Dollars & Sense
The 82nd annual WEFTEC considers the bottom line.
- By L.K. Williams, EPonline
- Oct 05, 2009
The Water Environment Federation anticipated the possible fallout from the national recession at this year's WEFTEC.09, which will be held Oct. 10-14 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., and took action. The association retained its 2008 registration rates and has offered utilities discount pricing packages.
According to Cari Zimmerman, marketing manager of Association Development at WEF, 65 utilities are participating in the program as of Oct. 5. Last year, only 18 took advantage of the offering.
"WEF designed a discount program specifically for utilities. We know they have tight budgets, especially this year, but it is very important for them to receive the most up-to-date information and to see the latest technologies. We want to be able to maximize their participation, so we do that through these discounted pricing packages. Also, this year, we offered all Florida utilities the opportunity to receive complimentary passes to the exhibition. This proved to be very helpful for those participants located close to Orlando but had no travel budget," Zimmerman explained.
First launched at WEFTEC.05, the Utility Partnership Program was originally intended to boost conference attendance from local utilities but was expanded in 2007 to include utilities from across the country. Designed to foster peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and business opportunities between municipalities and this year's 997 conference exhibitors, the goal is to make WEFTEC more accessible to a wider range of utility employees.
Highlighting this year's meeting is the keynote address by Dr. Mike Magee, a veteran health care leader and author, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Oct. 12 in the Chapin Theater on Level 3. Dr. Magee wrote "Healthy Waters: What Every Health Professional Should Know about Water," which sheds light on the impending global water crisis and its negative impact on the healthy living of individuals and global societies.
In 2007, Dr. Magee began touring the United States to spread this message and launched the "Healthy Waters Initiative." The goal of the initiative is to raise awareness about the importance of clean water to public health and to generate action on water-related issues. Dr. Magee will discuss the correlation between potable water and public health. There will be a special Q&A following the conclusion of the program and a book signing at 2 p.m. in the WEFTEC Bookstore (Hall C).
At 10:30 a.m. Monday in Room 311EF, Peter Silva, the newly confirmed assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, will discuss his priorities, the status of stimulus funding, and the Obama Administration's agenda for the national water program. Those agenda items include potential initiatives to better address nutrients, stormwater, and agricultural pollution. Silva is a registered civil engineer with more than 32 years of experience managing public water and wastewater programs. He spoke in June at the American Water Works Association ACE09 as an office nominee. Operations Challenge
More than 200 of the world’s best and brightest wastewater treatment professionals will compete in Operations Challenge 2009, a unique, fast-paced skills competition for wastewater operations and maintenance professionals. Now in its 22nd year, the one-of-a-kind event will take place Oct. 13.
Judges evaluate the current 41-team members, in a two-division format, on the best combination of precision, speed and safety. Winners are determined by a weighted point system for five events including collection systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance and safety. The events are designed to test the diverse skills required for the operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment facilities, their collection systems and laboratories.
The current champions, the Water Environment Association of Texas' Trinity River Authority CReWSers, will defend their title against the top regional teams from the United States, Canada, and Argentina. Three local teams are among the competitors in this year's event, including Tallahassee's Team Renegade, Team GRU from Gainesville Regional Utilities, and the City of Fort Lauderdale's Hurricanes. Technical Sessions/Exhibits
This year's annual water event has more technical sessions (122 vs. 114) but fewer exhibitors (998 vs. 1,111 as of Oct. 5) than last year. Prominent topics this year include:
- greenhouse gas emissions reductions focusing on international approaches to mitigation (Oct. 12, 1:30-5 p.m. Room 304B);
- panel discussion on EPA's water reuse guidelines (10:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 12, Room 311A);
- redesigning EPA's recognition awards program (8-10 a.m. Oct. 13, Room 102);
- water infrastructure investment beyond stimulus funding, covering the GAO Clean Water Trust Fund and Water Infrastructure Bank reports (8:30 a.m.- noon, Oct. 13, Room 312);
- the annual regulatory update 1:30-5 p.m., Oct. 13, Room 312); and
- the use of simple technology to communicate during these hard times (8:30-noon, Oct. 14, Room 312).
