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The annual water survey conducted by the NUS Consulting Group found the average price of water in the United States climbed by 3.

Average US water costs rise by 3.5 percent

The annual water survey conducted by the NUS Consulting Group found the average price of water in the United States climbed by 3.5 percent for the period of 1 July 2004 to 1 July 2005.

The survey, which includes 51 water systems located throughout the country, revealed a significant difference in water prices. Consumers in Huntington, West Virginia paid the highest price at US$5.49 per one thousand gallons ("MGal") while residents in Greenville, Missouri enjoyed the lowest price for water at US$0.80 per MGal. The average cost of water in the US was US$2.34 per MGal. Including related sewer costs, the survey also found that the national average rose to US$5.78 per MGal - an increase of 5.3 percent from July 2004.

Some of the more notable increases in water prices were observed in San Francisco, California (+14.8 percent); Denver, Colorado (+13.7 percent); Hartford, Connecticut (+12.7 percent); Greensboro, North Carolina (+12.7 percent); and Newport, New Hampshire (+10.0 percent). Maintenance and construction costs explain most of the increases as these cities struggle to upgrade and maintain aging water and sewer infrastructures.

"While the increase in water prices may seem insignificant in comparison to the recent rise in other energy costs, it should be pointed out that increased water and related sewer costs occur, without fail, year after year," remarked Richard Soultanian, co-president of NUS Consulting Group. "Businesses need to pay careful attention to their water costs as this commodity has the potential for significant increases in the future. Aging water systems coupled with ever stricter government regulations will have consumers paying more which in turn could have a negative impact on many business operations." For more information on the survey, visit the website: www.nusconsulting.com.

Global treatment chemicals market splintered, but growing

World sales of water and wastewater treatment chemicals topped US$ 17 billion in 2004, but will reach US$ 22 billion in 2010. Nevertheless, the market is splintered with tens of thousands of companies supplying a wide range of products, according to the McIlvaine Company in its online report “Water and Wastewater Treatment Chemicals World Markets” (http://www.mcilvainecompany.com).

The largest supplier, Nalco, achieved only a seven percent market share worldwide. GE Water, the next largest, only garnered 3.5 percent of the market. Other suppliers and their sales totals for 2004 include: Kurita ($400m); Kemwater ($320m); Buckman Labs ($250m); Ashland: Drew Industrial ($200m); Calgon Carbon ($200m); Ciba Specialty Chemicals ($200m); Cytec ($200m); and Solvay ($150m).

Twenty companies achieved sales in this segment in 2004 of more than $100 million. This means sales average is less than $1 million/yr. The industry is composed of companies who by and large buy commodity chemicals in bulk and then blend and package these chemicals along with service.

“Corrosion inhibitor” is the biggest single product category, representing 18 percent of the total. Other products in order of sales revenue are organic flocculants, inorganic flocculants, scale inhibitors, oxidizers and biocides, pH adjusters, odor control, ion exchange, activated carbon, chelates, and defoamers.

Municipal wastewater plants are the largest purchasers (17 percent of the total) followed by power generators, municipal water treatment plants, refineries and pulp and paper mills.

Airlines agree to monitor water quality

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached settlements on 19 October 27, 2005 with 11 major domestic airlines and 13 smaller airlines to ensure the safety of the drinking water used by their passengers and crew.

The settling airlines agreed to routinely monitor the quality of water on their airplanes. The action came after an EPA investigation of 327 US and foreign flag airlines at 19 airports in 2004 found total coliform contamination in the drinking water in 15 percent of aircraft. The 11 major domestic airlines that settled are members of the Air Transport Association, whose 14 members account for 90 percent of US air travel.

Total coliform is an indicator that other disease-causing organisms (pathogens) could be in the water and could potentially affect people's health. The settlements require the airlines to regularly monitor aircraft water systems; notify EPA and the public when tests reveal contamination; and regularly disinfect aircraft water systems and water transfer equipment. The orders also require each airline to study possible sources of contamination from outside of the aircraft.

The information released will help the traveling public make informed decisions. Passengers with compromised immune systems or others concerned may want to request canned or bottled beverages. EPA will update its information and advice to the traveling public as soon as new information is available at: http://www.epa.gov/airlinewater

EPA is negotiating agreements with Omni Air International and the three remaining members of the Air Transport Association: Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Southwest Airlines. Meanwhile, EPA is developing regulations for water that is served onboard aircraft.

Field Notes

USA:Once part of GE Water & Process, Lakewood Instruments announced its new ownership as an independent, privately owned and operated company. The company was previously part of GE Water & Process Technologies, acquired when GE bought Osmonics in February 2003.

The company will operate under a new business plan that will include new investments for product development and increased market focus on the water treatment industry. All Lakewood employees will remain with the company.

Lakewood Instruments manufactures and assembles water treatment controllers for cooling tower, boiler, process, and wastewater applications. The company offers three main product lines, which include the M2000 LonWorks series, the M1500 series, and the M100 series. In early 2006, the company will add a new combination model to its M1500 series product line, which has conductivity and pH with seven output relays. Visit www.lakewoodinstruments.com.

USA:The US non-profit organization Keep America Beautiful chose Koch Industries, Inc. to receive its 2005 Vision for America Award. Koch, the second largest private company in the US, is being recognized for its commitment to continually improving the environmental and safety performance of its many companies and for the many conservation projects its companies do in their communities.

Koch companies, including Koch Membrane Systems, Inc. (KMS), have also taken industry leadership roles by developing model programs that include setting best practices and advancing emissions-control technology. Participation in innovative clean air initiatives, like voluntary emissions-reductions programs and voluntary production of cleaner burning fuels at its Minnesota and Texas refining complexes, are helping the communities they serve meet their clean air goals.

Other organizations, such as Coastal Bend Bays Foundation, the Minnesota Environmental Initiative, and the National Association for Environmental Management, have also awarded Koch companies for its environmental work. Additional honors, like the Industrial Pollution Control Award from the Georgia Water & Pollution Control Association this year, reflect the company's innovative, results-oriented environmental policies.

USA:Datamatic Ltd. and RedMoon, Inc. formed a strategic partnership to jointly market advanced meter reading systems using WiFi networks to municipalities requiring a fixed network. RedMoon provides mobile data networks for cities and counties. Based in Plano, Texas, Datamatic supplies enterprise meter reading solutions to water utilities.

“By working with RedMoon, more municipalities can obtain time-of-use metering information as they experience the benefits of WiFi,” said Datamatic President Ken Kercher. “Tools such as our ProfilePLUS software will make utilities more productive, customer friendly and efficient, both today and well into the future. This software can allow a public- or privately-owned utility to monitor usage, resolve billing disputes and enforce conservation efforts.”

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