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. 

September 2011, Vol. 48, No. 7

Top Story

The Pinnacle of Stormwater Management
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Endicott College (Beverly, Mass.), a private waterfront institution, has recently constructed a first-of-its-kind structure in New England — a rooftop stormwater retention system that can hold up to 152 mm (6 in.) of water.

The system sits on the $17-million Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, a 5760-m2 (62,000-ft2), multi-level facility that houses studios, classrooms, labs, music rooms, gardens, a 250-seat recital hall, and a 100-seat theater.

The school’s existing stormwater management system of overland ditches, swales, and a gate-controlled pond system are set in a rock ledge. The campus has experienced runoff challenges before, including flooding in parking lots.  

Endicott College (Beverly, Mass.) constructed a green roof and patio as part of a stormwater retention system. Photo courtesy of Catherine Wechsler, Endicott College. Click for larger image.

“As an engineer, you don’t want to make that any worse,” said Vasek Talacko, principal of Hancock Associates (Danvers, Mass.), the company in charge of the project. The rooftop design “prevents us from having to have underground storage systems or retention,” he said. 

Thinking outside the rock
New construction must treat or infiltrate stormwater, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection stormwater management rules. With little room at the project site for either option, the team had to find a solution beyond traditional methods.

The center’s 2652-m2 (28,550-ft2) roof has 152-mm (6-in.) edges and catch basins, Talacko said. For a project site with “too much rock and not enough room” for treatment, the design team asked, “Why not retain [stormwater] on the roof?” Roof runoff does not have to undergo treatment, Talacko explained.

However, instead of finding rooftop stormwater retention examples in their research, the team found a grate product with internal weirs that would automatically slow the rate of water running into a catch basin — even one on a roof.  

The center’s 227-L/min (60-gal/min) peak runoff ultimately leads to Endicott’s existing drainage system. “The water stays on the roof longer than normal,” and there is never more than 76 mm (3 in.) of water being stored, Talacko said. The total storage of water on the center’s roof is 202,488 L (7150 ft3).

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Endicott College's Center for the Visual and Performing Arts was constructed to include a stormwater retention system. Photo courtesy of Catherine Wechsler, Endicott College. Click for larger image.
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Talacko’s team also added a 2-m × 15-m (8-ft × 50-ft) sand filter to an existing parking lot. The filter treats runoff from a portion of the lot that previously drained untreated water into a pond. Both stormwater systems have enabled Endicott to manage all of the center’s runoff, Talacko said. 

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Determined to build a green building
As part of the campus’ green building program, the center is a green design project under the school’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. Development required reduced site disturbance, and the center features erosion and sedimentation controls, two rooftop gardens, and landscaped terraces with water-efficient native plantings.

The center also features a natural appearance with wood paneling inside, a fieldstone exterior, and exposed rock outcroppings and boulders that create an amphitheater outside. The green materials, including 5% of the building materials from recycled content and 20% of the structure composed of regionally sourced materials, saved energy during construction. Numerous windows provide solar gain throughout the year, further reducing ongoing energy costs.

The Center for the Visual and Performing Arts includes a stormwater retention system on its roof and a sand filter in the parking lot to reduce runoff. Photo courtesy of Catherine Wechsler, Endicott College. Click for larger image.
— Andrea Fox, WEF Highlights
Columbia Professor Takes Aim at Sanitation, Renewable Energy in Ghana
Kartik Chandran and team receive $1.5 million grant for waste-to-fuel project

In Accra, Ghana, a city of 2.1 million in western Africa, only 5% of residents are connected to sewer systems. And sometimes the wastewater treatment plant isn’t working anyway. A United Nations report states that inadequate sanitation contributes to 70% of diseases in the capital city of Ghana.

Kartik Chandran, professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University (New York) and member of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) board of trustees, hopes to change this by improving sanitation while providing a renewable source of power to Ghanaians.

Chandran recently embarked on a project to convert fecal sludge into biofuel, and he has the backing of a recent $1.5-million grant from the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation (Seattle). The aim is to aid sanitation and water quality in Accra while providing usable fuels in biodiesel and methane.

