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.



December 2010, Vol. 46, No. 10

Top Story

Hiking for Water
Father and son hike Appalachian Trail, raise money for water infrastructure

 

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Steven Spydell on the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains, N.H. Photo courtesy of Spydell. Click for larger image.
On April 5, Steven Spydell started a remarkable journey that combined his lifelong goal of hiking the Appalachian Trail with his passion, clean water. Spydell, a member of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) since 1992 and sewer utility superintendent for the City of Independence, Mo., decided to use the 5-month trip to raise money for Water For People (WFP; Denver) and raise awareness of the importance of clean drinking water in developing countries.

“It’s basically my way of trying to help organizations who help people rise in their standard of living,” Spydell said.

Devoted to clean water
WFP was a “natural” choice for Spydell because it is the Missouri Water Environment Association (MWEA; Jefferson City) charity of choice. As a past president of MWEA, he is familiar with the organization and its efforts.
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From left Steven Spydell and his son Matt stand at the summit of Mount Katahdin at the end of trail marker. Photo courtesy of Spydell. Click for larger image.

 

 

 

At the MWEA annual meeting in 2008, Spydell announced plans to hike the trail. During the meeting’s auction to raise money for WFP, the auctioneer jokingly began a bid to cut off Spydell’s ponytail. “I had a ponytail for 40 years, and it was an infamous part of my persona in the organization,” he said. This planted the seed for using the hike to raise money. “I realized that people have walkathons all the time,” Spydell said. “Why can’t I just make this a pledgeable thru-hike?”

Not only did Spydell auction off the cutting of his ponytail at MWEA’s 2009 annual meeting for $751, but also he raised proceeds this year for the hike that exceeded his $10,000 goal. Spydell obtained pledges and promises for more than $14,000. “We were very pleasantly surprised at the amount of support,” Spydell said. He attributes the successful fundraising to local and industry press coverage, his Web site, www.hikingforwater.org, and the professional connections he made through his career and MWEA.

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From left Matt and Steven Spydell install a drain line for the bunk house shower as work for their stay at the Woods Hole Hostel outside of Pearsburg, Va. Photo courtesy of Spydell. Click for larger image.
A family affair
Spydell made the 3506-km (2179-mi) trek with his 18-year-old son, Matt. The two avid hikers started the journey on April 5 in Springer Mountain, Ga., and ended at Mount Katahdin in Maine, covering an average of a little more than 24 km (15 mi) a day and finishing the trip Aug. 29. This average includes nine “zero days” during which they did not cover any distance, shorter distances in rugged terrains, and days in which they hiked as far as 50 km (31 mi), all with packs that weigh approximately 13.6 kg (30 lb) each.

Even though the father–son team prepared by getting used to the pack weight and building up aerobic endurance, “nothing you can do can compare or can prepare you for hiking the Appalachian Trail,” Spydell said. “It still took us about 2 to 3 weeks to get our trail legs.”

The trip proved to be both a physical and a psychological challenge. “It’s one big audacious goal, to backpack and hike for 5 months, day in and day out,” Spydell said. But the sense of accomplishment from having completed the hike from start to finish was incredibly fulfilling, he said. According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Web site, only about 25% of those attempting a thru-hike complete the trip.
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Above, Steven Spydell sits on McAfee Knob, a rock outcrop in Catawba, Va. Left, Steven Spydell at the Mount Washington Summit marker. Photos courtesy of Spydell. Click for larger images.

Trail highlights
Spydell explained that summiting Mount Katahdin at the end of the trail was one of his favorite parts of the trip. “Mount Katahdin sits all by itself way up at northern Maine and is really a majestic mountain,” he said. “The climb is very tough, and being at the end, it is a crescendo to such a long trek.” Other highlights were the Tinker Cliffs in Virginia and White Mountains in New Hampshire, he added.

As is customary on the trail, Spydell adopted a nickname. He was “Draggin’ Tail,” and Matt was “Sherpa.” The two kept each other’s spirits up through rugged portions of the trail and were able to physically share the load of the pack weight. They also shared close encounters with wildlife, including 13 bears, 2 moose, and many rattlesnakes, Spydell said. “The best thing that I like to share is the fact that I did it with my son,” he said. “It was something very special.”
 
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A rattlesnake that the Spydells encountered on the trail. Photo courtesy of Spydell. Click for larger image.
 
Rewards going forward
Spydell spent about 3 years of planning and 5 months of physical effort for this journey, but the funds he raised will go on to help those in need and inspire others to the cause, explained Peter Mason, WFP director of marketing and communications. “Perhaps [together] we are helping to inspire the next batch of folks to go out and adventure on our behalf,” Mason said. “When people like Steven can pick up that torch and carry it so far, it makes us all realize how connected we all are and how much hope there can be to solve the problems out there in water and sanitation.”

