WE&T Magazine

Dec08CoverRGB.jpgWater 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.

 


December 2008, Vol. 20, No.12

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WEFTEC.08 Wrapup

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WEFTEC.08: The Largest Ever

Raising Public Consciousness About ‘Virtual Water’
Stockholm Water Prize Laureate stresses importance of outreach

Thinking Beyond the Box To Solve Evolving Problems
AEESP/WEF Scientists’ luncheon keynote speaker advocates taking an integrated approach to address water quality and shortages

Weathering the Storms
For Milwaukee, improving public opinion and preparing for climate change go hand in hand

Taking the One-Two Punch
Battling a weak economy and old infrastructure

Lanyon Looks to The Future

Algae Discussion Draws a Crowd

WEFTEC.08 Publications Contest Winner

WEFTEC.08: The Largest Ever

WEFTEC®.08, held at McCormick Place in Chicago from Oct. 18 to 22, was an event of record-breaking proportions. This year the annual water and wastewater exhibition boasted 21,950 attendees, 1111 exhibiting companies, and more than 26,941 m² (290,000 ft²) of exhibit space. The conference offered 115 technical sessions, 31 workshops, and 10 facility tours.

Meeting highlights included an array of technical sessions ranging from facility operations to leading-edge research, several sessions devoted to water quality policy, and the popular Operations Challenge competition, in which the TRA CReWSers from the Water Environment Association of Texas secured their third Division I win (see story, p. 58).

Next year WEFTEC travels to Orlando, Fla. In 2010, New Orleans will serve as host, followed by Los Angeles in 2011.


Raising Public Consciousness About ‘Virtual Water’
Stockholm Water Prize Laureate stresses importance of outreach

We are what we eat, or so the saying goes. And what we choose to eat can have a huge impact on our water footprint, according to John Anthony Allan, the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate and a professor at King’s College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies. Allan, who was keynote speaker at the Oct. 19 WEFTEC®.08 Opening General Session, encouraged attendees to think hard about the amount of virtual water they use on a daily basis. Allan’s concept of virtual water measures how much water is embedded in the production and trade of food and other consumer products.

“Are you a 5 cubic-meter-a-day person, or are you a 2.5 cubic-meter-a-day person?” Allan asked. Red meat eaters consume 5 m3 of water each day, while vegetarians consume 2.5 m3 a day, according to Allan. The amount of water required to raise animals and pack and transport meat is twice as much as the amount of water required to grow, pack, and transport vegetables, he said.

Allan explained that the average individual’s annual water needs are approximately 1 m3 to drink, 100 m3 to wash, and 1000 m3 for food — a total annual water footprint of 1100 m3   to 1200 m3 per capita. This is true even in water-poor countries such as Africa because of the amount of water embedded in food production.

U.S. water consumption, however, is two times the average footprint, he said.  Allan explained that while the United States is the biggest exporter of water in the world, it also imports food and other commodities that require a lot of water to produce. The United States is a water-rich nation, but also is dependent on international water sources, he said.

“[If] we are rich, we have a choice,” Allan said. “We can halve our water footprint by changing our diet.” Residents of wealthy countries also have the option of using water resources more efficiently, he said.

Allan has found that while it is easy for people to understand the virtual water concept, additional communication is needed to emphasize its importance.

“There is a big communication job to do,” Allan said. “The trouble is getting science into politics and getting consumers aware of what they are doing.”

Even when people understand the concept, Allan said, it is difficult to overcome consumers’ emotions. Water demand is determined by consumers based on history, expectations, experience, and social preference, he said. “Existing users feel that they have entitlements [to water] that are precious and irreversible,” he explained. “The emotions of the consumers’ purvey, in the short term.”

Incoming Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) President Rebecca West, who closed the session, also stressed the importance of communication. West encouraged all of the “water people” in the crowd to spread the word of how important their jobs are for ensuring the availability of water.

“I am proud to say that all of our members, every minute, every hour of every day, enable communities to live healthy lives,” West said. “I challenge you today; right now tell someone what you do for a living and how this relates to their well-being.”
West also discussed the importance of making reclaimed water a socially acceptable water source.

