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CDC Director, Cuomo Headline World's Water Event

Water professionals will converge on drought-stricken Atlanta for the American Water Works Association's Annual Conference and Exhibition on June 8-12 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will discuss the role of water professionals in protecting public health during a keynote address on June 9. Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo will offer his observations on the U.S. presidential election and the challenges facing the water industry at a luncheon on June 10.

Gerberding will speak about the ways that the drinking water and medical communities can work together to help increase public knowledge of the science of water. She also will discuss the wide scope of work being done at CDC to prevent waterborne disease. Gerberding is also the CDC’s administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

“The presence of Dr. Gerberding at the opening general session really underscores that public health protection is the first and most important obligation of water professionals,” said newly appointed AWWA Executive Director Gary Zimmerman. (Zimmerman, 48, replaces Jack W. Hoffbuhr, who retired after leading AWWA for 12 years. He previously was executive vice president of the Arabian Horse Association.)

Cuomo currently is of counsel with the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. He was the longest serving Democratic governor in the modern history of New York, having served for three terms and twice setting records for the highest popular vote ever achieved in a New York election.

“We are privileged to have someone of Gov. Cuomo’s stature and experience talk to our industry leaders,” said Zimmerman. “Gov. Cuomo’s views on the political scene and his insight into how to solve large-scale problems are a great addition to the program.”

(Registration is required to attend the luncheon. Tickets are $55 per person. Visit for details.)

Program Highlights
AWWA recently added a professional session addressing microconstituents in water supplies, including pharmaceuticals and chemicals found in personal care products, to the technical program. Two speakers at a morning session on June 11 have been confirmed and are well known for their expertise in water quality: Mark LeChevallier, director of innovation and environmental stewardship for American Water Works; and Jeanne Bailey, public affairs officer, Fairfax County (Va.) Water Authority.

Three speakers from the CDC will speak to different aspects of waterborne disease. Sharon Roy will review waterborne disease outbreak data, and Jonathan Yoder will talk about the investigative process. Wrapping up the H2Open Forum will be Jeremy Hess on the "Impact of Climate Change on Waterborne Disease."

With constantly evolving regulation, compliance, and policy issues, there’s always something new to tackle on the legislative and regulatory front. This track presents current issues and outlines how to manage federal, state, provincial, and local issues to affect change on water issues.

The AWWA Water Utility Council brings the latest on the Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rule and Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule and what’s going on with lead, security, and local issues. Examples of sessions for this track are Southeastern Water Perspectives, EPA/State Regulatory and Implementation Update, and Regulatory Implementation Challenges.

Altogether there are more than 650 presentations in 97 sessions, as well as 14 Sunday seminars, several auxiliary presentations, facility tours, and an exhibit hall featuring the products and services of more than 500 companies.

The program covers climate change, conservation, water resources management, legislative and regulatory issues, and public affairs. Attendees can earn contact hours for the Distribution & Plant Operations, Manufacturers/Associates, Small Systems & Water Quality tracks, most Sunday Workshops, and facility tours.

The association also will host its fourth annual Career Fair for students, young professionals, and job seekers from 1-4 p.m. June 10.

To see the conference at a glance, visit

Exhibitors will offer expert insight and hands-on understanding for everything from pipes to valves, meters to hydrants, engineering services to tank-related companies, membrane filtration systems to laboratory equipment, and security to wastewater.

The association will once again stage the New Product Technology Showcase, featuring cutting-edge products and technologies to address the challenges facing the water industry. Exhibitors must apply to participate in this exclusive area, chosen from applicants by AWWA volunteers.

Conference attendees also will be able to attend informative exhibitor education sessions. Participants can attend small-group presentations at exhibitor booths, earn CEUs, and get specific information on products and processes.

Sessions will be offered on backflow prevention equipment, disinfection equipment, filters and aeration equipment, and SCADA/GIS systems.

The annual and always entertaining Pipe-Tapping Contest, Top Ops Competition, Meter Madness, and the “Best of the Best” Water Taste Test will be held as well.

Convention Hall Fun Facts

When the Georgia World Congress Center opened in 1976, it became the first state-owned and operated major convention center in the United States.

The Congress Center's Building B exhibit halls are more than twice as long as Atlanta's highest skyscraper is high. From one end of these halls to the other, the Earth curves 3/4 inch.

Including meeting rooms, galleries, exhibit halls, kitchens and storerooms, there are more than 90 acres of floor area (3.9 million square feet) on multiple levels throughout the GWCC. The 33,000-square-foot Thomas Murphy Ballroom is on a level equal to that of an 11-story building.

More than a million guests attend functions at the GWCC annually. As many as 125,000 have attended a single event. One of the larger single-dinner functions served more than 8,500 guests, who consumed 5,000 lbs. of beef tenderloin, 800 pecan pies and 3 tons of vegetables.

The Building C entrance lobby is over 1,000 feet long, 80 feet wide and over 90 feet high, making it large enough to hold the Titanic (882 feet long, 92 feet 6 inches wide, and 60 feet 6 inches from the waterline to the main deck).

Tough Times for Atlanta
Although Atlanta has not started rationing drinking water, Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed a law that overrides the city's watering restrictions. As of May 15, residents have to follow state-approved guidelines for hand watering as well as operating their landscape irrigation systems.
The World Congress Center, which was damaged by a tornado on March 14, has completed all repairs and actually reopened the facility after only 42 days of construction, which included repairing the roof.

Atlanta, the capital of Georgia’s capital, has more than 5 million people who call the metro area home. In recent years, it has transitioned from a regional commerce center to one of international influence. The city hosted the summer Olympic Games in 1996.

Click here to visit our ACE08 Featured Exhibitors article.

About the Author

L.K. Williams is editor of Water and Wastewater News.

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