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Get to Know Your Culligan of Newburgh, N.Y. Dealer

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Brian Warg, general manager of Culligan of Newburgh (N.Y.), loves talking about water. In fact, it’s been a central topic in his life for the past 34 years—25 of which he’s spent with Culligan. We corralled Brian for a chat about his area’s water and the ways he and his team make it better for customers.

You started as a field service technician and moved up the ranks. What do you like about working in water treatment?

I like the people I meet. I’ve seen people’s kids grow up because I was their Culligan Man. Some of our customers have become some of my best friends.

Also, what’s interesting about the business is that you never know what you’re going to come across on any given day. For example, a few years ago we had a big thing in our area where they discovered chemicals had leached into everybody’s drinking water. We have Stewart Air National Guard Base here, and the chemicals were in foam the fire department had been using. We provided a hundred coolers and a couple hundred bottles of water for customers so they could have drinking water until the company handling the spill figured out what to do.

What are the more common problems you come across when you visit customers, about 70% of whom have private wells?

We take care of five counties: Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan. We can go anywhere from extremely hard water to sulfur so bad it just turns everything black. And in other areas, we have so much iron, and it sometimes tastes like you have a nail in your mouth. It’s stainy too—everything that comes in contact with it just turns orange.

The most common saying I get from people is, “I feel embarrassed because it looks like I don’t clean anything. I’m embarrassed to have people come over because they see the staining in my toilet and it makes it look like I’ve never scrubbed it, yet I scrub it every other day and it just comes back.”

How do you solve for that iron problem?

It could be a filter and a softener or chlorination depending on the type of iron.

Do people think about water differently today than when you started in the business?

Yes. Our customers are so much more educated about it than they were years ago. They see different towns have different things in their water, and they wonder what is in their own water. We explain if you put in this system or this combination, they will protect you. So you have a peace of mind that no matter what happens, our products can take out whatever may come into your water.

How does it feel to be on the front lines of water problems?

You know, you feel good if you can take the person’s water that’s unusable, that is ruining all of their appliances and all of their clothes, and give them a recommendation of what will take all of that away. Then you get a phone call two days later and they say, “My water’s great. I can’t believe the difference between what it was and what it is now.”

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