Bottled Water Reporter (May/June 2020)

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W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G


IN THIS ISSUE Why We Need Plant Siting Made Easy Advocacy at All Levels of Government

Life After COVID-19







Also Inside:


VOL. 60 • NO. 3


20 | Why Building Relationships at All Levels of Government Is Critical Want to see legislative changes at the federal level? Talk with your local elected officials. COMMUNICATIONS

22 | Life After COVID-19 Why we should prepare now for the challenges we’ll face when life settles into a new normal. TECHNICAL UPDATE

24 | Plant Siting Made Easy IBWA’s new guidance document outlines a step-by-step plan for successful plant siting. BOTTLED WATER: BY THE NUMBERS

28 | Stats That Matter Discover the impact of COVID-19 on bottled water retail sales and more.

TABLE OF CONTENTS 10 | The Secrets of Successful Route Management Today’s route management systems offer sophisticated, cost-saving features that can help home and office delivery (HOD) bottlers keep their bottom lines in check. Find out how two IBWA bottlers use their route systems to their advantage. By Christine Umbrell

15 | Coping With COVID-19 The HOD business is personal. Customers often invite HOD employees into their homes or workplaces to make deliveries or set up equipment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HOD bottlers have had to quickly adopt new guidelines to protect both employees and customers. By Christine Umbrell

CHAIRMAN'S COMMENTARY................................2 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE.......................................4 WATER NOTES.....................................................6 CPO QUIZ..........................................................26 ADVERTISERS....................................................27 CALENDAR........................................................27


BOTTLED WATER REPORTER, Volume 60, Number 3. Published six times a year by The Goetz Printing Company, 7939 Angus Court, Springfield, VA, 22153, for the International Bottled Water Association, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650, Alexandria, VA 22314-2973. Tel: 703.683.5213, Fax: 703.683.4074, Subscription rate for members is $25 per year, which is included in the dues. U.S. and Canadian subscription rate to nonmembers is $50 per year. International subscription rate is $100 per year. Single copies are $7. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Bottled Water Reporter, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650, Alexandria, VA 22314-2973.


A lot can change in a few months. When I last sat down to write this column, it was business as usual for IBWA and the bottled water industry. We were occupied with, among other issues, reviewing proposed recycled content mandates in Washington State, meeting Florida legislators to discuss industry concerns with a proposed tax on bottled water, continuing conversations with Pennsylvania regulators about the oversight of bottled water in that state, monitoring recently introduced extended producer responsibility and bottle deposit legislation in Congress, advocating for more references on the benefits of water consumption in the soon-to-be published 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and testifying before Congress against a proposed ban on the sale of bottled water in national parks. In March, however, it soon became apparent that the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, would monopolize our time. Since then, we’ve observed consumers displaying typical crisis mode behavior: hoarding supplies—toilet paper, canned goods, and, yes, bottled water. While there is no evidence that the new coronavirus is present in or being transmitted by drinking water supplies, consumers still stockpiled bottled water. Industry responded to consumer demand for our products by ramping up production. These mass purchases of bottled water will impact our first quarter numbers, but, as Beverage Marketing Corporation has noted, “How long this elevated demand lasts, and whether the pantry-loading leads to expanded consumption or a post-surge reduction in future purchases [of bottled water], ultimately depends on the unpredictable course of the pandemic.” While consumer demand for bottled water may have increased, our businesses were still negatively affected. Many home and office delivery (HOD) routes had to be changed, and often on a day-by-day basis. Some customers suspended or cancelled contracts—either because their offices were closed and no one was there to drink the water, or because they had been laid off from work and could no longer afford our services. Some HOD bottlers faced hard decisions—like whether to cut staff for their benefit, allowing them to collect unemployment, or weather the storm together, focusing on the fact that good customer service during a crisis can lead to new customers after the dust settles. One thing is for certain, “normal” business isn’t normal any longer. COVID-19 will undoubtedly impact the way business is conducted in the future. However, as always, the bottled water industry will continue to meet consumer demands for our safe, reliable, and healthy bottled water products. And we’ll learn lessons from this unprecedented time—and come out a little stronger on the other side.

Robert Smith IBWA Chairman 2 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG


International Bottled Water Association OFFICERS Chairman Robert Smith, Grand Springs Distribution Vice Chairwoman Tara Carraro, Nestlé Waters North America Treasurer Brian Hess, Niagara Bottling LLC Immediate Past Chairman Lynn Wachtmann, Maumee Valley Bottlers, Inc..

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Shayron Barnes-Selby, DS Services of America, Inc. Joe Bell, Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. Philippe Caradec, Danone Waters of America Tara Carraro, Nestlé Waters North America Andy Eaton, Eurofins Eaton Analytical Brian Hess, Niagara Bottling LLC Doug Hidding, Blackhawk Molding Co. Dan Kelly, Polymer Solutions International Kari Mondt, Allied Purchasing Greg Nemec, Premium Waters, Inc. Robert Smith, Grand Springs Distribution Lynn Wachtmann, Maumee Valley Bottlers, Inc. William Patrick Young, Absopure Water Co., Inc.

IBWA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chairman Robert Smith, Grand Springs Distribution Shayron Barnes-Selby, DS Services of America, Inc. Joe Bell, Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. Philippe Caradec, Danone Waters of America Tara Carraro, Nestlé Waters North America C.R. Hall, Hall’s Culligan Brian Hess, Niagara Bottling LLC Henry R. Hidell, III, Hidell International Dan Kelly, Polymer Solutions International William Patrick Young, Absopure Water Co., Inc. Lynn Wachtmann, Maumee Valley Bottlers, Inc.

COMMITTEE CHAIRS Communications Committee Julia Buchanan, Niagara Bottling, LLC Alessandra Simkin, Danone Waters of America Education Committee Glen Davis, Absopure Water Co., Inc. Douglas R. Hupe, Aqua Filter Fresh Environmental Sustainability Committee John Cook, Niagara Bottling LLC Government Relations Committee Viola Johnson Jacobs, DS Services of America, Inc. Derieth Sutton, Niagara Bottling LLC. Membership Committee Marge Eggie, Polymer Solutions International Kelley Goshay, DS Services of America, Inc. State and Regional Associations Committee Jillian Olsen, Cherry Ridge Consulting LLC Supplier and Convention Committee Joe Bell, Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. Dan Kelly, Polymer Solutions International Technical Committee Andy Eaton, Eurofins Eaton Analytical Glen Davis, Absopure Water Co., Inc.

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE DELIVERING MORE THAN WATER In this home and office delivery (HOD) issue of Bottled Water Reporter, we cover the evergreen topic of route management—and the timely topic of COVID-19. Every HOD bottler looks for ways to tighten their bottom line and investing in a good route management system plays an essential role in meeting that goal. In “The Secrets of Successful Route Management” (p.10), we review how today’s route management systems offer sophisticated, cost-saving features, such as live-feed inventory management, speed monitoring, and flexible route schedules based on traffic patterns. We also look at how route management systems can be customized to help bottlers provide great customer service. With the popularity of Amazon and other e-commerce sites, consumers are accustomed to being able to make changes to their orders online. These days, most route management systems can be adapted to enable you to meet your customers’ online shopping expectations. For the past few months, COVID-19 has monopolized the headlines, and, in “Coping With COVID-19” (p.15), we present some of the best practices being observed by HOD bottlers. During the pandemic, IBWA bottled water companies have quickly adopted new guidelines designed to protect both employees and customers. The HOD business is a personal business. We are often invited into our customers’ homes to make deliveries and set up equipment. This article reviews how two bottler members continued to provide exceptional customer service during an unprecedented time and the work IBWA is doing to keep members up to date on critical information for our essential businesses. Although these are uncertain times, ultimately life will settle into a new normal—and when that happens, we need to be ready. That’s why this issue’s Government Relations column (p.20) emphasizes the advocacy work that needs to be done at the local level to affect legislative change at the city, county, state, and federal levels. Our Communications column (p.22) encourages members to continue educating the public about bottled water facts by using the materials found in IBWA’s social media toolkits, online image library, and YouTube videos and on our statements and letters webpage. And finally, in the Technical Update column (p.24), we note how IBWA’s recently published “Plant Siting Best Practices Guide” provides a step-by-step plan for successful plant siting. These challenging times have motivated consumers to stockpile items that offer a sense of comfort. That’s why, while no authority recommended the purchase of bottled water in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak, consumers still turned to our products during this crisis. That’s a big responsibility, but I know the bottled water industry— retail and HOD businesses alike—are up for the challenge!