“Fecal sludge is very different from wastewater that we deal with in the U.S. and in developed countries. It’s basically a mixture of mainly urine and fecal matter,” Chandran said.

Chandran will develop a pilot-scale process using esterification and anaerobic digestion to transform the sludge into biodiesel and methane, respectively, using the biodiesel to run generators. “Biodiesel is a fairly novel end product to obtain from fecal sludge,” he said.

Chandran has teamed with Ashley Murray, chief executive officer of Waste Enterprisers (Accra), and Moses Mensah, of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi, Ghana), to develop the technology as a sustainable business model in the country.

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Kartik Chandran, member of the Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) board of trustees is working on a project to convert fecal slude into biofuel. Photo courtesy of Eileen Barroso. Click for larger image

“The grounding philosophy is that a reuse- or resource recovery-based approach to sanitation is not only more environmentally friendly, but perhaps more importantly can generate a revenue stream that will sustain the financial solvency of the system,” Murray said.

“We’re demonstrating a paradigm shift, rebranding fecal sludge as a resource instead of a disposal problem,” she said.

According to Murray, who has worked in Ghana’s sanitation sector for several years, more than 750 m3 of fecal sludge are discharged daily directly into the Atlantic Ocean.

Murray has developed a social enterprise business model for the project, which she aims to have on a commercial scale within 2 years. By creating a financial incentive, she hopes to create an alternative to “haphazard” waste dumping. This generates revenue, a portion of which is then reinvested into the sanitation sector.

“Frankly, the reason that waste — human waste or animal waste — is not treated as much [in Ghana] as it is in the developed world is because this is quite expensive,” Chandran said. “So if we can find endpoints of, for example, biofuels, then there is an incentive.”

Chandran noted that converting waste into energy is not a novel practice, even in developing nations. What is novel about this project, he said, is how his group is aiming to bring new technologies to Ghana.

“We are not just taking a technology from here and putting it in the developing world, we are also trying to adapt it to the needs of developing economies,” Chandran said. This will gain “maximum benefit in that setting.”

In addition to Ghana’s dire need for sanitation, the group focused on Accra because it is part of Columbia University’s Millennium Cities Initiative, a project in the school’s Earth Institute to help sub-Saharan cities meet the United Nations’ 2015 Millennium Development Goals.   

— Calder Silcox, WEF Highlights
Water Treatment Professionals Gather To Give Operator Profession Direction
Summit attendees develop a plan for training and recognizing operators

Enthusiasm for operators filled the room at the Operator Certification and Training Summit, held June 23–24 in Alexandria, Va. Water treatment professionals with a variety of backgrounds gathered at the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) event to help develop a plan to advance training and certification, as well as recognition of the operator profession.

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Operator Certification and Training Summit attendees discuss the training, certification, and recognition needed to advance the profession. WEF photo/Jennifer Fulcher. Click for larger image. 
The summit hosted approximately 40 attendees representing 20 different WEF Member Associations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, the Association of Boards of Certification, and the National Rural Water Association.  

WEF President Jeanette Brown participated in the event to share her respect for the work operators perform and her desire to advance the profession by improving operator training and recognition by those within and outside of the industry.

“This is a subject that is extremely important to me,” Brown said. “And it’s important to our entire industry. We need to have well-trained operators. And I believe we need all of our operators properly certified in order to manage our wastewater treatment plants and systems.”

“I think the focus that you all have on operators is extremely important and commendable,” said Sheila Frace, director of the Municipal Support Division in the EPA Office of Water. Frace explained that the industry faces the challenges of more complex operating systems, growing populations, and an aging workforce. Operators need to have the training to understand the systems they are running, she said.

Components of the 2-day summit
During the summit, a series of presentations provided information on the newly updated WEF Wastewater Systems Operations Professionals Certification and Training Position Statement, a comparison of certification program requirements, information on other industry certification programs, background on Safe Drinking Water Act operator certification, and funding alternatives for operator certification programs.  

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After presentations, attendees separated into three workgroups to discuss strategies for sustainable certification, a national model for minimum standards of operator certification, and a nationally recognized professional designation for operators. The results of these discussions were reported back to all attendees at the end of the first day. On the second day, attendees reviewed and summarized key points of operator certification and training discussed the first day and identified key action items for moving the profession forward.