“Less than 1% of the water on this planet is fresh water that is available for us to use. It is the same water the dinosaurs played in, the same water that our great grandparents used, and the same water that our great grandchildren will use,” she said. “Based on this analogy, wouldn’t it be great if the public began seeing reclaimed water as a family heirloom?”

–Jennifer Fulcher, WE&T


Thinking Beyond the Box To Solve Evolving Problems
AEESP/WEF Scientists’ luncheon keynote speaker advocates taking an integrated approach to address water quality and shortages

Maintaining water quality has become a more complex job. As detection technology improves, trace contaminants such as steroid hormones and pharmaceuticals are being found in wastewater effluent. Changes in global climate and population and rising energy costs could also present challenges for water and wastewater professionals in the future, said David L. Sedlak, keynote speaker at the Oct. 20 Association of Environmental Engineering Science Professors–Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Scientists’ luncheon. Water quality engineering now requires a more integrated approach and for scientists to break out of their respective boxes, he said.

“The box of our disciplines requires for us to think about the same problems, day in and day out,” explained Sedlak, a professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of California—Berkeley. Those in water resource management may ask, “How much water do we have?”, while those in wastewater reclamation may ask, “How can we remove trace contaminants from wastewater?” But as maintaining water quality and quantity globally becomes more difficult, those in water resource management, wastewater reclamation, drinking water treatment, and upper level management will have to ask new questions and begin to solve new problems, he said.

Though climate change probably will lead to global changes in average precipitation, flooding, and drought, Sedlak said it is population change that “will have the biggest impact on water resources.” Populations will continue to grow over time, particularly in the Southwestern United States. “This is going to put a strain on urban water suppliers,” he said. In the last 20 to 30 years, Western states have begun to put greater emphasis on water conservation to maintain dwindling water resources, “but conservation alone doesn’t work,” Sedlak said.

Also, process engineering alone cannot maintain water quality, he said, because sometimes the byproducts of wastewater treatment can be just as harmful as the pathogens they were meant to destroy. For instance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates that the maximum admissible concentration of the disinfection by-product n-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in drinking water be 7 ng/L, but it can be found in higher levels in some areas because reverse osmosis membranes do not remove NDMA. 

To solve the evolving problems related to both water quality and quantity, scientists should begin to look toward integrated solutions, Sedlak said, such as incorporating wastewater treatment into existing aquatic ecosystems. A wetland, for example, can be designed to work as a horizontal trickling filter, he said, with microbes feeding on contaminates. Breakdown in contaminates also can occur through photodegradation. Sedlak pointed to one project that uses an existing ecosystem for wastewater reclamation: the Tarrant Regional Wetlands Project near the Richland Chambers Reservoir in Texas. Wastewater effluent from the Dallas–Ft. Worth area travels down the Trinity River and goes through these wetlands. The wetlands act as a natural wastewater reclamation system, treating water before it is deposited in the Richland Chambers Reservoir, which supplies drinking water for North Central Texas. “Here you have a system that was originally designed for water quantity but ended up helping with water quality,” he said.

LaShell Stratton, WE&T


Weathering the Storms
For Milwaukee, improving public opinion and preparing for climate change go hand in hand

There’s the kind of climate change that could bring about higher temperatures and more volatile storms, and then there is turbulence in the political and social climate that could be even more disruptive for water utilities. Approximately 120 attendees at the Oct. 21 Collections Systems Luncheon gathered to hear keynote speaker Kevin Shafer discuss how his district is responding to both kinds of climate change.

Shafer, executive director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), joined the district at a difficult time.

“When I started, we were known as the number-one polluter of Lake Michigan,” he said. “It wasn’t true, but it was in the news.”

Shafer arrived at the district just as MMSD and suburban communities had ended a 13-year legal battle on how to pay for the sewer system. The media and general public considered MMSD and its employees incompetent and unaccountable. “Staff morale was at an all-time low,” he said.

