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October 2005: Volume 47, Number 10

WQAs Mid-Year Conference
by Karen R. Smith

Quebec City enjoyed unseasonable warmth and sunny skies during WQAs Mid-Year Conference. John Packard presented the WQRF golf tournament prizes to: Ed Firco, Greg Norgaard, Dar Watts and Peter Censky who placed first in the golf scramble, followed by Packards own group (Doug White, Issa Al Karusi and Satinder Bharaj). WQAs Joe Harrison took the honors for landing the closest-to pin shot of the day, while Linda Kent accomplished the longest tee off on the seventh hole. Neil Desmond regaled the audience with tales of the tennis court battles. Norgaard won the top award of the day, which he immediately returned as a contribution to WQRF. This initiated the same generosity from the other winners to the sound of applause, quickly replaced by gales of laughter when Chubb Michaud offered to return his awardthe Tom Uren Memorial Cup.

The now finalized C&I program (see page 56) is the big news from the conference, as is the WQAs most recent work to correct the ongoing failures of the California Water Treatment Device Certification Program. The following letter was sent on behalf of the membership on August 30, 2005.

Ms. Sandra Shewry, Director, Department of Health Services 1501 Capitol Avenue, Suite 6001 Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Ms. Shewry:
The California Water Treatment Device Certification program reviews and certifies in-home water treatment systems for which health-related contaminant removal claims are made. These products range from faucet-mounted filters to whole-house systems used for nitrate and arsenic removal, for instance. They are increasingly popular items for California consumers seeking to remove contaminants to a point lower than established MCLs.

Unfortunately, the California Water Treatment Device Certification program is failing to meet its regulatory deadlines for processing certification applications. As a result, manufacturers are losing millions of dollars in lost sales and delays. Besides the losses due to these missed deadlines and delays, the program is inconsistent in its application of its regulations. This has lead to confusion, additional delay, and the reprinting of materials, which has added to the unnecessary cost burden. Finally, the department does not appear to be enforcing the regulations evenly.

This severe problem can be readily resolved. The Department is already authorized by law to adopt alternative certification programs, provided they meet the states statutory requirements. Such programs already exist, and they are accredited by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI).

Therefore, the Water Quality Association recommends that the Department immediately recognize all American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited product certification programs and that the Department define all products that have been approved by these ANSI-accredited certifying programs as being in compliance with California statute.

The Department can continue to collect its fees and use these to log all certified products into their listing system. Also, the Department would continue its current system for those products for which a product standard does not exist or for those companies who do not put their products through an ANSI certification system. Finally, the Department could utilize its fees to more effectively enforce existing regulations.

The WQA represents approximately 2,300 companies who operate in the water quality improvement industry. We have had three years of discussions with DHS personnel in an attempt to rectify systemic problems within the device certification program that have produced no results.

The WQA would like to meet with you, to discuss the device certification program and our proposals for making it stronger and more efficient. We will contact your office in the near future to set up a meeting if possible.

Sincerely,
Water Quality Association, Peter J. Censky, Executive Director
cc: Dr. Riley, Dr. Spath, Leah Walker, P.E., Lynda Dyane

Visit our website to read the complete report, Rationale for change in California Water Treatment Device Certification Program, prepared by the WQA, for an exclusive look at this important issue.
Karen R. Smith, WC&P Executive Editor