The Eastern Water Quality Association (EWQA) has suffered some setbacks over the last few years, leading to diminished membership and participation; however, the board of directors and executive administrator are taking steps to revitalize this association so that it may live up to its potential.
“Last June, when board members spent two days at a retreat, it was the beginning of a new direction for the EWQA,” said Randy Eddinger, veteran board member of Suburban Water Technology.
Steps being taken include adding new board members with fresh ideas; revising and updating bylaws; forming a legislative task group; recruiting new members; and providing a forum for exchange of information, whether it is about new technology or legislative issues members face. The EWQA is committed to taking action on issues brought to the attention of the association.
The EWQA board of directors recently voted to expand from 11 to 17 members. With some board members resigning and others with expired terms, EWQA has had the opportunity to add eight new board members. It is the association’s hope that these new members will bring a different outlook, new ideas and enthusiasm.
Mending & Revising
The most recent undertaking was an update of the bylaws, which helped to clarify the goals and objectives of the association. These revisions specify action orientation.
Some of the new objectives include:
- Engage in activities of a professional association in order to best serve the interests of EWQA members and the public;
- Act as a resource for members by providing educational opportunities;
- Encourage proper and ethical use of industry equipment, products and services;
- Provide educational programs that enable members to perform services to the community;
- Provide a legislative voice on industry issues for members and the industry;
- Coordinate industry issues with WQA; and
- Engage in any proper and lawful activity of a professional association in order to best serve the interests of members and the public.
At this year’s trade show and conference held in Scranton, Pa., the association developed four member priorities.
The first topic discussed was identification of the various state regulations for installation of water treatment equipment, and members from the various states identified how they are being regulated. Several states are requiring Master Plumber’s licenses for installation of water treatment equipment, which puts many water treatment dealers—as well as consumers—at a disadvantage. It was the general opinion that the association should look into certification of water treatment installers through well drilling certification and licensing boards.
The second action item involves drafting a position paper for installers to use when working on certification or licensing in individual states. The focal points of this position paper include public safety and health concerns, environmental issues and opportunities as well as planning and growth potential.
The water-testing topic discussed was centered around regulations in New Jersey known as the Private Well Testing Act. This regulation requires water testing on any house being sold with a private well. This regulation has opened up opportunities for water treatment dealers because any parameter found at a level over the maximum allowable level requires water treatment before the property can be sold. There are other regulations requiring water testing on private wells, but they tend to be in counties rather than statewide. Nonetheless, members expressed concern about other states adopting similar regulations. The concern is about how the cost of testing is determined by what is being tested.
The third action point taken from this meeting was to draft a position paper on testing, and a number of resources were identified to help.
Finally, there was a lengthy discussion about how the consumer perceives the industry and what kind of information we can provide them to make appropriate decisions about water treatment. We identified sources of information available to use in educating consumers, such as the Water Quality Association, National Ground Water Association, Water Systems Council, American Ground Water Trust, universities and manufacturers of treatment equipment. This defined the last action item—to create a brochure to teach consumers to ask the right questions when deciding on water treatment equipment.
The EWQA is committed to taking action about members’ concerns, and this year’s conference allowed the opportunity for members to guide the actions of the association.
Every association experiences ups and downs, and the EWQA is in a full upswing with no intention of letting the enthusiastic participation dwindle.