September 2011, Vol. 23, No.9

WEFTEC Preview

Getting the most out of WEFTEC

A sample schedule shows the breadth of topics presented

The numerous choices of educational activities and events to attend at WEFTEC® 2011 can be overwhelming, especially for those new to the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) technical conference and exhibition. To help attendees get the most from WEFTEC, WE&T has prepared a sample schedule that maximizes learning opportunities in a broad range of wastewater treatment topics.

Start WEFTEC off right with high-quality workshops

To get the full benefit of the conference, be sure not to miss this year’s workshops. The quality of workshops is one of the highlights of to the 2011 program, according to WEFTEC Program Committee Chairman George Martin. The committee has worked to make sure this year’s speakers and content presented in all of the workshops are top-notch. “It’s just great one-on-one learning,” Martin said.

One way to start the conference is by learning about the opportunities and strategies for using wastewater as a resource to obtain nutrients, energy, and water during Workshop 112, “WEF/WERF Wastewater as a re-N-E-W-able Resource: Nutrients, Energy, Water,” on Oct. 15.

Continue the workshop learning experience on Oct. 16, with Workshop 209, “Green Infrastructure: Beyond the Hype to Real Results.” Presenters will provide municipal, regulatory, design, and research perspectives on implementing and regulating green infrastructure. Also, attendees will have the opportunity for interactive learning by discussing what they want to learn with speakers and working on hypothetical problems in small groups.

If the topics for these workshops are not quite what you are looking for, there are many other choices. There are 14 workshops scheduled on Oct. 15, and 13 workshops on Oct. 16. 

Attend the Opening General Session and get the full benefit of the exhibit hall

On Oct. 17, the conference gains momentum, offering a wide variety of educational opportunities on many different topics. “The program itself is diverse,” Martin said. Touching on every topic related to the industry that the committee could think of, the program includes something for everyone at all levels of knowledge and experience, he added.

Start the day by attending the Opening General Session, featuring keynote speakers Rita Colwell and Doc Hendley. Colwell, a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health (Baltimore), and Hendley, founder and president of Wine To Water (Boone, N.C.), a nonprofit organization that raises money to support water projects around the world, will deliver complementary presentations on the connection between clean water and health.

One of the biggest changes to the conference this year is an increased focus on the exhibit floor. This year there is a time slot after the Opening General Session from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. set aside for attendees to visit all three exhibit halls.

“The exhibits themselves have a tremendous amount of education,” Martin said. Experts on the exhibit floor can take more time to answer questions than those presenting during technical sessions, and the innovative technologies showcased on the floor are drivers for the industry, he added. “We don’t want a disconnect between the technical program and the exhibitors,” Martin said. “We see them as a different way to educate attendees.”

 In addition to the time set aside for the exhibit floor, nine technical sessions will be held in the exhibit halls. The first will be held the morning of Oct. 17; Technical Session (TS) 2, “Trenchless Technology Applications” will discuss topics related to technologies used to rehabilitate or replace pipes with minimal surface disruption.

By holding sessions in the exhibit halls, presenters can actually show attendees specific technologies used to solve posed problems or direct them to the experts who can answer their questions, Martin said. This gives presenters a new tool to help educate attendees.

Navigate technical sessions

After getting a flavor for the topics of sustainability, green infrastructure, clean water, and new trenchless technologies, learn more about water quality priorities as presented by senior U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state officials during TS30, “National Environmental Priorities,” Oct. 17.

Then, on Oct. 18, hear from the leaders of key sectors in the global water community in TS51, “Looking Forward: A Conversation With Key Water Leaders About Water in the Next Decade.” The session is unique to WEFTEC in that participants, in an unscripted format, will share their insights on areas of growth, challenges, and innovations for water in the next 10 years. Then, learn about various topics related the design of wastewater treatment facilities in TS60, “The Really Interesting Papers Session.”