Spydell’s funds will help WFP put in lasting water infrastructure covering entire regions, to provide clean water and proper sanitation to as many people as possible, Mason said.
Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights
WEFTEC 2010 — WEF Introduces New Leaders

WEFTEC® 2010, held Oct. 2–6 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, provided 17,515 attendees with access to a high-quality technical program of 112 technical sessions, 33 workshops, and a record-breaking 27,433 m2 (295,295 ft2) of exhibition booth space. This year’s exhibition exceeded the previous record set at WEFTEC 2008 in Chicago by more than 530 net m2 (5700 net ft2). See the WEFTEC 2010 photo gallery and the December issue of WE&T for more on featured WEFTEC events.

At WEFTEC 2010, attendees were introduced to the following new leaders, including a new president, officers, board of trustees members, and committee chairs and vice chairs.

Board of Trustees 2010–2011
The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) board of trustees is the governing body of WEF and is composed of six officers and 12 trustees. For more information about board members, see 2010–2011 board of trustees.

2010-2011 Board of Trustees 
Front row from left, Chris Browning, Matt Bond, Jeanette Brown, Paul Freedman, and Cordell Samuels. Back row from left, Paul Schuler, Kartik Chandran, Scott Cummings, Sandra Ralston, Terry Krause, Deborah Houdeshell, Scott Trotter, Betty Jordan, Edward McCormick, John Hart, Paul Bowen, Rick Warner. Photo courtesy of Oscar Einzig Photography. 
 
Officers
President Jeanette Brown, Stamford, Conn.
President-Elect Matt Bond, Kansas City, Mo.
Vice President Cordell Samuels, Pickering, Ontario
Immediate Past President Paul Freedman, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Treasurer Chris Browning, Canton, Ga.
Secretary Bill Bertera, Alexandria, Va.

New Trustees
Kartik Chandran, New York
Scott Cummings, Auburn, Ala.
John Hart, Saco, Maine
Scott Trotter, St. Charles, Ill.

Continuing Trustees

Paul Bowen, Atlanta
Paul Schuler, Portland, Ore.
Terry Krause, Chicago
Rick Warner, Reno, Nev.
Deborah Houdeshell, Akron, Ohio
Betty Jordan, Dallas
Edward McCormick, Oakland, Calif.
Sandra Ralston, Charleston, S.C.

New Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs

WEF’s technical committees help develop WEF policy positions, write technical manuals and books, develop training materials and program content, develop conference programs, and contribute to many other WEF program activities. Currently, WEF has 40 committees, each focusing on a different aspect of water and wastewater management. Committee chairs and vice chairs serve for 3 years. At WEFTEC 2010, the following new chairs and vice chairs were introduced:

Air Quality and Odor Control Committee:
Chair — Richard Pope, Malcolm Pirnie Inc. (White Plains, N.Y.); Vice Chair — Neil Webster, Webster Environmental Associates Inc. (Louisville, Ky.)

Collection Systems Committee:
Chair — Robert Villee, Plainfield Area Regional Sewerage Authority (Middlesex, N.J.); Vice Chair — Keith McCormack, Hubbell, Roth & Clark Inc. (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)

Disinfection Committee:
Chair — Leonard Casson, University of Pittsburgh; Vice Chair —Mark Meckes, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Municipal Wastewater Treatment and Design Committee:
Chair — Samuel S. Jeyanayagam, CH2M Hill (Englewood, Colo.); Vice Chair — Art K. Umble, Greeley and Hansen LLC (Chicago)

Nominating Committee:
Chair — Mohamed F. Dahab, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Vice Chair — Adam J. Zabinski

Operations Challenge Committee:
Chair — John S. Trofatter, Accusonic Technologies Inc. (West Wareham, Mass); Vice Chair — Stacie L. Metzler, Hampton Roads Sanitation District (Virginia Beach, Va.)

Residuals and Biosolids Committee:
Chair — Todd O. Williams, CH2M Hill; Vice Chairs — Chris J. Peot, DC Water, and James E. Welp, Black and Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.)

Water Reuse Committee:
Chair — Craig Riley, Washington State Department of Health (Olympia); Vice Chair — Kevin D. Conway, Greeley and Hansen LLC

Watershed Management Committee:
Chair — Srinivasan Rangarajan, HydroQual Inc. (Mahwah, N.J.); Vice Chairs — Sarah L. Reeves, Brown & Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.) and James E. Scholl, Malcolm Pirnie 

 

Announcing the 2010 WEF Excellence Award Winners

The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) has announced the winners of the 2010 WEF Excellence Awards that recognize excellence and achievement in the water environment profession. The awards were presented at the WEF Awards and Presidential Celebration during WEFTEC® 2010 in New Orleans.

2010 WEF Excellence Award Recipients


Collection Systems Award

William C. Carter Jr.

Collection Systems Published Contributions Award
L. Burton Curry, Joseph Kavanagh, Tim Kelleher, Dave Lookenbill, Derek L. Morin, and Paul Tomaskovic

Eddy Wastewater Principles and Processes Medal
Victoria Francesca Rowsell, Dawn Sok Cheng Pang, Foteini Tsafou, and Nikolaos Voulvoulis
 
Emerson Distinguished Service Medal
Joe C. Stowe Jr.
 
