Mike Miazga: Keep water quality and water infrastructure at the forefront
Water is a big deal.
Sometimes we might take the readily available supply of water the large majority of us enjoy for granted.
I know I can be a big water-waste offender, whether it’s letting the bathtub faucet run while shaving or becoming distracted while doing dishes and leaving the kitchen faucet roaring away as gallons upon gallons of water go down swirling down the drain.
As we all know, water has become a big topic of discussion around the world from countries that have little to no supply of the fresh stuff to serious water issues at home that deal with waterborne pathogens and water infrastructure breakdowns.
We’ve heard time and again about how old water pipes around the country are, whether that be the ones responsible for moving water in municipalities or the ones that sit under our homes. About a decade ago, we had a pipe breakdown in our home that ended up costing several thousand dollars, not to mention the massive trench that had to be dug in our front yard to fix the cracks.
The good thing is our industry does a darned good job bringing these important issues to light and finding ways to improve a situation that will not get any better without action.
I recently moderated a pme webinar sponsored by Corazon that took a look at the seriousness of waterborne pathogens in piping. The webinar, “Water disinfection methods and their effects on plastic piping systems,” was extremely informative, yet scary at the same time. Pathogens were mentioned that I certainly had never heard of before, yet they are out there and could do major harm.
pme has done a great job over the last year of keeping the issue of legionella front and center. A quick Google search on legionella here right before deadline shows yet another outbreak, this time in North Carolina, where one person succumbed and a total of 15 people fell ill. The state fair is being looked at as a possible culprit. This is a major issue that, unfortunately, looks like it isn’t going away anytime soon.
On the same topic, longtime pme columnist Julius Ballanco takes a look at this very topic as it relates to codes. Check out Page 17 of this issue. Julius always is on top of the latest code happenings and this is no exception.
We’re also excited about the annual NSF International special section that is contained in this month’s issue. This year, the NSF theme is “Water infrastructure: A complicated and multifaceted topic that requires powerful solutions and stakeholders.” The section is jam-packed with relevant information on that very topic.
Earlier in the year, I was invited to a Watts Water Technologies health care symposium in Nashville that addressed topics such as water quality and legionella. Watts has upped the ante even more with its education efforts, and by the time you are reading this, I will have attended another one of its health care symposium events, this time at company headquarters in North Andover, Massachusetts. Some of the topics I was scheduled to sit in on included water safety plans, overcoming the risk associated with opportunistic waterborne pathogens, plumbing engineering design methods used to prevent waterborne pathogens and key findings from research and hospital legionella outbreaks and their implications on present and future design. Check out the November and December issues of pme to read about these topics.
Quite simply, we as an industry need to continue to ratchet up the heat on the topics of water quality and water infrastructure until even more positive change occurs.