Scaling UP! H2O

212 Transcript

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welcome to scaling up the podcast where
we scale up on knowledge so we don’t
scale up our systems my name is trace
blackmore i get to host this fantastic
podcast called scaling up h2o and you
the fantastic listeners of this podcast
i affectionately call the scaling up
we are an entire nation of people
that want to get better that want to
challenge ourselves that want to make
the industry that we are in better for
the simple fact that we chose to be in
it and i know that we do things each and
every day to try to improve ourselves
and try to improve the industry and one
of those things that we do
at least on a weekly basis and our
friend james mcdonald helps us out each
and every week with that is we do a new
james’s challenge
hello scaling up nation the next james
is challenged as we grow as an
industrial water treatment professional
drop by drop is
explain to a non-technical person how an
absorption chiller works
i’ve always wondered what intoxicated
engineer thought it was a good idea to
use hot steam to make chilled water but
engineering is magic after all
absorption chillers work differently
than compression chillers they pose
different challenges
explaining the mystery of absorption
chillers to a non-technical person will
not only help you think more deeply
about them but will blow their minds as
be sure to share your experience on
linkedin by tagging it with hashtag jc21
and hashtag scalinguph2o this is james
mcdonald and i look forward to seeing
what you share
nation as many of you know several years
ago james put in the paperwork to
declare the first full week of october
our holiday industrial water week that
is coming up october 4th
monday through friday a brand new
episode for you the scaling up nation
of course scaling up h2o’s free gift to
well it’s kind of free you don’t really
have to pay for it but what i’m asking
you to do is help us celebrate and let’s
celebrate big this year
make sure
that on pre-treatment monday you take a
picture in front of your favorite water
softener on boiler tuesday do the same
thing with a boiler on cooling wednesday
i know you have a favorite cooling tower
take a picture of yourself beside that
on waste water thursday maybe you’re
doing a jar study or something take a
picture of you doing that and then
careers friday you get to get creative
with what you do there i want you to
hashtag those to iw21
and hashtag that to scaling up h2o that
way we can all join in the fun and we
can celebrate this together and as we
have done each and every industrial
water week you will have a brand new
episode every day
that week that’s our gift to you
the scaling up nation
folks i hope to see so many people from
the scale it up nation at the
association of water technologies
convention and
rhode island i can’t believe that we’re
so close to it last year we weren’t able
to do it we did a virtual version of it
and that was great but it’s so much
better to see all of you i can’t wait to
see the scaling up nation i can’t wait
to have conversations with you hear all
the things that you want to tell me
about the podcast
that truly is my favorite convention to
go to and you’ve heard that i covered
dozens of conventions on this podcast i
have a passion for the association of
water technologies i was president of
that association i was on the board for
several years and i’m still involved in
the educational committee as one of the
trainers there i absolutely love the awt
many of the friends that i have today
are because i decided to invest time in
the awt
and the awt
has paid me back through friendships
through knowledge through experience
through people that i can call when i
see something that i just don’t have an
answer for all of those things because i
decided to get involved i decided to
give a little bit of my time and because
i decided to give
i got so much back and maybe you can
talk to some of the fine folks at awt
about joining one of their committees
where you can start to give a little bit
of yourself as well
maybe awt isn’t the right organization
for you i promise you there is a right
organization out there
find that organization figure out how
you can get involved and if you do i
promise you will never regret it well
folks again if you are at the
association of water technologies
convention please look for me i can’t
wait to see you
and i also can’t wait to get to our next
now many of us have questions about what
to do
when we have a system that tests
positive for legionella or maybe there
are some protocols that we have to do
and we need some more information to
what it is that we need to do to make
sure that customer gets what they need
on their water systems
so many questions and i know you are
going to enjoy our next guest
my lab partner today is dr alberto
kamatsi of santa pure how are you
okay thank you for having me um yeah so
my name is alberto komatsi i’m
originally from italy you can probably
tell from my accent hopefully everybody
will understand my
my accent here
um i graduated at the university of
milan a few years ago
i got a phd in industrial chemistry and
chemical engineering in the same
university as i was doing that i did an
internship at the university of illinois
at urbana-champaign for a few months
during my
college time i used to work on
water treatment and also oil and gas so
that’s how
i got involved with santa pure and
that’s how i got to know them because we
were collaborating on on some projects
when i was working in the lab
i got to know them i got my phd i asked
them if they were looking for somebody
they said yes they were looking for
somebody to get trained in italy and and
then move here to america so i said well
let’s do it that’s how i packed up on my
suitcase moved to philadelphia and
started to work for santa cruz us where
right now i am the technical director
and business development manager and in
particular sanctuary us deals with
supplemental disinfection technologies
for water hygiene and water disinfection
i’m also a member
of the ashrae 188 committee and i’m a
member also the awwa premise plumbing
what are some of the things that you’re
talking about in the ashrae 188
committee well the usher 188 right now
just published the
ashrae guideline 12. so there’s been
definitely a lot of work to get that
published it has been a you know a
process that required quite a few years
with some public reviews i kind of
joined actual 188 when that was already
in process so it’s very interesting to
be a part of that group because you can
literally talk with world-class
scientists and with the market leaders
in the nation about
water treatment and water hygiene so
it’s definitely a good experience
because you can bring your background at
the table but then there are a lot of
knowledgeable people at the table and
you can definitely learn a lot by
joining those communities for sure
what’s something you miss about italy
that you just can’t get in philadelphia
that’s that’s an easy question uh that
there is an easy answer it’s it’s pizza