Upon reviewing the accusations, Shafer found that the whole story wasn’t being told. MMSD had two award-winning treatment plants and a system that was old, but in good shape. In addition, the district had started putting in a system of deep tunnels to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and sanitary sewer overflows. Since the first deep tunnel came online in 1994, the average of 50 to 60 overflows per year has been reduced to an average of 2.2 overflows per year.

“We had a system that was meeting all of the federal requirements that we had, but we had a very bad relationship with the public,” Shafer said.

In addition, there were still beaches closing, and many waterways were not meeting standards for fishing or swimming. So, MMSD started investigating the sources of the pollution, Shafer said. Research results pointed to two culprits: seagulls and stormwater.

“There were laughs,” Shafer said. “No matter what we said, people would not believe what we were telling them.” The public accused MMSD of trying to avoid responsibility for its actions. They said that stormwater is clean because it comes from the sky, he said. They demanded that the district bring the average 2.2 overflows per year down to zero.

“Staff was beat up,” he said. Shafer’s aging workforce was eager to retire.

MMSD decided to bring in researchers to study the pollution, which was confirmed to be mainly from urban and rural nonpoint sources. One study identified that 46% of the loads of total phosphorus, 98% of the loads of total suspended solids, and 96% of the loads of fecal coliform were attributed to urban and rural nonpoint pollution. Shafer took this information and explained to the public and officials that reducing CSOs to zero would cost $7 billion. MMSD had already spent $4 billion to reduce fecal coliform loads from 49% in 1975 to 5% in 2000.

“All of a sudden, the discussion changed,” Shafer said. “All of a sudden, the media started responding.” Science turned out to be the key to answering problems of staff morale, water quality issues, and the media. “We used science to tie all of these things together,” he said.

Also during this time, MMSD was expanding the deep tunnel system to further reduce overflows. In addition, Shafer made sure that his work force had the tools and training necessary for their jobs. This training — combined with pinpointing the source of the water pollution — helped raise staff morale, he said. “We starting seeing that this is not all on MMSD’s shoulders.”

To help mitigate the problems associated with stormwater runoff, MMSD launched the Greenseams program in 2001. Through Greenseams, the district has purchased 656 ha (1620 ac) of land, put this land into conservation easement, and turned the property over to nongovernmental organizations to manage, Shafer said. The project is a visible benefit that the community can appreciate. “We started selling rain barrels as well,” he said. Since 2003 MMSD has sold 10,000 rain barrels that hold about 208 L (55 gal) each.

Other MMSD efforts include installing a green roof on its headquarters, installing solar panels on its Jones Island treatment plant, and beginning a public outreach and education programs and a new intern program.

Addressing one key public concern, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, will require more research, Shafer said. While current options to remove pharmaceuticals from water are very expensive, “we can start educating people,” he said. A year and a half ago, the local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) told citizens to flush unused medicine down the toilet, Shafer said. The MMSD asked DNR to correct this statement and then organized its own take-back program. At the 2008 Medicine Collection Day, MMSD collected 3.2 Mg (3.5 ton) of pharmaceuticals.

For the future, MMSD is looking into expanding its use of solar power, installing wind power, trying a stormwater permitting program, and starting a water quality trading program for municipalities. “A lot of these ideas were born [at WEFTEC] over the last several years,” Shafer said.

Shafer closed by encouraging attendees to work with their local media and try to get communities involved in their projects. “We’re really getting people excited about what we are doing,” he said. “In the old days we used to say,  'Government, go take care of it.' Now we’re saying, 'The government’s done all it can; we need help from private property.'”

Jennifer Fulcher, WE&T


Taking the One-Two Punch
Battling a weak economy and old infrastructure

How to rebuild aging infrastructure while burdened with an ailing economy was the topic du jour at Oct. 20 Technical Session 16: “Fees, Finance and the Future: Water Is Life and Infrastructure Makes It Happen™ Pays Off.” Many of the presenters including keynote speaker, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, approached the issue with particular vigor, lamenting the lack of federal funding for water and wastewater infrastructure in contrast to the recent $700 billion bailout package for the banking system that Congress and President George W. Bush approved earlier that month.

“Putting people back to work in infrastructure will restore our economy, not bailing out banks,” Daley said, followed by loud applause from attendees.

