Pure Focus On Ion Exchange

Dave LaRose

Dave LaRose of Purolite discusses the many applications for ion exchange water treatment, specifically in light of recent trends and challenges confronting the industry.

Todd Schnick: We’re coming to you live from Dallas, Texas. This is day three of AWWA ACE 2012 and Water Online Radio. I’m your host, Todd Schnick, joined by my colleague Todd Youngblood. Todd, they saved the most troublesome guy for last, I think.

Todd Youngblood: I think so too.  All I know is I didn’t even finish my cup of coffee this morning when we got started and I see too many people running around with martini classes. Empty ones, I might add.

Todd Schnick: I’m looking forward to welcoming Dave LaRose, who is a western regional sales manager for Purolite. Welcome to the show.

Dave LaRose: Great to be here.

Todd Schnick: It’s great to have you. Before we get into it, Dave, take a second and tell us a little bit about your background.

Dave LaRose:   I have been in the ion exchange business for about eight years and the water business for about fifteen years in southern California, and primarily responsible for drinking water applications and throughout the western United States.

Todd Schnick:  Can you tell us all about Purolite? I want to hear about how you help and serve your marketplace.

Dave LaRose:   Purolite is a unique company. It’s the largest pure play ion exchange manufacturer in the world. By that what I mean is that’s all we do. That’s all we concentrate on, and we have a lot of applications whether it is pharmaceutical, food and beverage, groundwater, mining… there’s many different applications where ion exchange is used.

Todd Schnick:  Why should the water industry be particularly attentive to this ion exchange application technology?

Dave LaRose:   Well, it’s a good fit and it’s very economical to use in certain applications. Frankly, a lot of our customers are here and what they’ll do is they’ll use our product to pull specific constituents out of the water, whether it be perchlorate, chromium-6, uranium, arsenic – any of those contaminants need to be removed to make the water safe for the public to drink.

Todd Youngblood: What kind of new products are you coming out with? I can imagine that there’s a new contaminant being identified every day so you have to have new products to address these things.

Dave LaRose: Absolutely, and it’s a unique way that we pursue that, and by that what we do, for example, hexavalent chromium, we’ve heard a lot about that on the news recently. So about a year ago we went to not only equipment manufactures but the cities, the consultants, the operators, and ask them what they want. That was part one.

The second part was actually developing a product – or, in this case, an ion exchange resin – that would address and pull out this contaminant, which is a carcinogenic. We successfully completed that and will be piloting in southern and northern California starting the beginning of next month.

Todd Youngblood: Dave, you mentioned these consultants and these operators. I have to imagine that a big part of your day is figuring out the collaboration that’s needed with these guys. Tell us more about that.

Dave LaRose: Absolutely. I think when you come up with a new product, I think it is imperative that you get with the consultants and the engineers and let them know what’s available and, most importantly, how to use the product. And by “how to use the product” I’m talking about flow rates, bed depth, things that are fairly technical but are critically important to make the product work and produce water at the lowest rate possible.

Todd Schnick: Talk about the integration part of it. I mean you mentioned pretty much education and getting folks to know about this new technology. It’s one thing to know, theoretically, how everything works together, but actually integrating and making it work in reality and in the field is another. How do you do the integration piece?

Dave LaRose: Absolutely. That’s where you have to work with equipment suppliers that are in front of the treatment system as well as behind the treatment system and that’s networking with other manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, raw material supplies, but most importantly with the consultants that are advising the municipalities, in this case, as to what’s available in the market that would fit their application, which is all based on the water chemistry that we are having to treat.

Todd Schnick: Purolite is exhibiting here at ACE 2012. How’s the show going for you, and what are some of your goals and objectives here in Dallas?

Dave LaRose: The show is going very well for us – a lot of traffic by the booth, a lot of people inquiring about what’s available. The conversations that are held, the technical sessions, are very good, and because of those we are getting a lot of questions specifically about perchlorate and hexavalent chromium.

Todd Youngblood: Dave, I want to loop you back to your comments on collaboration. You talked about the vendor side of the equation so far, in terms of integration and in terms of education.

A lot of folks in the water industry are a little bit reluctant sometimes to leap into a new technology. How do you include the customer, the consumer of all these products and services in that collaboration?

Dave LaRose: You’re a great vehicle to do that. You’ve got a great website, and it’s frequently visited by not only our customers, but also by some of our members of Purolite. I look at it quite frequently as well.

As far as the customers are concerned – the end users, the people who are drinking the water – there’s a lot of access we know today with the Internet and information is readily available, and I find your site to be one of the best.

Todd Youngblood: Well, thank you.

Todd Schnick: Well, Dave, lets step back a bit back for a minute go up ten thousand feet and look down on the water industry as a whole. What do you see as really the big emerging and important trends coming down the pike in the next three to five years?

Dave LaRose: Well, pharmaceuticals is going to be an issue and how that’s going to be treated is yet to be seen. But I think primarily the hexavalent chromium is talked about and TOC remediation, which is Total Organic Carbon, and that’s got quite a few different ways of treating that to prevent haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes – which are considered carcinogenics – in the distribution system. So we are working on that.

There are other technologies too, but it all goes back to the water chemistry and what we are treating and what we need to achieve economically for the public.

Todd Youngblood: Well, you just touched on a heck of a big issue with the word “economically.” When I think of all the contaminants, all the technology, all the different players, I mean what’s the financial impact of all this? How does Purolite help save some of that money, or at least mitigate some of the cost?

Dave LaRose: Well, that’s a great question because we all know the economic times are kind of tough right now, so we find a lot of projects in the municipal sector being delayed or pushed off to the next year or perhaps the next year after that. But we still have to serve the general public good drinking water and safe drinking water.

So things are getting pushed back to a certain degree, but we also see that through our technical capability we are able to come up with new products that are more selective for specific contaminants.

For example, nitrate is one where we have a resin that is specific for nitrate that lowers the cost of operation by lowering the amount of water you have to use to regenerate it and rinse it in this particular application that I’m referring to – it would be a nitrate application – and there is a lot of what you would consider waste.

So our primary concern when we develop new products, as well as maybe membrane manufacture, is to look at ways to reduce the cost of not only the product itself, but the process of regenerating.

Todd Schnick: Well, Dave, I hate to say it but we’re out of time. Before we let you go, how can people get in touch with you and, more importantly, where can they get information about the good work at Purolite?

Dave LaRose: Well, www.purolite.com, and you can get a hold of all of us.  I’m in the western region. My email is dlarose@puroliteusa.com.

Todd Schnick: Alright, Dave LaRose, western regional sales manager for Purolite. It was great to have you. Thanks so much for joining.

Dave LaRose: Great to be here.

Todd Schnick: Well, that wraps this segment up. On behalf of our guest, Dave LaRose, my cohost, Todd Youngblood, all of us at Water Online, I’m Todd Schnick. That wraps day three; we’ll see you tomorrow morning at AWWA ACE 12 and Water Online Radio.