International Bottled Water Association BOTTLED WATER REPORTER is published for: International Bottled Water Association 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650 Alexandria, VA 22314-2973. Tel: 703.683.5213 Fax: 703.683.4074

IBWA STAFF President Joe Doss Senior Vice President of Education, Science, and Technical Relations Robert R. Hirst Vice President of Communications Jill Culora Vice President of Government Relations Cory Martin Director of Conventions, Trade Shows, and Meetings Michele Campbell Director of Government Relations J.P. Toner Director of Science and Research Al Lear Director of Communications Sabrina E. Hicks Manager of Member Services Cheryl Bass Communications Coordinator Chris Torres Education and Technical Programs Coordinator Linda Alfakir Executive Assistant vacant Bottled Water Reporter Layout and Design Rose McLeod Tel: 315.447.4385 Editor Sabrina E. Hicks Advertising Sales Stephanie Schaefer






Your KHS system for efficient water bottling. From the preform to the packaged PET bottle, our lines not only considerably save on energy but also on materials and maintenance costs. One such system is our compact InnoPET TriBlock Aqua M, which forms, labels, and fills single-serve bottles especially efficiently. At a rate of up to 82,000 bottles per hour it also saves time. This is what we call efficiency right down the line!



IBWA Members Donate Bottled Water During COVID-19 Pandemic

A Niagara Bottling plant team proudly makes a donation of protective equipment and bottled water to representatives from Alliance HealthCare System in Byhalia, Mississippi, in support of their efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to expanding production to ensure consumers have access to the bottled water products they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, IBWA bottler members have also been identifying ways to give back to communities in need. For example, bottler member Aqua Filter Fresh, Inc. came to the aid of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County Police Department, supplying bottled water that was handed out along with 340 large pizzas for a social distancing drive-through party in Wilmerding, a town financially hard-hit by the pandemic. DS Services of America, Inc. is contributing to the United Way’s efforts to help people in need with food, shelter, and critical services, along with donating water to hospitals, first responders, and food banks in highly impacted U.S. communities. In New York City, Niagara Bottling has donated more than a half a million bottles of water to relief efforts, as well as bottled water for numerous hospitals, food banks, and shelters throughout the United States. Danone Waters of America has also stepped in to provide support to New York City, donating more than 195,000 bottles of water for those working on the front lines at local hospitals. Nestlé Waters—in addition to donating water to communities in New York City; Flint, Michigan; and other locations—is providing bottles to local distilleries (distin-guishable from bottles that contain water) to be filled with hand sanitizer for healthcare workers, first responders, and the public.

Nestlé Waters is working with local distilleries to provide them with blue bottles to be filled with hand sanitizer for healthcare workers, first responders, and the public.


IBWA bottler member Aqua Filter Fresh donated cases of its bottled water, Tyler Mountain Water, to an April 4 community "Social Distancing Pizza Party," held by the Allegheny County Police Department.

In Mobile, Alabama, a nurse working at an infirmary COVID-19 testing site is happy to receive bottled water donated from DS Service of America’s Kentwood, Louisiana facility.

Danone Waters of America has provided support to New York City frontline workers with a donation of more than 195,000 bottles of water to local hospitals.



IBWA to Hold June 2020 Board and Committee Meetings Via Video Conference Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IBWA summer, inperson board and committee meetings originally scheduled for June 1-4, 2020, in Alexandria, Virginia, will now be held via video conference on June 2-4. The change in format is the result of a stay-at-home order issued by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on March 30. The executive order prohibits all public and private inperson gatherings of more than 10 people in Virginia until at least June 10, 2020. IBWA first alerted members of the revised schedule through its News Splash member e-newsletter on April 2, 2020. Registered attendees and committee members will be sent a link to a Zoom meeting, as well as a meeting ID and

IBWA is fully committed to the health and safety of

password. When attendees click the link, a pop-up screen

everyone who attends our events. We are following

will appear and request the required login information. For

guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and

security purposes, as each person joins the meeting he or

Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO),

she will be placed in a “waiting room” until an IBWA staff

and state and local governments regarding COVID-19

person approves their entry. The use of a password and

and will provide regular updates to all stakeholders as the

waiting room will help prevent the Zoom security breaches

situation warrants. If you have any questions regarding

that have been recently covered in the media. Registrants

an upcoming meeting, please contact IBWA Director

will also be given a phone number if they prefer to call into

of Conventions, Trade Shows, and Meetings Michele

the meeting.



DWRF Seeking Applicants for Kristin Safran Scholarship Worth $4,000

The Drinking Water Research Foundation (DWRF) is currently accepting applications for the 2020 Kristin Safran College Scholarship. Please pass this information on and let your employees know about this opportunity. All application materials are due no later than June 30, 2020. The scholarship is for a total of $4,000. Criteria include the following: • Must be the child or grandchild of an IBWA member employee. • Must be a high school senior (class of 2020) ranked in the top 20th percentile of their class. • Must plan to attend an accredited undergraduate two-year or four-year college/university. To review the application and read additional information, go to DWRF plans to announce the winner in August 2020. The Foundation is looking forward to helping support another bright and talented student! Make a Scholarship Donation DWRF trustees are grateful for the funds donated so far for the scholarship, but, as it is still in the “growing stages,” the Foundation is looking to increase donations this year. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible gift to the DWRF Kristin Safran College Scholarship Fund, please visit Kristin-Safran-Contribution-Form.pdf. MAY/JUN 2020 • BWR • 7

BEHIND EVERY WINNER IS A GREAT COMPANY Submit your nominations for IBWA’s 2020 Awards Program at • Route Salesperson of the Year • Plant Manager of the Year • Supplier of the Year • Product Innovation Award • Environmental Stewardship Award • IBWA / Selby Advocacy Award • IBWA / Kristin Safran Directors’ Award • Bottled Water Hall of Fame • New for 2020: Up-and-Comer Award




Citing the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s budget, Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) vetoed Assembly Bill 2722, which would have established a recycled content mandate for plastic beverage containers sold in the state. The final bill, as approved by the legislature, would have required manufacturers to have an average of 10 percent post-consumer content in plastic bottles starting in 2022, 25 percent in 2025, and 50 percent in 2030. In an April 3 veto message, Governor Inslee stated that the COVID-19 pandemic will majorly impact the state’s economy and that the state’s leaders “must prepare for the effects of the lost revenue that will result from this pandemic.” Although the fiscal impact of AB 2722 was minimal (slightly over $100,000 total for the years Governor Jay Inslee vetoed Assembly Bill 2722, which would have required manufacturers to meet recycled content mandates starting in 2022. 2020 and 2021), the state will use those funds to fight the virus. News circulated that the governor also wanted to review the results of the Department of Ecology's (Ecology) study study on plastic use and waste in Washington before making any financial commitment to a recycled content mandate. IBWA and others testifying on the legislation, including Ecology, proposed waiting on those results before taking any action to set mandates. Ecology’s study, which was issued via legislation in 2019, is still in its early stages—and results aren’t due until October 2020. (However, the COVID-19 crisis and the state’s stay-at-home order may affect that timeline.) It is very likely this issue will return for the 2021 session, but until the state can recover from the fiscal impact of COVID-19, this, and any other legislation that could affect the state’s bottom line, will come under increased scrutiny based upon financial needs.

