Wrapping up 2006 and Looking Forward

Like many of our authors who contributed to the January issue of Water Quality Products, especially those who participated in our annual industry predictions article, I am faced with the challenge of previewing some of the new developments and issues our industry will likely face in the upcoming year. But in order to look forward, I think we’ll stick to tradition and once again take a look back and reflect on the results of past efforts we’ve witnessed throughout 2006 that will continue to influence our industry in 2007.

Arsenic stole the spotlight at the beginning of last year, as more than 90% of public water systems were affected by the revised arsenic limit of 10 ppb. Water Quality Products published various new items and articles on this issue and informed readers about how certain arsenic treatment technologies can effectively remedy this problem.

The World Health Organization (WHO) evaluation of the health effects of calcium and magnesium levels in drinking water was another issue that received plenty of press coverage in 2006. Following the April 2006 International Symposium on Health Aspects of Magnesium and Calcium in Drinking Water in Baltimore, Md., in November 2006, WHO released a final report that suggested consumers be informed about the altered mineral content of treated water. Although the report didn’t directly advise that calcium and magnesium be restored to drinking waters after being removed by a water treatment process, there are a number of challenges our industry can face in the upcoming year as a result of WHO’s findings.

Yet another issue Water Quality Products followed closely in 2006 was the development of the Water Quality Association (WQA) and the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) dialog to jointly research the validity of restrictions against water treatment waste discharges to septic tanks. In the last few years, WQA has been reviewing public health codes that prohibit water treatment waste discharges to septic tanks and advanced wastewater treatment units in various states throughout the country. In addition to working with NOWRA, the WQA will participate in an upcoming 2007 State Onsite Regulators Association (SORA) meeting in Reno, Nev., and plans to request SORA’s help to evaluate the data and resolve this issue.

Last but not least, in 2006, we witnessed the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission on imports of steam activated carbon from China. In October 2006, preliminary anti-dumping carbon tariffs were set due to the petitioning of Calgon Carbon Corp. and Norit Americas, Inc. These tariffs range anywhere from 50 to 200%, depending on the manufacturer of the carbon. A final determination is expected to be issued in April 2007. The carbon anti-dumping issue will definitely bring significant changes to the carbon market in 2007.

While I’ve attempted to offer a brief summary of some of the important issues of 2006 that will continue to affect our industry in the upcoming year, I think the collected outlooks on the state of the industry from top industry professionals (page 6), as well as other articles throughout this issue, will help you better plan for the challenges and opportunities of 2007.

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