The Windy City Welcomes WEFTEC.08

Aug. 5, 2008

About the author: Rebecca Wilhelm is associate editor for Water & Wastes Digest. Wilhelm can be reached at 847.954.7958 or by e-mail at [email protected]

WEFTEC.08, the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) 81st Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference, blows into Chicago from Saturday, Oct. 18 to Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008. Following you will find a preview of the educational, networking and business opportunities offered at the event.

WEFTEC has been increasing in attendance, size and exhibitors for years, peaking in 2007, the largest WEF show held to date, with a record 19,929 attendees, 1,017 companies and 268,405 net sq ft of floor space at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.

“Building on the momentum of last year’s record-setting event in San Diego, WEF received a near record number of abstracts, as well as a record number of workshop and session proposals for this year’s program of 115 technical sessions, 31 workshops and ten facility tours,” said Adam Zabinski, president of WEF. “This year’s exhibition continues to be a big draw for attendees. To date more than 915 exhibitors have reserved more than 280,000 sq ft of floor space at McCormick Place and those numbers are expected to grow in the next few months.”

Before you sit down to plan your time in Chicago, log into WEFTEC.08’s Online Schedule Planner, a new feature that allows attendees to design their own learning experience. The free online planner lets attendees search for technical sessions, workshops and facility tours by day, time, keyword, speaker and topic, and save them to a personal planner that can be saved and accessed at any time through the Internet.


The largest water quality event in North America will launch with Sunday’s Opening General Session featuring a keynote address delivered by Professor John Anthony Allan, the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate. Allan, a professor at King’s College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies, is recognized for developing the concept of “virtual water,” an idea that examines how water issues are related to agriculture, climate change, economics and politics, and has redefined global water policy and management.

“Another event of note will be the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors/WEF Scientist’s Luncheon,” Zabinski said. “Dr. David L. Sedlak, a professor for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, will discuss how to develop innovative and integrated approaches for controlling trace organics in our water supplies.”

Industry Education

Earn up to 35 CEUs and PDH hours while engaging in educational sessions discussing relevant industry issues such as: collection systems, membrane technologies, plant operations and treatment, regulations, research, residuals and biosolids, utility management, and water quality and watershed management.

Hot topics at WEFTEC.08, according to Zabinski, will include water recycling and reuse, nutrient removal, membranes, microconstituents, asset management, biosolids, safety and security challenges, strategic workforce planning, green infrastructure/practices and renewable energy options for water and wastewater utilities.

“Sustainability has been a great focus for all of WEF’s activities throughout the year and will be reflected at WEFTEC as well,” Zabinski said.

Special Events

WEFTEC.08 will offer a variety of special events for industry-wide networking.

“In addition to our exhibition, which will provide invaluable peer-to-peer networking and business opportunities between exhibitors and attendees, examples of other networking opportunities include the Global Center, Industrial Networking Reception and Students & Young Professionals Networking and Career Fair,” said Zabinski.

Proceeds from Sunday’s golf tournament at the George Dunne National Golf Course will benefit the Water Environment Research Foundation, a nonprofit that provides research to enhance water resources management.

Take some time Sunday morning to enjoy the Chicago skyline and beautiful Lake Michigan while participating in a bicycle ride along the lake to raise awareness and funds for Water For People, an international nonprofit that helps develop locally sustainable drinking water resources, sanitation facilities and health and hygiene education programs in developing countries. Later that night, join the organization for the Water for People Gala, their fifth annual fundraising event at WEFTEC.

The highly anticipated 21st Operations Challenge ’08 will be held Tuesday from 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Come watch the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association’s Commode Commandos defend their 2007 championship title in this contest of demonstrating the best combination of precision, speed and safety in the face of operations challenges.

Come & See

WEFTEC’s reputation as the largest annual water quality exhibition in the world and the opportunities it offers as a forum for discussion within the industry, education and networking make this an event you do not want to miss.

“Over the years WEFTEC has not only grown in the size of exhibits and technical sessions, but has become one of the world’s leading water quality conferences and exhibitions,” Zabinski said.

Once you prepare your schedule for WEFTEC.08, mark your calendars for WEFTEC.09, scheduled for Oct. 10 to 14, 2009, in Orlando, Fla.

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About the Author

Rebecca Wilhelm

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