Photo credit: Governor Inslee’s Office

Washington Governor Vetoes Recycled Content Legislation


IBWA Working Group to Tackle New Energy Star Specifications for Water Coolers The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon issue draft Energy Star 3.0 (ES3) product specifications for water coolers. Therefore, IBWA is creating a working group of interested members to review the ES3 draft proposals on water coolers and proactively engage in the revision process to help ensure that the final EPA specifications are reasonable and workable for the bottled water industry. Michael Efron (Waterways Company) and a member of the IBWA Government Relations Committee have agreed to lead the working group, with IBWA Vice President of Government Relations Cory Martin acting as the staff liaison. EPA’s draft revisions to the current Energy Star specifications relating to water coolers (Energy Star 2.0) should soon be available. EPA has indicated that

the following issues are the key drivers behind any proposed revisions: • technological innovations that provide an opportunity to recognize more efficient models • growing Energy Star market share • clarifying definitions and scope • evaluating any adjustments to the “Energy Star Water Coolers Test Method” due to scope expansion and compelling data specific to temperature points EPA is seeking stakeholder engagement as it drafts the ES3 specifications for water coolers. One issue worth noting is that the current Energy Star 2.0 test method for water coolers measures energy output during “On Mode with No Water Draw.” EPA is evaluating whether to include specifications based on “On Mode with Water Draw,” which represents a major change in testing requirements.

For more detailed information on EPA’s draft ES3 water cooler specifications, visit This webpage presents an Energy Star document that includes several questions EPA is considering during the revision process. IBWA members impacted by the new ES3 guidelines for water coolers are encouraged to engage on this matter to ensure that the revised specifications are achievable. To become a member of this working group, or for more information on this issue, please contact IBWA Vice President of Government Relations Cory Martin: MAY/JUN 2020 • BWR • 9




Bottled water delivery to the home and office has become much more sophisticated during the past few years, with most bottlers leveraging advanced route management systems. These technologically advanced systems allow companies to deliver bottled water to a larger footprint of customers using less manual labor—while offering advanced options that were unheard of in years past. “You can live-feed inventory off of trucks; you can track customer locations; you can see by drivers’ phones where they are on their route; you can track speed and acceleration,” says Brad Wester, director of operations at Premium Waters Inc. And by integrating a robust company website with a route management system, “it’s all tied in with online ordering,” he says. “Customers can go online to pay bills, skip or add deliveries, and order extras.” But not everybody is leveraging these systems to their fullest advantage. Here, industry professionals explain how advanced route management systems can help bottled water companies meet and exceed their goals.

MAY/JUN 2020 • BWR • 11

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A ROUTE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM When choosing a route management system provider, experts suggest looking for the following key features:

• Simplicity. Make sure the system is easy to use, for both management and drivers. • Comprehension of the industry. Make sure your partner understands the bottled water industry and its particular needs, says Andrew Kuneth, vice president at Prism Visual Software. • Flexibility within the system. Look for a package that is easily adjustable as time passes and technology advances, suggests Brad Wester, director of operations at Premium Waters Inc. • Advanced data collection capabilities. Make sure the system collects data that is relevant to your business and offers digestible reporting and aggregation tools, advises David Kroutil, president and chief executive officer of Advantage Route Systems. • Backup and support. “Software is like a car, and backup is like the gasoline,” says Kroutil. “There’s always something that might happen with a system,” so it’s important that a provider commit to 24-hour-a-day support staffed by individuals who understand the bottled water business.

Planning Optimal Routes Using a route management system that can both map routes and adjust to last-minute changes is critical, says Douglas R. Hupe, route manager at Aqua Filter Fresh Inc., bottlers of Tyler Mountain Water. That way, drivers can follow predetermined pathways to make deliveries in the most appropriate geographical order, using roads with less traffic and requiring less fuel, as recommended by the software program. Flexible systems empower drivers to make unscheduled changes and immediately see a newly optimized route. Wester touts the automatic routing feature as the backbone of these systems. Each night, his system—supplied by Advantage Route Systems (ARS)—is programmed to pull information on the next day’s deliveries and determine the optimal route by time, mile, and fuel efficiency—ultimately saving money and requiring less time to make deliveries. That information is automatically uploaded to drivers’ company-provided phones, which remain at headquarters overnight for charging. It’s a rare occasion when drivers alter from the preprogrammed itineraries; that only occurs if a customer is not home or a business is opening late, Wester explains. Premium Waters has chosen to partner with ARS, says Wester, because the company is one of a handful offering systems geared specifically to water delivery companies. 12 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

While some very large bottlers may have the finances to build their own specialized route management systems, most water delivery firms partner with route management companies that offer platforms designed for delivery services. ARS is one such company; it partners with 300-400 bottled water companies worldwide, according to David Kroutil, the company’s president and chief executive officer, and bottled water comprises about 60-70 percent of ARS’s business. “There are certain things, like handling bottle deposits, keeping track of empties, cooler and equipment management, and add-on products like coffee” that are unique to the bottled water industry, says Kroutil. ARS’s handhelds, software, and route optimization portals have integrated specialized features that address the specific needs of water delivery drivers. “When a bottled water company gets involved with us, we understand the industry,” adds Kroutil, citing monthly billing rents, asset tracking, route optimization, and tools for contacting customers as examples of key features that should be integrated into systems.

Improving Customer Communications Bottled water companies can foster and improve relationships with their customers by leveraging some of the technologies integrated into advanced route management systems. “We build our new technologies based on the needs of our customers’ customers,” or the individuals purchasing bottled water, explains Andrew Kuneth, vice president at Prism Visual Software, another route management system provider. With the rise of Amazon and similar e-commerce sites, customers have come to expect the ability to order and pay online using just a few clicks, and then track their deliveries using an easily navigable website—and they are demanding similar features in their bottled water purchases. “Customers today want to be communicated with automatically on their upcoming deliveries and to be informed the delivery was completed with success,” says Kuneth. Customers also want to check statuses, manage bill payments, and more. Prism’s communication module is designed so bottled water companies can call, text, or email before or after the delivery, and customers can use a web platform to pay bills, self-shop, and check order status, says Kuneth. “The customer is happy to use their mobile devices and self-manage,” he explains. “And the bottled water distributor is thrilled to save on labor” since the system can facilitate operational tasks, such as payments. Plus, bottlers who specialize in home and office delivery (HOD) can advertise other products and services in the virtual storefront. These options allow HOD bottlers to compete with larger online players.

HOD ROUTES “With communication automation, you can keep thousands of customers happy and sell more because they will learn to love your brand, taste, and service,” adds Kuneth. “They feel part of your family.” Being able to integrate a website is extremely important and can drive customers online, resulting in fewer phone calls and a boost in business, agrees Wester. Premium Waters has integrated its route management system into its website and ramped up its social media marketing. “As the company starts to put products online, we use social media to drive people to our website,” he says.