Identifying problems and solutions
During the discussions, attendees identified problems, such as program variability and funding sources. Many problems centered on each state running separate training and certification programs. Programs vary in many ways. Different certification requirements result in inconsistent educational standards and states not recognizing one another’s operator licenses. Different sources of funding also separate the states; some rely on government funds others use a fee-based system. Programs relying solely on government funds have been reduced, eliminated, or outsourced, explained Brad Moore, superintendent of the Bangor (Maine) Wastewater Treatment Plant and member of the WEF House of Delegates Operator Workgroup. But state programs based on fees have been able to continue operating, he explained.

Sheila Frace, director of the Municipal Support Division in the EPA Office of Water, hand-writes notes on a chart and WEF staff member Lisa McFadden types notes about the discussion. WEF photo/Jennifer Fulcher. Click for larger image. Summit attendees work in breakout

Summit attendees agreed that there should be a national model that incorporates minimum standards for operator certification based on a core body-of-knowledge. This would help establish a nationwide professional designation for operators that could help to support reciprocity among states.

Attendees also agreed on the need for a top-level designation or certification that would give operators a goal to work toward, help to foster pride and respect for the profession, help operators become more competitive in the industry, and possibly improve operators’ compensation and job security, as well as a treatment facility’s reputation and operation.

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Rob Greenwood (right), summit facilitator from Ross & Associates (Seattle), listens to attendee discussion. WEF photo/Jennifer Fulcher. Click for larger image. 

“The men and women that are actually operating these facilities are the ones that make the difference,” Moore said. “So they should be compensated, and by promoting ourselves as a profession, I think that would help us do that.”

Those at the summit generally agreed on maintaining state-level, fee-based certification programs that maintain transparent, reasonable, and affordable fees. They also said that the industry should pursue federal guidelines with incentives for continuing the programs in the context of the Clean Water Act, similar to drinking water operator certification incentives in the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Attendees also agreed that efforts to publicize the important role of operators — emphasizing their significance in communities and public health — are needed to build and maintain community support for the profession and state-level certification programs.    

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Strategies for the future
From this summit, WEF staff will “see what role WEF can play in actually implementing some of the recommendations,” said Eileen O’Neill, chief technical officer at WEF. After reviewing recommendations, WEF will begin identifying and reaching out to potential partners, collecting additional information needed to develop the basic- and top-level certification components, and developing an official action plan based on the summit’s recommendations.

“This was a tremendous meeting,” Brown said. She explained that the passion and commitment by WEF, the WEF board of trustees, and volunteers will allow the focus on operator education and respect to continue and develop into long-term strategies that advance the profession.  

Summit attendees participate in one of the work groups to identify problems in the operator profession and potential solutions that would move the profession forward in the future. WEF photo/Jennifer Fulcher. Click for larger image.
— Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights
New Jersey Student Receives International SJWP Award

Alison Bick, a high school student from Short Hill, N.J., was named the international winner of the 2011 Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) during a competition held in conjunction with World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden in August. Bick received her award of $5000 and a crystal sculpture from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden during a royal ceremony.

Bick, who competed against national winners from 28 other countries, won for her project, “Development and Evaluation of a Microfluidic Co-Flow Device to Determine Water Quality.” She conducted the research in response to the threat of contaminated drinking water due to natural or man-made disasters.  

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Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden presents the 2011 Stockholm Junior Water Prize to Alison Bick, student from Short Hill, N.J. Photo courtesy of Cecilia Österberg, Exray. Click for larger image.

Seeking a low-cost, portable, and publicly accessible method to test if water is potable, Bick concluded that she could determine water quality with a combination of microfluidics, cell-phones, and Colilert-18, a chemical that turns yellow in the presence of coliform bacteria.

“This year’s winning project reflects truly out-of-the-box thinking to find a solution to an important real-world problem,” the international jury said in its citation, according to a Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) news release. “It is the result of a creative, multi-faceted, and long-term effort that was triggered by an actual problem in the local community. It has the potential to revolutionize our ability to monitor water quality in a way that is fast, accurate, more flexible and less expensive than existing technologies.” 

