Tonka Water’s Executive Vice President, Gary Warner speaks to Water Online Radio at WEFTEC 2012 in New Orleans
Recent Innovations to Address the Latest Water Challenges
Read our interview below or listen to the live interview.
Water Online Radio: Tell us all about Tonka Water. What do you do and how do you serve your market?
Gary: Tonka Water was incorporated in 1956. We are manufacturers of municipal water treatment equipment. Our primary market is the U.S., but we also do business in Canada and internationally when the right opportunity arises. Tonka Water is a solution provider. We have a very broad product line that we customize as required to address specific water issues that a community may face.
We’ve been innovators in the industry. One of the drivers in our industry is USEPA, and as USEPA sets new regulations and tightens up existing regulations, we have a history of developing new technologies to address those regulations.
An example would be radium, we innovated a new technology seven years ago where we developed a product called preformed/premixed HMO. We actually put a name on it called TonkaZorb™. We’ve innovated other new technologies to improve treatment plant operation, to reduce costs of operation of treatment plants, and extend the life of treatment systems.
A good example of that would be our Simul-Wash backwash process, which is a backwash enhancement that extends filter run length. It does a better job of cleaning the media and extends the life of the media significantly.
Water Online Radio: Gary, you talked a little bit about regulations a minute ago. What other big trends do you see in the industry?
Gary: One of the trends that we have seen as of late has been high-grade filtration systems in the market place versus the conventional type systems. These create challenges for designers of water treatment systems, but they can be dealt with fairly easily.
A more significant trend we’ve seen in the recent past has been the acceptance of membrane technology in the water market – more sophisticated technologies like reverse osmosis, nanofiltration for softening, and ultrafiltration.
Water Online Radio: How is Tonka Water positioned to deal with these trends?
Gary: When Tonka Water decided to enter into the membrane market, we went around and looked into the industry to determine what the issues in the industry were, who was out there, what they were doing and how they were doing it. We looked at many of the other membrane vendors and ended up selecting Dow Chemical based on their reputation and position in the industry. We teamed up with Dow and together, we are two companies with very similar reputations, similar aspirations and we pursue the market together as one. Tonka Water has been designated as a Dow Chemical preferred system integrator for their UF membrane product. Because of the preferred arrangement that we have, we get support from Dow and the application, engineering and design of the membranes. We are able to provide a stronger warranty than if you were to purchase the membranes from the internet. We have strong customer support from both Dow and Tonka Water, which is significant. Plus, Dow brings the experience of over 600 global installations, which is a huge asset for the water market.
Water Online Radio: You just said that Tonka Water is building the actual system using the Dow membrane. Talk a little bit about the value from the customer perspective. I’m interested in the the economic aspects as well.
Gary: The Dow membrane is a UF membrane. It’s constructed of PVDF, which is a very chemically resistant material. It’s an outside to inside flow path. Since it is a UF membrane, it’s a much tighter membrane than an MF or a microfiltration type membrane. It provides our customers with virus rejection in addition to other pathogens. In terms of system design, Tonka Water custom manufactures our systems to meet the specific requirements of the project. Our design allows for repair of the modules in place, nobody else in the industry does that. We are able to provide UF systems at a lower capital cost than an MF system and it’s cost of operation is comparable to the other membrane systems that are out in the marketplace.
Water Online Radio: When you are dealing with water you obviously have a wide range of water qualities and when you’re struggling with those tough waters like run off or lake turnover, how are you guys handling that?
Gary: Well because of Tonka Water’s broad product line and our ability to customize, we can easily match up other Tonka Water products to address challenging water quality. For surface waters, we may pair one of our clarification products for pre-treatment and guarantee the performance, providing single source responsibility.
Water Online Radio: We’ve talked a bit about innovation and lots of the folks that have come through our booth this week have been talking about innovation. Continue on that theme in regards to drinking water.
Gary: We have several products that we have recently developed in the market and one of them is our DTS™, which is an acronym for Delivered Treatment System. This is a very unique product that enables us to put equipment including chemical feed and controls in a building, pipe it completely and deliver it right to a job site so that the engineer would design a slab, set the building in place, the treatment equipment in place, plumb it up with raw water, controls and so forth. Basically, they have a plug-and-play type treatment system. It’s a very efficient treatment system and its cost is generally less than that of a stick built type building.
What we are really excited about is our Pur-IX™ Treatment system. Pur-IX™ is an ion exchange system that can be used for hardness reduction, nitrate and organic reduction or any other ion exchange process. It’s very unique, a technology that provides continuous flow ion exchange with lower salt consumption. By means of how the system is operated, we can guarantee higher effluent quality from the system versus a conventional system. The waste stream is .3% of the process flow versus 2% of a conventional type system, so there’s huge advantage in terms of operation of a Pur-IX™ system.
Water Online Radio: We are out of time, but before we let you go, how can people get in touch with you and learn more about Tonka Water?
Gary: The best way to learn about us is through our website, www.tonkawater.com.
Have questions or need assistance? Contact us!