Iraqi Minister Seeks Assistance from Water Professionals
At a meeting hosted by the American Water Works Association, Iraq’s Minister of Municipalities & Public Works asked leaders from the North American water community to provide technical and operational expertise to assist her country in rebuilding its water infrastructure.
Iraqi Minister, Nesreen Mustafa Siddeek Berwari and AWWA President Kathryn McCain met in Washington. D.C., recently to discuss a variety of issues with representatives of the association’s membership.
Minister Berwari, who oversees 42,000 Iraqi government employees, told a gathering of 20 water utility experts and industry manufacturers that years of conflict and “isolation from information” have left the country’s infrastructure in severe disrepair.
Approximately 40% of Iraqis do not have access to safe drinking water and only 10% have adequate wastewater services.
“Iraqi engineers are very hungry for information,” Minister Berwari said.
McCain said AWWA would facilitate tours of North American water utilities for Iraqi engineers and coordinate the exchange of technical information and training between the association and Iraqi officials.
WWEMA/WWD Scholarship Winner Named
At the 96th Annual Meeting of the Water & Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association, the inaugural WWEMA/ WWD Scholarship winner was announced by WWD Publisher Dennis Martyka.
The winner was Collin David Morris, a student at Providence College working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry with the goal of attending graduate school to earn a Master’s Degree in either chemical engineering or chemistry.
“Collin’s collegiate studies and his career interest in the water and wastewater industry epitomized the characteristics we were looking for when selecting a winner for the inaugural WWEMA/WWD Scholarship,” said Martyka.
The WWEMA/WWD Scholarship provides one $1,000 scholarship to a student accepted to a college or university to pursue a career in the environmental sciences. The student must have a parent(s) employed with a WWEMA-member company to be eligible for the WWEMA/WWD Scholarship.
ITT Sanitaire employs Collin’s father Dave Morris.
The 2005 scholarship application process resumes shortly with the winner being announced at WWEMA’s 97th Annual Meeting this fall.
For more information on the WWEMA/WWD Scholarship, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
Issued to Water Utilities
Drinking water and wastewater utilities working to incorporate enhanced security measures into facility design and operation can now benefit from three new interim voluntary security guidance documents funded by a grant from the EPA.
The interim voluntary guidance documents provide drinking water, wastewater and stormwater utilities with practical assistance for implementing improved security measures in new and existing facilities of all sizes, addressing risks from managerial, operational, construction and design perspectives. The water sector industry will benefit from these documents by gaining insight into utilities’ present and future needs, which will help to mitigate risks associated with intentional attacks and natural disasters.
The interim voluntary guidelines were developed by the American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Federation and American Society of Civil Engineers.
Interim Voluntary Security Guidance for Water Utilities (AWWA), Interim Voluntary Security Guidance for Wastewater Utilities (WEF) and Interim Voluntary Guidelines for Designing an Online Contaminant Monitoring System (ASCE)
are available on each organization’s website (www.awwa.org , www.wef.org  and www.asce.org ).
Research & Development
Sandia Testing Arsenic Removal Technologies
Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories are testing innovative ways to treat arsenic-contaminated water in an effort to reduce costs to municipalities to meet the new arsenic standard issued by the EPA.
“The goals of the program are to develop, demonstrate and disseminate information about cost-effective water treatment technologies in order to help small communities in the southwest and other parts of the country comply with the new EPA standard,” said Malcolm Siegel, Sandia Arsenic Treatment Technology Demonstration project manager.
Tests are being conducted at a geothermal spring used to supply drinking water to Socorro, N.M., a town of about 9,000 residents located 80 miles south of Albuquerque.
The new regulation, which will go into effect in January 2006, reduces the Maximum Contaminant Level from 50 µg/L to 10 µg/L and is designed to reduce the incidence of bladder and lung cancers caused by arsenic exposure.
Levels of naturally occurring arsenic in the southwest often exceed the new MCL. The new compliance requirements will impact small communities that lack the appropriate treatment infrastructure and funding to reduce arsenic to such levels.
The nine-month pilot test in Socorro will compare five innovative technologies developed by universities, small businesses and water treatment companies.
Bush Selects Leavitt for HHS
President Bush recently nominated EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt to become the next secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Bush praised Leavitt as a “fine executive” and
“a man of great compassion.”
“He’s managed the EPA with skill and with a focus on results,” said Bush. “He’s an ideal choice to lead one of the largest departments of the United States government.”
Leavitt, head of EPA for just over a year, had been rumored to be interested in an official Cabinet-level slot within the Bush administration. Most of the focus, however, was centered on him moving over to head the Department of Homeland Security.
Instead, if confirmed by the Senate, Leavitt will succeed Tommy Thompson at HHS.
“I feel a sense of understandable regret” to leave EPA, Leavitt said at a White House press conference attended by the president. “The quality of health and health condition of people in this nation is a commitment that is shared among both agencies, as is the connection between science and health.”
As of presstime, Bush had not named Leavitt’s replacement at EPA.