The international competition is administered by SIWI and sponsored by ITT Corp. (White Plains, N.Y.). The Water Environment Federation (WEF) sponsors the U.S. SJWP with support from ITT Corp., The Coca-Cola Co. (Atlanta), and Delta Air Lines (Atlanta).

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Bick competed against more than 40 other U.S. state SJWP winners to be named U.S. SJWP winner during an award ceremony in June at the national SJWP competition in Chicago. As the U.S. SJWP winner, Bick received a $3000 prize and an all-expenses paid trip to Stockholm for the international competition held during World Water Week, Aug. 21–27. She also will have the opportunity to present her research at WEFTEC 2011, Oct. 15–19, in Los Angeles. Bick’s school, Milburn (N.J.) High School will receive a $1000 grant to be used for enhancing water science education.

The U.S. national SJWP competition also had four finalists who each received a $1000 award: Jenifer Brown of Hillsborough, N.C.; Collin McAliley of Melbourne Beach, Fla.; Leila Musavi of Orono, Maine; and Nishith Reedy of Naperville, Ill.

In addition to earning a spot as a finalist, Musavi also won the first Bjorn von Euler Innovation Water Scholarship for another one of her projects, “Development and Optimization of Gold-Nanoparticle Modified Carbon Electrode Biosensor for Detection of Listeria Monocytogenes.” The $1000 scholarship, sponsored by ITT Corp. (White Plains, N.Y.) recognizes projects that demonstrate a unique passion for awareness of suitable water management. It is named in honor of Bjorn von Euler, WEF member and retired ITT communications director.   
Alison Bick won both the U.S. and international SJWP competitions for her project detecting the presentce of coliform bacteria using a cell phone. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image. 
— LaShell Stratton-Childers, WEF Highlights
From the President: Giving Back to the Profession

As I finish my year as president of this wonderful organization, I can’t help but reflect on what it means to be a volunteer.

Becoming active in WEF
I first began to volunteer for Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) activities in the early 1980s after receiving encouragement from my friends and mentors, Bob Okey and Orrie Albertson. Both were very active WEF volunteers and both have since passed on. They instilled in me a belief in the importance of giving back to the profession. Back then, those of us just entering the profession were integrated into our chosen committees and experienced professionals in those committees took us under their wings. What an incredible experience it was, sitting in the same room with or writing a chapter in the same Manual of Practice (MOP) as some of the greats in our field.  

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Jeanette Brown, 2010–2011 WEF President
Spreading the word about the profession
We all are part of one of the greatest and most rewarding professions that exists. We can see the fruits of our labors every time we swim, fish, or enjoy water in some way. Our profession serves in the field that even medical professionals have identified as having made the greatest difference in improving public health and quality of life.

But most people outside of our profession do not understand our contribution to public health and quality of life, so it is important for us to become mentors and encourage people to enter our profession, and to pass on our knowledge and experience to the next generation. The perfect way to do this is by volunteering for WEF; who knows where it will lead. There are so many opportunities within WEF’s volunteer ranks, so where you volunteer depends on what you like or where your interests lie. For me, it was the opportunity to be involved with the work of the Technical Practice Committee — where I helped develop MOPs and other training materials — and Operations Challenge.

Lessons learned from volunteering
The first thing you learn as a volunteer is the dedication of the WEF staff. Some of my best memories are of late-night teleconferences with WEF staff members who were accommodating my schedule so that we could review a training course. As you meet and work with staff, you will find that they have the same commitment to water quality and the environment as we do.

By volunteering for WEF, I learned many things that have benefited my career. I was exposed to technical knowledge outside of what I did on a day-to-day basis. I gained a broad understanding of all wastewater processes as well as new and emerging technology. I learned project management, teamwork, and the ability to understand others skill levels and how to best utilize them; each helping to develop my professional skills. But beyond that, for me, it became the avenue to become president of this fantastic organization.

My year as president
Representing WEF as president this year has been incredible, and I will treasure the experience for the rest of my life. I have had an opportunity to meet and get to know many of our Member Association (MA) leaders. They are committed to both WEF and their members, and they do a wonderful job providing education and training for operators. As many of you know, operators are very important to me, and I am so happy with the training opportunities provided by our MAs. What a great combination, WEF volunteers produce high-quality training materials and MAs draw upon them to ensure that we have highly trained staff in our facilities.

