North Idaho Business Journal: Clean water company gets fresh new home

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  • Photos by LOREN BENOIT/NIBJ Josh Yandt, left, and Ira Yandt nail floor boards inside the new Water Solutions Inc. headquarters building, located in Rathdrum.

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    Owner Bryan Ward, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran, started his clean drinking water business more than 15 years ago, and is excited for the opportunities to expand his Water Solutions business in Rathdrum.

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    Water Solutions Inc. is currently building a new 4,200 square foot location for their headquarters, which will include a conference room, offices, break room, reception area and an additional storage area. (LOREN BENOIT/Press)

  • Photos by LOREN BENOIT/NIBJ Josh Yandt, left, and Ira Yandt nail floor boards inside the new Water Solutions Inc. headquarters building, located in Rathdrum.

  • 1

    Owner Bryan Ward, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran, started his clean drinking water business more than 15 years ago, and is excited for the opportunities to expand his Water Solutions business in Rathdrum.

  • 2

    Water Solutions Inc. is currently building a new 4,200 square foot location for their headquarters, which will include a conference room, offices, break room, reception area and an additional storage area. (LOREN BENOIT/Press)

Water Solutions Inc., located in Rathdrum, is growing right along with the rest of Kootenai County. The company is building a new 4,200-square-foot location for its headquarters, which will include a conference room, offices, breakroom, reception area and additional storage area.

Owner Bryan Ward, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran, started his clean drinking water business more than 15 years ago, and is excited for the opportunities arising with the local growth and expansion of his business. Water Solutions Inc. will be increasing residential sales and service, and the need for a showroom and office area for current and potential new clients is now a necessity.

“I’ve been working out of my own shop on my property for quite awhile,” explained Ward, “but we’ve grown to a point where now we have to expand.”

Ward said he looks forward to being able to use his own shop space at home again.

“I don’t think I’ve parked anything of my own in there for at least 12 years,” he said with a chuckle.

Water Solutions Inc. serves about 700 commercial customers and about 15 residential customers. Most accounts are located in the Spokane area and Kootenai County, with some in Montana and several in Central Washington.

“We go all the way to Yakima and into Montana,” Ward said, “so we have a pretty large dealership area and we do a lot of driving, but residentially we will probably stick to the local area.”

Some of the larger clients Water Solutions Inc. serves are Rockwood Clinic, Lamb Weston, and Simplot.

The new location on Kimo Court, which is just a stone’s throw from Highway 41, is being contracted by Steel Structures America, Inc. and is expected to be completed by May 1, weather permitting. Upon completion, Ward expects to add one more to his crew of four, to handle the ramping up of residential sales, with the possibility of needing another employee by the end of the year.

“Hopefully this will last a while. You know, sometimes I worry about that,” he said. “We get in here and suddenly the residential market takes off and we need a bigger space in two years. But this is a great location. I bought this lot about five years ago. It’s easy access to the highway for us so we can get on the road and go. We don’t necessarily need a big store front right on the highway.”

Financing for the new building is provided by Washington Trust Bank and the Small Business Administration.

Water Solutions Inc. is a dealer of Wellsys water coolers. About two years ago, Ward decided to use the Wellsys units, as they have a 5-year warranty, which is much better than the previous company they partnered with.

“Plus, we really like the people that run it,” said Ward. He appreciates the small family run business model of Wellsys, which mirrors his own. He points out that great customer service is something he and his two sons, who hopefully will someday run the show, pride themselves on.

“We’re kind of unique — we use a point of use water cooler,” Ward said, describing the units. “We don’t use the five gallon bottles, and we purify it right in the machine. It just takes a small quarter inch tubing, which we can usually route through the walls or false ceilings, and we hook it up under a sink in their business so they don’t have to change the bottles and don’t need to store them anywhere.”

Wellsys units use five filters and a nine-stage filtration process: a filter to remove sediment and particles, an activated carbon filter to remove chlorine and other organic particles, a reverse osmosis filter which removes all remaining heavy metals, arsenic, pharmaceuticals and bacterias, and a unique Bio Sure Plus filter, which includes four steps that instill

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purification enhancements to the water, such as helping to correct acidity by restoring alkalinity with added minerals, utilizing far infrared technology to restructure the molecules for faster absorption with added electrolytes, colloidal silver zeolite sanitation to restrict over 450 known virus strains, and the reintroduction of 20 different minerals that are lost during typical purification. And the final filter? It’s coconut carbon, to enhance taste.

Ward explained the need for water purification units in our area.

“I hear this a lot from people, ‘Oh, we have great water here with the aquifer and everything,’ but you still have, [especially] if you’re in an old building or old home, you can still have a lot of sediment coming off the old piping,” he said. “It’s always a healthier benefit to take out the chlorine and that type of thing. Just because you’re on a city water system doesn’t mean it’s great. And there’s a lot of areas, like the South Hill in Spokane, [that] are pretty bad. And in some of these rural areas with wells, sometimes people don’t always have them tested so you could have bacteria in there you wouldn’t even know about. If you use one of our systems it gives you that guarantee that you’re drinking clean water.”

Results of the units purification are demonstrated to clients at the time of install.

“We don’t test for bacteria,” said Ward, explaining that has to be done through Panhandle Health District. “But we test for dissolved solids in the water. It’s basically the impurities in the water. And we do a test before and after the install to show the customers, and typically around here we average 250 to 350 TDS (total dissolved solids). When we test our systems they take it down to 10 or under, sometimes to zero, so they do a really good job.”

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