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November 19, 2018 Issue

CEOCFO MAGAZINE

 

Q&A with Steven Bis, President of International Water-Guard Industries Inc. providing Flight-Certified Potable Water Treatment Systems for Aircrafts, making any type of water available to Drink or Serve to Passengers without risk of Harmful Bacteria from Anywhere in the World

 

 

Steven Bis

President

 

International Water-Guard Industries Inc.

www.water.aero

 

Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – November 19, 2018

 

CEOCFO: Mr. Bis, what is International Water Guard Industries Inc? 

Mr. Bis: We are a company in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada and we are focused on treating water on aircrafts. We have been in business for over thirty years, and we develop and manufacture our own product. We are mainly focused on treating water. Our products are on many private jets and our goal is to soon to get into the airline industry, where you can upload water anywhere in the world without really knowing the quality of water that you are putting into your aircraft. With our systems it will make any type of water available to drink or to serve to your passengers without any risk of harmful bacteria.

 

CEOCFO: Has there been much focus on water quality in aircraft?

Mr. Bis: Every once in a while there is an article that comes up that says, “An airline has contaminated water.” There are industry guidelines and government rules depending on which country you are in, on how every airline and aircraft must clean and maintain their water systems and test for certain bacteria. Therefore, while there is not much media coverage, let us say, there is a lot of industry regulation.

 

CEOCFO: What are the challenges in treating water? Can water be treated before it gets on a plane?

Mr. Bis: It certainly can be and is treated in most North American municipalities where municipal water is uploaded at the airport. However, there are many different areas for potential contamination, from the water source to the water truck and from the water truck to the aircraft that could have areas for where contamination could be introduced. Therefore, while we are somewhat safe, let us say, in North America, there are other areas in the world that do not always have that same regulation on their water supply.

 

CEOCFO: What are some of the solutions available from Water Guard?

Mr. Bis: We have been on the private business jets for a long time, because those jets fly anywhere in the world and not necessarily at the regular large airports where you know where the water supply is coming from. Therefore, they have made a conscious decision to have our products on the aircraft, mainly for the two reasons: where they fly; and to make sure their passengers are safe and do not get sick from their own aircraft water. We have now branched out, and we have an STC, which is a document that allows our product to be installed on the Boeing 737s. We have an ultraviolet light device installed right before the water tank on the aircraft so when the water is filled it goes through our system and disinfects any type of bacteria, e coli, salmonella or whatever it is in there. This ensures that the water going into the aircraft is safe and available to use on the commercial aircraft. That does a couple of things. If the airline chooses to serve it that means that they no longer have to buy bottled water. We know that airlines carry anywhere from twenty five one and a half liter bottles up to, in some cases, one hundred bottles. They store it all over their galley and in the luggage bins. Therefore, the extra weight of that water and the extra logistics of purchasing it and managing the bottles and disposing of the bottles is all eliminated with our product.

 

CEOCFO: On your website there are many different units and pumps and water heaters. Where do they come in?

Mr. Bis: I am originally focused on speaking about our ultra violet light technology, because that is how this company came about. However, since then we have branched off into all types of water system components. International Water Guard does not make a complete water system with hoses and tanks and everything, but we have specialized components that enhance your water system. We have anything from motor operated valves for the water system to divert water to different areas in the aircraft, we have heaters; lavatory heaters, galley heaters, heaters for showers, we do have pumps for those aircrafts that need extra water pressure. We are branching into faucets as well. Therefore, anything to do with the water system, aside from hoses and toilets, we are involved with.

 

CEOCFO: Is ultra violet light universally accepted as the way to disinfect water? Are there other methods as well that are used?

Mr. Bis: There are other methods like filters. The issue we have found with filters is that they really drop the water pressure. Therefore, whereas our units can disinfect water and still provide as much as four gallons per minute flow, which you do not need that high coming out of a faucet. However, we can disinfect it and still allow the operator to have a decent flow in there faucets, whether it is the galley or lavatory. To get that same type of result, I am not quite going to say that is impossible with a filter, but if you could get the same level of disinfection with a filter you basically would have the water just dripping out of the faucet. To say universally accepted, I would say that ultra violet light is the preferred and possibly the only realistic solution to disinfecting water at the level that we are at.

 

CEOCFO: What has been the challenge in getting airlines to pay attention?

Mr. Bis: Actually, one of the biggest challenges is, I will not say their fear, but they are cautious on how passengers will accept being served water out of a jug rather than out of a plastic water bottle. I guess it seems that some of them think that if the water is coming out of a plastic bottle then it is good, but if it is just coming out of a carafe with no label on it then it is coming out of the aircraft, which is not necessarily safe.  

 

CEOCFO: How are you helping airlines get over that part?

