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Clearwater and Filtration — old friends starting a new business

Victoria Penate
Staff Writer
Craig Johnson, left, and Pete Dalla-Betta.
Submitted to The Union

One of the newest businesses in town, Clearwater and Filtration, is built on the idea that two different kinds of expertise can come together to highlight new ways to improve.

Husband-and-wife duo Craig and Denise Johnson have owned and operated Craig Johnson Plumbing since 2004 — and are now co-owners of Clearwater and Filtration, offering water filtration services.

Clearwater and Filtration provides assessment of a home’s current water supply, custom design and installation of new filtration systems, and long-term filtration system maintenance.

Their plumbing business, based in Grass Valley, has allowed the pair to build their knowledge of both the industry and their local community over the years.

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They have started a business in partnership with Pete Dalla-Betta, a longtime friend of theirs who has worked in the wastewater engineering business since 2003.

Dalla-Betta holds a Ph.D. in soil microbiology, and has studied extensively on the subject of minerals and related natural reactions.

He explained that Clearwater and Filtration began with the purchase of an existing water treatment business in the area, from which they have gained an established client base, as well as training from the previous owner throughout the transition.

“He’s training me on the job to do all the practical things,” said Dalla-Betta, adding that this has been essential to his preparation for any future challenges.

“You can walk into any situation and it’s different, and there are all kind of little factors between a well, pump motor, and finally where the water goes in the house,” he explained.

“These things are expensive, so you want to make sure you’re doing quality installations every time and using the right materials.”

Adapting

Dalla-Betta’s academic experience has also allowed him to put his own spin on the new systems and solutions he’ll be designing.

“For example, a lot of things we use to remove minerals from water are actually minerals themselves, and my background has helped me understand the chemistry of these filters,” he said.

Dalla-Betta plays the primary role in system design, client communications, and installation for Clearwater and Filtration. When needed, he receives support from one of nine staff members at Craig Johnson Plumbing, made convenient by the two businesses sharing an office.

Denise Johnson said, “There is so much that Pete is able to do in creating systems that are more user-friendly and adapting new ways of approaching issues to make it our own.”

Having opened Clearwater and Filtration in April, Denise Johnson described the successes and challenges of starting a business during a statewide stay-at-home order.

“Water systems are often on the exterior of a home or in their own housing, so we are able to be distanced from people while working,” she said.

Denise Johnson added that they were able to quickly implement precautionary equipment such as masks and shoe coverings according to guidelines, because they had just gotten used to doing so for their plumbing work.

However, she noted that reducing in-person contact with clients has made it somewhat more difficult to discuss plans, describe installed systems in detail, and explain results.

“We’re just taking these precautions and forging forward, and hopefully as things ease up, we may be able to give more of that up-close and personal touch to it,” said Johnson.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union.


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