there’s good pizza here in philly but um
you know there are also a couple of good
cheesesteak places where i can replace
the pizza with a good cheesesteak here
in philadelphia so i definitely miss
that but um it’s easy enough to go back
home from philadelphia it’s not that
at least before the pandemic i could fly
out from new york and
sometimes i flew back home just for a
weekend for a long weekend so it’s not
that big of a deal but phil is a good
place uh especially when the eagles won
the super bowl for sure
so pats or genos
neither of them james or south there we
go we’re all doing cheesesteak wrong
exactly exactly
those two are the commercial places you
know where the tourists go let’s put it
that way
there’s no doubt about it we’ve had a
lot of shows about legionella i think
we’ve cleared up a lot of misconceptions
about legionella about how the water
treaters should talk with their
customers about legionella but something
we’ve never done before
is have somebody that’s directly
involved with the secondary disinfection
of that so that’s what i’m really
excited about today that we can talk to
you and talk about what we need to know
when we do have a legionella issue what
are our options
how do we go about remediating that all
of the questions that surround that so
are you ready for that
absolutely i can’t wait
so let’s just start there so let’s say
in scaling up nation if you have not
reviewed some of the episodes prior to
this episode to learn more about
legionella i’ll have a list on my show
notes page
so you can bone up on the topic and join
us in this conversation armed with what
we’re talking about so let’s say
we now have a legionella
water management plan and in that plan
it says that if we got x amounts of
legionella bacteria that we have to do
some sort of remediation and now we’re
we’re now talking with somebody like
and we need to get something set up what
do we do
yeah good question good question and you
know there is not a silver bullet here
there are different options that are
usually written in the water management
plan or
there are also different options that a
building manager or building owner can
look for in the marketplace there are
different techniques to either prevent
or remediate legionella the first one of
course is best is good water management
practice so you know flash making sure
that your temperature is well controlled
but in some cases that is not enough so
in some cases some buildings get to the
to what you just said you know they have
a legionella problem so what am i doing
i figure out that i have a legionella
problem well first of all
you need to test for legionella
unfortunately as of right now
uh testing for regional is not mandatory
so it’s a sort of a proactive action
that the building is taking
water management plans might suggest to
test for religionella but it’s not as i
said it’s not mandatory but in my
opinion that is the only way to validate
that your plan is working otherwise
kind of blind and you don’t know if you
actually have a legendary problem or do
not have a legitimate problem or you
don’t know if your plan is working or
not working
so let’s pretend that we’re testing for
legionella we find legionella what are
the options that we have
usually what a lot of buildings do
as soon as they have a problem with
they can implement in heat and flush
so they increase the temperature of the
water to a point where
that temperature can kill legionella so
usually above 160 and then they start to
flush the system
there are some drawbacks with this
remediation technique uh the first one
is that it’s actually difficult to bring
160 water everywhere in the plumbing
it could damage the plumbing system
it could scald somebody
and technically could not be effective
over the long term because even if i’m
taking care of the problem right now
from tomorrow i still can have some
legionella coming in from from the city
because that’s how legionella comes in
in my building comes in from the city
water and plus uh as i said if we don’t
get to that temperature everywhere in
the system there might be still some
regional in the system that can
eventually recolonize the building water
system second technique of remediation
for legionella
are the point of use filters so that is
a physical barrier that we put between
the building water system and the
occupants of a building and that
physically prevents the bacteria to go
through the filter so typical legionella
filters are between 0.1 and 0.2 microns
the actual legionella bacteria is bigger
than that so it cannot physically go
through the filter so the filter unless
it’s not working right or some
mechanical problems happens
gives you pretty much uh a hundred
percent uh protection against legionella
so in this case it’s easy to think uh
well why don’t we install filters in
every faucet and every shower is in the
country but it’s not an effective
solution first of all from a financial
it’s not cost effective second these
filters need to be replaced on a regular
basis so they need to be replaced every
month or every two months or every three
so it requires a lot of manpower of
course if we think about a small
building it might not sound like a big
problem but let’s think about a big
healthcare facility or a healthcare
campus we’re talking about thousands of
faucets and fixtures there so it becomes
very hard to handle that and to track of
what filters are being used and what
needs to be replaced
so what buildings usually do
is to install these filters just in the
areas where
immunocompromised people are
such as the icu or the nicu so in those
areas where
there are really immunocompromised
patients so we need that sort of 100
the filters are also used in response of
an outbreak or or a case
uh you know if the state gets involved
they want to do something quick uh so
they can say okay let’s install the
filters they can usually you know
whatever supplier whatever filter
supplier you choose they can usually
ship the filters overnight everywhere in
the country so it’s a very plug-and-play
solution over the the short term
and then the third
type of techniques is called
supplemental disinfectant so
here we can divide the disinfectant
or the disinfection process let’s say
in two different categories so we have
shock treatment or we have the actual
supplemental disinfectant treatment so
the shock treatment as the word shock
say it’s something that again in a
response of an outbreak a building can
shock chlorinate the building plumbing
system with either chlorine or chlorine
dioxide or in some cases even with
and they usually increase the level of
disinfectant to a point that is much
higher than what is allowed in drinking
water so at that point the building
needs to go on water restriction nobody
can use the water they usually leave the
building with the high level of
in the building plumbing system for few
hours and then they flush it out
again this is kind of hidden flush uh it
could be effective over the short term
not really effective over the long term
because we have no effect on what’s
coming in from the