Mr. Bis: We have had those particular airlines get in contact with other airlines that do just serve right out of the spigot with a carafe. However, we have also been focusing on showing them two things. One is really driving how the benefits of not having bottled water will reduce your fuel burn by saving weight. It will also help the environment by not having the plastic bottles to be disposed of. Also, there are many articles that show that water in plastic bottles may not always come from the best source. It may just be your regular municipal drinking water, but also there are plastic contaminates in the water that come out of plastic water bottles. Therefore, while you are thinking that you are doing your passengers a favor by serving them bottled water, you actually may not. You may be doing them more harm than good.

 

CEOCFO: Would you tell us about your recent Transport Canada STC Award?

Mr. Bis: We have had two of them recently. One is for the product that I was just speaking of, that helps take bottled water off the aircraft. Another one is for a product that we know airlines have an issue with and this product solves that issue. All airlines that we have talked to admit that, whether they are going on a one hour flight or a five hour flight, they fill the water tank, which is sixty gallons of water. They know that because when it is full the water starts going to the overflow valve and coming onto the aircraft. Some airlines do say that they have procedures that if they are only on an hour flight that the ground crew is instructed to only fill twenty five percent or fifty percent. However, we have been on those aircrafts and we know that they do not. They fill it to full, so they are carrying all of this extra weight and they do not use all of that water. The second STC that we received is for a system where you just push a button of how much water you want filled into your tank on any given flight. If you pick twenty five percent or twenty percent, it is in five percent increments; the ground crew will fill up the water and as soon as it hits that target the water routing will be diverted to the overflow and the ground crew will see the water is coming out of the plane, so their job is done. There is no training for the ground crew. In addition, not only does it save you the weight, which in turn saves fuel, it also records the amount of water that you use on any given flight. This means over time you can really pinpoint exactly how much water you need.

 

CEOCFO: What kind of maintenance might be involved with the ultra violet detection? Are there ways that it can be used incorrectly or are there fail safes so that does not happen?

Mr. Bis: Yes. For the ultra violet system, the lamp does need to be replaced, because over time it will lose its efficiency. We have calculated that based on the average airline, with the average number of flights per day, it is roughly between four and five years that they need to replace the lamp. That is the only thing that is required on the system. if the lamp, for whatever reason, fails and let us say it does not turn on or it does not reach the UV level to disinfect any of the harmful bacteria, then there is an enunciator that lights up in the flight attendant cabin that says that there is an error with the system. Now, it does not prevent them from filling the tank, because they still need water in the aircraft for lavatories. Therefore, our default is that all of our valves will still open and water will still go through the system and into the tank, but the crew will be notified that something happened with the ultra violet system and it did not work as expected.

 

CEOCFO: Do you do much with the military these days?  

Mr. Bis: No we have not, but recently we have had some inquiries from certain companies.

 

CEOCFO: What is your strategy for the next year or so?

Mr. Bis: We still want to break in to the airline market, but we are also launching our new line of faucets. It is funny that this company is focused on water and components for water systems, but we have never really looked at faucets. Now that we have that product we need to let all the OEMs in the industry know that we are another option for your faucets.

 

CEOCFO: Why is now the right time?

Mr. Bis: It is more of a result of our strategic decision, about a year and a half to two years ago, of becoming a specialized component supplier for water systems. We made a real focus on being the best in the world at what we do. Therefore, we looked at water being our specialty and protecting water and making sure that it is suitable for the passengers. Then we looked through the whole system on an aircraft and said, “What can we do to become the best of the best at each of these components.” At the time, of course, we had water heaters, we were in pumps and that is when we started moving in to looking at valves and faucets as well. It was not an industry driven thing. It was an internal strategic direction. 

 

CEOCFO: Why is International Water Guard Industries an important company?

Mr. Bis: It is an important company because we have the solution to really help. It may be a really big picture for such a small forty person company, but we can really help the environment. When I look at all of the aircraft in the air flying at any given time and all of the plastic water bottles that are being consumed and even the extra fuel that is being consumed because of the extra weight of water that they carry; we have two products that solve those issues. It may be a small dent in the overall world issue of plastics in the ocean and the carbon footprint of excess fuel burn, but it is a start! Not only is it a start, it is a certified solution that really just needs to get adopted and used.   

 

CEOCFO: What, if anything, might people miss when they look at International Water Guard and your solutions?

Mr. Bis: This has both proven positive for us and possibly a negative in that people may miss us because we are just a small forty person company on the West Coast of Canada. However, we have found that in the last year or two we are getting many new customers that we have never had business with before, coming to us because of the very fact that we are small and we are customer focused, we win awards for our customer service and our delivery and quality and the reliability of our products. Therefore, while on the one hand people may overlook us because we are small, when they do find us it becomes a real asset to us, and them.

 


 

“We made a real focus on being the best in the world at what we do.”- Steven Bis


 

International Water-Guard Industries Inc.

www.water.aero

 

Contact:

Steven Bis

604-255-5555

sbis@water.aero


 


 

 



 

 

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