In September, the Water Quality Association’s Mid-Year Leadership Conference brought together approximately 100 industry leaders in Québec City, Québec, Canada. From the fund-raising Water Quality Research Foundation Golf and Tennis Tournament and Benefit Reception and Dinner, to the WQA Committee and Section Meetings, to the State of the Industry Luncheon, this Mid-Year was a prime example of active networking in a relaxed atmosphere.
New at this year’s meeting was the restructured State of the Industry Luncheon, held on the second day of the conference. Executive Director Peter Censky kicked off the luncheon by providing an overview of WQA’s strategies, actions and results in the marketplace, as well as regulatory and government issues both nationally and internationally. Censky also focused on the upcoming WQA Aquatech USA 2006 show, which due to its strategic drive-in location at the Chicago area Rosemont Convention Center and following the success of last year’s show, is expected to attract even better attendance.
Another new item at this year’s conference was the formation of a History Task Force. Key industry members have expressed the desire to keep a log of the “rich and significant” heritage from the birth of the water quality industry, to its innovations and growth. The History Task Force is looking to capture the life experiences of the founders and significant people who make up that history.
A key issue discussed by the majority of WQA committees at the 2005 Mid-Year was the World Health Organization (WHO) position on the health effects of calcium and magnesium levels in drinking water. Joseph F. Harrison, WQA technical director, reported that the WQA has organized an active task force to respond to this very important issue. The task force has sent a letter to WHO expressing concern about the possible consumer reaction to WHO’s report on potential health effects due to lack of calcium and magnesium in drinking water.
In addition, the effects of water conditioning wastewater on the performance of onsite wastewater treatment was again a major topic present on the WQA committees’ agendas. WQA has encountered state and local regulation proposals attempting to ban softener discharges into septic and aerobic tank onsite wastewater systems in a number of states. At this point, Texas, Montana and New Mexico have already adopted regulations requiring that a separate waste discharge line for water softeners must be constructed to bypass around the treatment tank of aerobic and advanced onsite wastewater treatment systems. WQA committees have been actively following this issue and plan to conduct valid research that would get to the bottom of the problem and provide a solution based on actual research data.
Another issue widely discussed at the Mid-Year meetings was the development of new Canadian standards for residential drinking water treatment systems. The CWQA has formed a CSA B483 Technical Committee to develop a Canadian standard for drinking water treatment units. The creation of a CSA Technical Committee for drinking water treatment units has been authorized by the CSA Plumbing Steering Committee. These new standards directly affects the POU drinking water treatment units, in particular the mechanical compatibility and performance issues of faucets and valves.
Overall, the 2005 Mid-Year showed positive direction of the revamped WQA committee and section structure. Tangible results were evident all across the board.