July 2003
Volume 45 Number 7
 

Pipelines: Arizona Town Ordinance Shuts Down Vending Machines
by Ronald Y. Pérez, WC&P Managing Editor   Pages: 

A faxed statement from the Arizona WQA (AWQA) reported the town of Payson has enacted a water conservation ordinance that includes a restriction on the use of reverse osmosis (RO) equipment in water vending machines and commercial ice makers. There are no plans to address other RO systems or softeners. To date, three water vending machines have been affected. According to Dave Perry of the AWQA, one or two may have been modified where the membrane was pulled from the unit, and the other unit hasn’t changed its composition yet. He felt the machines were “particularly targeted” by the city’s public works director, who was responsible for the ordinance. Some cities point to the amount of water consumed by membrane filter treatment systems as a main reason to restrict their use. Perry said the ordinance wasn’t instituted due to consumer complaints. “In March, (the city council) wasn’t talking about vending machines. I guess they were really singled out as being big water consumers,” he said. As far as the AWQA is concerned, Perry suggested, “We need to mount some kind of education program, but the (city) council seems to have deferred to this one individual.” Perry can envision the public works director believing “no one in Payson should need to do anything to their water because they have wonderful water.” The vending machines are located at Basha’s supermarkets (the manufacturer is Aqua Star, who may have sold the unit to Basha’s), Wal-Mart (Culligan) and Safeway (Glacier Water). Glacier has already pulled the membrane from the unit while Basha’s may follow suit and do it themselves, Perry said. Culligan is hesitant because it fears the final product will be changed. Perry says this is the first he’s heard of a city restricting water vending machines. For more information, see Town of Payson "Meeting Agendas."

The Water Quality Association (WQA) has launched a new cross-industry Water Information Library. This comprehensive database of information contains articles from the top industry publications (including WC&P and Agua Latinoamérica) as well as WQA’s own extensive technical papers and resources. Other sources will be added to the database in upcoming months. This new resource provides a convenient, encyclopedic search mechanism for individuals who want information on water quality technologies, applications, regulatory issues, etc. The Water Information Library can be accessed at WQA’s website.

California Assembly Bill 334, the proposed legislation that would remove critical portions of Senate Bill 1006, passed out of the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee in late April, according to a fax distributed by the Pacific Water Quality Association (PWQA). This bill would override protections for the consumer and industry against arbitrary softener bans currently contained in SB1006. AB334 now proceeds to the full assembly floor for consideration. Kathryn Rees, of Rees and Associates, met in early May with lobbyists from other trade groups who oppose AB334. These other groups include the plumbing, grocers and retailers associations. A grassroots campaign is under way that includes a plan to inform the other 80 members of the state assembly about the potential crippling effects of AB334. Water treatment professionals in California should express their opinion to their local legislators now: California State Assembly.

According to the Canadian Water Quality Association’s Communiqué, all Albertan citizens will have to pay for water for the first time ever, if a proposal made by the province becomes law. The issue was the subject of a CBC report: "Alberta's Water: Good 'til the Last Drop". Users now pay fees for delivery and treatment of water. Large volume users pay license fees, but no one pays for water itself. Alberta Environment wants to implement a water-pricing system that would affect users “across the board,” the first draft says. The environment minister wants to charge for water as a way to achieve water conservation. The final water strategy plan is to be completed by September after further consultation with the public and other interested groups.

See Breaking News for further details or updates on these and other state and regional items of related interest.