city from the day after and also
i could damage plumbing materials and it
can disrupt the biofilm to a point where
it looks like it’s working but then you
test out for after a month and your
levels are coming back up
so the
supplemental disinfectant instead are a
continuous treatment
that a building implement and
so there is a chemical feeder
that keeps feeding chemicals as needed
in the building in order to maintain the
disinfectant level to a point that is
safe for legionella remediation
this is done mostly because when the
public water utility delivers the water
to the distribution system
by the time the water flows from the
point of entry of the distribution
system to the point of entry of your
the disinfectant concentration will drop
and most likely will drop below
uh to the point where it’s not effective
against legionella anymore i think that
most of the state require 0.2 parts per
million at the point of entry of the
water distribution system i think
pennsylvania requires 0.2
at the point of venture of the building
i think new jersey was talking about
raising the levels at point 50 at the
point of venture of the building but
it’s first of all it’s very challenging
due to the nature of a public water
second even if we’re talking about 0.2
or 0.50 it will likely not be enough to
keep the building safe from legionella
so that’s why in
you know most of the cases a water
management plan
suggests the use of a supplemental
disinfectant so we can make sure
that the disinfectant levels in the
are at a level that are enough to kill
the legionella that is in the building
already and kill the legionella that is
eventually entering the building water
system alberto a lot of people will try
heat and flush first
is there any way to verify that we have
reached 160 degrees through every part
of the building
yes the way to do that is when
you flush the water from all the
features it’s physically going there
with a you know a thermometer
and or a temperature probe and measure
the temperature well if you do that
you’re sure that you’re you’re reaching
that temperature of the fixture but
you’re not sure that you’re reaching
that temperature everywhere in your
plumbing system plus
if we think this is about the time that
we’re required to do that for each
fixture we’re talking about hours and
hours of work and plus these are all
hours where the building needs to be on
on water restriction as well because you
can deliver water 160 fahrenheit to
for human consumption
something i’ve seen with filters is
people forget to change them there you
mentioned one two three i’ve seen some
that are good for six months and then
you look at the dates and it was 18
months since it was installed
do they totally lose their effectiveness
as they age
i don’t think that they lose their
effectiveness one day after the
expiration date but
you need to keep track of that because
if something happens and then the state
gets involved and then the filter was
supposed to be changed a month ago
but it wasn’t and somebody got sick in
that room then there is room for
litigation in that case but i agree with
you that’s why filters are usually used
in just certain areas of of the
buildings i have to be honest though
there are some apps that right now
you can install on your phone and there
is a qr code on the filters where you
can scan the qr code as you’re
installing the filters and then your app
will tell you you know this filter in
this room needs to be changed so it
right now of course it’s much easier to
keep track of what needs to be done and
what filters need to be changed but of
course there is always the human factor
into it you know there is always
a notification that will come through on
friday afternoon at 4 30 p.m
and somebody will will forget about that
you know so yes uh that is definitely a
problem with the use of filters you know
somebody forgets to to change them and
um you know if something happens that
could be a big big problem
and then the last thing you mentioned
was secondary disinfection
and we we’ve got i guess two different
flavors of that if you will we have the
and then we have when somebody just
brings something in
for remediation
can we break those two down when is one
appropriate over the other one and get
your experience
so usually a shock disinfection it’s
something that
is usually done in response to an
outbreak so there is a case again the
state is involved
you need to do something quick
so you call your water treatment
provider and they can come in the same
they can just hook up a system either at
the point of entry of your building or
on your domestical water system or both
and then they can just start to
over feed a disinfectant in the system
and that’s something that you do for a
few hours and then you need to flush but
again same drawbacks of heat and flush
water restriction
a lot of time you have to flush the
entire building you in this case as you
asked how can you make sure that you
reach a certain concentration now here
you got them at a certain temperature
sorry now here you have to make sure
that you reach a certain concentration
everywhere in the system which is you
know sometimes it’s just impossible to
do that
and a lot of different building water
systems are uh very different so they
have different design different risers
so it’s very hard to
implement something like that in a
building that you don’t really know how
the plumbing system is designed uh
whereas a supplemental disinfect
disinfectant system it’s something that
you install
and it’s operating 24 7. so it keeps
feeding disinfectant as needed in the
building water system in order to keep
the levels to a point where it’s
effective against the legionella or
other waterborne pathogens and of course
there are different controls uh based on
different disinfectants
that can be implemented in order to feed
the disinfectant into into a building
when we talk about supplemental
disinfectant we usually talk there are
epa-listed disinfectants that are
chlorine chlorine dioxide and
and copper silver is used as well as a
technology for
as a supplemental disinfectant
and there are also other technologies
out in the in the marketplace
such as mixed oxidants
there are different chlorine dioxide
generators that generate chlorine
dioxide in different ways so i mean
there are a lot of
solutions out there in the market for
in your experience does one of those
disinfectants work better than another
um it depends on the
what is the target and what is the
application i would say that the most
commonly used right now in the country
monochloramine chlorine dioxide and
copper silver
chlorine is something
easy that can be used because it’s
basically just a small dosing pump that
fits chlorine in the building but it is
widely reported in the literature that
chlorine is not the the best option for
legionella remediation at least in
buildings there are a lot of drawbacks
with chlorine between monochloramine
chlorine dioxide and copper silver of
course each technologies has its own
pros and cons i would say specifically