If emerging research and innovation is your preference, take your pick to learn about “Nutrient Removal” (TS75), “Membrane Processes” (TS76), or “Microconstituents” (TS77), in the morning on Oct. 19. Then, in the afternoon, find out about “Water Reuse Management Opportunities” during TS112, which will discuss how the management of a reclaimed water system will lead to opportunities for an improvement of the quality of service to constituents, from financial and operational improvements and optimization to assessing the true value of water reuse to society. Sessions, including those discussing water reuse, such as TS112, and stormwater, such as Workshop 209, are especially relevant to California. “There are several sessions that have a local flavor,” Martin explained, encouraging attendees not to miss out on these educational opportunities.

Those who are elected officials or are interested in government affairs, should be sure not to miss TS114, “Elected Officials: Guided Tour of Wastewater Fundamentals in the Exhibition,” Oct. 19, which will provide an overview of wastewater treatment and show the benefits of using different technologies, Martin said. “We’ll have a virtual tour of a treatment plant, and then we’ll actually go visit with certain vendors who provide equipment,” he added.

Also, the program includes international participants and subjects, Martin said. “There is a real effort to involve the international community in all aspects of the program from moderators, to assistant moderators, to presenters,” he added. This provides another unique learning opportunity during technical sessions, he said.

Other educational aspects of the conference

WEFTEC offers a variety of learning experiences, including posters, networking, luncheons and other events, and tours. For a different experience, peruse posters situated outside of the session rooms, Martin said. “Posters are an absolute great way to get certain messages out,” he said. Posters allow attendees additional time to look at the detailed material and talk one-on-one with the poster presenters. “We on the program committee want workshops, podium presentations, and posters to be viewed on the same level,” Martin added.

Martin also explained that one of the best ways to learn at WEFTEC is by networking. “The networking is so important for every level of attendee,” he said. “That’s where I get most of my information.” Learning from others is a key component of the conference experience, Martin said. He encourages attendees to introduce themselves and ask questions, whether that be in a technical session or in a hallway during breaks.

If you are looking to learn from some high-profile speakers, the conference features Perry McCarty, who is the Silas H. Palmer professor Emeritus of Environmental Engineering and Science at Stanford University, and Michael K. Stenstrom, distinguished professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. On Oct. 17, McCarty will speak during TS1, “AEESP/WEF Lecture: Back to the Future — Seeking Sustainability in Water Resources” in the morning, and Stenstrom will speak during the “AEESP/WEF Scientists’ Luncheon” in the afternoon.

But if you would rather see firsthand how Southern California tackles its water issues, take a facility tour. On Oct. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tour 4 will visit both the Orange County Sanitation District’s (OCSD’s) Reclamation Plant No. 1 and the Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System Advanced Water Purification Facility.

The reclamation plant stop highlights the source control program and the new secondary treatment facilities, which are two features of OCSD’s operations that support the Groundwater Replenishment System, said Jim Herberg,OCSD director of engineering.

Something for everyone

“We’re encouraging people in water/wastewater business to come to WEFTEC because we believe we have something there for everyone who works in our industry,” Martin said. There is a wide variety of topics to learn about geared toward every level of knowledge and understanding, he added. Conference attendees can choose their topic and their format for learning, including workshops, technical sessions, posters, networking opportunities, luncheons or other events, and tours.

Jennifer Fulcher, WE&T 

Sample Schedule

Note: This sample schedule is designed to demonstrate the breadth of WEFTEC and highlight some of the most popular sessions. You can easily tailor your schedule to your unique specifications by using My WEFTEC Planner at

Saturday, Oct. 15
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Workshop 112, “WEF/WERF Wastewater as a re-N-E-W-able Resource: Nutrients, Energy, Water”

Sunday, Oct. 16
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Workshop 209, “Green Infrastructure: Beyond the Hype to Real Results”

Monday, Oct. 17
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Opening General Session

9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Visit the exhibit halls

Other options:
10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Technical Session (TS) 1, “AEESP Lecture: Back to the Future — Seeking Sustainability in Water Resources”