In the exhibition hall, you can see everything from German-made Multibore membranes from inge watertechnologies AG to Aquionics ultraviolet treatment systems.
Thompson Pump will be displaying its 4JSVC-EBS-40 heavy-duty electric driven pump at Booth 2417. The unit offers large solids handling capabilities, ideal flows of 1,175 gallons per minute and high heads to 150 feet. The pump is designed for bypass and construction dewatering applications. At booth 2323, Romtec Utilities will showcase its fiberglass wet walls and valve vaults, which are designed for pre-engineered pump stations. CleanWay Environmental Partners, which does not have a booth but will be walking the show, has a Metal Removal Media product that absorbs heavy metals in catch basins and filter vaults as well as solids, sludge, and slurries from municipal sewage. Suspended Recognition Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has suspended its Clean Water Act Recognition program for 2009 so don't expect to see any award ceremonies. The agency is considering a significant redesign. Its goal is to improve the program's value to EPA by aligning it more closely with the Sustainable Infrastructure goals and to the water industry through broader applicability.
The agency said the current program has served the industry well since it began in 1985, and EPA believes an effective revision can both reinvigorate interest and also move the water industry toward sustainability. The agency is focusing on completing the new design and launching the revised program in fall 2009 for awards in 2010. The agency said it has met with a number of outside organizations and the proposed new award design was well received.
The proposed new program aims to expand eligibility to include both wastewater utilities and drinking water utilities and is scheduled to be called the Sustainable Water Leadership Program. This new program would include two components:
- A recognition component that would require utilities to meet specific criteria to receive recognition; and
- An awards component that would require utilities to compete against each other to demonstrate outstanding achievement in a topic selected by EPA.
The new Sustainable Water Leadership Program will not only provide EPA with case studies and tools to transfer the knowledge of innovative activities across the country, it would also serve as a roadmap for utilities to adopt sustainable management practices that will improve performance.
Utilities meeting the recognition program criteria would be called “Sustainable Water Partners” and those winning the awards program competition would be called “Sustainable Water Champions.” Applicants must be in compliance with applicable water quality requirements for two years and have a satisfactory record with respect to environmental quality. WEF Excellence Awards
The association will present the following awards to these recipients on Oct. 13 at the WEF Awards and Presidential Celebration Reception, which is by invitation only.
Camp Applied Research Medal: Ronald W. Crites
Collection Systems Award: Gary A. Wyatt (posthumously)
Eddy Wastewater Principles and Processes Medal: Remembrance Newcombe, Ph.D.; Rebecca Rule, Ph.D.; Brian Hart, Gregory Moller, Daniel Strawn, Tracy Grant, and Susan Childers
Emerson Distinguished Service Medal: Richard D. Kuchenrither, Ph.D.
Engelbrecht International Achievement Award: James H. Clark
Fair Distinguished Engineering Educator Medal: Desmond F. Lawler, Ph.D., University of Texas – Austin
Gascoigne Wastewater Treatment Plant Operational Improvement Medal: Barry Pomeroy
Hazardous Waste Management Award: Jeffrey L. Pintenich
Industrial Water Quality Achievement Award: DuPont Engineering, Kenneth N. Wood
Industrial Water Quality Lifetime Achievement Award: Davis L. Ford
Innovative Technology Award: ADS Environmental Services – Sliicer.com (Collection Systems)
McKee Groundwater Protection, Restoration, Sustainable Use Medal: Genxu Wang, Ph.D.; Jian Zhou, Ph.D.; Jumpei Kubota, Ph.D.; and Su Jimaping
Outstanding Young Water Environment Professional Award: Fran Burlingham, P.E.
Public Education Award – Three Categories: Julie Karleskint (Individual), North Carolina Water Environment Association (Member Association), and the Western Virginia Water Authority (Other)
Rudolfs Industrial Waste Management Medal: William C. Hiatt and C.P. Leslie Grady Jr.
Water Quality Improvement Award: Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
WEF Canham Graduate Studies Scholarship: Hector A. Garcia
Water & Wastewater News/Environmental Protection will be exhibiting at WEFTEC.09 at booth 4003. See you in Orlando!