Customization for Greater Value Some bottled water companies are choosing route management systems that offer customization and can be tailored to their unique needs. Aqua Filter Fresh Inc. leverages an ARS system, but Hupe says his company’s version of ARS software “is not what everyone else has,” because his company has modified and upgraded the system over the past several years. For example, Hupe found a third-party vendor to give the system a more user-friendly interface. Customers can go to the new website and add on to their orders using the easy-to-navigate interface, which boosts sales of case water and coffee. Most route management systems can be adapted to fit your company’s ideology, according to Hupe. He recently worked closely with ARS to integrate another special feature—the ability to take photos and immediately import them into the platform. “We wanted to modify the system” to allow drivers to take pictures at stops to document when customers forget to put their empties on their front porch, and other nonroutine circumstances. “If someone says they left a note on the garage door with instructions, our driver can take a photo of the garage door” documenting that no such note was left, says Hupe. Photo documentation “can diffuse customer anger” and prove that drivers made the appropriate stops. With this added feature, customers understand if "we charge an extra route fee” to go back out and make a second trip, if requested. Other bottled water companies ask for integration of specific software programs, says ARS’s Kroutil, so his company offers a robust base platform with options to upgrade. “A lot of people love Quickbooks or Peachtree,” he explains, “so we’ve evolved our products so they can interface with these solutions.”

Doing More With Data HOD bottlers are making operations decision much more strategically, armed with the data aggregated through route management systems.


One of the challenges associated with advanced technologies is ensuring all employees understand the need for change. At some companies, drivers may at first resist using newer systems with advanced tracking capabilities—but they come to realize the benefits, says Douglas R. Hupe, route manager at Aqua Filter Fresh Inc. Explaining to drivers that these systems save time and fuel can help them recognize the upside for the company. And they may come to appreciate the features that facilitate driver safety. Andrew Kuneth, vice president at Prism Visual Software, notes that his company’s systems help keep drivers’ eyes on the road, as they offer text-to-speech notifications when texts or calls come in—a better option “than getting a distracting ding,” he says. Some systems integrate GPS or allow for “realtime” oversight, which can be a startling change for drivers who previously had more autonomy. But Hupe says driver location information is not made available to the customers at his company—that information can only be viewed by managers. “We always tell our team the system is not a babysitting tool,” adds Brad Wester, director of operations at Premium Waters Inc. “It’s for customer service, safety, and efficiency. And if you’re doing your job right, you have nothing to worry about.”

ARS’s systems are set up so companies can download route reports; performance reports; and sales reports by date, customer, or product. Data can be exported into dashboards or into Excel to create Pivot tables. “All kinds of metrics” are available, including bottles per mile, stops per mile, bottles per hour, and information that allows a company to compare driver performance and identify areas in need of improvement, says Kroutil. “You can see by route how much drivers sold that day, how much you grossed…you can look at one product or all products, and I can see it for all 10 of my locations,” says Wester. He can examine the data and identify, for example, drivers who may need more instruction on upselling. Hupe says product-specific information helps his company decide whether new specialty products are selling well. “If the data indicates [that very few] customers are choosing those products,” he can discontinue those offerings. Companies also are leveraging data to determine when to increase prices for specific customers—for example, higher MAY/JUN 2020 • BWR • 13

pricing may be warranted for a customer that costs the company more because it is off main routes or because it requires specialized billing, suggests Hupe. Perhaps most importantly, all of this data can be used to provide superior customer service. “This is a relationship business,” says Wester. “You’re constantly going to the same customers,” and being able to provide more targeted delivery times and offer more personalized service—and communicate how you are doing so—is critical.

Expecting Future Innovations Over the next few years, route management systems are expected to integrate newer technologies for even more intuitive route management. “Systems will continue to advance to do more with less labor,” says Kuneth. “Processes traditionally managed by a person physically will be managed by the computer and machine.” He believes this evolution will improve relationships between customers and HOD companies and enable bottlers to compete more effectively. “Additionally, data will help managers make more informed decisions to balance routes, sell new customers, and increase customer satisfaction, which ultimately will allow for a more profitable and competitive business.”

Kroutil expects to see more application of artificial intelligence in the next five to 10 years. He foresees integration of water cooler intelligence to inform the distributor when customers are running out of water or need their unit cleaned, as well as automatic alerts regarding repairs. In addition, he speculates there will be a growth in in-plant intelligence and remote control. Data-wise, Kroutil believes systems will be aggregating data that alerts the company when people move, “and if you detect they are coming to your area, automated messages will appear on your phone guiding them to your company and your services.” Hupe asserts that the future is unknown but believes video documentation will become more sophisticated. “Maybe route delivery drivers will have to wear a camera to document everything that happens throughout the day,” he says. “That way, if they get in an accident or make a delivery, a manager can review the tapes.” Whatever the future brings, route management systems will continue to help bottled water companies serve customers faster and smarter—increasing sales and boosting customer retention. BWR Christine Umbrell is a freelance writer based in Herndon, Virginia. Email her at 14 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

How HOD bottlers revamped their business practices and protected employees during the COVID-19 pandemic By Christine Umbrell

As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) began to spread throughout the United States in the first quarter of 2020, Americans everywhere were faced with monumental challenges and changes. Stay-at-home mandates, federal and state declarations, social distancing, and fear of infection forced Americans inside and caused some businesses to temporarily close. Home and office delivery (HOD) companies that provide bottled water played an important role during this precarious time, ensuring that their residential and business customers continued to receive their deliveries. As IBWA members know, federal guidelines state that the manufacture and delivery of bottled water is considered life-sustaining and essential—thus, bottled water companies were exempt from closures of nonessential businesses. MAY/JUN 2020 • BWR • 15

began producing hand sanitizer to supplement their liquor output during the COVID outbreak—so he began purchasing hand sanitizer in bulk, then stocks smaller containers for each HOD truck. The new policy enabled team members to change gloves and clean hands between deliveries. Gloves and hand sanitizer also became “standard issue” at Puritan Springs, headquartered in Lincoln, Illinois, says Dan Hansen, director of route operations and sales. During deliveries, every effort was made to prevent delivery personnel from coming into contact with customers. On a very rare occasion, if a HOD salesperson was asked to bring a delivery into the home, for example for an elderly customer who lives alone, the team member made sure to take every precaution to maintain social distancing guidelines during drop-off, says Hansen.

When making their bottled water deliveries, HOD teams found that business is anything but usual during a pandemic. Owners and managers quickly adopted new business practices designed to keep employees safe while producing bottled water and making deliveries to homes— and to those businesses that remained open. Some of those practices may continue long after the pandemic is over.

