Pacific Water Quality Association


Spring 2019 Issue

PWQA President's Message

Waves of Change are coming our way in 2019. Safe drinking water continues to be at the forefront of newsworthy issues facing many in the greater US Pacific regions. Here in California, the new Governor launched into his term naming safe drinking water as one of the first and top priorities for the administration to address. Over the past several years, through hard work and boots on the ground the PWQA has established itself and its members as the go-to association for knowledgeable, science-backed answers to many of these difficult questions being asked regarding safe working and drinking water. Through these years of hard work and in association with our strong partnership with Churchwell White (PWQA Lobbyist), PWQA is at the forefront, interacting directly with local and state representatives pertaining to these industry issues. As I write this, California Water Boards are digging in to establishment of regulatory levels for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) - fluorinated organic chemicals which have been a hotly debated topic between states and US EPA. Through our network, PWQA is present and active during these important regulatory discussions and decisions.

The PWQA Convention Committee has been hard at work, laying plans to make the 2019 Convention active, energetic, engaging and fun. Returning to Pechanga in Temecula October 15-18, we’ve challenged ourselves to grow the convention, providing timely and relevant CEU education sessions. We are excited with how things are coming together and extend an invitation for all to come and take advantage of what the committee has been pulling together for this year.

Helping drive the PWQA Mission and philosophy, we are looking forward to an engaging Legislative Days in Sacramento May 21 and 22. Through our association network and partners, we will be continuing our mission of providing science-based, field-tested, certified installer solutions to matters of safe water. PFOA/PFOS, lead, nitrates and arsenic are just a few of the health issues facing our industry and again, we extend an invitation to the PWQA membership to actively engage with these important meetings in Sacramento.

PWQA is only as strong as the membership is. Each one of you play a critical role in the success of our efforts. I sincerely thank you and all members of this association for their daily commitment to the industry and our mission with reliable, honest solutions. I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events, including the BBQ, Legislative Days, Convention or other industry events.

Shannon Murphy
PWQA President

Industry Outlook - 2019

Looking at the current state of water quality across California, it’s shocking to see how many Californians are unaware of the problems, or who blindly place their faith in centralized treatment plants without considering the actual quality of water that they receive in their homes and businesses.

A recent review of the data shows that California is currently facing several concerning water-quality management issues:

  • A 2015 report estimates that childhood health conditions related to environmental hazards cost
    California $254 million annually. Waterborne contaminants play a significant role in this.
  • At least six million Californians are served by water providers that have been in violation of state standards at some point since 2012.
  • An estimated 360,000 Californians are served by water systems with unsafe drinking water, according to an analysis of data compiled by the State Water Resources Control Board.
  • 55,985 people in 95 communities across California still have illegal levels of arsenic in their tap water, according to state records as of 2016.
  • Many California utilities have aging and decaying water delivery infrastructure and lack the resources to do anything about it.
  • Perfluorinated compounds (PFOS/PFOA) have been found in groundwater around almost all military bases in California.
  • Chlorine and chloramines continue to cause concerns to California consumers.

City dwellers are not the only ones with potential water quality issues. Most rural water users in California will either draw water from a surface supply, sub-surface supply, or an “alternative” technique like rainwater harvest. Contrary to popular belief, water in the country usually isn’t any cleaner, fresher, or better than water in the city.

On its way from the clouds to the faucet, rainwater dissolves and absorbs a part of almost everything it touches. Rain cleans the air as it falls by trapping impurities. The impurities are not removed from the environment, they are just relocated by the water onto the ground as it falls from the sky. Rain hits the ground, collecting sediments like rust, sand and algae; it eventually finds its way to a surface collection point (like a lake or stream) and some percolates downward and collects in aquifers. As it percolates through the earth, the water can absorb hardness minerals, iron, heavy metals, radioactivity, gases, organic contaminants and many other complex elements, which can cause undesirable tastes, colors, odors and other issues

Precipitation falls upon commercial and municipal dumpsites, toxic waste sites, industrial refuse depots, military test sites, leach fields, mining operations, farmer’s fields etc., where it dissolves minute amounts of the toxic chemicals present and carries them along. These synthetic chemicals are generally odorless, colorless and tasteless; and can often be life-threatening.

