Water Quality Takes Center Stage
Water and wastewater professionals descend on New Orleans
After 77 years, the Water Environment Federation’s annual technical exhibition and conference is still going strong. This year’s event, WEFTEC.04 is scheduled for the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Oct. 2–6, in New Orleans.
WWD recently conducted an exclusive interview with WEF 2003–2004 President Larry Jaworski to discuss what is in store for the water quality professionals attending WEFTEC.04.
WWD: How many attendees are expected at WEFTEC.04?
Larry Jaworski: We anticipate over 15,000 attendees and over 800 exhibitors to our conference and exhibition in New Orleans, October 2–6, 2004.
WWD: What are some of the highlights of WEFTEC.04?
Jaworski: Highlights will include over 20 workshops on a variety of topics addressing specific and timely issues involving the water environment profession. Also, featured speakers such as Randy Hanchey, the deputy secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources; Dr. Makram Suidan, the Herman Schneider Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati; and other leaders in the water quality profession.
A total of 95 technical sessions will address the full range of topics and issues in the profession in addition to opportunities for university students and young professionals to interact with each other and network with the leaders in our profession.
The U.S. EPA Clean Water Act Recognition Awards will also be announced. The 10th Annual WEFTeach, in which New Orleans area high school science teachers will participate in a full-day hands-on water quality workshop, is also scheduled.
Another highlight includes the Operations Challenge, in which teams from across the country compete in head-to-head competition for recognition as the top operator teams in the country.
Finally, the WEF Celebration of Excellence and Passing of the Gavel, during which awards will be presented to acknowledge significant achievements in the water quality profession, is planned.
WWD: In your opinion, what is the strongest aspect of WEFTEC.04?
Jaworski:The strongest aspect will be our technical program. There was an increase of over 35% in the number of abstracts submitted for consideration which means the quality of papers selected for presentation will be even higher than usual.
WWD: Every water/wastewater industry event is unique. What does WEFTEC.04 offer attendees as a means to distinguish itself from other national meetings?
Jaworski: Our conference offers the latest in water quality research, technology and services. WEFTEC consistently ranks in the top 1% of all trade shows in North America. WEFTEC is also the leading event dedicated to the concept of “There’s No Such Thing As Wastewater,” meaning that we must address all water quality issues on a holistic basis. Topics that will be addressed during the conference include collection systems; utility management; water reuse; industrial issues; regulatory approaches; watershed management; and issues relating to global water environment.
WWD: There has been talk of combining the WEF and AWWA annual meeting/conferences into one show serving both sectors of the water/wastewater industry. What is the latest on this front?
Jaworski: WEF and AWWA have joined with WWEMA and other major exhibitors to create a task force to discuss this issue.
At this time, the task force has held several meetings and conference calls to discuss this issue. Given that both WEF and AWWA book each of our conferences more than a decade in advance, this issue can and will be carefully evaluated.
WWD: Briefly, can you tell WWD readers a little about WEFTEC.05?
Jaworski:WEFTEC.05 will convene in Washington D.C., Oct. 29–Nov. 2, 2005. This will be the first time the conference has been in Washington D.C. since 1990 and the first time we will be in the new convention center which just opened less than a year ago.
Cocompost Facility Earns Engineering Achievement Award
The South Dakota Engineering Society (SDES) recently presented the Rapid City Cocompost Facility with its 2004 Outstanding Engineering Achievement of the Year award.
The award recognizes engineering achievements that embody the innovative and dynamic spirit of a profession dedicated to public service. The cocompost facility was selected because of the applied engineering principles involved, the project’s originality and innovation, the design complexity and the social significance and economic impact on the community.
The $7.2 million cocompost facility composts and recycles municipal wastes and biosolids for the city of Rapid City, S.D. An IPS Composting System from USFilter is designed to convert 213 tons per day of pre-processed solid wastes from the city’s material recovery facility and biosolids from the city’s water reclamation facility into compost.
