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 2009, Vol. 46, No. 7

Top Story

WEFTEC.09 Preview
Join thousands of water and wastewater professionals Oct. 10 to 14 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., for the 82nd annual technical exhibition and conference, WEFTEC.09, sponsored by the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.). As the largest annual water and wastewater exhibition in the world, the event will feature more than 900 exhibiting companies showcasing the latest developments in water quality. Learn about the latest in water quality technologies, services, and research from the conference’s 123 technical sessions, 31 workshops, and nine facility tours.


WEFTEC.08 registration. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image.


Preparing For WEFTEC.09: Are You Ready?
Get all the information you need here

Event Registration Information

  • There is limited exhibit space remaining for WEFTEC.09. Don’t miss the opportunity to exhibit your products and services to industry professionals. Contact Sacha Carey at  scarey@wef.org or (703) 684-2434. Click here  to view the floor plan, download the space reservation form, or for more details.
  • Rates  have not increased for WEFTEC.09, and WEF is offering a special discount for utilities. Find out how to take advantage of the  Utility Partnership Program discount by sending email to utilitypartnership@wef.org .
  • Online registration will be available throughout the conference.
  • Name badges will not be mailed but can be printed at the conference using Express Badge Pickup. Express Badge Pickup and self-registration kiosks will be located in the Orange County Convention Center’s West building, Hall C. Offsite Express Badge Pickup kiosks will be located at the Peabody Orlando, Rosen Center, and Rosen Plaza hotels on Oct. 10 and 11.
  • Preregistered attendees and exhibitors who provide an e-mail address when they register will receive an e-mail confirmation after submission. Print this e-mail and bring it to pick up name badges onsite. The confirmation page will be scanned, and the badge will be printed instantly.
  • For those that did not register in advance, visit the West building, Concourse B.
  • Photo ID (driver’s license, passport, or government-issued photo ID) will be required at check-in.


Operations Challenge 

Don’t miss Operations Challenge , where wastewater collection and treatment personnel show their skills in a series of five competitive events (collection systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance, and safety).
Operations Challenge safety event. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image.
When: Tuesday, Oct. 13, 9:15 a.m.–5 p.m.

Hall C, Orange County Convention Center

Awards Ceremony:
Peabody Orlando, 6–7:30 p.m.

Young Professionals 

WEF’s Student and Young Professionals Committee (SYPC) will host a variety of events at WEFTEC.09. 


Get involved with this year’s SYPC community service project to replant, restore, and revitalize the wetlands at the Orange County Utilities Northwest Water Reclamation Facility. Participants will spend Saturday, Oct. 10 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. harvesting plants from an established part of the wetlands and replanting them in other areas. The event includes morning and afternoon volunteer sessions. Reserve your spot by indicating participation on your WEFTEC registration form. To amend your registration, contact WEFTEC Registration at (877) 303-0724. YPRainGardenSmall.jpg
SYPC's WEFTEC.08 service project was building a rain garden in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image.
Other SYPC events include the WEFTEC Design Competition on Sunday, Oct. 11, from noon to 6 p.m., and the Networking and Career Fair on Monday, Oct. 12, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Contact Diane Crilley at
dcrilley@wef.org , or click  here for more information.


Publications Booth 

Visit Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) editorial staff, receive complimentary issues of WEF periodicals and newsletters, and participate in the WEFTEC.09 Publications Contest at the WEF Publications Booth. Enter the contest for a chance to win a GPS device. Stop by during exhibit hall hours, Orange County Convention Center, Booth 3833, Hall B. 


WEF Center of Excellence 

Visit the Center of Excellence to find the WEFTEC Bookstore and the Public Communication and Outreach pavilion. At the center, visitors will be able to view and have the option of purchasing hundreds of titles. Visitors also can obtain a copy of the conference proceedings on CD-ROM. The center also includes educational materials, including books, brochures, bill stuffers, and hands-on activities for all ages. Find information about the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, World Water Monitoring Day™, and Water Is Life, and Infrastructure Makes It Happen™ programs in the center. 

WEFTEC.08 Center of Excellence. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image.

Newly Released Books Available at WEFTEC.09

The new edition of WEF’s cornerstone Manual of Practice, Design of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants, Manual of Practice No. 8, Fifth Edition, will be available at WEFTEC.09. 


