This month's column on recent industry happenings fromNational Driller'seditor.

Convention Venue Change

The British Columbia Ground Water Association (BCGWA) has had a change in location for its upcoming convention. The dates remain Mar. 3-7, but the new site is the Penticton Lakeside Resort’s Convention Centre & Casino in Penticton, British Columbia. Full details are available by telephoning BCGWA secretary Joan Perry at 604-530-8934.

You can check out the always-busy late winter/early spring convention schedule in the “Calendar” section of this Web site.

Associations Come Together

The Illinois Association of Ground Water Professionals (IAGP) has announced that, through a mutual agreement, the Illinois Water Quality Association (IWQA) has become part of IAGP.

IWQA was founded in the early 1970s to support the professional growth of its members and to provide information to consumers. In recent years, the group’s leadership saw that maintaining an all-volunteer-managed organization would be impossible to sustain, and began a dialog with the state’s water well industry association – IAGP.

After two years of discussion, leaders from both organizations agreed on terms that would provide mutual benefits. Explains Willard McKinley, owner of McKinley Water Conditioning, and treasurer of the former IWQA: “Our core membership recognized the value in having an association to provide industry education, member communications and serve as a resource for consumers. IAGP has an infrastructure that provides these key elements. Individual relationships between water well contractors and water quality dealers already existed, so it seemed a reasonable avenue to explore.”

“Water quality is an important aspect of the ground water industry, yet many water well drillers and water well pump installers do not offer the service,” says IAGP president Stephen Snelten. “Providing a potable and adequate supply of water isn’t enough for today’s consumers, given the technology available. The merger is a win-win outcome.”

Leaders from both groups are excited about the opportunity to work together to provide consumers with a quality end-product. Under the agreement, former IWQA dealer members now are specialty services/water quality division members, and former IWQA supplier/manufacturer members are associate members.

Water quality topics will continue to remain a part of the annual IAGP contractor education, and IAGP’s quarterly newsletter, Aquanotes, will have a regular water-quality section. A representative from the new division will have a liaison position on the IAGP board.

“The marketplace today is much different than it was 10 or 20 years ago,” states Jim Layton, owner of Kickapoo Drilling in Downs, Ill., and immediate past president of IAGP. “There are a lot more options for today’s consumer. If the residential water well industry is to remain a strong, viable industry, then we need to expand our services to include more consumer options. Making water quality a membership division is good common sense.”

Geothermal Leadership Honored

Stan Marco, CEO of Cambridge, Ontario-based GeoSmart Energy Inc., has been awarded the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition’s prestigious national Leadership Award. The prize is awarded to individuals who demonstrate ongoing leadership in the geoexchange industry in Canada. Marco “is among the geothermal industry’s most well-respected and highly sought-after experts and educators, and his influence is reflected in the practices and principles widely used by the geoexchange market today,” says Denis Tanguay, president of the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition.

Recognized as one of North America’s most experienced geoexchange specialists, Marco heads up the largest non-manufacturing-based distributor of geothermal products in Canada. The training offered to dealers, installers and customers through his GeoSmart Energy Academy is considered the industry’s best. His influence on the market has helped set the standard for how geothermal heat pumps are sized and installed in both residential and commercial properties.

“What I’ve learned throughout my years in this industry,” says Marco, “is that we can and should always be doing more to raise the bar, from constantly making improvements to the products and services we offer to strengthening our efforts in education and training. I feel privileged to work in an industry that’s not only making its mark in providing viable energy alternatives here at home, but around the world as well.”

Hydraulic Fracturing Bill

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) has vowed to aggressively press for the passage of a bill he coauthored that would undo a provision that exempts hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas exploration and drilling from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The bill, H.R. 7231, would provide basic federal standards for hydraulic fracturing under the SDWA.