Engelbrecht International Achievement Award
Charles A. Sorber
 
Fair Distinguished Engineering Educator Medal
Daniel Noguera
 
Gascoigne Wastewater Treatment Plant Operational Improvement Medal

Walter Bailey, Alan Cassel, Sudhir Murthy, Dilli Neupane, Marija Peric, and Rumana Riffat
 
Robert H. Hite Award — presented by Water For People

Betty Jordan

Industrial Water Quality Achievement Award
SunOpta Ingredients Inc. (Cambridge, Minn.)
 
Industrial Water Quality Lifetime Achievement Award
C.P. Leslie Grady Jr.
 
Innovative Technology Award
Process Category — Super-Saturated Dissolved Oxygen Injector (SDOX®), BlueInGreen LLC (Fayetteville, Ark.)
 
Morgan Operational Solutions Award
Paul Dombrowski

Outstanding Member Association Award
Illinois Water Environment Association

Outstanding Young Water Environment Professional Award
John McGettigan
 
Presidential Recognition Award
Bjorn von Euler

Public Officials Award
Jerry N. Johnson, general manager of the Washington (D.C.) Suburban Sanitation District (Laurel, Md.), and Mayor Clay Larkin (Post Falls, Idaho)

Public Education Award — Two Categories
Individual — Julianne T. LaRock
Other
— City of San Diego Public Utilities Department: “No Time To Waste, No Water To Waste”
 
Rudolfs Industrial Waste Management Medal
Clifford A. Merritt

WEF Graduate Studies Scholarship

Patrick McNamara

Virginia Teams Sweep 2010 Operations Challenge Competition
 Operations Challenge Photo Excitement filled the air at the 2010 Operations Challenge Competition, held Oct. 4 and 5 during WEFTEC® 2010 in New Orleans. This year, two Virginia Water Environment Association teams took first place in divisions 1 and 2.

In Division 1, Terminal Velocity — Donnie Cagle, Paul Cubilla, Stephen Motley, Jason Truitt, and coach Bobby Williams — received first-place trophies in the Safety, Collection Systems, and Laboratory events and obtained a 100-point lead over its competitors. LA Wrecking Crew from the California Water Environment Association took second, and the Seacoast Sewer Snakes from the New England Water Environment Association took third in Division 1.
Click on the photo above to see a slideshow of the event, and see the December issue of WE&T for more information.   


In Division 2, Team HRSD — Tim Scott, Chuck McMahon, Laura Shields, Eric Washbon, and coach Wesley Warren — achieved a first-place ranking in the Wilo Maintenance, Laboratory, and Process Control events. Dillo XXPress from the Water Environment Association of Texas took second, and Liquid Force from the Water Environment Association of South Carolina took third. Now in its 23rd year, Operations Challenge has grown considerably since its inception, with 37 participating teams from the United States, Canada, and Argentina. 

Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights
Volunteers Dig In at WEFTEC 2010 To Build Bioswales
On Oct. 2, approximately 75 Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) volunteers rolled up their sleeves to build bioswales during WEFTEC® 2010 in New Orleans. The WEFTEC service project, Bioswales in the Bayou, included a service aspect and a community outreach event, the Water Carnival.

For the service portion of the project, the volunteers constructed bioswales by planting vegetation and laying down gravel and soil. The bioswales — which will remove silt and pollutants from runoff and help mitigate flooding — were constructed in the Lower Ninth Ward, a neighborhood near the Mississippi River that was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The group Global Green USA (Santa Monica, Calif.) is working to rebuild the community with low-impact and sustainable design elements.
Service Project Final
Click on the photo above  to see an audio slideshow about the event.  


A total of 12 organizations hosted booths featuring water- and sustainability-related interactive activities for the Water Carnival, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Approximately 100 children attended, taking a book to each booth and receiving a stamp or sticker indicating which booths they were visiting. Before leaving, the children were able to turn in their books to receive a pin commemorating their participation in the event.  

Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights
NOAA Provides Climate Data for a Variety of Audiences
Delve into the world of climate data with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Service Portal. The Web site, www.climate.gov, provides information about everything from current and forecasted weather conditions to analysis of climatic impacts on various aspects of life, including agriculture, energy, and transportation, for policy leaders, scientists, educators, business users, and the public, according to a NOAA news release. 
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Interactive features of the Web site include a local weather search and a climate dashboard that enables users to see various climate data sets, such as temperature, sea level, and the sun’s energy, over an adjustable time scale. The Web site includes four sections: ClimateWatch magazine, data and services, understanding climate, and educational resources. ClimateWatch, a Web-based climate-science magazine, features videos and articles with scientists discussing their research and other climate-related topics. Data sets and data analysis from NOAA and its partner organizations can be found in the data and services section. The understanding climate section includes fact sheets and presentations about climate science and research. The education section has resources for both students and teachers, such as lesson plans for the classroom and laboratory, educational games, and interactive media.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.