As some of you may know, WQP is not an only child—it has two sister publications, Water & Wastes Digest, which covers municipal and industrial water and wastewater treatment, and Storm Water Solutions, which covers storm water management and erosion control. Although each magazine has one primary editor, our staff must work as a team to ensure that all three magazines get to our readers on time each month. Although my main focus is on WQP, helping out on W&WD and SWS informs and improves my work on WQP by keeping me in tune with what is going on in other sectors of the water industry.
The point-of-use/point-of-entry water treatment market also is benefitting from working with other sectors of the industry. A prime example, covered in this issue in “Softening the Impact of Salt” (page 14), is a collaboration between the Madison (Wis.) Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) to investigate the effects of softener discharge on sewer systems.
It is no news to water treatment professionals that in recent years, municipal governments and water districts often have viewed water softeners as villains, blaming softener discharge for high chloride levels in sewage and water bodies. This has led to outright bans of water softeners in some areas, most notably in some California water districts.
MMSD has, in my opinion, taken a better approach. The district knew it had to do something to reduce chloride to permitted levels, and that softener discharge was playing a role in the high levels of chloride in wastewater. Instead of banning softeners, however, MMSD decided it needed more information about them, so it partnered with other organizations, including WQRF, to conduct studies on reducing chloride levels in sewers by upgrading or replacing residential softeners with more efficient models.
The study was a success—the results showed that efficient softeners did, in fact, reduce chloride levels in the sewage. MMSD now is working on grant programs to help both residential and commercial/industrial water users optimize or replace their softeners to improve efficiency.
Just as our editorial staff must work across market sectors to create quality magazines each month, the various entities that make up the water industry must work across the boundaries of residential, commercial, industrial and municipal water treatment to find the most effective solutions to today’s water problems—and working together will only make each group better individually.