I also have worked with leaders in our sister organizations and have been part of the team developing partnering opportunities to best serve our members. I was able to meet the regional finalists last year for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize and was overwhelmed by the quality of their work and their enthusiasm. It was wonderful spending a couple of days with such an inspiring group of young men and women.

I have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, from both developed and developing countries. I listen to these people’s concerns and realize they are the same as ours. No matter where people are from, they all have the same interest in ensuring good-quality sanitation for all. Some may have more challenges than we do to achieve that goal, but we all share the same goal. I have learned we are one people caring about “one water.”

I am so grateful to have had his opportunity. I am grateful to my New England Water Environment Association “family” for their continuous support. I look forward to many more years as a volunteer for WEF and hope that many of you will join me on various committees. You will have fun, you will learn, and you will make life-long friends.  
— Jeanette Brown, 2010–2011 WEF President
Prepare for WEFTEC 2011: Get All the Information You Need Here
WEFTEC 2010 Exhibit Hall 1 Small Join thousands of water and wastewater professionals at WEFTEC 2011 to network; learn about new technologies, research, and products; and earn continuing education units (CEUs) and professional development hours (PDHs). The conference, which takes place Oct. 15–19 in the Los Angeles Convention Center, is the largest annual event of its kind, featuring 27 workshops, 114 technical sessions, more than 26,000 m2 (290,000 ft2) of exhibition space, and more than 800 presentations and posters.  

Getting approval
With reduced budgets, securing approval to travel to a training event can be difficult. But the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) provides these Employer Approval Tips to help guide your request to attend WEFTEC 2011. In addition, Rob McElroy, general manager of Daphne Utilities (Ala.), in conjunction with WEF’s Technical Programs department, developed a series of forms and instructional information to assist employees with the attendance approval process.
WEFTEC 2010 attendees walk the exhibit floor. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image.

WEF recognizes the importance of utility participation in WEFTEC and works to ensure utility participation through the Utility Partnership Program, which is designed to maximize attendance at this training event through customized registration packages. For more information on how to participate, contact Brittany Burch at bburch@wef.org

Registering and attending
Register online through the end of the conference, or submit registration forms by mail or fax by Sept. 9. For additional registration and general conference information, see

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Attendees register on site for WEFTEC 2010. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image.

Find summaries of educational, business, and networking opportunities in the WEFTEC 2011 Conference Announcement. Follow workshop and session links on any page of the digital announcement to connect instantly to My WEFTEC Planner. Search for workshops, sessions, exhibitors, and other events in the planner and create a personalized schedule. You can print your personalized schedule, save it to your computer, or save it to your account online. You can log back in anytime to make changes, or access it in Los Angeles using your mobile device or at any E-Services kiosk. 

Learn about changes to downtown Los Angeles by watching this video. After looking at travel resources for attendees, read the Highlights article, “Surprisingly Walkable Los Angeles: WEFTEC lands just a short walk from cultural points, restaurants, landmark sites, and more” to learn about local attractions accessible by walking or taking public transit from the convention center.

Learn how to join an online conversation about WEFTEC and how to use other social media tools about the conference here.

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Opening General Session and dedicated exhibition hall time
This year the Opening General Session features keynote speaker Rita Colwell, the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate and specialist on waterborne diseases, and a special presentation by Doc Hendley, founder and president of Wine to Water (Boone, N.C.), an organization providing funding and support for international clean-water projects. Read an article about the speakers in the WEFTEC Preview from August WE&T.

Also, WEFTEC 2011 features renewed focus on the exhibition hall. After the Opening General Session, attendees have dedicated time to visit the exhibition, 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. In addition, there will be nine technical sessions held on the exhibit floor, Oct. 17–19.  

Compete to win a 2012 Ford Fusion
WEFTEC attendees will have the opportunity to participate in an exhibition activity with a chance to win a 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid. With registration, attendees will receive one free entry form and have the opportunity to follow the WEFTEC Water Cycle to be entered in the drawing for the prize.