More than 300 water quality professional contributed to the update of this publication developed by WEF and the American Society of Civil Engineers (Reston, Va.). The book contains new information on membranes, energy conservation, enhanced nutrient-control systems, odor control, and approaches to minimizing biosolids production. It also contains design examples to show how current design guideline and practices of municipal wastewater engineering professionals can be applied. 


wefbookstoresmalle   Join many of the authors in the WEFTEC Bookstore for a reception sponsored by the WEF Press partnership with McGraw–Hill Professional on Oct. 13 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The bookstore will also have the new edition of Wastewater Collection Systems Management – MOP 7, which provides up-to-date guidance on the oversight of wastewater collection systems, including gravity sewers, pumping stations, force mains, and other sewer-conveyance-related facilities.
WEFTEC.08 Bookstore. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image.
MOP 7 offers strategies for developing a comprehensive asset-management program that encompasses capacity, management, operations, and maintenance principles, as well as business, engineering, human resource, and communications aspects of a wastewater collection systems project. 


Global Center 

The Global Center serves as a hub for international business activities at WEFTEC.09, including trade delegation registration and support services for international attendees. The following services will be available at the WEFTEC.09 Global Center:


  • Rosters of international registrants.
  • Product interest information on trade delegates.
  • List of exhibiting companies desiring to do business in specific areas of the world.
  • Multilingual interpreters to assist you with your interactions.
  • International Lounge and Member Association Leaders’ Lounge.
  • International Services Office.
  • Registration for international attendees.
  • Translation assistance in Chinese, French, German, and Spanish.


For more information, or to register as a trade delegation, contact WEF at (703) 684-2439 or kmaynard@wef.org . For individual registrations, please visit WEFTEC registration .

Spotlight on Events for Industrial, Utility, and Water Resource Leaders 

Utility elected officials, managers and operators, consultants, and water resource managers are encouraged to register for and attend Workshop 112, "Groundwater Recharge and Reuse: Modeling Flow and Contaminant Transport," Oct. 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click  here for more information. Industrial water and wastewater professionals also will be able to develop relationships with others in the field at the Industrial Networking Reception on Oct. 12 from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. in room 103AB, level 1 of the convention center. The registration fee for this ticketed event is $25, which includes food and two drink tickets. Click  here for more information.


More WEFTEC Resources 



See an  overview schedule of the conference, the exhibitor directory , and the product showcase .

  • To receive the proceedings CD-ROM that is included in some registration categories, attendees must visit the proceedings counter in the WEFTEC Bookstore to have their badge scanned.
  • Utilize the WEFTEC.09 Personal Planner , which enables you to create a personalized schedule by searching for events to attend, add these events to your schedule, and save or print it. The planner is free, and you may log in anytime to make and save changes.
  • Attendees can earn Professional Development Hours (PDHs), Continuing Education Units (CEUs), or Contact Hours for participation in sessions, workshops, and facility tours, as well as for visiting the exhibition. For more information, click here .
  • See  FAQs for more information.

August WE&T — WEFTEC.09 Preview :

September WE&T — WEFTEC.09 Preview:

  • Water, The Giver of Life: WEFTEC speaker Mike Magee will explore the dynamic relationship between water and health during the Opening General Session
  • Following the Flow at WEFTEC.09 
  • Operations Challenge: The World’s Best Battle With Beakers, Brains, Pumps, and Polyvinyl Chloride
From the President: Great Members, Great Water Knowledge, Great Opportunities
As I write my last Highlights column as president of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.), I want to first thank you for the privilege and honor of serving you, the great members of our Federation. The opportunity to meet, work with, and get to know you and to see your passion for water and your desire to serve others by protecting their health and environment has been inspirational and motivating — my thanks to you all!

As we enter the last months of 2009, I encourage you to remain engaged in the work of the Federation. WEF’s Center of Excellence for Water Knowledge provides the opportunity through our committees and Communities of Practice to engage and contribute to the development of water knowledge in cutting-edge water issues, such as biofuels, nutrients, climate change, and green technologies. 

Rebecca West, 2008–2009 WEF President. Click for larger image.