building water system monochloramine is
probably the best one
just because it’s more stable it’s a
much more stable molecule and being more
stable it is just that physically and
chemically easier
to carry a consistent residual
throughout the uh the building water
system of course then there are some
other applications
for legionella remediation still but
let’s talk about processed water and
maybe the contact time it’s so short
so then we need to use a stronger
disinfectant so in that case we might
need to use chlorine dioxide you know so
it kind of depends on
what the application is but i would say
for just strictly talking about building
then probably monoclonal is the best
there’s probably a listener out there
and they’ve just received a phone call
from one of their customers and they say
that they want to do supplemental
what should this listener start with
what questions should they ask the
how do they go about making sure they
install it in the right process what are
all the things that needs to go through
that person’s mind as they’re gearing up
for this
good question yeah because sometimes
from the building standpoint it’s a lot
to process you know especially if you’re
in a situation when you need to make
some decision quick
so as i said it’s each building water
system is different but it’s um there
are some things that needs to be that
need to be taken
into account where installing a
supplemental disinfection system
i would say first of all is talk with
the building
understand what is their target so is
their target just legionella or are they
concerned about different waterborne
then the second question is
and this is the
million dollar
question is are we going to install the
supplemental disinfection system on the
coal incoming cold water from the city
just on the domestic hot water system
what i’ve seen here is that a lot of
people especially when
you’re talking with
people from the actual facility from the
if they don’t have a water treatment
background they might think that
treating the entire cold water
is better because as i’m treating the
cold water coming into the facility then
if i feed the disinfectant there then
i’m going to treat the entire water in
the building however it is not that easy
so what is what matters at the end of
the day is to establish a consistent
for legionella remediation in the
domestic cold water system because
legionella is a thermo-tolerant pathogen
that grows and colonizes well in warm
water environment so we want to make
sure that
we carry that residual all the way into
the domestic water system
in some facilities due to the nature of
the plumbing system and when i say the
nature is
how far is the domestic hot water system
from the point of venture of the
long does it take to turn over the
entire domestic hot water system
are there storage tank how many risers
are in the building
sometime if we feed the disinfectant
just in the cold water it could be
impossible to achieve a consistent
disinfectant into the domestic water
so the first thing to do is get it’s get
familiar with the building water system
understand that and make the application
where it’s needed
what we personally suggest
and is to for legionella remediation
purposes is to make the application on
the domestic called water treatment
because that is where the problem
occurs and that’s where you want to
fix the problem but of course water
treatment firms they can they can do
both they can install the system on the
cold or install install the system on
the hud
our personal recommendation is to
install it on the hud and then we can
explain that to the customer it could be
hard to explain uh this whole concept to
a person who’s not familiar with water
treatment but you know at the end of the
day a water treatment provider
yeah you kind of have to give your
customer what your customer wants but
you want to give your customer what is
going to work at the end of the day
but again i said hot water in cold water
it depends where we are in the country
you know if we’re down in florida or
california or texas
even if it’s technically cold water
during summer that water could reach
temperatures that
could start to promote the
growth of legionella so in those
specific cases it might make sense to
treat both systems
so that’s something that the water
treatment provider needs to be aware and
then other things is definitely
which kind of disinfectant is the
municipality using uh what what are the
level of disinfectants coming in from
the municipality sometimes are very low
sometimes are up kind of high based on
where the facility is and you know see
if there are
as i said get familiar with the with the
building water system in order to uh to
make the application to make the
application right for for your customer
this is something that uh also you know
when we talk about um
what a water management plan there is
usually a water management team
so as
a water treatment provider is trying to
help a
his customer we in answering these
questions there are usually other people
sitting at the table in order to try to
figure out what the best option is it’s
not just about the water treater and the
building owner or manager
you mentioned finding out what
disinfection the municipality is using
is there any time you don’t want to use
one of our secondary disinfectants
because the municipality is using
something no i wouldn’t say that it’s
just important to understand
what is coming in from
from the city so you can make your
application properly so let’s pretend
that you know the level that is coming
in from the city will vary
based on season and based on time
so it’s not going to be always the same
throughout the year
so i want to know what’s coming in
so as the word supplementals say i will
just supplement what is necessary in
order to
achieve what i’m trying to achieve so
let’s pretend that the municipality is
using monochloramine and i want to
install a monoclonal system in the
building i
want to make sure that i know what is
coming in so i can just add on top of
that what i need you know and control
based on that as well
saying if i’m using free chlorine
or same if i’m feeding
free chlorine on top of monochloramine
because if the seed is using
monochlorine and i feed free chlorine on
top of that uh there could be some
reaction that could lead some to certain
uh products that um
for you know for the end user so for the
building occupants could you know smell
weird or something like that so this is
drinking water so you want to make sure
you make the application right
with all the different disinfectants we
have to choose from are some better
choices for the building piping systems
than others
again it depends you know a disinfectant
is an accident so as an accident it will
have the tendency to
react and kill the bacteria but of
course it will have the tendency to
react with plumbing components you know
gasket o-rings copper plastic plumbing
so yeah that’s a good question and
that’s something that the water
treatment provider should look at as
well what are the materials of
construction you know most of the time
