MANITOULIN––Crystal by Wahl is celebrating 20 years in business this month. The Wahl brothers, Glen and Bruce, have been supplying quality drinking water to homes, hospitals, nursing homes, offices and restaurants since 1998.
The brothers have 63 years of water treatment experience between them. Bruce has been in the water business since 1975. Crystal by Wahl was established after first Bruce then Glen moved to the Island from Kitchener.
“We got talking about water in general,” said Glen, who shared his brother’s concerns with drinking water supplies, things like volatile organic chemicals or other contaminates and even chlorine.
“Back in 1980,” said Bruce, “the standard was no more than one-half part per million (ppm) chlorine in municipal water supplies, but after Walkerton that more than doubled.”
“In Europe, they don’t use chlorine in water supplies,” Bruce continued. “It’s bad for your health plus they were importing the raw materials from North America so it was expensive. It’s very cheap to manufacture in North America.”
Municipalities chlorinate water to kill bacteria and viruses, note the Wahls, but some studies have shown that chlorine and organic matter can mix to produce carcinogens.
“One of the reasons we started our business is because we knew what was in the water and we didn’t want people drinking that water,” explained Bruce. Crystal by Wahl takes regular tap water and puts it through a four stage filtering process plus an ultraviolet light for “fresh water every time you fill up your bottle,” said Glen. The water is produced fresh daily and doesn’t require chemicals to stabilize it. It is never trucked and never stored for long periods. Crystal by Wahl water systems and fill stations can be found at many businesses and convenience stores on Manitoulin Island, Espanola, Massey, Spanish, Elliot Lake and Sudbury. The 18 litre bottles will work with almost every water cooler.
The Wahls have kept a lot of plastic bottles from the landfill. “We’ve sold a million litres of water,” said Glen. “People buy our bottles and they don’t end up in the landfill,” continued Bruce. “As long as they’re maintained the bottles can last for decades.” The bottles should be cleaned and sterilized every two to three months, but this can be done at home (instructions are available).
Crystal by Wahl was created to be a green company. In addition to less plastic in our landfills, by selling less pre-bottled water the transportation requirements are less, meaning there are fewer trucks destroying our roads and polluting our air, they say. “As an added bonus you get to save money,” said Bruce.
There was some skepticism back in 1998 when they first opened their doors. “People would look around and say, ‘We’re on an island and there are a lot of lakes here. Our water is pristine,’ said Bruce. “We were almost laughed out of the community.”
The Wahls refused to give up. They believed in their clean and green water. They advertised and gained a few customers. “It didn’t take long before store owners were phoning us up and asking for us to put in a Crystal water station,” said Glen. “We didn’t have to do a lot of selling.”
Crystal water stations are located in both Island hospitals and in offices across Manitoulin. Customers don’t have to purchase the equipment and the Wahl’s service and maintain all equipment themselves. “We have a meter on the system,” explained Bruce. “We maintain before we should to ensure consistent water quality and safety.”
Look for ‘Crystal by Wahl’ on Facebook or give them a call at 705-968-0635 for more information.