TS2, “Trenchless Technology Applications,” on the exhibit floor

12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
“AEESP/WEF Scientists’ Luncheon”

1:30 – 5 p.m.
TS30, “National Environmental Priorities”

Tuesday, Oct. 18
8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
TS51, “Looking Forward: A Conversation With Key Water Leaders About Water in the Next Decade”

1:30 – 5 p.m.
TS60, “The Really Interesting Papers Session”

Other option:
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Tour 4, “Orange County Sanitation District’s Reclamation Plant #1 and Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System Advanced Water Purification Facility”

Wednesday, Oct. 19
8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
TS75, “Nutrient Removal”; TS 76, “Membrane Processes”; or TS 77, “Microconstituents”

1:30 – 5 p.m.
TS112, “Water Reuse Management Opportunities”

Other option:
1:30 – 5 p.m.
TS114, “Elected Officials: Guided Tour of Wastewater Fundamentals in the Exhibition”


For more information

To register for WEFTEC or learn more about what it has to offer, see

Read about technical program highlights, the Operations Challenge competition, plant tours, and more in the July/August issue of Highlightsand the August issue of WE&T.

More WEFTEC Preview


A diverse take on nutrients

At WEFTEC® 2011, presenters will explore the regulations, technologies, and operational issues surrounding nutrients and nutrient removal

For the past few decades, nutrients and nutrient removal have been important areas of concern within the water quality community, specifically because “nutrients are one of the top causes of impairment of surface waters in the nation,” said Jason Heath, manager of monitoring, assessment, and standards programs at the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (Cincinnati).

But as of late, these issues have become even more important, primarily because of the changing regulatory environment. To reduce the negative impact of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus on waterways, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has required states such as Florida, and regions such as the Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound watersheds, to develop more stringent numeric standards for nutrients.

“The standards are getting stricter and stricter,” said Paul Pitt, wastewater process design director at Hazen and Sawyer (New York), “and they are becoming more expensive to meet.”

Some states are even requiring standards “as low as 3 mg/L for nitrogen and 0.1 mg/L for phosphorus,” said Amit Pramanik, senior program director at the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF; Alexandria, Va.).

WEFTEC 2011 in Los Angeles will feature several workshops and technical sessions that will help attendees grappling with the many challenges surrounding nutrients and nutrient removal. The topics discussed will include everything from permitting dilemmas, to how implementing nutrient removal processes at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) can affect other wastewater treatment processes, to how WWTPs should view and treat nutrients as recovered resources.

Regulations and operations

Technical Session (TS) 43, “Nutrients: A Numbers Game,” presenters will discuss not only the important considerations of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting of low effluent nutrient discharges, but also how to take a watershed planning approach to the remediation of surface waters adversely affected by nutrients, said Jason Heath, the session moderator.

“Hopefully, it will attract wastewater utility managers, consultants, and regulators concerned with future regulatory requirements,” Heath said.

Chris deBarbadillo, wastewater practice and technology leader at Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.) and moderator for TS9, “Operations Challenges and Solutions: Nitrogen Removal and Beyond,” said the session will focus less on the ins and outs of nutrient removal than on the plant processes and operational issues that come with implementing nutrient removal.

“When you implement nutrient removal and other processes within a WWTP, the focus then shifts to mitigating the impact these new processes have on the plant,” deBarbadillo said.

For example, if a WWTP implements nitrification or denitrification to reduce nitrogen levels in effluent and if either process is not implemented fully, a plant can have incomplete nitrification or denitrification, which can elevate nitrite levels and adversely impact disinfection, deBarbadillo explained.

Attendees also will explore the operational issues encountered during nutrient removal in Workshop 104, “WEF/WERF Operational Aspects of Supplemental Carbon Addition for Nitrogen Removal.” According to the workshop description on the WEFTEC website, removing total nitrogen and total phosphorus from effluent to achieve many of the new, more stringent nutrient standards requires the addition of an easily biodegradable carbon source as a food source. This workshop will present the “latest available operational experiences with supplemental carbon,”according to the WEFTEC Conference Announcement.