Some of the many important issues facing California drinking water in the next few years include:


A 2010 assessment by the Environmental Integrity Project suggests that the risk of getting cancer from drinking water containing 10 ppb of arsenic is closer to 1 in 136, almost 15 times higher than current US EPA assumptions (1 in 2000). Many scientists say the increased risk of cancer in humans who drink water, inhale dust or ingest soil contaminated with high levels of inorganic arsenic puts the chemical’s danger level in the same category as that of smoking cigarettes.

Bacteria and waterborne pathogens

Bacteria exists in ALL water at some level, even safe city water. Some bacteria are relatively “safe”, but there are other potential problems like brain-eating amoeba (Naegleria flowleri) that have been found in certain California waters. The expense and difficulty of consistent testing means that contamination may sometimes go undiscovered for extended periods of time.

Chlorine and Chloramine

While Chlorination of water is probably one of the most significant contributors to lowering the risk of waterborne illness in the US, there are significant negative effects, such as taste and odors, corrosion and even a correlation to the development of some cancers.

Hard Water Scale and Soap Interactions

While many people might consider hard water to be a simple aesthetic issue, it really is bigger than that. Hard water is a significant drain on a family’s monthly budget and has a decidedly negative impact on the planet due to increased heating and cleaning expenses, along with premature appliance failure. Consumers are clamoring for low-salt and no-salt solutions to their hard water problems that waste a minimum amount of water.


While Flint, Michigan captured the imagination of the nation, lead can also be found at some level in many parts of California. Lead is a potent neurotoxin, affecting the way children learn, grow and behave, problems that will persist into adulthood. The is no safe/acceptable level of lead in water.


The serious health risks of consuming water containing Manganese have been overlooked for far too long. Long-term consumption of even low levels are now related to complications involving alterations in neurotransmitter and enzyme levels in the brain that can cause nerve damage, brain changes, hormone alteration and possibly even the proliferation of certain cancers.

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFC, PFOS, PFOA)

Perfluoroalkyls are not natural, and PFOA and PFOS are the two types that have typically been found in the largest amounts. These substances are unique because they repel oil, grease and water – meaning they have been used to help produce countless convenient modern products. Trace levels of these chemicals can already be found in the blood of most Americans. Health risks from exposure to these chemicals includes hormone disruption, fertility issues and even certain cancers. These are just a few issues; the list continues to grow nationwide and especially in California. The statement, "My parents drank this water for 50 years and it never hurt them" is no longer a valid excuse for consumers to not be concerned with their water quality.

Caveat emptor – “Let the buyer beware.” This principle applies as much today as it did in Ancient Rome. Managing water quality affects the health and safety of everyone who will be working with, bathing in, or consuming the water. There are many people trying to take customers’ money and not necessarily providing the very best solutions in terms of performance, value, or sustainability. Our responsibility as Water Quality Improvement Professionals is to ethically help our clients learn about potential issues without scaring them, helping them to make the smart choice on how to affordably improve their water, and then being there to help them in the future when they need service, support, and/or maintenance.
As a Water Quality Improvement Professional, you must take an even smarter approach to treating all water quality issues than those who have gone before:

Show your customers that you’re a good-guy

  • Join the PWQA and WQA, and follow the Code of Ethics.
  • Enhance your education through WQA’s Modular Education Program (MEP).
  • Speak the truth and do the right thing, even when its uncomfortable or unpopular.

Do your best work

  • Always test water and understand your customer’s needs before recommending solutions.
  • Quote your solutions accurately and in writing so that your client understands what they’re buying.
  • Quote projected maintenance costs upfront.
  • Have customers authorize all prices and terms in writing before performing any work.
  • Treat your employees well and pay them a fair wage.
  • Pay your vendors on time.

The Water Quality Improvement Industry has been very good to many families. We all have a duty to maintain the highest standards of integrity as we serve our customers professionally and profitably.

