Volume 10 Issue 4 April

A Focus on Innovation

By Kris Polly

From membrane filters to drain valves, micro hydro units to software programs, safety booms to more effective signage, municipal water companies and service providers are always innovating. This month, we bring you stories of five private companies that have worked hard to create the best products for the municipal water, wastewater, and storm water industries.

In our cover story, we speak with Paul Meeks, the president and CEO of Worthingon Products, about his company’s products for the municipal water utility market. Worthington’s booms and signs can help protect human lives, guard critical infrastructure from blockage and damage, keep debris and trash out of the natural environment, and reduce liability. Moreover, Worthington is always thoughtfully and effectively improving its products, including by adding self-rescue hand grips to its booms, changing the color of the booms to make them more easily visible, and helping create standards for better safety signs.

Next, we speak with Chris Eberly of ParkUSA about the Fox Valve, which can send water from a drain into either the sanitary sewer or the storm water sewer, depending on its type. This is highly useful for wash racks, parking lots, outdoor showers, and other locations that are exposed to compounds and contaminants that should not enter natural waterways.

Among the innumerable state and federal regulations that municipal water utilities have to comply with, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2021 Revised Lead and Copper Rule is one of the most challenging. To comply with it, utilities must document the material of every home service line in their systems, take water samples, and communicate with customers. This enormous data management task is one of the top focuses of 120Water, a tech company that helps utilities with compliance, reporting, communications, and more. We speak with Director of Water Quality Compliance Jonathan Cuppett to learn more.

Water utilities and large facilities have pressurized pipes aplenty, and in many cases, numerous pressure reducers and control valves. What if the energy that is wasted by those valves could be captured? That is
the concept behind InPipe Energy. Founder and CEO Gregg Semler tells us more about how InPipe’s HydroXS micro hydro system can generate energy without interfering with flow or operations.

It may be surprising that a company called Corncob Inc. and headquartered in Wisconsin has nothing to do with agriculture. In this case, the name comes from the shape of the unique, self-cleaning membrane filter cartridges that the company manufactures for wastewater treatment. Corncob’s units are designed to clean the dirtiest forms of wastewater, including landfill leachate and food process water. As President Douglas Hwang tells us, the company’s attitude is, “The dirtier, the better.”

Whether physical or digital, simple or complex, all these advances contribute to the incremental improvement of our industry. Each of them should be recognized and celebrated—and if they are right for your utility, implemented.

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Municipal Water Leader magazine and the president and CEO of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He can be contacted at kris.polly@waterstrategies.com.