is copper but there are some buildings
where they have plastic so if they have
plastics for sure
using chlorine dioxide is not a best a
is not a good idea
because chlorine dioxide is a gas
dissolved in solution that could oxidize
the plasticizer and damage the
plastic components of the piping as well
as if we’re using chlorine in a system
that is uh made just basically with
copper we gotta take into account that
we might see some feeding corrosion down
the road um especially if the
application of the disinfectant is not
made in the way it’s supposed to so uh
depends how you control it you know
i’m not a big fan of controlling a
disinfectant in a building with a probe
i like to control disinfectant in the
building based on water flow so that is
a fixed number and it’s much more
reliable than a probe but there are some
water treatment provider and
manufacturer that uh control the
disinfectant just with the probe and
if the probe goes bad or is not
calibrated you could overfit the system
and by over feeding the system
you could potentially damage the
plumbing components
earlier you mentioned other pathogens
what are these other pathogens we should
be looking at
yeah good question so everybody is
concerned about legionella right because
all the literature out there is about
legionella usher188 is about legionella
the guideline 12 is about legionella the
cms letter that came out in 2017
is about legionella so everybody’s
concerned about legionella but
legionella is not the only pathogen out
there that could be harmful for humans i
would say two other pathogens that are
harmful for
for humans are definitely pseudomonas
and non-tuberculosis mycobacteria when
we have the conversation with the
customers and that is definitely
something that we want to bring up
because in some cases the customer is
concerned about pseudomonas so
you may want to make the application
uh on the cold water in that case
because the customer is concerned about
and another
point here you know as i said
it’s all about you know for everybody
it’s all about legionella and
specifically it’s always all about
legionella in healthcare facilities so
there’s this interest in reducing the
risk associated with legionella in a
healthcare environment because of course
a hospital or nursing homes that’s where
you know immunocompromised people are
it is not just about healthcare
there is business and there are
opportunities out there in buildings
that are not healthcare facilities uh
big buildings with big recirculating uh
domestic water system
are at risk for legionella and you know
hotels casinos probably even more than a
healthcare facilities because the
volumes of water in there
it’s much higher
but definitely the conversation in that
case with the
uh building management it’s much harder
because sometimes they don’t even know
about legionella they don’t even know
what it is so
it’s not just about legionella and it’s
not just about healthcare facilities
especially right now they were coming
out from covid and buildings are
reopening there is definitely an
increased awareness about legionella and
other waterborne pathogens from
people that come
not just from the healthcare industry
are there special permits or licenses
that are needed in order to administer
supplemental disinfection
these is the very very very tough
question that uh you know when
somebody has the questions there is not
a uniform answer you know to this uh to
this question
it depends where you are in the country
so it depends in which state you are
different states different requirements
usually we can find three different
approaches to that so the first approach
there is not any requirement so
the water that is delivered from the
is already
drinking water so
it’s already safe so you you want to
apply supplement disinfectant do that
but you don’t have to apply for for
anything then there are some states such
as florida or connecticut that say
if you want to implement the
supplemental disinfectant on the cold
water then you need to apply for a
permit whereas if you want to implement
the disinfectant just on the hot water
then you do not need to apply for a
permit simply because people don’t drink
usually don’t drink all water and then
there are states where
you need to apply for a permit
regardless to where you’re applying the
supplement that is infected so this is
first step you know understanding
whether or not you have to apply for a
permit or not second step is okay i
figure out i need to apply for a permit
what do i need to do so first of all
understand who is the authority having
jurisdiction in that state different
state have different you know authority
having jurisdiction so
either the dep doh the epa
so you need to understand that first
where to actually apply for the permit
then when you apply for the permit the
common requirements of a permit are
having an engineering drawing stamped by
a pe who is licensed in that uh in that
and then there’s also a certified
that needs to overseas the supplemental
disinfection equipment but again this is
another step that it’s very difficult to
understand okay so
does the certified operator need to be
on site every day to just look at a
couple of pumps pumping chemical into
the system
or does he have to be in once a month or
since we can re monitor the system
online he can just check that online and
that is good enough it’s very difficult
to understand that different states have
different requirements in regards to
plus when i say certified operator
that is something that is related to a
public water supply so that is a guy
who has a license to be a an operator on
a public water utility
which is much different than a building
water system there are different skills
that are required in a building water
system versus a public water utility so
for example in a building water system
water flows in different direction there
are cooling towers there are softeners
there are boilers
stuff that we don’t have in a public
water supply
a building water system has a
recirculating hot water system
a public water utility does not a
building water system has hot water
heaters so there are some there is
definitely an overlap
in the skills of course understanding
disinfectants and
you know understanding the chemistry of
these infectants
but there are definitely some skills
that do not match between
a public water supply operator and a
building water system operator so that
is why right now there is a lot of work
in awwa
in order to develop you know a training
program for building water systems so
that will make it much easier
for people in the water treatment
industry to apply and to become
certified for that and i literally think
that a person who has a cwt is
definitely qualified to
supplemented this infection system much
better than a building who runs a public
water utility just because a person who
has a cwt is used to a building water
system they know what’s going on in a
building plumbing system so that is the
you know the challenges that a building
has to face
when applying a supplemental
