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Family business installs water treatment systems

by SUMMER ZALESKY Daily Inter Lake
| May 5, 2024 12:00 AM

When Ted Luehr was laid off from the highway department in the early 1980s, he made a switch in his career as an engineer to work in water treatment. 

Since then, Luehr’s company, Advantage Water Conditioning, has serviced thousands of homes in the Flathead Valley. Luehr’s wife Stephanie and their five children have all been involved in the business, which he began in 1982, and his oldest son Nick Luehr has been a full-time partner since 2004. 

“The entire water treatment industry is only 90 years old so the equipment is much better now than it was in the beginning and there are fully automatic systems that we also sell that use salt or potassium chloride, and as long as they're plugged in, they run completely by themselves,” Luehr said.

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

“Ultraviolet lights are a special system that have been around for about 30 years. The water flows through a clear tube, and there's an ultraviolet light bulb that shines into the water and kills bacteria,” Luehr explained.

As Advantage Water Conditioning is a family-owned business, Luehr says most of the time they’re “slammed” and now they are receiving more calls after the city of Kalispell issued a consumer drinking water notice following the discovery of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) or what’s known as forever chemicals in water well sites. 

Four wells in Kalispell have tested positive for forever chemicals, though only one shows levels above limits newly set by the Biden administration. The chemical contaminants are widely used in everyday products and are long-lasting. 

City officials encourage residents concerned about forever chemicals in the water to consult with their doctor or health care professional and review the EPA’s guide on reducing risks. 

Luehr said the business 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 fourth of the homes have a bad iron problem which can cause yellow and rusty stains and it tastes terrible,” said Luehr. 

According to their company’s website, water hardness build-up can cause water heaters, coffee makers, and other appliances to fail, and getting an on-demand metered unit is the most cost-effective and convenient way to address water hardness, especially because it only uses 10 cents worth of electricity per month.

Because many people don’t know where to begin with their water treatment plan, Luehr provides a free water analysis to determine the home’s individual needs. Then, Luehr examines the pipes to see their layout and to determine whether the house has been pre-plumbed by the builder or if any other changes are needed.

“After we install a system we usually call about a week or so later and ask them how they're doing. Everybody’s pretty happy and people usually rave about the system we put in,” said Luehr. “We are full service, so whatever people want, we’ll do it for them.” 

Advantage Water actively participates in the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce, Flathead Business Group and various charities. They have also participated in the Northwest Montana Fair for the past 35 years.

To find out more about Advantage Water Conditioning, visit advantagewater.net or call 406-261-1550. 

Reporter Summer Zalesky can be reached at szalesky@dailyinterlake.com.