“There will be operational personnel and plant managers presenting who have done this already,” said Pitt, the workshop chair. “What better way to learn than from people who are doing it now?”

The presenters will discuss the real-life operational challenges plant operators can face when using these carbon sources such as instrumentation, estimating costs, dosage and process monitoring, and health and safety requirements. These topics will be explored further during a roundtable discussion with the presenters during the afternoon session, Pitt explained. Attendees also will have a breakout session in which they will be asked to develop a mock carbon pilot study.

“They will have to learn how to plan it, what to sample for, where the pilot project should be conducted, and what to expect from the study,” Pitt said.

During the breakout session, presenters will go around the room, answering questions and offering advice.

The hope is that the attendees will learn the best economic way to use these carbon sources and how to optimize these systems, Pitt said.

Think recovery, not removal

More rigorous numeric standards for nutrients mean that many WWTPs will have to find additional ways to remove these nutrients by adding equipment and/or expanding facilities, but these standards should be seen as a gateway to opportunity rather than a burden. Nutrient removal should be conversely seen as nutrient recovery, said some in the wastewater treatment industry. 

“We see nutrients as one of the three key renewable resources: nutrients, energy, and water,” said Amit Pramanik, chair of the Workshop (W) 112,“WEF/WERF Wastewater as a Re-N-E-W-able Resource: Nutrients, Energy, Water.”

Recovering a nutrient such as phosphorus is particularly important in light of projections that state that all high-quality phosphorus will be almost entirely depleted in the next 50 to 100 years, said Samuel Jeyanayagam, vice president and senior principal technologist in the Global Technology Group of CH2M Hill (Englewood, Colo.), co-chair of W112 and chair of W202, “WEF/WERF Preparing Our Industry for the Next Paradigm Shift: Nutrient Recovery.”

“It could still be found, but it will be more expensive to get,”Jeyanayagam said. “We see this as an opportunity in the wastewater industry.”

During both workshops, presenters will share case studies from utilities that have conducted resource recovery projects, explaining projects that have been successful and those that have not, Pramanik said. These presentations include a discussion of the nutrient recovery project in Hampton Roads (Va.) Sanitation District, a pilot study being conducted in Germany, and nutrient recovery efforts at the City of Los Angeles Public Works’ Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant and Hyperion Treatment Plant. Attendees also will have an opportunity to network.

Jeyanayagam said nutrient recovery enables WWTPs to achieve a balance that will be very hard to achieve without it. “Lower nutrients will come at the cost of increased carbon footprints,” he said. “These phosphorus recovery technologies are a sustainable component that pushes further how far we can go with the balance of regulation and sustainability.” 

LaShell Stratton-Childers , WE&T

Nutrients track at WEFTEC 2011

Saturday, Oct. 15
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Workshop (W) 104, “WEF/WERF Operational Aspects of Supplemental Carbon Addition for Nitrogen Removal”

W105, “Use of On-line Instrumentation To Meet New Nutrient Removal Limits”

W112, “WEF/WERF Wastewater as a Re-N-E-W-able Resource: Nutrients, Energy, Water”

W113, “What Is Sustainable Design?”

Sunday, Oct. 16
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
W202, “WEF/WERF Preparing Our Industry for the Next Paradigm Shift: Nutrient Recovery”

W203, “Using a Process Model for Plant Upgrades: Modeling 201”

W205, “Activated Sludge and BNR Process Control: Hands-on in the Real World”

Monday, Oct. 17
1:30 – 5 p.m.
Technical Session (TS) 6, “Sidestream Treatment: Innovative Technologies Coming of Age”

TS7, “Achieving Ultra-Low Effluent Phosphorus Concentrations”

TS9, “Operations Challenges and Solutions: Nitrogen Removal and Beyond”

