—a laundry list of articles with the most recent first. That’s the good news—the bad news is the most recent articles are from 1999. Sure, technologies may not have changed much during the past four years but updated material would better serve water treatment professionals. As a bonus, the bottom of the page contains several environmental links.

Employment opportunities
An increasingly visible feature of many water portals is the classified section. Here, Jobs provides a brief look at open positions around the… New York area. Those looking outside the N.Y./New Jersey area are out of luck. Being based out of Brooklyn may explain the site’s narrow geographical focus. Even an assist from mysalary.com doesn’t add much to this button.

Supplier Directory may be the most intriguing portion of the site. It’s more than a listing of companies that submitted contact information. “Buyer’s Guide” would be a better description, which is what pops up when you click on the button. Once there, you are able to search by products, suppliers and categories.

The best feature
In the buyer’s guide, 20 product categories are available with links. Within each category, there are even more sub-categories. Two main categories deserving your special attention are: 1) process systems and equipment, and 2) water/wastewater systems and equipment. In the first category, you’re inundated with various products from aerators to water stations. If you click enough on the links, you’ll get to a nice listing of companies that supply said items. Hint: Save yourself time and use the search button. As for the second category, some noteworthy sub-categories include filter media, ion exchange systems, membranes and softeners.

For those interested in company listings, you can find 1,328 companies that span 54 pages from A to Z (Aeration Industries International Inc. and Zumro Inc.). Before you ask…yes, each listing comes with its own link as well as a very generous amount of space for a company to toot its own horn. Not a bad deal for gratis (almost as good as the WC&P Buyer’s Guide—see the 2003-04 edition next month). An enticement to get more outside participation should always be applauded.

Conclusion
A commercial-free water portal is a novel concept whose time has come. That’s not to say that waterindustry.org is the only game in town in that regard, but it serves as just another option for those looking to oversee all types of water treatment applications at one site. Though this site has some drawbacks, the overall feel should captivate enough interest to make water treatment professionals come back and explore more of its nuances.

A look inside the ‘industry’—www.waterindustry.org
OK, the site touts itself as a kind, two-headed monster—part service, part news. The service works very well, i.e., buyer’s guide and product categories. Any time you score over 1,000 for number of companies, the “comprehensive” tag applies. As for the news content, the site is updated on a daily basis but its archives are inadequate and need some work—and organization is lacking.