disinfectant is first of all do i need
to apply for a permit if i do what are
the requirements
unfortunately because of that
sometimes the effect is the opposite
sometimes the building says
you know what i don’t really want to
apply for that i don’t really want to go
through the whole permit i don’t want to
spend more money i don’t have an
operator on site i my water treatment
provider doesn’t have an operator i
don’t want to hire another person so
unfortunately sometimes they say
well even if the water management plan
suggests me i should implement a
supplemental disinfectant i don’t really
want to spend that kind of money and
so they actually are going
the whole permit application is made to
protect the public health to make sure
that the
disinfection application is made in the
proper way
but sometimes the
requirements are so tough that the
building says you know what i’m not
going to deal with that i’m going to go
for something that is not
as effective as supplemental is infected
but it’s too much for me to deal with
are you seeing more language that a
certified water technologist a cwt is
qualified to be an operator
that is definitely something that as a
member of that awwa premise plumbing
committee that is definitely something
i’m trying to push in order to make that
because that is literally the way it is
you know we we want to make sure that
the person who’s finding the equipment
a good understanding of what is going on
in the building i’ve been to the awt
um i’m pretty sure that just by adding
uh you know one or a couple of more
a building water system what is the
potable side of a building water system
definitely the water treatment providers
will from awt will definitely don’t have
any issue in learning that i mean
we all know that some
you know sometimes we get to work uh
santa cruz does not do anything direct
you know we our customers are water
treatment provider that then at the end
of the day will deal with the end user
and most of our customers are awt firms
you know you definitely know that some
firms have been in buildings for more
than 20 years because there is that kind
of relationship between between the
building manager and the water treatment
firm so
literally those guys are the ones that
know how the water goes in the building
i mean they’re probably they probably
know more
than the the building people
you know so that’s why
it’s very important that a certification
for a building water operator will be
developed and
so that people from water treatment firm
can be certified and help uh with that
you know and there are already
certifications out in the market for to
better understand uh legionella you know
the assc 12080 that is definitely a
valuable certification i’m certified to
that as well and that you know brings a
lot of knowledge
for for people that might not be
completely involved in in the legion
island water hygiene market
when you go to a trade show such as the
association of water technologies what
are some of the most common questions
you get asked about this
um it depends uh depends who you’re
talking with there are some firms that
are very involved in the legionella
market so they they’re more interested
about the technology
you know they might already
have some
customers where they are
applying supplemented disinfectants so
in that case they might just be more
interested in okay tell me about your
system why
does your system work better than others
and what are the pros and cons
on the other hand there are some firms
that are not involved in the water
hygiene market so in that case you get
more questions about
why should i get involved in the water
hygiene market you know why should i
start to treat drinking water and be
involved in the legionella market you
know and well the way i always answer
that question is
first of all
because you literally save lives by
doing that you know you will never know
you saved because you saved them but you
know you definitely
save some people it’s like wearing a
mask with kobe you know you’re saving
people but you don’t know who you’re
so definitely because of public health
you’re actually helping public health uh
you’re helping buildings
but also um you know you might
doing the water treatment in the
building and then all of the sudden that
building has a legionella problem and
they bring in another vendor to take
care of the legionella
and then because you didn’t have an
offering because you didn’t pursue that
market and then next thing you know
you are competing with the other vendor
your water treatment that you were doing
in that building you know cooling towers
and boilers
so you kind of want to keep yourself
outside of that area you know outside of
that jeopardy
you know and because i’ve we’ve seen
that happening a lot that you know you
don’t have the offering someone else
comes in and then they start to you know
go after your business that you’re doing
in the building not that this is the
most important
question reason definitely the most
important is helping public health but
this is something that companies uh
water treatment firms need to understand
right now and
right now as we’re coming out of the
pandemic the awareness about legionella
and other waterborne pathogens it’s much
much higher than two years ago for
two main reasons the first one is that
buildings now are reopening
so they have to disinfect and eventually
test for legionella so they might figure
out that they have a problem and then
they gotta do something about it
and also just for an awareness of
infections in general you know before
think that a lot of people downplayed
because you don’t have that feeling with
an infection and you kind of feel that
it will never happen to you but right
now people are much more serious about
pulmonary infections
i mean at least from
our standpoint we have seen
a very
you know increased business between the
end of 2020 and 2021 is definitely going
up very fast
so you have thousands of water treaters
listening to you right now
how can you help them avoid some of the
pitfalls that you’ve seen some people
experience what are those pitfalls and
what shouldn’t we be doing
you know if if a supplemental
disinfectant is misapplied then it could
be it could do more harm than good so as
we were saying before
you need to understand what you have to
look for and
you need to make the application in the
correct way
because otherwise you know if the
application is not made in the correct
way you’re not going to remediate
legionella and somebody can get sick you
know and
i’ve seen that a lot that some
buildings decided to maybe apply the
disinfectant just from the cold water
and then didn’t fix the problem and then
they you know they had to go back and
rethink about the whole application
there are a lot of case studies out
there of failed
supplemental disinfection application
because the application was not made
right make sure that you get the right
you get an equipment with
safety features keep in mind that it’s
drinking water people drink that water
so we want to make sure that
there is a a level of precision that is