TS20, “Current Topics Toward Restoring the San Francisco Bay-Delta Ecosystem” *

Tuesday, Oct. 18
8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
TS32, “Supplemental Carbon for Denitrification”

TS35, “Tertiary Treatment Topics”

TS37, “Advanced Treatment and Nutrient Removal”

TS39, “Automation, Instrumentation, and Control” *

TS43, “Nutrients: A Numbers Game”

TS47, “Stakeholder Participation Input on Water Reuse Guidelines”

TS50, “WWTPs ‘Doing Their Part’ To Reduce GHG Emissions”

1:30 – 5 p.m.
TS53, “Nitrogen Transformations”

TS55, “Treatment Technologies for Landfill Leachate” *

TS59, “Biological Nutrient Removal”

TS60, “The Really Interesting Papers Session”

TS62, “Process Automation and Control” *

TS68, “Sustainable Water Resources Management Case Studies”

TS72, “Process Technologies and Designs for Effective Reuse Projects”

Wednesday, Oct. 19
8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
TS75, “Nutrient Removal”

TS79, “Moving Fixed-Film Design and Operating Parameters”

TS81, “It’s Raining — Now What?: Wet Weather Treatment” *

TS82, “Process Modeling as an Operational Tool” *

TS83, “Activated Sludge Process Operation and Foam Control” *

1:30 – 5 p.m.
TS100, “Nitrous Oxide Dynamics” *

TS102, “Advances in Biological Treatment of Industrial Wastewater” *

TS103, “Developments in Nitrogen Removal”

TS113, “Algae for Treatment and Biofuels”

(* Denotes half session)

Energy burns bright

In addition to nutrients, energy is once again a hot topic at WEFTEC®. WEFTEC 2011 will feature several workshops and technical sessions on how wastewater treatment plants can conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprint, as well as use bioenergy as a cost-effective resource. Below is a partial list of some of those workshops and sessions. (For a full list, check the In Focus section of the WEFTEC conference announcement under the heading, “Energy Conservation and Management.”)

Saturday, Oct. 15
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Workshop (W) 111, “Qualifying and Quantifying Opportunities To Optimize the Energy/Water Nexus”

W114, “WEF/WERF Organic Waste Management: Integrated Solutions of a Sustainable Resource”

Sunday, Oct. 16
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
W213, “WEF/WERF Hands-on Selection of the Best Combined Heat and Power System for Your Plant”

Monday, Oct. 17
1:30 – 5 p.m.
Technical Session (TS) 28, “Going (Bio) Green: Reducing Carbon Footprints, Mitigating GHG Emissions, and Adapting to Climate Change”

Tuesday, Oct. 18
8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
TS38, “Energy Conservation: Aeration, Blowers, and Control Systems”

Wednesday, Oct. 19
8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
TS85, “Efficient Energy Management and Renewable Energy Options”

1:30 – 5 p.m.
TS106, “Bioenergy”

TS113, “Algae for Treatment and Biofuels”


Devising a recipe for success at Operations Challenge

Contenders for the win depend on teamwork and practice to remain competitive

Even though the national Operations Challenge competition, which will be held at WEFTEC® 2011 in Los Angeles, only occurs once a year, teams work all year honing their speed and accuracy in all of the competition’s five events.

Putting the ‘T’ in teamwork

While the teams all strive to perform consistently without any errors, “teamwork is the most important component,” said Stephen Motley, captain of Terminal Velocity from the Virginia Water Environment Association. “You can have four very strong individuals; however, if they cannot figure out how to work as one cohesive unit, they will have a very hard time being successful.”

Teamwork needs to be fostered throughout the year, said Marcel Misuraca, captain of the Ontario Clean Water Agency OCWA Jets. To foster teamwork, Wesley Warren, coach of Virginia Water Environment Association Team HRSD, keeps in contact with team members in any way possible, including e-mails, text messages, and phone calls, he said. Also, outside of the practice schedule, Warren sends out practice tests to team members.

