Scaling UP! H2O

010 The One with Jim Lukanich

On today’s episode we welcome Jim Lukanich, a former AWT board member, he is a Certified Water Technologist (CWT) and the director of applied technology with U.S. Water. Jim won the Ray Balm Memorial Water Treater of the Year award in 2008. Jim describes himself as a short guy, about 59 years old, he runs, bikes and swims and just happens to be a water treater. Jim has been in the water treatment industry since 1981, he comes with a great deal of experience over the years and he has a big interest in microbiology and chemistry. Jim and his wife, alongside their nine rescue cats and two rescue dogs live in Grapevine, Texas.

In this episode we’re going to talk a little bit about closed loop systems, what you need to know and how they are the step child of the water treatment community. Jim Lukanich also joins us to share some need-to-know things about water treatment.

Closed Loop Systems

The close loop is just as important as that cooling tower loop and you know what that tower looks like when you don’t feed a microbiocide, well it’s a lot easier to see, of course we’ve got a more dynamic system with the cooling tower and sunlight might be getting in but we have things that are growing in the close loop as well. Give the closed loop the respect that it deserves and give your profession the respect that it deserves. If you are going to take care of a customer’s systems, make sure that you’re completely taking care of all of the customer’s systems. Treat for all four areas of water treatment: scaling, corrosion, microbial fouling and taking the dirt and debris out of the system.



Jim shares a bit more about himself [09:58]

Hear how Jim ended up working in the water treatment industry [12:53]

Learn what secrets Jim has learned through his many years of water treatment experience [22:30]

Find out why Jim believes it’s important to admit when you’re wrong [26:11]

Discover how if you understand microbiology, it’s easy to treat the cooling tower [28:29]

Understand how Jim relates a cooling tower and it’s ecosystem to teeth.

Hear at what age Jim gained wisdom and noticed a difference in his reactions [30:26]

Discover how the words potable and microbicide are two words often misused. – And how he called Trace out on it years ago [36:24]

Find out how Trace and Jim challenge each other when they do presentations [39:23]

Learn what things Jim did and still does to become a better speaker [42:48]

Listen as Jim helps us understand what PTSA is [45:05]

Hear some of Jim’s experiences about using PTSA [45:14]

Learn about TTPC, the one particular microbicide that could interfere with PTSA [49:32]

Discover some of Jim’s small wins throughout his career [53:02]

Hear why Jim considers his biggest failure, failing to recognize his own failures [54:56]

Find out what advice Jim has for people new to the water industry [57:18]


Clarifying Points:

Jim mentioned the issues with PTSA and TTPC.  To clarify PTSA stands for para toluenesulfonic acid and is used as a product tracing.  TTPC stands for tributyl tetradecyl phosphonium chloride.  The most well know TTPC is Bellacide 355.



“Try to keep learning; never stop learning.” – Jim Lukanich

“I think the secret to becoming a world class water treater is to never stop learning.” – Jim Lukanich

“Microbiology plays a major role in all types of depositions. Most important.” – Jim Lukanich

“My biggest failure is my failure to recognize any of my failures.” – Jim Lukanich


Connect with Jim Lukanich:


Twitter: @jlukanich


Links Mentioned:

US Steel


Buckman Laboratories

Tom Peters

Tastes great, Less Filling – Miller Lite 1987 Commercial

AWT Training




Books Mentioned:

The Primal Scream by Arthur Janov


Water Treatment education

2 Replies to “010 The One with Jim Lukanich”

  1. Hi Trace! I’m really enjoying the ScaledUp podcasts. I guess I had heard about it earlier, but had forgotten. When I attended the recent convention in Providence I remembered and started listening from the beginning on my desktop.

    Stupid question #1 from a techno-putz (there will be more). How do you download the podcast to an IPhone 10?

    Stupid question #2. As I mentioned, I am starting from the beginning. Most of the links in show notes are now disabled, they show up as or something like that. At some point are no longer available?

    Your assistance is appreciated, keep up the great work. I’m looking forward to catching up and if I can listen to them in the truck it will speed up the process.

    1. Hi Kevin! This is Margie, your podcast coordinator. I know that this is quite late, but here is a video I personally find very informative about downloading a podcast episode to your iPhone: Also, I will definitely go back to older episodes to update any broken links. Thank you for listening to the podcast!

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