August 2002: Volume 44, Number 8
Back to School, Congratulations, On Being Right, and a Centennial of Sorts
by Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor
We frequently get questions from students hoping WC&P will offer all the answers they need to do a report or science fair project on water and water treatment. While many of the articles we provide our readers can be used for such studies, we would first recommend they visit a special section of the USEPA website for kids about water, which showcases a plethora of fun facts, study materials and even games and quizzes. Many of the webpages are targeted for teachers to design related lesson plans. So, for those getting ready to go back to school later this month, see the federal agency’s special page for kids: www.epa.gov/OGWDW/kids/
By the way, congratulations to Andrew Warnes, former international operations director for Sta-Rite Water Treatment. Not only did he get named to the USEPA National Drinking Water Advisory Council and awarded a WQA Award of Merit this year, he was named the new director for the WQA World Assembly Division in June. Warnes, who is on the advisory committee for our sister publication, Agua Latinoamérica, lived in Brazil as a teenager and held similar international sales positions at Kinetico and Culligan before joining Sta-Rite. His Brazilian wife, Edna, is the former international manager for the country’s biggest water treatment equipment manufacturer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Congratulations also to WQA executive director Peter Censky, who was appointed to the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee (ETTAC) for a two-year term by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans (see People this issue).
On another note, sometimes it’s not the most pleasant thing to be correct. For instance, in March’s Viewpoint, we suggested a rash of earnings restatements for corporate America complicated by the Enron debacle were likely to severely impact any economic recovery this year. And in May, we questioned what was happening at Vivendi following an announcement it was writing off billions of losses in the stock value of acquisitions made in the previous few years. Since then, not only has CEO Jean Marie Messier been ousted, but the company reduced its stake from 82 percent in December 2001 to 42 percent in Vivendi Environnement -- parent company of USFilter and Culligan -- which it spun off in order to buy Seagrams/Universal and cement its repositioning as a flashy media empire. Bear in mind, Vivendi’s stock plummeted 75 percent this year. Suddenly, the staid and boring world of water treatment seems very exciting indeed.
My next prediction is water treatment professionals will find it increasingly difficult to get water quality information from public records due to excessively broad rules tightening access to infrastructure data and Freedom of Information Act exemptions for the planned Department of Homeland Security. A relevant quote from late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall: “History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.” While combating terrorism is foremost in all our minds since 9/11, there may be cause for concern.
Meanwhile, I saved an email earlier this year that attempts to illustrate how far we’ve come in the past 100 years by offering certain contrasts from 1902. Back then:
* The average life expectancy in the United States was 47.
* Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
* Only 14 percent of the homes in the United States had a bathtub.
* With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union. The population of Las Vegas was 30.
* The average wage in the United States was 22 cents an hour.
* Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
* The five leading causes of death in the United States were: 1) pneumonia/influenza, 2) tuberculosis, 3) diarrhea, 4) heart disease, and 5) stroke
Please email me at email@example.com for the full list of centennial comparisons.