“When it came to the financial system, all of a sudden we were able to find $1 trillion,” said Ken Kirk, executive director of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (Washington, D.C.). “All we are asking for is $20 billion a year … We’ve learned that there are certain parts of the economy that are just ‘too big to fail’, but the [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)] says that unless we make investments in our infrastructure, we will see water pollution that we haven’t seen since the 1970s.”

Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at EPA, agreed that large funds are needed to replace aging infrastructure systems and respond to population growth. He estimated that $210 billion is needed for most water capital infrastructure in the United States in the next 20 years. But Grumbles disagreed with others on how these systems should be funded. The point of the Clean Water Act in how it was revised in 1987 was not to provide long-term funding, but to move away from federal funds to state revolving funds, he said during a Q&A session.

Some speakers shared not only details about aging infrastructure in their home states, but also the ways in which they plan to fund these major overhauls despite tightening economic constraints. The state of New York has 610 publicly owned treatment plants, and much of its collection system has reached the end of its useful life. The system is subject to combined sewer overflows and even sanitary sewer overflows, which are now prohibited, said Sandra Allen, director of Clean and Safe Water Infrastructure Funding Initiative for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The state will need $36.2 billion in the next 20 years to repair infrastructure and to incorporate technologies that will address new water quality requirements, she said. This amount does not consider the cost of preparing for climate change or meeting nutrient limits, Allen noted. To fund these projects, public works hopes to rely on restored Clean Water State Revolving Fund loans, federal grants, state grants, fair cost pricing for customers, and public–private partnerships. New funding sources have been more necessary in light of the 70% decline in federal funding in the past 20 years, she said.

Greater Chicago currently has seven wastewater treatment plants and will require roughly $30 billion to replace infrastructure, said Richard Lanyon, executive director of Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) of Greater Chicago. Eighty percent of MWRD’s revenue comes from property taxes, but the public works program is seeking other funding sources for its capital improvement projects such as issuing general obligation bonds (though MWRD has refrained from doing so this year because of the bad economy) and $150 million in funding until 2016 through annual non-referendum authority.
With a region that is expected to grow by 1 million by 2050, Chicago is well aware of what future pressures its old infrastructure may face, said Mayor Daley. “Between 1880 and 1920, that’s when most of the water mains in Chicago were built,” he said. “… America will have a hard time competing globally if we don’t rebuild our infrastructure.”

To change the direction of the tide, water and wastewater utilities need to work together to lobby Congress and push for the federal government to offer more funding and find more ways for the private sector to participate, Kirk said. “If we’re going to be successful; if we want to overcome or narrow the gap [in funding], we need to sing from the same sheet of music,” he said. “Unfortunately, as in industry, we seem to do everything alone. But we’ve known for some time the days of easy money and going it alone are gone.”

LaShell Stratton, WE&T


Lanyon Looks to The Future

Where should water and wastewater engineers focus now to best position themselves for the future? Drawing on 45 years of experience in the water quality field, Richard Lanyon shared his vision of what the industry will need to do to remain successful and effective. Lanyon, general superintendent of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, gave the Oct. 20 keynote address at the American Association of Environmental Engineers (AAEE; Annapolis, Md.)/Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering (AIDIS; Sao Paulo, Brazil)/Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) breakfast.

“I’ve learned through experience … that visions need to be tempered with reality,” Lanyon said at the beginning of his talk. He then highlighted six key areas where engineers should concentrate attention, encouraging audience members to participate in specific initiatives and help shape the future.

Public Education
Lanyon stressed the importance of educating the public about the value, limits, and dangers of water. “Failure to educate is not an option,” he said. In fact, according to Lanyon, all water professionals, no matter what their job title, share the responsibility for educating the public.

“It has been said that water will to this century be what oil was to the last century,” Lanyon said. But the public does not understand this. “Generally, [all] people know [is] that cold is on the right and hot is on the left; and when it serves its purpose, it goes down the drain; and my monthly water bill is too high,” Lanyon said.

He called on WEF, AAEE, and AIDIS to join a recently launched Clean Water America Alliance to help educate the public about water in a more holistic manner.