Operations Challenge is more than a competition; it is also about networking, building career skills, and forming friendships, Misuraca said. The competition provides the opportunity “to grow and learn together as a team, lean on each other during competition, and boost each other up when one is having an off event,” he added.

Practice makes perfect, especially at local competitions

While specific practice schedules for each team varies, typically teams spend a couple of hours practicing about 2 to 3 days per week as competitions approach. And this doesn’t just mean the national competition. Many Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Member Associations host state- and regional-level Operations Challenge competitions earlier in the year.

One of the largest regional events is the New Jersey Water Environment Association Spring Fling Challenge, which was held in May. Motley described the event as “a mini-WEFTEC, since it has so many of the national event coordinators in attendance, running the events.”

These events help teams to become stronger and more competitive, providing experience in using different types of equipment, being judged by different people, and running the events in a competitive arena, Motley said.

Local competitions also include many of the teams that will be at the national competition and feature setup, equipment, and atmosphere similar to the national competition, said Paul Johnson, captain of the California Water Environment Association LA Wrecking Crew. Seeing other top teams compete presents new event strategies, Johnson said. And since local events are held earlier in the year, it gives teams time to try out new strategies in practices to see if they will work, he added.

Local competitions especially “are really good for teams with new members,” Warren said. “It gives them some experience running the events in a competition format.” Warren’s team does not have any new members this year. But it will be the second year for two team members, and their experiences in local competitions have helped hone their skills, he said.

The LA Wrecking Crew also has some newer members, with one new member, one in his second year, and another in his third year, Johnson said. The New Jersey competition gave the team a taste of the atmosphere that they will be performing in, come October, he said. “It was a very good learning experience.”

Competition contenders and winning strategies

Since about 40 teams in total compete in Divisions 1 and 2 at WEFTEC, participants are aware that it can be anyone’s game. “The WEFTEC event has become so competitive over the past few years, that on any given day there are a handful of different teams that can win,” Motley said. Terminal Velocity won first place in Division 1 last year. “Of course, our ultimate goal would be to repeat as national champions for 2011, but there are about a dozen other teams going there for the same exact reason,” Motley said. 

One team vying to make the competition especially tough this year is the 2010 Division 2 first-place winners, Team HRSD, which will be moving up to compete in Division 1. “When an HRSD team shows up to compete, they are a team that shows up ready to win,” Warren said. “There are some really great teams in Division 1. But with the right frame of mind and a good game plan, any team can be beat.”

Team HRSD’s recipe for achieving this win is its “dedication to winning and working together,” Warren said. “We will be looking at each event to see where we can get faster, and each team member is willing to do whatever they need to do to win.”

Also this year, the LA Wrecking Crew, which placed second in Division 1 last year, has the advantage of WEFTEC being held in the team’s hometown, Los Angeles. “There’s no travel,” Johnson said. “You’ll have a lot of support from fans and spectators.” Another advantage is that the team will have more time to practice and have access to its own plant and practice areas to prepare for any last-minute changes in the competition, he added. But there also is added pressure from the expectations to win and more people watching, he said.

LA Wrecking Crew has its own strategy for success: maintain a set, practiced timing, which requires remaining calm, steady, and consistent, and avoiding mistakes. Getting flustered and trying to go faster than practiced can lead to mistakes, which are a team’s downfall in the competition, Johnson said. Akin to Aesop’s fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” the LA Wrecking Crew’s motto is “slow down to speed up,” he said. “We’d like to win, especially in our own backyard. But that won’t be easy.”

Predicting contenders for Division 2 is even more difficult, considering the number of new teams and new team members. But with their wins at the Water Environment Association of Ontario competition and the Division 2 Spring Fling Competition, thetOCWA Jets are definitely a team to watch. The team’s success can be attributed to how well team members get along and work together, and how much they enjoy competition, Misuraca said. “The team is continually striving to improve,” he said. “We believe the team that can compose themselves is the one that will win.” The team’s goal is to finish in the top 10, he added.

