An article in The Washington Post (March 13) began portraying the water treatment industry as a scam, with companies having used false claims and hype to sell their products and "make money." The writer even went so far as to name a few companies involved in using scare tactics, insinuated their products were over-priced and said that these water treatments were not necessary. He concluded with an assault on the home water testing kits and said, "Experts say do-it-yourself home testing kits aren't reliable."
With such strong accusations, the article, it was assumed, would back them up.
Ironically, the rest of the article discussed "honest" facts about the water you are drinking at home. And, sure enough, completely contradicts the opening by saying "there are contaminants that you should watch out for, here they are and this is what they do."
The article quotes Doug Marsano of AWWA and Cynthia Dougherty, director of the EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water. Contaminants such as lead and Cryptosporidium were addressed and prove that extra water treatment may, in fact, be needed in the home. The Water Quality Association (WQA) was not contacted.
"(The Post) clearly didn't want to scare people into buying products from the shelves, so the intro was added without complete knowledge of our industry," said Peter Censky, executive director for the WQA.
The water treatment industry's products have come a long way even from 10 years ago. Despite the negative publicity often received from media outside the industry, the public is more concerned with their water and is looking to the treatment technologies for solutions to problems such as odor, taste, pathogens, etc. Some of the "accused" treatment technologies even are being listed as the "best available technology" for treatment for problems such as arsenic, stated Censky.
This certainly is not the first article that has attacked the water treatment industry, and it won't be the last. The WQA plans on writing a letter to The Post with some additional information from the WQA, treatment companies and testing manufacturers, which will clarify some of these accusations.
(Revisit WaterInfoCenter.com soon and see upcoming issues of Water Quality Products for the WQA letter to the editor in its entirety.)