Bringing Ultrafiltration to Ireland

Situated in Ardrahan, County Galway, Ireland, is a beautiful castle that was built in the 15th century—about the time Christopher Columbus was landing in North America. Today, this castle’s estate is the residence of a former water treatment professional who recognized the need for a modern water purification system in an aging structure.


Water Around the World

In 1981, Anthony Spooner and his wife relocated from Ireland to Florida. Not long after that, Spooner found himself involved in the water treatment industry.

“My wife was having a bad reaction to the heavily chlorinated water, so I bought a carbon block filter,” he said. “I started looking into how and why it would take out chlorine and block chlorine byproducts, and I became hooked on water treatment.”

Spooner soon began working with a water treatment company, and it wasn’t long before he and his wife moved to Maryland where he started his own company—Aqualab, Inc.

After living in the U.S. for 12 years, the Spooners decided to move back to Ireland. In 1995, Spooner and his wife moved into the castle in Ardrahan where he now works as a water treatment distributor and consultant. The water on the estate was not chlorinated because it came from a well; however, the water quality was very poor, and Spooner knew it was in need of treatment.

Spooner found his answer when he noticed an ad for an Aquacore ultrafiltration system in a water treatment magazine. “It intrigued me because it said it could block all the bacteria and critters that are in the water,” Spooner said. “I started doing some research on ultrafiltration and got in touch with several companies in Europe, but they only seemed to do large commercial installations.”


The Ultrafiltration Answer

Spooner contacted Aquacore and learned it had a unit that would treat domestic supplies. “It was a single- column system that could produce 10 gpm, which would handle most domestic situations here and even commercial systems like restaurants,” he said.

Because the well on the estate was old, the water contained hydrogen sulfide, manganese and some serious bacteria, according to Spooner.

“I didn’t have any problem treating the manganese and hydrogen sulfide, but I don’t like adding chemicals to the water—that’s one of my personal things I try to avoid,” Spooner said.

“I used ozone to oxidize the other products, but then you have the problem of the bacteria and filtration of the debris, so that’s why I used the Aquacore system. It automatically cleans itself; you choose the volume, and you can program it to flush out every so many gallons depending on the level of contamination.”

In May 2007, Spooner visited Aquacore’s facility in Elburn, Ill. After a week of looking at different installations and discussing options, Spooner decided to take on the Aquacore AC-11 ultrafiltration system and bring it back to Ireland. The system was installed in the castle in July, and the clean water became noticeable almost instantly.

“It’s kind of radical to introduce [this technology] into Ireland,” Spooner said. “The thinking is fairly old here, especially in western Ireland where I am.”

Regardless of how radical ultrafiltration in Ireland may seem today, Spooner believes it will catch on quickly. “We’ve had outbreaks of microbial contaminants in different parts of Ireland, and I think people are looking for something,” he said.

The system has been working well for Spooner, who has noticed the difference ultrafiltration has made on his water. “Chlorine can control a lot of contamination, but then you still get all the [debris] in the water,” he said. “This system just filters it all out completely.”

Author’s Note: For additional information regarding Aquacore, please contact Neil Oliver, vice president of sales and marketing for Aquacore. He can be reached at 888.657.7788, or by e-mail at [email protected].

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About the author

Stephanie Harris is managing editor for Water Quality Products. She can be reached at 847.391.1007, or by e-mail at [email protected].