Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) of Birmingham, Ala., has consistently achieved the rating of the number-five water system in the United States...
Reverse osmosis systems to ultraviolet systems. Standards and regulations review to certification. The Water Quality Association’s 26th Annual Conference and Trade Show in Long Beach, Calif., offered everything to water quality professionals worldwide.
Aside from the beautiful beaches and local sights, the location boasted perfection including the fact that the state happens to be key in many water issues. In fact, one of the educational sessions was titled, "California Water Issues," covering many of the state’s concerns including MTBE contamination, the state’s future water needs and Proposition 65, all of which has nationwide attention.
According to Jeannine Collins, director of conventions and meetings for the WQA, the annual trade show continues to grow each year. She reports approximately 4,200 attendees flooded the show. All attendees received a well-rounded look at all of the industry’s happenings such as technology advancements, business management techniques, standards assessments and, most importantly, a brief look at what has and will be happening during the next year. Here’s a quick look at some of the show’s hot topics.
One of the most intriguing topics of discussion was the international turn out. Attendees gathered from all over the world including New Zealand, China, Israel, South Korea and Argentina. Although previous years have included such populations, this year there seemed to be a tremendous international representation.
Each year the WQA receives more recognition from the international community. "Our membership is up right now despite industry consolidations," says Joe Harrison, technical director for the WQA. "I think that’s because we are expanding out to broader geographical horizons than we used to."
Seal of Approval
NSF International received its recognition as well. Aside from reviewing standards, volunteering for projects and resolving various confusion, NSF representatives joined in celebration with the WQA for the recent joint agreement that forms the Gold Seal testing requirements. Previously, products tested separately for certification, but the agreement allows the same testing at each organization, eliminating the need to test more than once. "NSF and the WQA both tested to the NSF standard, so testing was identical really," explains Harrison. "Now the testing can be performed at either place and the other party will accept it." The WQA expects this to be easier for all parties involved.
As we look to the future, we see many studies that may answer various questions. Further studies will be conducted on arsenic, softener standards in plumbing codes, the health benefits of trace metals in drinking water and brine discharge into septic tanks as well as many others.
For example, the CDC/EPA study of waterborne disease occurrences will continue on from a previous study. There are high hopes for what this will reveal. "It has the potential of showing point-of-use water as being healthier than tap water," says Harrison. This study will be ongoing for about two years with no set completion date. Dr. Deborah Levy from the National Center for Infectious Diseases offered additional explanation on various studies as she opened the CDC/EPA Waterborne Illness Research seminar.
Much time was spent discussing arsenic concerns including a review of arsenic treatment and the introduction of new media for arsenic in water treatment. The new arsenic rule, expected to come out in June, has the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency, which is expected to enlist this rule involving point-of-use treatment.
The WQA and attendees can only hope to see many of the same topics next year that drew a crowd such as University of North Carolina and Trojan Technologies, Inc.’s presentations on "Ultraviolet Research and Applications" that left the seminar with standing room only.
Everyone walked away with a lot gained from seminars and the trade show floor. Attendees with various knowledge levels—from beginners to experts—were able to leave with new and exciting information.
The association’s committee meeting discussions will continue at the WQA Mid-Year Leadership Conference, September 6–9 at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colo.