It has been exciting to see the efforts we have made this year with the Effective Utility Management Program, tackling aging water infrastructure issues — from physical assets, such as pipes and facilities, to human assets, such as work force sustainability, to paying for it all with funding strategies, such as the State Revolving Fund, stimulus funding, and the future possibilities offered by a Trust Fund for Infrastructure and Infrastructure Bank.


Moreover, WEF’s relationship with organizations such as Water for People (Denver) and Engineers Without Borders (Boulder, Colo.) continue to provide opportunities for our members to be a part of bringing access to sanitation and clean water to others in developing countries. This contributes to the U.N. Millennium Goal for ensuring environmental sustainability, specifically for “halving, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.” When WEF members participate in and support these activities, it also allows people and communities to develop and establish a quality of life for community vitality and sustainability.


We continue to deal with the water challenges ahead of us — both locally and globally — managing our water resources affected by climate change and anthropogenic change; financing and replacing our aging infrastructure; and attracting, developing, and retaining our future water quality professionals. As we deal with these challenges while meeting the ever-changing expectations of the public we serve, we are going to need creative and passionate people who roll up their sleeves and seek collaborative solutions uniting our water selves and with those outside of our water circles.


WEF members are clearly these creative and passionate people, and I am thankful. I am hopeful that our water challenges today will be solved by our efforts and the efforts that each of you makes to bring others into and alongside our industry to “take our water solutions up a notch.”

Rebecca West, 2008–2009 WEF President
Young Scientists Take Sweden by Storm
Students Compete Internationally for Prestigious Water Prize

Each August, Stockholm, Sweden, welcomes a new batch of high school students from around the world who are taking on some of our toughest water challenges. From nanomaterials to microbial fuel cells, the issues these young researchers are exploring are on a par with today’s top scientists — and they are doing it with an enthusiasm and vigor that only their generation can provide.


This year, students from more than 30 countries participated in the international Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) competition, an event that presents a youth award for water-related research. To make it to this level, each representative must first receive the top prize in his or her home country’s competition. Once in Stockholm, the students have a chance to share their research with international dignitaries, members of the media, and key players in the water quality community, not to mention vie for the international trophy and $5000 grand prize.


The weeklong competition is both a cultural and an educational experience, providing the opportunity for participants to connect with each other, take in some of the Scandinavian sites, and even hobnob with Swedish royalty at the awards ceremony. But there should be no confusion about the true purpose of this event — these students take water science seriously, and they participate to share their results with the world.



Representing the United States, Eileen Jang of North Carolina spent countless hours examining the transport and bioaccumulation of mercury sulfide, the precursor to methyl mercury, on a nanoscale. Through a battery of tests, she was able to determine how aggregation is affected by the salinity and organic matter naturally found in waterbodies.

“This field of research is important because we may understand how metals behave on the micro or macroscale, but we have little understanding of how they behave on the nanoscale,” Jang said. “The chemistry and toxicity may be different at this size, and currently, nanoparticles can even pass through conventional treatment filters”
U.S. winner Eileen Jang holds her award. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. Click for larger image.

Mohamed Dahab, chair of the University of Nebraska (Lincoln) civil engineering department and head of the U.S. competition judging panel, remarked, “This is a complicated, yet meticulous, investigation of mercury nanoparticles under controlled conditions. Methyl mercury is a potentially harmful form of the metal, which is known to accumulate in fish tissue, and subsequently can enter the upper food chain — including the human food cycle. Jang has shed important light on the poorly understood issue of toxicity in our natural environment.”


The international award went to Ceren Burçak Dag of Turkey, whose work is also breaking new ground. Through her research Dag may have found the solution to one of the world’s most pressing issues: renewable energy. She won the top honor for developing a method of harvesting power from falling rain drops using piezoelectricity, the ability to generate energy through applied stress. Her hope is that this discovery can be grouped with current technologies to create combined solar, wind, and rain energy panels.
Ceren Burçak Dag of Turkey receives the international award at the Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition. Photo courtesy of the Stockholm International Water Institute. Click for larger image.


“Many young people are concerned about climate change, but few will take action to identify a solution,” commented the international judging panel. “This year's winner had a spark of genius in developing a high-tech solution that used PVDF, a smart material with piezoelectric properties, to transfer the kinetic energy of raindrops into electrical energy."


