Strength in Numbers

Oct. 16, 2008

About the author: Rebecca Wilhelm is associate editor for Storm Water Solutions. Wilhelm can be reached at 847.954.7958 or by e-mail at [email protected].

When competitors come together for the good of the industry, everyone benefits. John Moll, chief executive officer of CrystalStream Technologies and acting president of the Storm Water Equipment Manufacturers Association (SWEMA), first envisioned and set about to form a collaborative effort between leading manufacturers of storm water products in 2004. Four years later, SWEMA emerged. Storm Water Solutions’ Associate Editor Rebecca Wilhelm spoke with Moll about the future of the association and its goals within the industry.

Rebecca Wilhelm: What led to the formation of SWEMA?

John Moll: After a few earlier attempts, I incorporated an LLC called the Manufactured Water Quality Products Association. I invited other manufacturers to join me in forming an executive committee, whose purpose was to found a permanent association. I put together a tentative structure with a mission statement, core values, objectives, etc., so that others would have some confidence that we all had common goals and an incentive to work together.

The founding members are: AquaShield, BaySaver, Best Management Products, Bio-Clean, CONTECH, CrystalStream, Cultec, Environment 21, Hydro Intl., KriStar, Imbrium Systems, Rinker, Royal Environmental, StormTech, StormTrap and UltraTech Intl.

Wilhelm: What needs does SWEMA fulfill within the industry?

Moll: First, information and data sharing. Although many of the people in the association are serving on committees such as the ASTM committee to standardize laboratory testing procedures, there was no stakeholders’ group to represent the interests of us all. By working together, our association can help regulators and agencies be better informed and help them make better decisions that favor the environment, rather than adopt “safe” cookbook designs.

Second, maintenance and cleaning information. Every manufactured water quality product has the ability to be cleaned and maintained so that it is essentially new every time it is put back into service. The cost can be known in advance, and a maintenance plan can be put in place at the time the device is installed. This is not true of most public domain systems. These systems are intended to trap and hold pollutants, yet seldom is there a plan to clean and maintain them. Most site owners do not even know they have a best management practice (BMP) in place.

Third, advocating low-impact development and sustainable solutions for water quality. The products that our members produce and support typically have the lowest possible impact on land usage.

Wilhelm: Who can belong?

Moll: Current plans call for three types of members: producers, suppliers and associates. The producers are the manufacturers or distributors of proprietary BMPs. Suppliers are companies that manufacture or distribute parts of our systems and products associated with our systems. Associates would be design professionals, contractors, regulators, academics and consultants.

Wilhelm: How will the association serve the industry?

Moll: Our members will provide support and information to outside groups working on standards and protocols. Agencies looking for stakeholder input will be able to contact the association for information and assistance. Because we will represent a wide range of products and have a diverse membership, we should be able to provide a very balanced overview of proposed new regulations, standards, etc. Over time, the association may be able to develop internal standards for the various types of products so that a verification process can be put in place.

John Moll can be reached at 800.748.6945 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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About the Author

Rebecca Wilhelm