Around the Industry – December 2014

Dec. 9, 2014

EPA announces preliminary determination to regulate strontium in drinking water; USGS awards grants to four university programs; Los Angeles aims to lower water use; and more.

EPA announces preliminary determination to regulate strontium in drinking water

EPA made a preliminary determination to regulate strontium in U.S.’s drinking water. Strontium is a naturally occurring element that, at elevated levels, can impact bone strength in people who do not consume enough calcium. Strontium replaces calcium in bones, affecting skeletal development, and although it can affect all life stages, infants, children and adolescents are of particular concern as their bones are developing. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to develop a contaminant candidate list (CCL) and then make a regulatory determination for at least five contaminants on the CCL, every five years. Based on available information, EPA initially determined strontium has adverse health effects. Strontium has been detected in 99 percent of public water systems and at levels of concern in seven percent of public water systems in the country.

USGS awards grants to four university programs

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) awarded nearly $1 million to four university programs across the country, through the National Competitive Grants Program. The grants were awarded to proposals from programs at Purdue University, University of Iowa, University of Maryland and the University of Nebraska. The goals of the National Competitive Grants program are to promote collaboration between USGS and university scientists in research on significant national and regional water resources issues, promote the dissemination and results of the research funded under this program as well as assist in the training of scientists in water resources. The program’s federal funding is required to be matched with nonfederal dollars each year. And, any investigator at an accredited institution of higher learning in the U.S. is eligible to apply for a grant through a Water Research Institute or Center established under the provisions of the Water Resources Research Act of 1984.

Los Angeles aims to lower water use

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently announced that he is aiming to reduce the city’s water use by 20 percent over the next three years, using a mixture of voluntary restrictions for residents and mandatory restrictions for city departments. Garcetti explained that the city’s existing reductions in water use were inadequate given the severity of the drought. The 3.9 million residents of Los Angeles were asked to limit watering their lawns to twice a week and city departments were ordered to reduce the watering of municipal lawns. If the restrictions and other water efficiency measures do not meet the goal, Los Angeles could impose mandatory restrictions on residents.

WEFTEC 2014 sets new exhibition record

The Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) 87th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC 2014) set new records in New Orleans. A total of 20,385 registrants and 1,027 companies from nearly 100 countries participated in WEFTEC 2014 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, which was the largest showing in New Orleans yet for WEF. Kicking off the conference was the Opening General Session built around a central theme of embracing change in a disruptive age, which featured remarks from 2013-2014 WEF President Sandra Ralston and best-selling author and transformative change expert Luke Williams. WEFTEC is recognized as the world’s largest annual water quality event and provides the latest technologies and services for water environment preservation, restoration and sustainability.

EPA to fund water quality and infrastructure projects in California

More than $183 million in funding will be used to invest in California for statewide improvements in local water infrastructure and the reduction of water pollution. The funding will be used for California water quality projects to reduce water pollution, improve municipal drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, make water and energy projects more efficient and provide technical assistance to communities.

Professionals start preparing for Aquatech USA 2015 

The Water Quality Association’s (WQA) Aquatech USA 2015, which is scheduled for April 21-24, 2015, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, will bring together a vast range of products and services for the residential, commercial and industrial water treatment markets as a low-cost option for a high return on U.S. water treatment market knowledge. U.S. industrial manufacturers forecast continued growth through 2015, making Aquatech USA 2015 a worthwhile investment for foreign companies wishing to enter or expand their presence in North American markets. WQA Aquatech USA’s International Pavilion offers a dedicated section of the trade show floor for international companies, and more than 50 percent of the booth space in the International Pavilion has already been reserved. Visitors from 58 different countries around the world attended the 2014 edition of WQA Aquatech USA.

USDA supplies funds to upgrade U.S. water and wastewater systems

USDA will provide more than $352 million in loans and grants to upgrade water and wastewater systems around the country and make infrastructure improvements in rural Alaska villages. USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted that climate change is putting more stress on municipal water systems with many areas in the U.S. seeing changes in rainfall, often resulting in more floods, droughts and other costly environmental impacts. USDA Rural Development has invested approximately $11 billion in new and improved water and wastewater infrastructure since 2009, benefiting around 15 million residents in rural areas and almost six million homes and businesses.

EPA awards additional funds to New York and New Jersey

EPA awarded $197 million to New York and $74 million to New Jersey to help finance improvements to water projects aimed at protecting public health and the environment. The funds will be primarily used to upgrade sewage plants and drinking water systems throughout New York and New Jersey. Awarded annually, the funding is in addition to the previous $340 million awarded to New York and the $229 million granted to New Jersey. Since 1989, EPA has granted more than $5.7 billion for water projects in New York and over $2 billion for New Jersey projects.

WateReuse Association releases new white paper on CWSRF

The WateReuse Association announced the release of a new white paper, “Financing Industrial Water Reuse with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.” The white paper explains the changes in eligibility for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), the pros and cons of the CWSRF and the steps to take to apply for funding. The 2014 Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) was signed into law on June 10, 2014, and went into effect on Oct. 1. WRRDA aims to help modernize U.S. water infrastructure and allows private sector companies to obtain CWSRF loans to construct onsite industrial water reuse projects for the first time.


David Shimkus has joined the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)’s Global Sanitation Fund as its new program director, bringing over 15 years of experience in international health and development. Shimkus will oversee the Fund’s ongoing efforts to support community-led sanitation programs in developing countries, including resource mobilization, program monitoring and evaluation, financial management and capacity building. Before his new position with WSSCC, Shimkus served as senior manager of Global Health Partnerships for the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), overseeing financial and program applications for collaborations between UNOPS and major global health organizations.

Wilo USA LLC welcomes Eric Kearbey as the Midwest regional sales manager for Water Management. Kearbey, a former Midwest regional sales manager for Ekato Corporation, has 17 years of experience in the chemical, pump and industrial markets and holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri. He will lead the sales organization of the Midwest region, executing strategic sales objectives, supporting customers and selling submersible pumps and mixers.

NewAge Industries announced the promotion of Michael R. Allard to director of sales. A four-year employee, Allard previously held the role of global sales manager for the company’s AdvantaPure® high purity products division. In his new position, Allard will oversee sales for NewAge Industries’ industrial tubing and hose and for AdvantaPure’s biopharmaceutical tubing and single-use technologies. He will remain a visible key team member, meeting with customers and distributors and using his application engineering skills. Allard will also work with other company department leaders on corporate planning and implementation and will be responsible for all sales team staffing.

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) named Lauren Schapker as its second-ever government affairs director to replace Christine Reimer, who is retiring after starting the position in 1993. Before her new position with NGWA, she worked for the Portland Cement Association (PCA) as director of government and political affairs. Prior to joining the PCA, she was a senior policy advisor for Xenophon Strategies, a firm which provides government relations and public affairs services.

Ganesh Kadam has been named a supervising engineer in the Las Vegas office of Parsons Brinckerhoff, where he will provide technical and project management leadership on water and wastewater supply projects. Prior to Parsons Brinckerhoff, Kadam was a project engineer at an international engineering company. Kadam has 17 years of experience in engineering design, program management and construction management and has managed a wide range of water and wastewater design and rehabilitation projects for conveyance systems.

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