Safety First Given the highly contagious properties of COVID-19, bottled water companies began implementing new processes and procedures to protect their workers, and their customers, as soon as the disease invaded the United States, says Bob Hirst, IBWA’s senior vice president of education, science, and technical relations. Many HOD companies “changed 16 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

their practices on how they deliver products, and how they’re interfacing with the customers, to limit contact,” Hirst explains. At Grand Springs Distribution, headquartered in Alton, Virginia, management equipped route salespeople with latex gloves and hand sanitizer, and many drivers chose to wear face masks, says Robert Smith, president and chief executive officer. Smith was able to adopt those protocols quickly once community spread of COVID-19 became a threat because his bottling facility was already well-stocked with latex gloves for employees. The Grand Springs HOD team was able to choose from four sizes of gloves, ensuring proper fit for all drivers. And Smith found a local supplier that sells hand sanitizer in 5-gallon buckets—several nearby distilleries

Some customers refused to accept paper invoices when receiving deliveries, says Smith. Just as UPS and FedEx stopped obtaining signatures on e-commerce deliveries that had historically required signatures, Grand Springs adopted electronic billing procedures for some customers to avoid paper exchange. Both Grand Springs and Puritan Springs quickly adjusted their guidelines regarding the way employees interact. “We used to have two to a truck” for some deliveries, but that practice has ceased, says Hansen. During the epidemic, there was “no doubling up for any reason.” The company also stopped allowing visitors into the facility and implemented the practice of shutting all doors separating the different areas of the building. Similarly, Grand Springs encouraged social distancing for employees when they were loading their trucks, and management reminded HOD sales representatives to maintain six feet of physical space from other people, whenever possible, throughout their workday.

Out of Office One of the most challenging side effects of the COVID pandemic for HOD route salespeople was arriving at business drop-off locations only to find that they had closed their doors. While some businesses may have been deemed nonessential and ordered to close by state or local governments, others shut down due to lack of customers. Too often, those HOD customers failed to inform their water delivery drivers of the closures. During late March and April, “there wasn’t much ‘office’ to deliver to,” says Smith. While Grand Springs attempted to reach personnel at closed businesses, many companies did not answer their phones or return calls. “Payment processing has slowed because people are not there to pay their bills,” he adds. Puritan Springs also noted a significant decrease in 5-gallon sales during March and April, particularly at office locations, says Hansen. Both Hansen and Smith are hopeful, but uncertain, as to whether these offices will open back up once stay-at-home orders are lifted. Some may reopen, but “a lot of small businesses only have two to four weeks of cash flow on hand,” Smith explains, so the fear is that those businesses may be unable to restart operations after a long hiatus. Fortunately, business remained steady for residential HOD deliveries during March and April, according to both Hansen and Smith. Grand Springs noted an uptick in calls for extra


Throughout March and April, HOD companies across the country implemented similar safety measures. It is expected that companies will continue to offer gloves, hand sanitizer, and additional safety options even after the stay-at-home guidelines are lifted, to ensure the continued good health of both employees and consumers.

bottles at home addresses because many residential customers remained in their homes 24 hours a day—and went through their water supply more quickly. Smith began encouraging his HOD team to be proactive in contacting their residential customers before making their deliveries, to ask

whether they’d like extra bottles. That strategy was a way to boost sales while minimizing return trips. “Every mile you drive is an extra cost,” he says. Puritan Springs also began receiving onetime orders from new residential customers when stay-at-home restrictions were


If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or is exhibiting symptoms, employers should refer to guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to Bob Hirst, IBWA’s senior vice president of education, science, and technical relations. Food facilities— including bottled water companies—can continue operations while protecting other employees, according to the guidance. In addition, FDA has stated food producers, like bottled water bottlers, do not have to recall product if an employee has COVID-19. According to FDA, "There is no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19." Employers are expected to inform employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 if one employee is confirmed to have the disease, but to refrain from naming the employee, due to regulations mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Employers also should take the following actions: • Instruct sick employees to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “What To Do If You Are Sick With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Guidance,” available at coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/sick-with-2019-nCoV-fact-sheet.pdf. • Redouble cleaning and sanitation efforts to control any risks that might be associated with workers who are ill. • Consult with the local health department for additional guidance, including whether to request other workers who may have been exposed to the employee who tested positive for COVID-19 to self-quarantine for 14 days.

MAY/JUN 2020 • BWR • 17

in place. Hansen is hopeful that some of those individuals may be converted into more regular customers: “We’ve started a process with people who call us for a small order” to ensure they have enough product to meet their family's hydration needs and encourage repeat business.

Keep on Driving As offices closed their doors and fewer people were allowed on the roads, HOD supervisors adjusted and reworked routes, and equipped their drivers with required documentation.

Hansen sought to cut costs by rearranging some routes to account for the decrease in office deliveries. In some cases, what had previously been two days’ worth of deliveries were combined into one day, keeping a truck off the road for one day to save on driving and gas costs. Other HOD companies adopted similar practices. These routes will be re-evaluated once the pandemic is over, and new routes may emerge, depending on which business customers return to full operations. Bottled water companies in the HOD segment responded quickly to new state and city rules regarding who was allowed on the roads. Some states required that all essential employees carry letters from their employers explaining their status as an essential business and their need to be on the road, whether travelling to and from work or out delivering product. IBWA provided members with a template letter they could edit and give to their employees, based on information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to Hirst. The template “identified individuals as part of the critical infrastructure,” so they could complete their travels, Hirst explains.

Allaying Customer Concerns In the midst of the pandemic, some HOD customers posed questions and concerns regarding contamination associated with production or delivery of bottled water. HOD salespeople shared federal guidance with their customers to answer those questions—information that was posted on the IBWA website: www. The guidance explains there is no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted by food or food packaging, which includes 18 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

Looking specifically at water, the CDC has affirmed that “COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water,” according to its Water Transmission and COVID-19 webpage ( coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/water.html). CDC notes that “conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.” Bottled water in particular—when produced using multiple barrier treatments such as filtration, disinfection, and reverse osmosis—“should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19,” according to Eugene Rice, PhD, trustee of the Drinking Water Research Foundation. In addition, Hirst notes that both tap water and bottled water have been deemed safe since the chlorine used to treat tap water is effective at destroying contaminants, and the water that goes into containers at bottled water companies stays contained and is never exposed to air, reducing the risks from outside contaminants.

Long-term Impacts Looking at the current trends— including the possibility of fewer office deliveries—HOD bottlers are wondering what the future holds.

OVERCOMING COVID CHALLENGES: LONG-HAUL TRANSPORT Bottled water companies experienced difficulties transporting retail bottled water—particularly for long-distance hauls—when some sections of the country were in lockdown mode due to the coronavirus. Early on, truckers found that restrooms and rest areas were shut down in some states, says Bob Hirst, IBWA’s senior vice president of science, technical relations, and education. IBWA worked with representatives from the American Trucking Association to raise awareness of this problem, and the closed rest stops ultimately reopened to allow drivers of essential products to complete their deliveries. Some corporate and plant employees travelling to and from work in areas with tight lockdown policies encountered hurdles, says Hirst, because local law enforcement agencies did not understand that companies that bottle and package water are part of the critical infrastructure. To help in those situations, IBWA provided members with a template letter, based on information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Food and Drug Administration, they could amend and provide to employees. Employees were instructed to hand that letter to local authorities if they were pulled over by law enforcement. “The letter,” says Hirst, “identified bottled water employees as part of the critical infrastructure” and enabled them to complete their travels.