A crowd listens to presentations at the WEFTEC 2010 Opening General Session. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image.

To play, choose which of the three tributaries — collection systems, treatment, or solids — that you want to follow. Answer technical questions related to your tributary; each correct answer leads you to markers that provide a clue and tells you which question comes next. Follow the flow of your tributary to its end and you’ll discover where to submit your entry form for the prize drawings.

The grand prize will be chosen from all eligible entries on Oct. 19; the winner need not be present to win. If the grand prize winner is present at the final drawing, he or she also will receive a $2500 gift card.

In addition, one prize winner will be chosen each day from all eligible entries to receive an Apple gift card equal to the value of the 32-GB Apple iPad with Wi-Fi and 3G. (Daily prize winners still will be eligible for the grand-prize drawing.)  

Operations Challenge
Watch wastewater collection and treatment operators compete in a series of five tests demonstrating the best combination of precision, speed, and safety at the 24th annual Operations Challenge competition. 

When: Monday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Oct. 18, 9:15 a.m.–5 p.m.

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Utah Gold Flush competes in the Operations Challenge Safety Event at WEFTEC 2010. Photo courtesy of Kieffer Photography. Click for larger image.
Where: South Hall, Los Angeles Convention Center
Awards Ceremony: JW Marriott, L.A. Live, Oct. 18, 6–8 p.m. 
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Students and young professionals
WEF’s Student and Young Professionals Committee (SYPC) hosts a variety of events during WEFTEC. For this year’s SYPC-sponsored WEFTEC service project, “Walkway to Wetlands,” attendees can help revitalize a former industrial area in Los Angeles by planting trees along the perimeter of a constructed wetland, Oct. 15, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. To register, select Session H — Wetlands Community Service Project from the list of sessions offered.

Other SYPC events include the student design competition, Oct. 16, 12:30–6 p.m., and the students and young professionals networking and career fair, Oct. 17, 1–4 p.m. For more information contact Dianne Crilley at dcrilley@wef.org.   

Volunteers work to create bioswales at the 2010 WEFTEC service project. WEF photo/Jennifer Fulcher. Click for larger image.

Continuing education opportunities
Earn up to 1.2 CEUs at workshops, 16.5 PDHs at technical sessions, and up to 8 contact hours per day for time spent visiting the exhibition. To receive educational credits, you must scan your WEFTEC badge when you enter and exit a workshop, technical session, or the exhibit hall. Scanners for exhibit hall contact hours will be located at kiosks stationed throughout the exhibit halls.

WEF received approval for educational credits from 49 states for WEFTEC 2010 and expects to receive the same for WEFTEC 2011. Review the list of states that have currently approved WEFTEC 2011 certificates. Participants are responsible for exploring their state requirements and for ensuring that WEFTEC credits are accepted.

WEF Bookstore
Find cutting-edge resources in the WEF Bookstore (located in the South Lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center). Inside the Bookstore find copies of the newest WEF Manuals of Practice, the latest training guides, and WEF’s Public Outreach materials. Place your order during the conference for free shipping to your home or office. Some new publications in the Bookstore include

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WEFTEC 2010 attendees take a seat and shop at the WEF Bookstore. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image. 
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Global Center and business opportunities
The Global Center at WEFTEC provides a variety of services and resources to international exhibitors and trade delegates as well as visitors from abroad to facilitate networking, information sharing, and trade. Center services include rosters of international WEFTEC registrants, products of interest, information on trade delegates, lists of exhibiting companies desiring to do business in specific areas of the world, multilingual interpreters to assist with your interactions, a meeting area for international exhibitors and attendees, a message center, and registration for trade delegations. For more information, or to register as a trade delegation, contact WEF at (703) 684-2458 or lsukkariyyah@wef.org.  

Conference attendees use the resources available at the Global Center. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image.

August WEFTEC 2011 Preview in WE&T

September WEFTEC 2011 Preview in WE&T

Today is Your Chance To Take Action, Be a Water Champion

To answer one of the most frequently asked questions about World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD), this educational outreach program is not just a single day of the year. Although WWMD is celebrated officially worldwide on or around Sept. 18, water monitoring can be performed and students can celebrate the event any day throughout the year.

