The Waterside - How To Become An Expert In High-Purity and Industrial Water Treatment

By Mike Henley



Expertise. There is great value in that simple word in many different professional segments. At the intellectual level and in the trades, those who have expertise gain respect, and also likely will receive financial rewards for their knowledge or trade skills. This holds true in the water field as well for those considered to be experts.

So, the question arises, how can one move to become an expert? Of course, one way is through simple job tenure and being mentored by more experienced colleagues. However, there are other steps one can also take toward “expert status” in industrial and high-purity water treatment. 

The first practical way is to subscribe to technical publications such as the on-line version of Ultrapure Water and then regularly visit www.ultrapurewater.com where we publish technical articles and other information related to high-purity and industrial water. Our subscribers have access to newly published and archive content. We have long sought out articles on important topics for successful high-purity and industrial water treatment. Our goal is over a period of time that faithful readers will be able to expand their knowledge about water treatment through the technical content, as well items such as patent summaries and news developments. Of course, there are other worthwhile publications to also read, of which CTI Journal and The Analyst are two examples. 

Another pragmatic approach is to read technical books written by experts on industrial and high-purity water. There are many outstanding books on these subjects. Over the years different vendors have published water treatment handbooks. Notable examples have included Nalco (now owned by Ecolab) and Betz Laboratories (now owned by GE). There are also many books by independent authors, of which these three titles are worthwhile examples: High-Purity Water Preparation for the Semiconductor, Pharmaceutical, and Power Industries by Dr. Theodore Meltzer; The Science and Technology of Industrial Water Treatment edited by Dr. Zahid Amjad; and Reverse Osmosis: Industrial Applications and Processes by Jane Kucera. Useful sample topic areas one could explore when reading would include reverse osmosis, ion exchange, deionized water treatment, filtration, clarification, chemical treatment, cooling water, boiler water, wastewater, EDI, activated carbon, monitoring instruments, coagulation and flocculation, and water reuse.

A third helpful step toward “expert status” is by attending conferences, of which the American Water Summit, Global Water Summit, the Produced Water Society (PWS), and ULTRAPURE WATER® (UPW) are four examples. The first two events primarily focus on the water business and issues occurring in different areas, of which water business corporate developments, desalination, municipal water, and project finance are examples. The PWS and UPW are specialty conferences. The PWS focuses on produced water treatment and related water treatment areas in oil and gas exploration. UPW conferences began in 1987, and over the years have emphasized high-purity water treatment such as used in the semiconductor, pharmaceutical and power industries, as well as other specialty applications.

The value of attending conferences is that one has the opportunity to hear from experts in person and the chance to actually visit with them over lunch, a coffee break, or evening reception. At specialty conferences such as UPW Micro and UPW Pharma, another benefit is the chance to visit with peers who also work in microelectronics or pharmaceutical manufacturing plants. These opportunities help one to expand personal networks and to learn from industry colleagues who face the same or similar water treatment issues. 

This year, we are taking a new approach and conducting UPW Micro and UPW Pharma as co-located meetings as a part of the June 7-8 ULTRAPURE WATER® Austin conference. Each conference will feature its own program, but will share a common exhibits area and break times, meaning attendees can also meet those attending the other conference. 

This will be the 19th year for UPW Micro, which began in 1998 in Portland, OR. This year’s conference will again feature two tracks. Track 1 will be geared toward semiconductor high-purity water treatment concerns and Track 2 will focus on cooling and process water, wastewater, and water reuse. 

UPW Pharma will also feature technical presentations on high-purity and wastewater/process water issues. Some overall themes for UPW Pharma will be:

Currently our conference organizing teams are helping to prepare the programs that will include technical presentations, panels, and roundtable sessions. More specifics will be announced shortly, and conference details are available at these websites: www.ultrapurewatermicro.com, and www.ultrapurewaterpharma.com. The websites will be updated with more complete conference information in the coming weeks. 

Takeaways. So, beyond job experience and mentoring, here are three other takeaways on ways to become an expert in high-purity and industrial water treatment:

In closing, we would enjoy the opportunity to meet you in Austin!

Mike Henley,





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