“What will happen to HOD after this is over?” asks Smith. “We don’t know exactly how long this will last.” Smith wonders whether residential consumers will have adopted new habits that could impact HOD delivery as well. He noticed a significant increase in retail purchases of 1-gallon and 5-gallon water products during March and April, which could mean that consumers are becoming accustomed to purchasing water themselves. “I don’t know how that will affect HOD delivery in the future,” he says. He also wonders whether individuals who “hoarded” water during the pandemic may put a temporary stop to their regular deliveries. However, many residential consumers appreciated their deliveries during the stay-at-home mandates, so it’s possible that HOD orders will pick back up once the pandemic ends and unemployment numbers stabilize. Customer retention—to the extent that it is possible—might be the key to recovering from the effects of the pandemic for HOD bottled water

businesses. It is increasingly important to go the extra mile to keep current customers satisfied. “Good service is how you retain customers,” says Smith. For now, flexibility and compassion will serve HODs well. “We approach every day saying, ‘I wonder what today will be like,’ and we adapt,” says Smith. “Whatever we need to do to please the customer, that’s what we’ll do. “Whether we like it or not, this [pandemic] will change the culture of America,” adds Smith. By staying vigilant and adopting stringent safety practices, HOD companies are doing their part to meet consumers’ water needs during an extremely difficult time. “We’re doing a good job,” says Hirst, “and we’ll keep doing it.” BWR

Christine Umbrell is a freelance writer based in Herndon, Virginia. Email her at MAY/JUN 2020 • BWR • 19


bottled water, according to FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-toperson through respiratory droplets,” reports the CDC in a Frequently Asked Questions webpage. “Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. … In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks.”

Why Building Relationships at All Levels of Government Is Critical

By Cory Martin, IBWA Vice President of Government Relations

Advocacy used to mean travelling to Washington, DC, to participate in industry Hill Day events or signing on to a few grassroots letters through an online forum to share bottled water’s point of view with federal policymakers who make decisions that impact your business. You may also have hosted a tour of your plant, allowing a member of Congress to observe 20 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

firsthand how your bottling operation works and discussing with them how issues debated in the halls of Congress actually affect your business back home. Such traditional advocacy strategies also included contributing to political candidates to support those in office who have shown they understand the ins-and-outs of the complicated bottled water industry.

While all those tactics are still very important at the federal level, successfully advocating in today’s political landscape means expanding those activities to state and local officials. If we want to ensure our elected representatives see the value of the bottled water industry, we can’t just focus on legislators in Washington, DC; we have to focus on local legislators as well.

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS Plant-based Education When we talk about finding the key to helping the bottled water industry address concerns at the state or federal level, we don’t need to look any further than the individuals serving in local positions. Local officials can help build an accurate narrative of your company, including the important role it plays in the community. But what’s the best way to educate those local officials? Plant tours. While always a part of traditional advocacy, plant tours are more important now than ever. Today’s successful advocate knows the value of inviting state, county, city, and other local leaders, as well as members of Congress, to visit your facility and learn how your company operates, to the benefit of your community and state. When you have elected officials on site, don’t rush the event—take the time necessary to fully describe the steps your company has in place to ensure it produces a safe, healthy, and convenient bottled water product for all to enjoy. Sharing detailed economic information with policymakers remains important (e.g., how many people work at your plant, your impact on the tax revenue for the state, etc.), but, to tell the complete story of your business, provide comprehensive examples of your company’s engagement in the community. You’ll want to provide as many details as possible; for example, how much product you donate to the local food banks or how many employees volunteer at local outreach programs. Be sure to include any relevant examples of your company’s story to help ensure a comprehensive picture is painted for elected officials of how your company invests in the local community. If you currently aren’t engaged in the local community, now’s the time to start.

INVITING LOCAL OFFICIALS TO ADVOCATE ON YOUR BEHALF STRENGTHENS INDUSTRY’S POSITION WITH STATE AND FEDERAL POLICYMAKERS. policymakers and government leaders realize the real benefit they garner from having you in their city, county, and state. Ultimately, when you provide legislators with a true “bottled water education,” based on facts and sound science, they better understand the industry’s perspective when we face policy challenges—and they become knowledgeable advocates for you. But you have to start today to build those foundations and nurture those relationships with state legislators and members of Congress. You can’t expect to call a legislator when a bill with questionable outcomes is being considered and expect them to take your call. IBWA Chairman Robert Smith once said it best: “I make sure I know the name of all my local, state, and federal legislators—and I make sure they know my name too.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, the bottled water industry stepped up production to help ensure consumers had access to the bottled water supplies they wanted, as we always do during manmade or natural disasters. The

crisis meant a lot of our attention was diverted to meeting immediate needs; however, a “return to normal” means we will also need to be prepared to tackle the hard issues that remain on our plate: proposed groundwater management legislation that does not treat all withdrawal industries equally, unrealistic recycled content mandates, unfair plant siting regulations, etc. To achieve positive policy outcomes, we must ensure that legislators at every level of government—city, county, state, and federal officials—understand not only the economic benefit your company brings to the table but also how your company is an invaluable part of your community. While you will always be the best advocate for your business, after learning firsthand of the benefits your company brings to the community, local officials can advocate on your behalf with state and federal lawmakers and regulators. And their support can only strengthen your argument.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS The stay-at-home order issued by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in response to COVID-19 forced IBWA to change the format of our June Board and Committee Meetings from in-person to video conference. That also meant our annual trek up to Capitol Hill for meetings with members of Congress, previously scheduled for June 3, was canceled. However, start planning now to join IBWA for the following events currently scheduled:

Why Advocacy Is Important

• Annual Congressional Hot Dog Lunch, an event IBWA co-sponsors with the North American Meat Institute: July 22

Sharing your business’ impact on the community will help local

• IBWA Hill Day: Late September

MAY/JUN 2020 • BWR • 21

Life After COVID-19

How IBWA’s collateral archive can help you get back to business By Sabrina E. Hicks, IBWA Director of Communications

Bottled water was initially one of the industries that experienced a surge in demand from consumers in the wake of COVID-19. Displaying typical crisis mode behavior—which we often observe in the days before a hurricane strikes land—the public began to hoard supplies: toilet paper, canned goods, and, yes, bottled water. Information Resources Inc. (IRI), a data analysis firm, has reported that sales of “convenience/ PET still water” were up 32.5 percent and 82.1 percent over 2019 numbers for the weeks ending March 8 and March 15, respectively ( For comparison, toilet paper sales were up 72.4 and 235.6 percent during that same time period. 22 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does recommend that people be prepared for the unexpected by having on hand at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, no authority directed consumers to stock up on bottled water in connection to the COVID-19 outbreak. As Americans became more educated about how the coronavirus is spread, and as retail establishments started implementing shopping limits, consumers’ erratic hoarding behavior began to subside. In fact, IRI’s latest report (at presstime) shows that bottled water retail sales were down -16.1 percent compared to 2019 numbers for the week ending April 5.

Return to “Normal” By the time you are reading this, we’ve (hopefully) flattened the COVID-19 curve, and life is starting to resemble what it once was. The bottled water industry issues that became less of a priority during the pandemic will once again vie for our attention. Thus, we need to be prepared for the return to “normal.” Recycling content mandates, proposed bans on the sale of bottled water, plant siting hurdles, bottled water labeling requirements, emerging contaminants, and other issues will take back their spots on our workload agendas. And IBWA is here to help you educate your consumers, legislators, and interested third parties about all these

COMMUNICATIONS important issues. Here’s one way IBWA can help: our archive of collaterals. We encourage you to review these readyto-use communications materials to discern if now is a good time to recycle some of the association’s content on your social media platforms.

