Time flies when you’re having fun — this statement only seems to become more true the older I get. It’s hard to believe it has been nearly five years since I started working for WQP and immersing myself in the water industry.
In those five short years, there has never been a dull moment — I have met interesting people from every walk of the water treatment industry life, seen new and innovative technologies and witnessed regulations and standards change and evolve.
With all of the changes I have seen in just five years, it’s hard to imagine all of the changes WQP has witnessed in its 20 years.
Customers have changed: Today’s consumers are more knowledgeable about water quality than ever, and they expect solutions to be available for all of their water-related worries. According to Tom Huemann, founder of Huemann Water Conditioning in Johnsburg, Ill., when he started his business in the 1960s, customers’ attitude toward water was “well, it’s wet.” Today, says his son Joe Huemann, who currently runs the dealership: “People have come to expect to do something for drinking what in their house.”
Regulations and standards have changed: More substances than ever are being added to list of contaminants water professionals must watch out for — such as in California, ever on the leading edge of regulations, which introduced a limit for hexavalent chromium in drinking water. Efforts to ban traditional water softeners over concerns about salinity have caused enormous issues for the industry.
Technologies have changed: Testing technologies have advanced to the point that minute levels of contaminants can be detected, fueling concerns over emerging contaminants like pharmaceuticals. In addition to the tried-and-true traditional softeners, membrane and disinfection technologies of all types are available for the point-of-use and point-of-entry applications. Salt-free softening alternatives have been introduced. Fueled by sustainability and conservation concerns, water technologies are becoming ever more water efficient.
I could go on and on — and I’m sure all of you would have changes to add to the list as well.
We see WQP’s 20th anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on the past and look forward to the future, and this special anniversary edition of WQP provides insight into how far the industry — as well as the companies and individuals who make it up — have come in the past 20 years (or more, in many cases).
We hope you enjoy reading about the past, present and future of this industry in the coming pages as we pay homage to the people, companies and ideas that make water treatment such a great business to be in.