“We developed the solid waste program because of a strong community interest in recycling and to prolong the life of our landfills,” said Jerry Wright, solid waste superintendent, Rapid City Solid Waste Department.
The cocompost facility has also been recommended for two Solid Waste Association of North America Excellence awards.
WQA & WWEMA Sign MOU
The chief executive officers of the Water Quality Association (WQA) and the Water & Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing the two organizations to work in concert to improve the quality of life through the protection and enhancement of the global water environment.
Activities such as promoting the specification and selection of equipment based on quality and functionality, collaborating in attaining harmonization of international environmental and trade standards, and working together to remove unnecessary barriers to the adoption of innovative technology in the environmental field are mentioned as possible types of joint efforts.
“This MOU marks a significant chapter in the evolution of our two organizations as we seek ways to build upon our common interests and create a synergy that will benefit the industry and the public at large,” said WWEMA President Dawn Kristof.
“WQA sees this as an important step toward coordinating the efforts of our two associations to drive improvements in water treatment models for all water users,” added Peter Censky, WQA executive director. “Together, our industries bring innovative technologies and solutions to the country’s water problems.”
Johnson Sworn in as
EPA Deputy Administrator
In early August, Stephen Johnson was sworn in as deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Michael Leavitt, administrator of the EPA.
Johnson was formally appointed deputy administrator by President George W. Bush on July 30 and has been in the position as acting deputy for the past year.
“I count on Steve to manage the day-to-day operations of the Agency,” said Administrator Leavitt. “He does this with tremendous talent and grace, applying his leadership skills, knowledge of the issues, and appreciation for EPA employees to make our work better.”
Prior to serving as acting deputy administrator, Johnson was the assistant administrator of the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. He has over 20 years of service at the EPA, principally in the area of pesticide programs.
“I appreciate the trust and confidence
in my abilities shown by President Bush and Administrator Leavitt,” Johnson said. “It is an honor to serve the American people and to work with my EPA colleagues as we continue to strengthen public health and the environment while growing the nation’s economy.”
Acquisition of USFilter
Effective July 31, Siemens completed its acquisition of USFilter Corp. from the French parent company, Veolia Environnement. The $993 million acquisition positions Siemens as the market leader in the water and wastewater treatment business in North America.
With annual sales of $1.2 billion, USFilter has 157 locations worldwide and 5,800 employees, including 5,000 in the U.S.
The worldwide product, system and service business of USFilter will become part of Siemens’ $4 billion Industrial Solutions and Services group as a new “Water Technologies” division.
An agreement to acquire the business was announced this past May.
“We see this as a significant opportunity for USFilter,” said Andy Seidel, CEO of USFilter. “By combining the strength of Siemens’ global technology business with USFilter’s focus on innovation and our drive to move aggressively into the global markets, we see this acquisition as a new beginning and defining moment for USFilter.”
According to a company official, the USFilter/Siemens headquarters will be located in Warrendale, Pa.
Millions of Wetland Acres at Risk
Thousands of acres of wetlands have been legally drained as a result of a recently adopted policy, and many more acres are at risk of similar destruction claimed a report issued by four environmental groups.
In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that isolated wetlands that do not cross state boundaries and are not navigable do not enjoy the same federal protections as other wetlands just because they serve migratory birds. Then last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency said under the ruling, they could not protect such wetlands unless they were connected to interstate commerce, the Washington Post summarized.
The study, which was based on Freedom of Information Act requests, shows how the directive put millions of acres of rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands at risk. Environmentalists are furious over how, in more than a dozen cases, the Corps of Engineers subsequently approved development in ecologically sensitive areas.
Administration officials said that President Bush strived to create, improve and protect wetlands and that they are just adhering to the court’s ruling, the Washington Post reported.
The Water Environment Federation’s WEFTEC 2004, Oct. 2–6 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans. For more information, visit www.weftec.org.
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