Recycled Content The best way to amplify IBWA’s probottled water messages is for all members to broadcast a united message to anyone who needs a bottled water education. Social media currently ranks as the best method for mass distribution of content. Fortunately for IBWA members, the association has been active on social media since 2009, so we have content options for basically any issue you face. In fact, IBWA has been active on social media for so long that a Wall Street Journal reporter once suggested that it was our presence on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other platforms that made bottled water the No.1 packaged beverage in the United States. (IBWA’s Communications Team made it clear that bottled water's popularity should be accredited to the fact that consumers are choosing it, over other packaged drinks, because it is convenient, healthy hydration.) When you are looking for content to help populate your company’s newsfeed with positive bottled water stories, members can check out these IBWA resources: Monthly Social Media Toolkit. Each month, IBWA develops a Social Media Communications Toolkit to help members promote fact-based stories and news items about the bottled water industry. A copy of the toolkit is sent to those individuals who have been identified as responsible for their company’s social media platforms. (If you currently don’t receive the monthly toolkit but would like to, please let me know: The toolkit is also included in the first News Splash e-newsletter of each month. (If you need to be added to the Splash

distribution list, contact IBWA Communications Coordinator Chris Torres: Image Library. Before IBWA developed our Social Media Toolkit, we created an online archive of images for members to use with their social media activities. You can find these images at This webpage includes images you can post when discussing such topics as why people choose bottled water, why recycling matters, the environmental footprint of bottled water, and why water consumption is beneficial. Speaking of hydration, the Image Library includes a webpage of images that present #HydrationFastFacts ( Originally launched as a “31 Days of Hydration” campaign to kick off 2019, IBWA members were encouraged to post #HydrationFastFacts to ensure more facts about the benefits of water consumption are readily available online. Similarly, images that are found on the #FastFacts webpage (, a collection of evergreen facts about bottled water, can be used to help ensure their followers have access to bottled water facts (e.g., FDA regulations for bottled water must be as stringent as the EPA standards for tap water). Videos. Since 2009, IBWA has posted videos to our Bottled Water Matters YouTube account: com/user/BottledWaterMatters. And we are proud of the fact that IBWA videos have been viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube! If you are looking to diversify your newsfeed by adding video content, we’ve got you covered. IBWA’s YouTube account has videos on a multitude of topics: industry’s use of rPET and rHDPE plastics, why recycling matters, the benefits of healthy hydration, bottled water regulations, and more. Statements and Letters Webpage. This webpage (

USE IBWA’S SOCIAL MEDIA RESOURCES TO SHARE BOTTLED WATER FACTS WITH YOUR FOLLOWERS. letters-editor) is a hidden gem. Here’s why: IBWA is often approached by news outlets looking for the bottled water industry’s position on current, hot topics. IBWA takes these requests seriously and painstakingly puts together a response statement filled with bottled water facts for the reporter to use. More often than not, the final article leaves out important bottled water facts when printed. Thus, if you are looking for industry facts to share on your social media newsfeeds, you’ll undoubtedly discover interesting, fact-based, vetted information on this page.

Education Matters We don’t know what the future holds for the bottled water industry. The stockpiling of our products that happened due to COVID-19 will impact first quarter numbers; however, as the Beverage Marketing Corporation has noted, “How long this elevated demand lasts, and whether the pantry-loading leads to expanded consumption or a post-surge reduction in future purchases [of bottled water], ultimately depends on the unpredictable course of the pandemic.” But we do know that the bottled water industry is, more often than not, misrepresented in traditional and social media. That’s why education matters—and IBWA’s social media resources are here to help you share science-based bottled water facts with your followers. MAY/JUN 2020 • BWR • 23

Plant Siting Made Easy

IBWA’s new guidance document provides a step-by-step plan for successful plant siting By Al Lear, IBWA Director of Science and Research

IBWA recently published a “Plant Siting Best Practices Guide” and encouraged members to use it to help in the development of sustainable, socially responsible bottling facilities that meet local, national, and international goals and requirements. The guide starts at the very beginning of the plant siting process: establishing your project team. It’s always a good idea to include outside consultants, such as hydrogeologists, engineers, and architects, when developing a new plant, but make sure you name your project manager early on to help establish a structured plant 24 • BWR • WWW.BOTTLEDWATER.ORG

siting process. Depending on the size and scope of the project, the team may also consist of representatives from the following departments: operations/ manufacturing, engineering, human resources, finance/accounting, and sales/ marketing, executive management.

Be a Good Neighbor When launching the process of siting a new bottling facility, it’s important to consider not only the requirements for plant development but also how the company can best integrate with

the community. You want to develop a working relationship that is mutually beneficial. Start by identifying the benefits a community should receive in exchange for locating a facility within its boundaries. Here are a few ideas: • Consider creating a siting committee to enhance public involvement. The committee may include residents, politicians, public officials, business leaders, nonprofit organization representatives, and environmental groups. • Determine the route(s) to be taken by the trucks in transporting raw materials, products, and waste to and


from the facility. Characterize any impacts to the community along the route(s) to be used. This would include the proximity to schools, parks, residences. Determine the proposed plant’s area of influence, ensuring to take into consideration air emissions, odor, noise, etc. You can determine how the residences and facilities will be impacted by considering these values and prevalent wind direction and magnitude (i.e., wind speed) in your area. Determine the impacts of the plant on the aesthetics of the area surrounding the site and suggest possible improvements.

Demystify the Process Another important consideration during your initial plant siting phase is determining how you will manage communications around the project. Having a focused communications strategy in place will help you with the following: • Avoid premature concerns and rumors among the existing workforce. • Maintain control of messaging to the market during real estate negotiations and to the economic development community during incentive negotiations. • Allow your company to move forward without its competitors being aware of its plans. • Prevent unwanted contact by vendors and suppliers regarding the project. IBWA’s “Best Practices Guide for Plant Siting” uses the stepwise approach described below.

A FOCUSED COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY HELPS ENSURE THE COMMUNITY KNOWS YOU ARE A FRIEND, NOT A FOE. water, wastewater, solid waste, and recycling requirements; inbound and outbound shipments; and building and site requirements.

Step 2: Location Screening Location screening ensures that you select a location that best fits your specific operational needs. During the screening process, considered the following factors: regulatory environment, transportation and logistics, utilities, labor taxes, and real estate. Each of those factors should be considered and evaluated against your needs. Keep in mind, there may be other factors that are unique to your operation that should also be included in your decision.

Step 3: Specific Site and Community Considerations and Screening Following location screening, compile a list of sites that meet the minimum screening criteria. Conduct a detailed evaluation of specific properties and communities to select the locations that closely meet specific operational needs. The factors that should be given consideration as part of this process are property issues, community issues, as well as state and local incentives.

Step 1: Define Facility and Operational Requirements

Step 4: Site Selection

Once you’ve selection the members of your project team, define the proposed manufacturing facility criteria and its operational requirements that meet the needs of the operation before evaluation of possible locations. Make sure to consider community preferences;

Applying the selection criteria to the potential sites will help you rank them, revealing which sites best meet your requirements. But remember, not all criteria are equally important, so the criteria should be weighted based on importance. The project team should


The “IBWA Plant Siting Best Practices Guide” and the “IBWA Water Stewardship Best Practices Guide and Checklist,” which members can use to self-audit their water stewardship efforts, are available on the Members’ Only side of the IBWA website. Here’s how you can find them: • Log on at • Under “Member Resources,” click on “Environmental Sustainability.” • Scroll down to find these resources, and more, from a list of “IBWA Sustainability Documents” found on this page.

apply the selected criteria and their weighted ranking to each potential site. Numerically rate how well each site matches each criterion. Submit the selected sites to further environmental, cost, and other technical analyses prior to making a final determination.