Changes to events keep competition anyone’s game

Operations Challenge is composed of the collection systems, laboratory, maintenance, process control, and safety events. One of the reasons the competition remains a challenge is that different elements in one or more of these events change each year. After complete overhauls of two events last year, this year there only will be one change to one event. In the collection systems event, teams can expect to see programming of the sampler replaced with a short quiz covering pipe defects.

To revise the event, WEF is partnering with the National Association of Sewer Service Companies Inc. (NASSCO; Owings Mill, Md.) to introduce the Pipeline Assessment & Certification Program (PACP). This tool allows utilities and municipalities to evaluate and assess their infrastructure to help prioritize the maintenance and rehabilitation to their collections systems. The PACP is designed to provide standardization and consistency in sewer pipe assessment and to allow pipeline system owners to create a comprehensive database to properly identify, plan, prioritize, manage, and renovate their pipelines based on condition evaluation.

“By including this in the Operations Challenge, we hope to provide our sewer operators with a better understanding of and appreciation for defects, construction features, and other observations that they address in the day-to-day activities,” said Ted DeBoda, executive director of NASSCO. “We also hope to provide an awareness of the value of standardizing these observations into the common language of PACP that has become an industry standard in the U.S. and Canada.” DeBoda said that the PACP portion of the collections event went “extremely well” at the Spring Fling competition.

In addition to adding PACP into the competition, NASSCO has worked with program coordinators to develop a series of quizzes and a PACP Preview Training Module that are available for free at DeBoda hopes to continue working with WEF to develop and advance this portion of the event at WEFTEC. 

— Jennifer Fulcher, WE&T

Tech tools for WEFTEC 2011

Each year WEFTEC® presents the best and most up-to-date information that spans the entire gamut of water quality topics. This year several pieces of technology are available to help attendees find, access, and share this information so they can get the most out of the conference.

My WEFTEC Planner

My WEFTEC Planner is a free online tool that enables users to plan their technical conference and exhibit hall experience. Users can search for events, sessions, and exhibitors by topic, keyword, product category, or speaker.

After signing up to create a personal “briefcase,” users can create a personalized schedule that can be printed, saved as a Microsoft® Word document or CSV file, or saved online. Users can log in as often as needed to make additions and changes. The planner will be updated frequently to include the most recent speaker and exhibitor lists, meeting room numbers, and more.

My WEFTEC Planner also works on mobile devices. Apple and Android users should visit the iTunes App Store or Android Application Store, respectively, to download the free application. (Attendees with all other smartphones can access the mobile Web version by navigating to


Twitter is another tool that attendees (and everyone else) can use to join the online conversation about WEFTEC. Twitter users can share experiences and hear what others have to say 140 characters at a time.

By following @WEForg ( and @WEFTEC (, users will receive official conference announcements. Users can search for the official WEFTEC hashtag, #WEFTEC, to see what others are saying, and tag their tweets to ensure others find their WEFTEC-related posts.

Quick response codes

Another technical trend making its mark at WEFTEC 2011 is the use of quickresponse codes — QR codes for short. These collections of black-and-white dots are a type of bar code that can be read by smartphones, tablet computers, and the like. Once users take a snapshot of the code, they can access all types of online resources, including videos, reader polls, additional information, social media outlets, and more.

Reading QR codes requires a device with a camera and a QR code reader. Many free code readers are available for all types of devices. Look for these codes on signs, at exhibitor booths, and in the Conference Program, as well in the WEFTEC Daily.

Stay informed

A few additional tech tools are in the works for WEFTEC 2011. Some are designed to help share the technical content, and others to make sure attendees can find the information they need.

The best way to keep track of what to expect is to visit and subscribe to the new WEFTEC Spotlight at This site will deliver WEFTEC news, resources, and onsite information for attendees up to and during the conference, as well as provide those at home with a sampling of what WEFTEC has to offer.


 ©2011 Water Environment Federation. All rights reserved.