much higher
than the other form of water treatment
make sure that when you
pick a product manufacturer and you
decide to go with a certain technology
make sure that that manufacturer is
reliable so make sure that you have
somebody who can help you if uh you know
because at the end of the day the water
trader is the guy out in the field so
make sure that you have support from
that um manufacturer if something
happens you know you have somebody
somebody you can call and you know maybe
on a cell phone and make sure that they
are available i mean i wouldn’t say 24 7
but you know you want to make sure that
if you’re
if you need something
you know get somebody who can help you
get a product manufacturer who is
experienced in in this market so they
can help you if something happens even
in the case of uh you know anything that
can happen from the failure of the
equipment or you need to help the end
user and then for sure
test for legionella
you know if you test for legionella it’s
it is more expensive than
don test yes
but believe me it is much cheaper
to be proactive and test
instead of not testing and then
something happens and then
the state gets involved at that point
you’re not on your clock anymore at that
point the state will tell you how many
times you have to uh to test how often
you have to test and where you have to
test so at that point
someone else is going to decide how much
you have to test for legionella you know
so if you keep testing for legionella
you figure out you have a problem then
you know what to do you just follow your
water management plan and you know what
to do you know how to fix it whereas if
you just don’t do anything you’re just
blind and then if something happens
you’re you’re in big big danger
and unfortunately that is the message
that comes from
a lot of time from facility people
you get some people that are very
proactive and they even want to pass
before they implement anything to
establish a baseline which i believe is
the right way to do
um and then you have to some people that
just say well you know what
nobody tells me i have to test so i
don’t want to test because then if i
test and i find it i gotta do something
about it
but guess what nobody tells you you have
to test
at the end of the day if you are the
building owner or the building manager
ultimately you are the person who is
responsible for the safety of the
occupant of the building so
even if nobody told you you had to test
if something happens
to you the people in your building you
will be
uh involved into the litigation process
no matter what so testing is the right
thing to do
if you could only get one point across
today from our interview what do you
want that point to be
my point would be that
for a lot of water treatment firms that
are not involved into the water hygiene
and legionella market to think about
getting involved
in that market i feel that a lot of
people are scared about this market
because it’s drinking water and they
think that they don’t want to deal with
drinking water but at the end of the day
you are responsible
no matter what even if you’re treating
the cooling tower because you know
legionella can grow in cooling tower as
well so i feel that some water treatment
firms decide that they don’t want to go
down that path of the water hygiene
market but on the other hand i think it
would be a good idea at least to
take into account the idea of well let’s
think about it you know let’s evaluate
what are the pros and cons let me think
with some product manufacturer or or
some consultant
what are the business opportunities that
are out there and that i can pursue if i
enter this market
well i have a few lightning round
questions for you so we’re not quite
done with the interview yet let’s do it
all right so i asked these of all my
guests so you now have the power to go
back to your first day
working with water pathogens what advice
would you give yourself
oh this is a tough question i i don’t
know i would say that when i started to
work in this market i always had really
good teachers so
boss back home
and my boss here
you know really good teachers they can
you know they taught me well not just
about the chemistry disinfectants but
also about you know waterborne pathogens
in general so probably the advice that i
would give myself is do as you did
listen to your boss you know and you
won’t be you won’t regret that and uh
uh yeah for sure and uh
uh you know if somebody gets involved in
in this market definitely try to get
even in in organizations that have
committees about
you know legionella and other waterborne
pathogens because as i said that’s where
you literally find the world-class
scientists that can teach you a lot
what are the last few books that you’ve
so unfortunately i don’t read a lot of
books i read a lot of uh scientific
literature so you know i read i think
that the last
journal i read was i think journal of
awa a few weeks ago
and of course as an italian
i read
recipe books because i like to cook so
that’s what i like to do that that is
for relaxing you know after you’re done
at work every day you go home and you uh
uh read some good recipe and that you
cook it favorite thing to cook uh it
depends on the depends on the time of
the year i like to cook lasagna when
it’s winter uh you know i like to cook
that i like to cook uh milanese uh you
know during during spring and fall so it
kind of depends
my friends and i usually when we watch
the eagles every sunday we usually uh
you know go at someone’s place and we do
big dinner and someone cooks you know
every time so
unfortunately sometimes even even if
it’s not a thing in italy i had to cook
spaghetti and meatballs so for all the
the the people here it is not a thing in
italy if you’re going to rome don’t ask
for that they’ll just look at you funny
well let me ask this question if there
are people listening today that want to
learn more about this topic are there
certain books or journals you would
recommend to them
about lasagna or about legionella
yes about lasagna of course
about supplemental disinfection about
supplemental disinfection um
about legionella in general i think uh
there is a lot of information on the epa
on the epa website there is a review of
the technologies that uh have been used
for supplemental disinfectants so you
know that is that is definitely a good
point to start
i think that back in 2019 there was a
report published by the national academy
of science which is free to download
that is a very big report but that is
definitely something that can help
people to you know understand the world
of supplemental disinfectants and then
you know sign up for conferences like uh
awt there is an nsf legionella
conference every year i think this year
is in two sessions one is already done
was already done yeah i don’t remember
when the other one is but uh that is
just specifically about legionella so
there is a lot to learn there and then
there are a lot of scientific
peer-reviewed paper
but for somebody who has to learn about
the topic that’s where i would start you