Beneficial to All Contrary to reports circulated by critics of bottled water, the bottled water industry conducts thorough analyses to ensure that any new facility meets or exceeds all regulatory requirements for development. Bottled water facility siting must be socially equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically beneficial to all community stakeholders. IBWA and its members support and encourage sustainability in all production site development, catchment area management, and bottling practices. MAY/JUN 2020 • BWR • 25



certified plant operators (CPOs) are encouraged to complete the following quiz for ½ IBWA continuing education unit (CEU). The questions are derived from material presented in this issue of the Bottled Water Reporter, the IBWA Plant Technical Reference Manual, and the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice. Submit this quiz to Linda Alfakir ( / Fax: 703.683.4074), IBWA Education and Technical Program Coordinator, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650, Alexandria, VA 22314. Look for additional quizzes in future issues and earn additional IBWA CEUs! Name______________________________________________________ Company__________________________________________________ Address____________________________________________________ City_______________________________________________________ State/Province______________________________________________

ZIP/Postal Code____________________________________________

Check your selection for each question


FDA currently considers a finished bottled water product to be adulterated if __________.

O It is labeled spring water after it is treated by reverse osmosis. O It contains heterotrophic plate count (HPC) bacteria in excess of 500 CFU/ml. O It is confirmed to be positive for E. coli. O It is more than two years beyond the production date.


Bottlers are required by FDA in 21 CFR 129 to use __________ laboratories for weekly testing of total coliform and E. coli.


Testing Certified Forensic Approved


A bottled water label’s statement of identity is required to be located __________.


On the principal display panel On the information panel On the bottle cap On the nutrition facts panel


In the early stages of site selection for a bottling plant, it is advisable to consider creating a siting committee to enhance public involvement. The committee may include residents, politicians, public officials, business leaders, non-profit organization representatives and environmental groups.

O True O False


A _________ communications strategy helps ensure the community knows you are a friend, not a foe.


brilliant focused bullish passive



Which of the following is not currently found on a typical bottled water nutrition facts panel?


calories nitrate total carbohydrate protein


The term applied to the capacity of water to resist a change in pH is called __________.


buffering hardness fluidity alkalinity


Plant site screening should take into account the following factors, except:


Labor taxes Regulatory environment Transportation Building design


The federal agency that regulates plant practices (such as an employee entering a storage tank to sanitize it) is __________.




Which of the following does not originate from a subterranean source?


Surface water Spring water Artesian well water Groundwater



2-4 • JUNE IBWA June Board of Directors

Altium. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

and Committee Meetings via video conference

4-6 • OCTOBER CBWA Convention and

Analytical Technology. . . . . Inside Back Cover

Blackhawk Molding Co.. . . . . Inside Front Cover

Trade Show Paso Robles Inn Paso Robles, CA

14-17 • OCTOBER NWBWA Convention and

KHS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Trade Show Embassy Suites Hotel Portland, OR

22-24 • OCTOBER NEBWA Fall Convention

Polymer Solutions Int'l. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Sigma Home Products Co., Ltd.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Hilton Mystic Hotel Mystic, CT

9-11 • NOVEMBER IBWA Annual Business

Steelhead Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Outside Back Cover

Conference and Co-Location with NAMA CoffeeTea&Water Show Hyatt Regency Orlando, FL

Support your industry while getting ahead of the competition! Place an ad in IBWA's Bottled Water Reporter magazine.


W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G

IBWA’s award-winning, bimonthly magazine, Bottled Water Reporter, is

IN THIS ISSUE States Consider Responding to PFAS Regulation Bottled Water Myths With Facts

Promoting the Granted IBWA Bottlers Recyclability of Bottled Labeling Exemption Water Containers


the only trade magazine in the United States that exclusively targets the bottled water industry. IBWA has proudly been offering digital editions of

year. Bonus distribution will occur during the IBWA Annual


IN THIS ISSUE IBWA Establishes Correcting a Coast-to-Coast Misinformation Advocacy Network With Bottled Water Facts

Also Inside:

Why Meeting With Legislators Matters FDA Launches Food Safety Dashboard





PROVEN STEWARDSHIP How the bottled water industry is a leader in environmental sustainability

Business Conference and Trade Show. Review past issues at

The positive impact of offering environmentally friendly beverage containers to eco-conscious consumers Why We Need a Federal PFAS Standard


W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G

to IBWA members and nonmember subscribers six times a

W W W. B O T T L E D W AT E R . O R G

its magazine online since 2009. Issues are mailed directly


IN THIS ISSUE Three Lessons IBWA's Water for Bottlers From Stewardship Best a Wastewater Practices Guide Treatment Facility

Why Water Should Be Added to MyPlate


Also Inside:

Who Will You Nominate for a 2020 IBWA Award? IBWA Bottlers Earn "Excellence in Manufacturing" Designation



Contact Stephanie: 817.719.6197 / Also Inside:

Why Experts Recommend Water The Case for Water's Continued Inclusion in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans A PUBLICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL BOTTLED WATER ASSOCIATION



As the COVID-19 outbreak accelerated in the United States, consumers at convenience and multi-outlet stores (e.g., Walmart) changed shopping behaviors rapidly, especially their bottled water purchases. Stockpiling inflection point was March 1, 2020. WEEK ENDING


March 8


March 15


Beverage Marketing Corporation’s (BMC) latest figures show that U.S. bottled water volume climbed by 3.5 percent in 2019 to more than 14.3 billion gallons; wholesale dollar sales surged by 5.7 percent to $19.4 billion dollars. (Read BMC’s annual bottled water statistics article in the upcoming July/August issue of Bottled Water Reporter.) U.S. BOTTLED WATER MARKET Volume and Producer Revenues +5.7% 2016-2019 $19,402.4


$18,357.8 $17,116.2 $16,014.7


March 22




March 29


April 5







*Point of sale data vs year ago Source: Information Resources Inc., insights/publications/coronavirus-impact-to-cpg-and-retail

2016 2017 Source: BMC DrinkTell Database




Although starting from a small base, sparkling water has been experiencing remarkable growth in the U.S. beverage market for the past five years.


Wholesale Dollar Sales and Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) by Segment 2014 - 2024(P)









Domestic Sparkling






Imported Sparkling












(P) Projected Source: BMC DrinkTell Database


Reliable instruments for the ozone industRy Interference-Free Measurement of Dissolved Ozone Online Monitoring & Control for Ozonation Systems ATI’s Dissolved Ozone Monitor provides an economical and reliable measurement system for monitoring and controlling ozone treatment systems. With a variety of outputs including 4-20 mA analog, PID control, three adjustable relays, and digital communications (Profibus-DP, Modbus-RTU, and Ethernet-IP). The Q46H/64 is adaptable to any ozone application.

Model Q46H/64

Modular Gas Detector

Model A14/A11 • Expandable and Available for Multi-Channel Applications • Optional Self-Checking Sensors

• No Interference from Residual Chlorine • Direct Measurement of Ozone without Reagents • Multiple Sensor Mounting Styles • Low Operating Cost with Minimal Maintenance Required • Optional pH Sensor for Dual Parameter Monitoring

Digital Gas Detector

Model F12 • Available for AC, DC, or Battery • Uses “Smart Sensors” • Optional Self-Checking Sensors


Portable Gas Detector

Model C16 • Data Logger Standard • Uses “Smart Sensors” for up to 33 Different Gases



One Operator Bottling Systems: 150 – 350 bph 5 Gallon Systems

Water Treatment: RO, Mineral Injection, Ozone

Check with us for pre-owned options

Full Plants: Turnkey Solutions for Every Size


High Speed Bottling Systems: 450 – 3000 bph 5 Gallon Systems




All bottling processes are not equal. Steelhead stands alone with our commitment ommitme ent ients. to innovation, efficiency and bottom line profitability for our clients.


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