Family business installs water treatment systems

When Ted Luehr was fired from the highway department in the early 1980s, he switched careers to engineering and worked in water treatment.

Since then, Luehr's company, Advantage Water Conditioning, has served thousands of homes in the Flathead Valley. Luehr's wife, Stephanie, and their five children were all involved in the company he founded in 1982, and his eldest son, Nick Luehr, has been a full-time partner since 2004.

“The entire water treatment industry is only 90 years old, so the equipment today is much better than it was when we started, and we also sell fully automatic systems that use salt or potassium chloride as long as they are connected to the mains.” “They run completely on their own” said Lühr.

Other technologies Luehr is installing include reverse osmosis systems, which attach to a single fixture and remove contaminants from water, and ultraviolet light systems.

“Ultraviolet light is a special system that has been around for about 30 years. The water flows through a clear tube and there is an ultraviolet light bulb that shines into the water and kills bacteria,” Lühr explained.

Because Advantage Water Conditioning is a family-owned business, Luehr says they get “slammed” most of the time and are now receiving more calls after the City of Kalispell issued a drinking water notice for consumers following the discovery of per and poly water. Fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) or so-called forever chemicals in well sites.

Four wells in Kalispell have tested positive for eternal chemicals, although only one has levels above new limits set by the Biden administration. The chemical contaminants are often used in everyday products and are long-lasting.

City officials encourage residents concerned about chemicals constantly in the water to consult their doctor or health care professional and review the EPA Risk Reduction Guide.

Luehr said the company can install systems that eliminate hard water or bad tastes and odors.

“Almost every home in the Flathead Valley has hard water and about a quarter of the homes have a bad iron problem that can cause yellow and rusty stains and the water tastes terrible,” Luehr said.

According to the company's website, building up water hardness can cause water heaters, coffee makers, and other appliances to fail, and purchasing an on-demand meter is the most cost-effective and convenient way to get water hardness under control, especially because it is so consumed only 10 cents of electricity per month.

Because many people don't know where to start with their water treatment plan, Luehr offers a free water analysis to determine individual home needs. Luehr then inspects the pipes to see their layout and determine whether the home has already been pre-installed by the builder or if further changes are needed.

“After we install a system, we usually call about a week later and ask how they are doing. Everyone is pretty happy and people usually rave about the system we put in place,” Luehr said. “We’re a full-service provider, which means whatever people want, we’ll do it for them.”

Advantage Water is actively involved with the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce, Flathead Business Group and various charities. They have also attended the Northwest Montana Fair for 35 years.

To learn more about Advantage Water Conditioning, visit Advantagewater.net or call 406-261-1550.

Reporter Summer Zalesky can be reached at [email protected].

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