George J. Crits, 92, renowned wastewater treatment expert

George J. Crits wrote three books dealing with ion exchange technology.
George J. Crits wrote three books dealing with ion exchange technology.
Posted: April 02, 2014

George J. Crits, 92, of Ardmore, an expert in the field of water and wastewater treatment, died Thursday, March 27, at his home of causes related to aging.

Mr. Crits was renowned in the industry for his expertise in ion exchange technology. Ion exchange is used to soften water and separate out unwanted elements.

Mr. Crits wrote three books on the subject, the last of which was published in 2012. It was titled Crits Notes on Water and Ion Exchange.

Bill Runyan, president of Idreco USA Ltd., a water treatment company in West Chester, called Crits Notes "the Bible of water treatment."

Mr. Crits published 150 technical papers on water treatment, and registered 14 U.S. patents and more than 50 foreign patents, according to his family.

He was honored in 1989 with induction into the Norristown Area High School Hall of Fame. At the ceremony, he said hard work, a desire to succeed, and a positive attitude fueled his achievements in science.

"The 5 percent [who lead] will persist, persist, persist, until they achieve their goals," he told the Norristown Times Herald.

According to his family, Mr. Crits was a "techie" years before anyone thought in that term.

"We loved the way he used cameras to record our personal history, and how he designed everything from homemade air-conditioning and alarm systems to porches, carports, and fireplaces made from discarded historic cobblestones," said his daughter, Kathy Crits-Christoph.

His son, Adam, said Mr. Crits used his chemical expertise to figure out the health benefits of vitamins and minerals long before they became popular.

Born in Norristown, Mr. Crits graduated from Norristown High School and from Pennsylvania State University in 1943 with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering.

He received his master of science degree in chemical engineering from Columbia University in 1950, and became a registered engineer the same year.

During World War II, he was employed by Kellex Corp. in New York City, where he worked on the Manhattan A-bomb project. Later, he worked in Los Alamos, N.M., as a gadget engineer for the Army, and then with the University of California at Los Alamos until 1947.

Mr. Crits was technical director of the Cochrane Co. in King of Prussia for 38 years, before retiring in 1988. He traveled widely, assisting customers in England, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, South Africa, Japan and the Philippines.

In retirement, he consulted for various water-treatment firms before creating Aqua-Zeolite Sciences Inc., a consulting company which he ran out of his home. He also found time to mentor younger engineers.

He developed the Crits Ring test - a simple device to look for detergents in water.

He also presented regularly at the annual International Water Conference through 2012. In 1983, the conference honored him with its annual Merit Award for outstanding contributions to the water industry.

He was a life member of the American Water Works Association and the Franklin Institute.

When not working, Mr. Crits enjoyed reading, golfing, traveling, and spending time with family. He lived in Havertown and, later, Ardmore.

Besides his son and daughter, he is survived by his wife of 66 years, the former Thetis G. Cokinos; and grandchildren who are triplets.

A viewing will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 1, followed by funeral services at 11 a.m. at St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church, 35 N. Malin Rd., Broomall. Interment is in Fernwood Cemetery.


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