The international competition enables participants to form the basis for the next global network of water scientists. In the years to come, many will continue their research, and with their new connections to like-minded colleagues, they will have opportunities to work collectively toward innovative solutions. As a first step, the international winner and the U.S. winner and finalists will attend WEFTEC.09 to display their research and discuss the results with nearly 20,000 water professionals this October. The U.S. competition is organized by the Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) with support from the ITT Corp. (White Plains, N.Y.), and Delta Air Lines (Atlanta, Ga.).

Stephanie Costello, WEF Highlights
WEF Offers New Opportunity for Online Education
The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) now offers an online opportunity that allows operators and other water professionals to continue their education or refresh their knowledge through the  Distance Learning: Water Quality Training program. DistanceTrainingLogo.jpg

Currently the program includes eight courses, each containing a set of modules and a final exam. Two training manuals, which can be downloaded and printed, also are available and include information that helps users work through the course. Those completing the course and passing the final exam with a score of 70% or higher receive an official Certificate of Completion with recommended Continuing Education Units.


This program’s information that was previously available on CD-ROM has been put online to ensure that users have the most up-to-date information possible in an interactive and easily accessible format.


The following courses are offered: 


  • Purpose and fundamentals of wastewater treatment, providing information on the importance of wastewater treatment, characteristics of wastewater, and role of an operator in treating wastewater.
  • Preliminary treatment, providing an overview of the components of the preliminary treatment process.
  • Primary treatment, covering major concepts associated with primary treatment.
  • Natural systems, covering the use of natural systems for wastewater treatment.
  • Disinfection, covering various disinfection treatment processes.
  • Fixed-film systems, covering the use of fixed film systems for treatment of wastewater.
  • Activated sludge, providing an overview of activated sludge equipment and processes, and teaching the basics of process and control troubleshooting of activated sludge systems.
  • Solids handling, including a comprehensive overview of the processes of conditioning, thickening, and dewatering of wastewater solids.


Courses that will be offered next year include


  • Pumps, and
  • Utility Management.


All courses feature video, audio, and graphics. The system allows you to pause, stop, and restart the course and offers the opportunity to review a course and retake the exam up to 6 months from the time of purchase. Other features include a glossary, conversions chart, listing of common formulas, history of courses taken, and performance information.   


Course prices vary and discounts are available for WEF members. Demos of the new Web site will be available at WEFTEC.09 in the bookstore. For more information see http://training.wef.org , or contact Dorn Sanders at 703-684-2400, ext. 7060, or Christine Radke at 703-684-2400, ext. 7013.

Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights
Meet WEF’s 2009 Interns

The Water Environment Federation (WEF, Alexandria, Va.) saw the return of some familiar faces, as well as welcomed new ones, to its summer intern program this year. WEF hosted six interns in different departments this summer.


Through the internship program, WEF helps young professionals develop their careers. “WEF’s work environment allows you to learn new skills and gives you the opportunity to expand your knowledge and experience,” said intern Abby Blocker, who just finished her third summer at WEF. “Due to the variety of departments I have worked in, it has helped with making contacts throughout Alexandria and Washington, D.C., which have resulted in job interviews,” she said.


WEF’s summer interns have a range of education and experience but all have spent the summer developing new skills. “I’ve really enjoyed my summer here and think that it has given me a unique experience,” added intern Jordyn Wolfand, previous Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) finalist. “I’ve gained people skills that are extremely valuable,” she said. “I’ve learned how to communicate clearly, how to react and respond to people’s concerns, and how to assert myself and take charge of a situation.”


WEF's summer interns included, from left, Lauren Allen, Bill Gibson, Catherine Colliatie, Cal Silcox, and Jordyn Wolfand. Abby Blocker is not pictured. Click for larger image.

Get to know the summer interns below:


Abby Blocker (Statesboro, Ga.) finished her third summer as a WEF intern — this year working in the government affairs department. Abby composed letters to the U.S. Congress requesting support for environmental legislation and assisted with the WEF publication This Week in Washington. Abby graduated in May from Randolph–Macon College (Ashburn, Va.), where she studied political science and environmental studies. In past years, she worked in WEF's marketing department and as the SJWP intern.


