WE&T Magazine

WET_cover1_May15 90Water Environment & Technology (WE&T) is the premier magazine for the water quality field. WE&T provides information on what professionals demand: cutting-edge technologies, innovative solutions, operations and maintenance, regulatory and legislative impacts, and professional development.


May 2015, Vol. 27, No.5

Featured Articles

The promised and the practical

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Traditional approaches to solving water quality problems are becoming increasingly unaffordable for municipalities. Integrated water resources planning offers communities an affordable path to meet water quality requirements and restore affected watersheds. 

An integrated planning approach ideally would encompass point-source municipal stormwater and wastewater treatment, collection system management, and nonpoint sources. An integrated plan should result in cost savings, achievable capital renewal plans, targeted operations investments, balanced and equitable rate and fee structures, collaboration among stakeholders and regulatory entities, improved receiving water quality, and sustainable utility systems.  


Gold star standards

Feature 3 art The operation of public drinking water and wastewater systems depends on the competence of highly trained water and wastewater operators. Without the knowledge and experience of these individuals, water quality and availability are at risk. Despite the critical nature of their work, operators often are viewed as tradesmen rather than professionals. This perception could have negative consequences as operators continue to advance and retire while qualified younger workers opt out of a profession that does not bring the prestige it deserves.



More beer, less yuck factor

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Craft beers made with effluent help spread the water reuse message    

Utilities and municipalities battle to overcome the yuck factor associated with using wastewater effluent for both nonpotable and potable water supplies. Now they have added a new weapon to their arsenal: craft beer. 

Read more

Coming in the next issue:
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Putting water in its place

Even though disaster seems to strike at the worst possible moment, the truth is water has neither wickedness nor a heart. Perhaps the most apt descriptor for water is persistence. It never stops. 

It unsympathetically seeps, trickles, gushes, and surges; and it is the responsibility of the water professional to control it. Water sector professionals must remain diligent to manage high flows from storms, keep up with ongoing rehabilitation needs, and design new systems to maintain pace with growing communities. 

Sometimes, that control means reaching upstream to get at the root of a problem. The City of Baltimore stretched just a few physical feet by creating a sewer lateral inspection and renewal program. The overall results, however, have been attention for high-priority areas, pinpointing neighborhoods with compromised laterals and progress in reducing lateral chokes and basement backups. Customers also like the city’s proactive approach. 

In other cases, the right choice is defying convention. Near St. Louis, Mo., a utility found that keeping things above ground kept costs lower. Instead of building a traditional relief tunnel to contain sanitary sewer overflows, the utility held excess flow in giant tanks at two sites until it could be released to the existing sewer. This choice has worked well and saved more than $80 million. 

And once in a while, there is nothing to do but plan, prepare, and hope for the best. The area near Austin, Texas, is subject to frequent flash floods. The Austin Water Utility (AWU) has implemented flood preparedness measures at its two large water resource recovery facilities, including operational modifications, structural improvements, and facility expansions. 

In October 2013, these improvements underwent the ultimate test when the area received a double wallop of heavy rainfall. As the floodwaters rose, the real-world test of the planning, procedures, and preparedness, began. Even though the storms wreaked havoc on one of the facilities for 3 days, the experience provided valuable lessons that the utility continues to apply.