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Get to Know the Water Treatment Experts at Culligan of Snohomish

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Michael Stephens was looking for a change when he joined Culligan Water Co. of the Pacific Northwest in June 2018. Having worked as a manager at a big-box home improvement store for 12 years, Stephens was eager for a new challenge in a new venue. But one element of consistency he sought was the opportunity to continue meaningfully helping customers. He found that, he says, in Culligan.

“Everybody needs water,” says Stephens, who serves as general manager of the Bellingham and Snohomish, Wash., Culligan locations, “and a lot of people have bad water.” When new Culligan customers come back to him and say, “Hey, the water’s great—it’s so nice to have water that I know is safe and clean,” it means a lot to Stephens and to his team, he says.

We spoke with Stephens recently about top water-quality issues in the Bellingham and Snohomish region and how his team tackles residents’ water-quality questions.

What counties does your Culligan team serve?

We serve Whatcom, Skagit, Island, Snohomish and King counties.

What are the top water-quality concerns in the region?

Depending on their location, we have people who have trouble with arsenic and some people who have trouble with sediment and glacial silt, as well as iron and tannin.

A lot of people we serve are on wells, so while we treat municipal water, absolutely—we do a lot of bottled water to the municipal areas—the bigger majority of people are out in the country and on wells.

Are there any less-understood aspects of water quality that you commonly see?

Yes—the effect that hard water has on how much you’re spending on water and cleaning and how much water you’re using. If you have hard water, you wind up “treating” it in one way or another—if you don’t use a water softener, you’re going to be using more soap, more water. People don’t always know how much the hardness in water affects your household cleaning and chemical use, whether it’s dishes or laundry.

What gives you pride in your Culligan of Bellingham and Snohomish team?

We’re about 25 people on our team, and the top questions we get are about, “My water tastes funny,” or “My water looks funny.” My answer to anybody who says that is: “We can take care of it. We can figure it out.”

My team is well-versed in the things that they do, and they’re all very willing to share that. That has made the transition over a good thing for me. And for customers, we’ll figure out what’s going on and get you a solution.

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