Lauren Allen (Rockville, Md.) is a sophomore at American University (Washington, D.C.). She is studying international relations and environmental studies. She is also captain of the club field hockey team. At WEF, Lauren worked with the public communications department. She helped coordinate World Water Monitoring Day events, as well as plan the Washington, D.C., kick-off event on Sept. 18.


Bill Gibson (Springfield, Va.) interned in the technical and educational services department, working with the distance education program. Bill created online courses from material covered in previous WEF webcasts. The courses will be available on the new WEF training Web site. Bill is a junior at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech; Blacksburg, Va.), where he is studying industrial systems and engineering, and is a member of Engineers Without Borders.


Catherine Colliatie (Vienna, Va.), also in her third summer as a WEF intern, worked in the production department, filling in for Jessica Rozek , who was on leave volunteering in Burma. Catherine helped send out a number of WEF newsletters, worked on the Water Environment Research Literature Review, and worked with member associations on banner designs. In past years, Catherine has interned with the technical programs department. She is also a junior at Virginia Tech, studying business and finance.


Jordyn Wolfand (Bethesda, Md.), a previous SJWP finalist, was the SJWP summer intern this year. Jordy helped organize the 2009 U.S. SJWP competition in Anchorage, Alaska, in June, as well as assisted in putting together the SJWP Journal. She is a junior at Tufts University (Medford–Somerville, Mass.), where she is studying environmental engineering and is a member of the women’s varsity crew team.


Calder Silcox (Washington, D.C.) interned in the magazines and newsletters department at WEF this summer. He worked on researching, writing, and editing news pieces for WE&T and Highlights, including a preview of this year’s Operations Challenge at WEFTEC.09. Cal is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), where he is studying science, technology, and society. He is a staff writer for the Daily Pennsylvanian and Penn Appetit.

Calder Silcox and Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights
Water For People Names New Chief Executive Officer


Water For People (Denver) has tapped Ned Breslin to serve as chief executive officer, according to a news release from the nonprofit international development organization. Breslin had been the acting CEO of the organization since October 2008.

Since joining the organization as director of International Programs in 2006, Breslin saw the expansion of Water For People’s efforts to bring safe drinking water and sanitation projects to South America, Central America, Africa, and Asia. He also helped nearly double the International Programs budget to $6.5 million in his 2 years as the head of that program, the news release says.


“Water For People has a striking mission and vision rooted in innovation and partnership which will help lead the way for the water and sanitation sector to create sustainable change in developing countries,” Breslin said.


In 2008, Water For People provided safe and sustainable drinking water resources to nearly 92,000 people and sanitation facilities to almost 93,000 people worldwide, according to the release.



Breslin has worked in the water development field since the 1980s, the release notes, when he aided a Lutheran World Relief program in Kenya. After that, he spent 16 years working for local and international organizations on water supply, sanitation, and hygiene in southern Africa.
Ned Breslin, left, travels on a boat to the Sunderban Islands in West Bengal, India. Photo courtesy of Eileen Lambert, Water For People.

“Ned has proven himself to be a motivational and charismatic leader over the past months,” said Fred Elwell, president of the Water For People board of directors.


Highlights Spotlights Notable News
  • Astronauts aboard the International Space Station celebrated the operation of their recycled-water system on May 20. NASA’s Mission Control gave the Expedition 19 astronaut crew aboard the space station permission to drink the system’s purified recycled water, according to a NASA news release . Read about the operation of the system in the October 2006 issue of Highlights .
  • Toronto adopted a bylaw requiring and governing the construction of “green” roofs on all new development more than 2000 m² in gross floor area, according to Toronto’s Web site . Read about the green roof at the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) headquarters in the  April 2009 issue of Highlights and see photos of WEF’s green roof in the Green Roof Gallery .
  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , growth in the water and wastewater treatment industry is projected to grow by 14% between 2006 and 2016, which is faster than the average for all occupations. ResumeBear, a blog for job seekers, interpreted these and other statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to name the water and wastewater industry No. 10 on list of the “ Top 50 Recession-Proof Industries .” Read more about the industry labor situation in the January 2008 issue of WE&T .
  • The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved permit revisions for the Carlsbad (Calif.) Desalination Project, which brings to a close the project’s 6-year permitting process and will allow construction to begin by the end of the year, according to a  news  release from Poseidon Resources (Stamford, Conn.). Read more about the plant in the August 2008 issue of WE&T .