Membranes and Magnolias

The Water Environment Federation's (WEF) Annual Conference and Exposition will flood the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from October 13 to 17. More than 15,000 attendees will saturate this Southern-style "Peach of a Conference," with more than 800 exhibitors disseminating information on products and services at the largest wastewater and water quality exposition held in North America.

WEF's All-Star Gala takes place on Saturday evening. This elegant event is held in honor of the WEF Board of Directors, Member Association Presidents, past and present WEF Officers, the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) Research Council and many others who make WEF possible.

A First-Timers' Orientation on Sunday offers tips on how to maximize the limited amount of time at WEFTEC. At 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, the exposition begins for a special Expo Preview to see the latest applications and developments, determine what vendors to visit, set up appointments, and have in-depth discussions or demonstrations.

Former Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbit, is the featured Opening General Session speaker Monday morning, and water reuse expert and Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Takashi Asano, is also speaking at this Opening Session of champions.

More than 40 hours of detailed, technical information is at attendees' fingertips with 23 conference workshops and seminars, and 89 technical sessions. CEU credits can be obtained by attending.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Assistant Administrator for water, Diane Regas, presents EPA National Management Excellence Awards on Monday to municipalities, wastewater treatment programs and facilities who show outstanding commitment to protecting and improving the quality of the nation's waters.

Also, Monday's Luncheon, from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) and WEF, features Dr. Joan B. Rose, whose research at the University of South Florida has focused on surveys of wastewater effects on both marine and fresh waters, studies on drinking water quality, and treatment and reclamation of wastewater for potable and non-potable reuse. She will speak about "The Musings of a Water Microbiologist."

Tuesday floats both the Operations Challenge and Industry Day 2001. Operations Challenge demonstrates some of the best wastewater collection and treatment personnel in the world. Winners are determined by a point system for five events: collection systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance and safety. An awards ceremony follows the excitement. The third annual Industry Day includes three sessions on Pharmaceuticals and Chemistry Industry issues, Pulp and Paper Wastewater and Egg and Poultry Wastewater treatment issues.

Tuesday evening boasts the WEF Celebration of Excellence - recognizing the achievements of some of the most dedicated professionals in the industry -- as well as the Passing of the Gavel to the new leader of WEF for the 2001-2002 year.

Nearly a dozen facility tours are offered to compliment the conference, including: a collection systems tour to a tunnel currently under construction; a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)-based flow management center and pumping station tour; a water reclamation center tour featuring the largest ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system in the world; and a tour to an industrial facility.

For fun, WEF has organized several sightseeing options such as a walk through Centennial Park; a combined Famous Atlantans tour through the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District, the Carter Presidential Library, and the home where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind; a Famous Firsts visit to two of the most popular product centers of Atlanta, Coca-Cola and CNN; and many more.

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This article appeared in the October 2001 issue of Environmental Protection, Vol. 12, No. 10, on page 48.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2001 issue of Environmental Protection.

About the Author

Jim DiPeso is communications director at the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, Seattle.