WEF's membership newsletter covers current Federation activities, Member Association news, and items of concern to the water quality field. WEF Highlights is your source for the most up-to-the-minute WEF news and member information.  

May 2011, Vol. 48, No. 4

Top Story

Nature’s Hard-Shelled Filtration Systems

Organizations work to restore bivalves, nature's water filter, to waterways 
Bivalves - freshwater mussel 2 Small

Nature’s water filtration system comes in a small, hard-shelled package. Bivalves, such as oysters, mussels, and clams, naturally remove suspended sediment and nutrients from waterways.

As filter feeders, bivalves filter water to find food. In the process, bivalves remove nitrogen from the water and pull suspended sediment from the water column to deposit on the waterbody floor, said Stephanie Westby, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Oyster Coordinator and Environmental Engineer. Removing nutrients from water reduces the algal blooms that can reduce lowered levels of dissolved oxygen. Removing sediments reduces clouded water and enables sunlight that is needed for the health of aquatic ecosystem to penetrate the water.

A freshwater mussel. Photo courtesy of Eric Engbretson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Click for larger image.
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Surprisingly Walkable Los Angeles

Ask some long-time residents of Los Angeles, and they’ll respond that not having a car is not an option for living in the most populated metropolis in the United States. But for visitors to downtown L.A. — the site of the 84th Annual Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Technical Exhibition and Conference, WEFTEC® 2011 — immense changes have made this once desolate neighborhood one of the most walkable areas in the country.

“The downtown has really improved tremendously,” said Jim Clark, senior vice president and managing director of Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.) and local resident of more than 35 years. Clark is on the WEFTEC Advisory Committee and serves as the California WEF member of the planning committee. Fifteen years ago, “nobody even wanted to walk in that part of town,” but locals are now referring to it as a “mini Times Square,” Clark said.

 LA - Convention Center 1 Small - GrimmTom+Michele
WEFTEC® 2011 will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Photo courtesy of Tom and Michele Grimm. Click for larger image.
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WEF MOP Series: Detailing the Science Behind Nutrient Removal in MOP 34

Nutrient Removal Cover

The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) released a new Manual of Practice (MOP) last year that provides in-depth scientific information on nutrient removal topics. Nutrient Removal, MOP 34 includes information taken from a previous WEF special publication published in 1998 that has been improved and built on, according to Bruce Johnson, task force chair for the MOP and project manager at CH2M Hill (Englewood, Colo.).

“This [book] is meant to be more of a scientific basis for nutrient removal,” Johnson said. “The main use of this is understanding the theory behind nutrient removal so that people can be more effective at designing nutrient removal systems.” 

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