This years educational roster was particularly good (can I actually say that since I was one of the speakers?).

The well-coordinated line-up began with an excellent lecture by Chubb Michaud (Systematix) about why there is a real need for water softening, the importance of water softening in residential and commercial applications, and a helpful guide to understanding the true definition of soft water and softening….Soft Water = <1gpg of CaCO3 Hardness. A softener can only be called a softener if it actually REMOVES hardness from water. Chubb also reminded everyone in attendance that water softening can properly be defined as a green technology, since it help homes and businesses save heating energy, soaps, detergents, and even water.

Chubb Michaud (Left) and Dr. Peter Fox (Right) - PWQA 2011 - Irvine, CA
Chubb Michaud (Left) and Dr. Peter Fox (Right) – PWQA 2011 – Irvine, CA

Dr Peter Fox from Arizona State University presented after Chubb, sharing details of the research he and his team have been performing on scale control devices and their efficacy. He presented compelling slides to show how effective some devices are. Next ScaleStop’s Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) technology was clearly the hands-down winner through a broad range of temperatures. That is reassuring, since we represent the technology in our market area and I have personally recommended it on countless occasions. As a research scientist, Dr. Fox doesn’t have any of the bias of a professional water treatment dealer, and it was refreshing to hear his matter-of-fact presentation. Dr. Fox and his team are continuing their research and are now comparing different water chemistries to try and create an effective standard fro rating the efficacy of salt-free scale control devices.

My presentation at the 54th Annual Pacific Water Quality Association Convention and Trade Show helped dealers understand the importance of proper water softener sizing, selection, installation and maintenance. As a technical presentation, this is eligible for WQA recertification credit; if you didn’t register at the training-hall, please contact the WQA education division to ensure that you receive proper credit for this class.

I was impressed with attendance today at all four sessions, 76 people were in attendance at my session which means that a large number of smart dealers are genuinely interested in serving their customers better.

The presentation notes and handouts are available below for your convenience:

Presentation – “Meeting the Customer’s Expectations”

Handout – Softener Installation Guide

The final presentation was by John Foley, a principal at Rayne Corporation in California who has dealt with the Santa Clarita softener bans by developing an innovative whole-house reverse osmosis package that incorporated low-pressure TFC membranes as well as some other innovative ideas like mid-tank float cut-offs, calcite pH neutralization, rinse water reuse and others to enhance the customer experience and improve the net environmental impact. I really enjoyed his presentation, since I am a big believer in whole-house membrane separation solutions. While my preference lies towards high-rejection nanofiltration, John’s approach is valid and offers a great solution for people in California who are forced to abandon their ion exchange water softeners.