i would start from the epa website the
national academy of science report and
go to conferences to get familiar with
you know to kind of frame the issue
frame the problem and frame what are the
options to fix the problem and then
after that you can do your homework and
find what are they you know the pros and
cons of each technology you know when
hollywood makes a movie about dr alberto
kamazi who plays you this is a very easy
question you know why because i’m bald
so i would say either vin diesel or
bruce willis there you go
be an action movie exactly it would be
an action movie
final question you now have the ability
to talk to anybody throughout history
who would it be with and why
i don’t know i think there are probably
a bunch of people i will talk with uh
mostly i’m a chemist
so mostly chemists i will pick probably
the uh only chemistry nobel prize that
italy ever won so giulianata
in the 60s he won the nobel prize for
so i will definitely
be happy to go back in time and
and talk with him when i was in college
i had this uh
he was the head of the research
of these
big big big chemical companies chemical
company who was called montedezon back
in the days and they were involved in
the uh you know in the process of the
development of the catalyst to produce
uh polypropylene so you know he will
tell these stories about you know how
things were back in the 60s it was a big
time for
the industry especially the chemical
industry in italy so i would definitely
more than happy to go back in time and
talk with them this professor i had
which by the way he just passed away a
few months ago but uh he published this
book which that is probably one of the
last book i read you know i published
this book about all the crazy stories
you know crazies in industrial stories
and you know the story of the chemical
industry in italy about those years it’s
very it’s very interesting you know of
course for somebody who’s not from there
it’s kind of hard to learn about that
but it’s a very interesting story
roberto i want to thank you for coming
on scaling up h2o we’ve never had your
perspective on legionella before so i
we’ve answered a lot of questions and
i’m sure we’ve created even more so get
ready for some more questions probably
going straight to your email that will
be good you know i’ll uh you know i’ll
be there ready to answer the questions
so i just can’t wait to
see everybody at the show this year in
rhode island
nation as with everything the more
information that you are armed with the
better decisions that you can make and
more importantly the better
conversations that you can have with
your customer
and they can make better decisions it’s
all about knowing the right information
weighing all the facts and then putting
that together in a way that people can
follow you in a conversation
and notice i did not say a lecture i
said a conversation when you’re teaching
somebody something when you’re trying to
arm them with information to make better
decisions it must be a conversation a
give and take i’m going to tell you some
of this what questions do you have let
me answer your questions
when you do that i promise your customer
will elevate how they see you and they
will look at you as a trusted advisor
and trust me when you get elevated to
the level of trusted advisor they’re
going to come to you with more decisions
on things that you
can impact and folks it is so much
better to be at that position than to
walk into that account next month and
find out that they made a decision
without you and maybe it wasn’t the best
decision or maybe it’s a decision that’s
going to make your life miserable if we
all start out working together if we all
start out with the best information we
can make the best decisions and that
will make everybody’s life way easier
you know a little fact about water
treatment dr richard seligman
invented the heat exchanger on this day
back in 1923.
just think about all the things that we
that involve heat exchangers two bodies
of water
that never touch but they’re able to
transfer their heat
would we have a job if it wasn’t for dr
seligman i don’t know it would
definitely be different
and for those of you that live in places
that don’t have economizer systems and
for those of you that don’t know what
they are i’m so envious of you here in
atlanta where we have very mild
temperatures an economizer system is
where there’s a three-way valve between
the closed loop and the cooling tower
loop and they mix tower water with
closed water yuck why would anybody do
that those are totally different systems
and they do that so they don’t have to
turn on the chiller and they can get
quote unquote free cooling well there’s
nothing free about that they’re putting
all that nasty water from the cooling
tower and all the debris that gets
sucked in with the cooling tower well
hey that’s now introduced in your closed
loop system
nobody wants that nobody’s got time for
well dr seligman’s invention allows us
to do the same thing but we don’t mix
the two systems
and hopefully you’re getting the same
results with a plate frame heat
exchanger or some other heat exchanger
and eventually all the buildings here in
atlanta will catch up with that
technology but unfortunately that’s not
the case right now so
say a prayer do whatever you need to do
to help water treaters in the atlanta
area that have to suffer with this free
cooling don’t have a heat exchanger on
the closed loop and cooling tower all
right that’s my little vent for the day
folks as i mentioned at the top of the
i am so excited about seeing so many of
at the awt convention that’s coming up
just next week if you are coming make
sure you find me at 11 a.m on friday
september 24th we are going to have a
meetup that is where you the scaling up
nation are going to come to chillers
lounge if you come to the awt convention
you’re going to know exactly where that
is and you’re going to meet up with
fellow scaling up nation members it’s
going to be a quick event it’s going to
be something where you get to network
you get to meet some people and the
conversation is so easy to start because
you all listen to the scaling up h2o
podcast again that’s going to be at 11
a.m in chillers lounge
on friday september 24th at the awt
convention folks i can’t wait to see you
there i can’t wait to bring you another
brand new episode next week in the
meantime take care of your customers
make sure you’re getting the information
you need so you’re properly educated
about whatever it is that you’re talking
about and you can lead your customer to
the best decision they can make have a
great week folks
why do we call our mastermind the rising
tide mastermind while i know you’ve
heard me say before a rising tide raises
all ships that’s one of my favorite
quotes because it’s so true the better
we do the better somebody else can do
and vice versa that’s exactly what the
rising tide mastermind is it’s our
members helping other members to achieve
success and to get there further and
faster to find out more about the rising
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