This year to celebrate the 9th annual WWMD, the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) and the International Water Association (IWA; London) will hold an event Sept. 19 at Hains Point in Washington, D.C. More than 250 students from the area are expected to attend the event where they will test the local water and learn about the significance of water and environmental preservation by exploring hands-on displays presented by well-respected water and environmental organizations from the D.C. area. 

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A group monitors their local water in Davao, Philippines for World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD). Photo courtesy of Sherlita Daguisonan. Click for larger image.
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But district area students are not the only ones celebrating WWMD. Groups from all over the world venture to their local lakes, rivers, and streams to measure water quality parameters, including acidity, oxygen content, and turbidity using test kits designed specifically for the program. Student groups post their results to WEF’s world map and send their water-monitoring stories to be included on the WWMD website and Facebook page.

WWMD goes beyond a simple science experiment or a quick lesson in environmental protection; the monitoring experience is not only educational and memorable, but also valuable to the surrounding community. Many students use WWMD to raise awareness about water preservation and encourage their communities to take action in improving water quality.

Students monitor water in Nicosia, Cyprus for WWMD. Photo courtesy of D. Fatta-Kassinos. Click for larger image.

Take the students from Escola Secundária de Vilela of Portugal, for instance, these WWMD Water Champion Award winners brought the attention of their local media and outside community members to their water monitoring program. The school’s Young Reporters for the Environment club wrote articles describing the event for the local press on their school’s website and distributed newsletters about the event to community members.

Cedarbrook Middle School in Wyncote, Pa., another Water Champion Award winner, organizes a yearly WWMD. Students monitor a local creek, analyze any water quality problems, identify actions to eliminate these problems, and implement their action plans. The school then hosts a symposium attended by local environmental professionals aimed at further educating the students about the importance of water protection.

Every year, WWMD inspires thousands to take action and raises awareness about water quality and preserving the Earth’s water. WWMD coordinators, WEF and IWA, plan to expand participation to 1 million participants in 100 countries by 2012. If you are inspired and want to become a part of this program, you can become a Water Champion by organizing a WWMD event.

Get inspired by all of the 2010 Water Champion Award winners or apply for the 2011 awards at www.wwmd.org/Participate/Awardees_10.html.  

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A group in San Juan, Puerto Rico, participate in a WWMD event coordinated by the Puerto Rico Water Environment Association, San Juan Bay Estuary Program, the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Photo courtesy of Javier Laureano. Click for larger image.
— Jacqueline Connell, WEF Highlights
WEF Holds Future of Stormwater Meeting

In June, the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) convened a brainstorming session in Alexandria with stormwater experts from across the country, including representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The purpose of the session was to discuss the future of stormwater and to find ways that WEF can most effectively educate, advocate, and collaborate in the realm of stormwater.

“The June 21–22 facilitated conversation in Alexandria came at a critical juncture of anticipated increased regulations, difficult economic climate, and a couple of decades of stormwater experience among regulated communities,” said Mike Beezhold, senior planner at CDM (Cambridge, Mass.), in WEF Waterblog. Beezhold, who attended the event, explained attendees were encouraged to think “out of the box” to “discuss ways to move the profession forward to address future regulatory demands, barriers to acceptance and implementation, and funding constraints,” he said.

The group discussed many “big-picture” stormwater issues. The topics included “the uncertainty of regulations, cost of monitoring, limited experience with stormwater best management practices or [best management practices of] green infrastructure, lack of capital and maintenance cost data, limited dedicated funding sources, and the need for leadership and a liaison with regulatory agencies,” Beezhold said.

EPA also sought feedback on the agency’s stormwater rulemaking process, which is under way. Key elements of the EPA rule include expanding the realm of regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4), developing performance-based MS4 standards, requiring retrofit plans for specific MS4s, and potentially creating a separate transportation program.

Brainstorming session participants also agreed that WEF should be integral in developing a comprehensive stormwater vision by determining consistent goals and objectives for stormwater management and elevating the sector and associated professionals. 

— LaShell Stratton-Childers, WEF Highlights