Greg Reyneke - MWS

California Representative Salud Carbajal

Left to right: Kenny Gibson, Greg Reyneke, Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Mike Meeca, Kathleen Fultz

PWQA Industry Awards

PWQA annually recognizes leaders in the water treatment industry and such recognition enhances a member’s personal growth and accomplishments while strengthening our entire industry. Do you know of a member who deserves recognition? Please nominate him or her simply by sending an email to including the nominee’s name, member company and a short description of why you believe they deserve the award. Here is a list of our awards and the criteria the award committee uses to vote for nominees.

Carolyn J. Fahnstock Award

Given to individuals who demonstrate creative leadership in producing meetings, conventions and trade shows.

Marino Pomares Award

Given to those who demonstrate leadership in the field of public relations.

Robert Gans Award

Presented to those who demonstrate leadership in technical activities.

Sidney Solomon Award

Given for outstanding service in the area of governmental affairs.

Special Service Awards

Made from time to time for special projects of significance that do not fit into other award categories.

Person of the Year

Presented to the person who contributes the most in any year to the California Water Conditioning Industry.

Hall of Fame Award

The highest award the association presents, it honors and acknowledges the service of an individual whose contribution to the association and the pursuits of the associations goals span many years.

PWQA 2019 Annual Convention and Trade Show Returns to Pechanga!

Located in beautiful Temecula, CA, the dates for our 62nd annual show are Tuesday, October 15th through Friday, October 18th – mark your calendars now, we promise you won’t want to miss this year. The trade show will be held in the Grand Ballroom, which will accommodate almost twice as many booths as last year. You’ll have the opportunity to see some great new products, network and make new friends in the industry. You’ll have the chance to attend educational sessions, become a CWS through WQA, hear legislative updates and join the golf tournament. We have a few surprises in store. Save the dates and come on out to see WAVES OF CHANGE in the water treatment industry. For more information, please contact

Nearly 40 WQA members and staff attended the annual WQA Fly-In March 5-6 in Washington, D.C.

WQA members and staff as they head out for meetings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

From left to right, Mike Mecca, Kenny Gibson, Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), Kathleen Fultz, Greg Reyneke

Decentralized Treatment for SDWA Compliance

Through WQA and PWQA connections, I will be attending and presenting at the 2019 AWWA Conference being held in Denver June 10-12. The topic of the presentation is Point of Entry/Point of Use (POE/POU) Compliance Solutions for Small Systems and will take place June 12th. American Water Works Association is an international, nonprofit, scientific and educational society dedicated to providing total water solutions assuring the effective management of water. Their membership consists of over 3,900 utilities directly responsible for delivering roughly 80 percent of the nation's drinking water. This will be a unique presentation for the AWWA and their membership, as it will speak directly to the growing trend of POU and POE options for temporary to permanent treatment solutions for small water communities across the country. I am looking forward to this opportunity and the conversation directly with AWWA and its membership, as it pertains to decentralized water treatment as a solution for the many small water systems across our country that have unique compliance needs. More to come on this and advances with the decentralized program, which over the past 15-plus years has moved from an impossible program to implement and monitor to become real-world solutions.

Shannon Murphy
PWQA President

NGWA hosts Water Resources Congressional Summit

On March 5, WQA joined the Irrigation Association and the National Groundwater Association to host the Water Resources Congressional Summit. The next day, WQA representatives took part in strategic meetings with legislators, their aides and the staff of federal agencies to emphasize WQA’s support of legislation and funding to fight contamination by PFAS and other emerging contaminants and the effectiveness of in-home filtration systems or devices during emergencies or long-term contamination issues.

The group also offered legislators and agency representatives WQA’s expertise and help dealing with contamination issues or water-related legislation. WQA presented its annual Champion awards to US Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) for their support of water-related legislation.


Learn More

Follow Us

Pacific Water Quality Association

PO Box 3959
Mission Viejo, CA 92690-3959

Phone: 760-644-7348
Fax: 714-242-7715