Jonathan Jaikaran, a senior agrologist and regional sales manager for Culligan of Canada, jokes that he joined the company “only about 19 years ago.” It’s a nod to the decades-long tenures that Culligan team members are known for as well as the fact that, as a self-proclaimed water geek, Jaikaran is passionate about continually learning about the latest in water treatment and technology. We spoke with Jonathan about what he loves most about his job and how he and his team are helping customers address leading water quality issues on Vancouver Island.
What are the top water quality issues you see on Vancouver Island?
The majority of the island’s municipal water supply has low hardness and low dissolved solids. Our primary water treatment for those areas is Culligan’s Aqua-Cleer drinking-water purification system. There are pockets of private wells that have higher levels of iron, hardness, dissolved solids, arsenic, and many of the nuisance bacteria strains that inhabit well water.
Consumers are becoming more self-educated about what’s in their water. That comes from their own research and with media highlighting the potential presence of pharmaceuticals in a water supply or lead in water. I think it’s valuable, and we can answer their questions, address common misconceptions and provide water-filtration solutions.
What are municipalities using to treat their water?
From a treatment standpoint, cities have different ways of disinfecting water—some use chlorine; some use chlorine plus ammonia (chloramines). At certain times of the year we receive a higher than usual number of people that call our office and complain about the smell.
In the world of water treatment, chlorine is the sprinter; it is a high-dose, explosive type of managed disinfectant. Chloramines are the distance runner where it has a much longer residual throughout the distribution system. (Culligan reverse-osmosis filtration systems filter out chlorine and chloramines, lead, arsenic, sodium, heavy metals and other materials that can negatively affect drinking water’s smell and taste and cause health harm.)
What kind of feedback do you hear from customers about their Culligan water system?
It just gives them peace of mind. They’re able to get back to their daily routine without having to worry about their water supply. It’s such a worry, especially for people with kids. And when people spend a lot of money on a house, they just need to get their water dealt with—it’s like fixing a leaky roof.
What do you love most about your job? What keeps you passionate about your work?
You get to solve a lot of problems and you get to see results. Some are health related and some are aesthetic. We help people get back to their daily lives, and when you see the end result, it’s really powerful. One single product can make an incredible difference. You’re facilitating ease and confidence in someone’s life.
The technology is changing, too. For instance, we have a chemical feed system that we use with well water. We used to use a high dose chlorine treatment solution (with that chlorine filtered out through a filtration system); now we’ve shifted to a new product that’s more environmentally friendly. We also recently launched a salt free water conditioner and a tankless RO system. I still enjoy going to seminars; I still am a geek when it comes to water.
What makes your team stand out?
We have service people who have spent their entire career with Culligan. Our branch manager in Calgary has been there for 38 years. People will stop our sales and service reps in stores and say, “Thank you for what you’ve done!” and tell them about the referrals they’ve made.