Despite Economy, WEFTEC09 Makes a Good Showing

A total of 17,722 water professionals and 995 exhibitors attended WEFTEC.09, the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) 82nd annual technical exhibition and conference, in Orlando, Fla.

“We know there’s a recession out there and it has not passed us by,” added WEF Executive Director Bill Bertera. “But this year’s numbers are a strong indication that WEFTEC is where people come to do business…to learn about the latest developments and research in the water quality field. We will continue to meet the needs of our members and the water profession…especially as municipal and private sector revenues are challenged by the economy.”

In 2008, the event brought in record-setting numbers of 21,950 attendees and 1,111 companies, the largest participation in the event's 81-year history. The year before that, the exhibition and conference attracted 19,929 attendees and 1,017 companies.

At this year's meeting, Peter Silva, the new assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, discussed his priorities for EPA’s water program, the status of stimulus funding for water infrastructure, and the Obama Administration’s agenda for the national water program. Dr. Mike Magee gave a presentation about the nexus between the access to potable water and public health. He told the audience of water industry professionals: “It is my hope that in addressing this complex issue together, we will broaden the social context of health, engage health partners in water management and planning, and advance health as the leading edge of human development,” he said.

2008-2009 WEF President Rebecca West ceremoniously “passed the gavel” of leadership to incoming President Paul Freedman and inducted the 2009-2010 WEF Officers and Board of Trustees.

Planning for WEFTEC 2010 is currently under way. Scheduled for Oct. 2-6, 2010 in New Orleans, La., the Call for Abstracts is now open and more than 700 companies have already reserved more than 90 percent of floor space at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

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