This past spring I attended my first Water Quality Association show, and since then a variety of noteworthy water-quality-topic emails and news items have crossed my computer and desk. I’d like to share some of them with you.

  • At the WQA show I heard seminars on water purification and water hardness. I recalled the latter presentation when I obtained the first results of a new study (by the Battelle Memorial Institute) on the effects of water softeners upon showerheads in the home. The study shows that untreated hard water can clog showerheads in just 18 months. According to lab results, more than three-fourths of showerhead nozzles became clogged after one week of constant testing with hard water. In contrast, showerheads using softened water performed almost as well as on the day they were installed. Engineers also are examining how hard water affects the longevity of clothes washers, water heaters and dishwashers. The final research report will be released next month.

  • The Global Water Research Coalition and Water Environment Research Foundation are researching energy management in the water industry. One project that is of particular interest to me began in Jan. 2009. Called “Energy Efficiency in the Water Industry: A Compendium of Tools, Best Practices and Case Studies,” the project’s goal is to develop a list of best practices (worldwide) in the energy-efficient design and operation of water-industry assets.

  • This spring, the top American drinking water research association and Australian drinking water association agreed to cooperatively fund projects and share research. The agreement between the U.S.-based Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) was developed so both groups can solve pressing water resource problems more rapidly and effectively. Among their plans is to research the effect of climate change on drinking water resources and write a joint research roadmap. Robert C. Renner, WRF executive director, also noted that both countries face water quality problems and impending water shortages.

  • Last but not least, I recently received my village’s annual drinking water quality report - and actually read through it (five pages). Our water is supplied by Lake Michigan, so the report primarily is made up of information provided by the City of Chicago Dept. of Water Management. Contents included educational statements on drinking water contaminants, a source water assessment summary, test data on about 20 contaminants, data table footnotes and a map illustrating the water pipeline layout from Lake Michigan to my village. It also included some wonderful news: No drinking water quality violations were recorded for Glendale Heights last year.

    I assume you, as a plumbing engineer, feel strongly about water quality and make sure to specify products that keep water clean or help purify it.

    Together let’s make sure that quality - in both our water and work - remains priority number one.