“Not just educating government officials, this new organization will focus on the public so that a broad base of knowledge and support will be brought to bear on the future of water, leading to prudent legislation, reasonable regulation, and individual appreciation and respect for water,” he said.

Science-Based Decision-Making
Federal, state, and local governments must rely on good science, stakeholder input, and life cycle cost impacts to drive all decisions for environment controls, regulations, and technologies, Lanyon said.

“We have seen much good science used in regulatory and rulemaking decisions, but of late there appears to be movement into emotionally driven decision-making,” he said.

He pointed to the creation of the Part 503 rule governing biosolids as an example of a successful stakeholder process relying on good science. Even though this process took much time and money, the rule’s longevity has proved the effectiveness of the process, he said. (Lanyon was named the chairman of the National Biosolids Partnership [NBP; Alexandria, Va.] in December 2007.)

He contrasted this experience with the current search for nutrient standards, calling the process “non-science nonsense.”

“Despite the scientific basis coming short in several states, much emotion and political pressure is on to implement some limits for nutrients,” Lanyon said. “If successful, we will be faced with considerable expenditures and the consumption of energy to operate nutrient removal facilities to achieve little or no environmental benefit.”

Watershed Approach
To achieve remarkable results in water quality, the watershed must become the fundamental management unit for planning, management, and regulation, Lanyon said.

“The totality of the watershed must be our focus to achieve source water protection, preservation of resources, water use allocation, and wastewater reuse,” Lanyon said. “Our current approach to water is fragmented and ineffective in that separate management, planning, and regulatory programs exist for various water uses.”

He added that how the land is “used and abused” within a watershed must also be taken into account, especially in the urbanized watersheds. Nonpoint sources as well as traditionally regulated point sources must be addressed, he said.

Better Management
Utilities must adopt environmental management systems and make customer satisfaction a primary objective, Lanyon said.

The keys to better managing watershed and infrastructure reside in such systems as asset management, best practices, preventive maintenance, decision-support systems, environmental management systems, and operational monitoring and controls, according to Lanyon.

“Until these state-of-the-art techniques are broadly embraced by utility leaders, our infrastructure will continue to decline and the funding gap will widen,” he said.

Lanyon talked about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) four pillars of effective utility management, the efforts of industry nonprofits to identify and enact tenets of good management, and the example set by utilities certified by the NBP environmental management system.

However, he explained that EPA does not have the ability to fund such projects for utilities. He called on organizations such as WEF and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (Washington, D.C.) to encourage their members to adopt these management programs “through promotions, awards, competition, mentoring, and peer-pressure.”

Fiscal Responsibility
Utilities need to seek fiscal independence from the federal government and can do so through employing life-cycle costs in capital decision-making, full-cost pricing in rate determination, and fiscal planning, Lanyon said.

“Today, we have a huge national gap in funding for water infrastructure because we became accustomed to federal handouts,” Lanyon said.

While federal funding may have a place in resolving the infrastructure gap, utilities must remember that the customers are the ones who ultimately pay the bill, he said. The best use of federal money would be to expand the current state revolving loan program with the additional requirements that loan recipients establish sustainable management programs and fiscal planning to become self-sufficient, he said.

“Through asset management and fiscal planning, we at the district — as others are — are able to meet our needs,” Lanyon said. “We take advantage of state revolving loans when available, and we rely on our Illinois general assembly to authorize adequate authority for non-referendum bonding for the capital improvement program.”

Public Service
The water quality field should ensure that public service is a sought-after career for talented people, according to Lanyon.

“I believe there is something special about public service,” he said. “I have been fortunate to play a role in a cleaner Chicago waterway system. ... To develop a sense of public service, employees should be reminded frequently that their contributions are not only appreciated, but contribute to the greater good.”

Recruiting and retaining talent is essential to utility operation and efficiency, he said. Good customer relations and a positive public image help employees feel they are part of an important and respected organization.

“Appreciation, respect, responsibility, and training, along with good compensation and benefits, are the incentives to keep this talent in our employ,” Lanyon said.

Steve Spicer, WE&T


 

 

 

 

 

AlgaeDiscussion Draws a Crowd

 

An Oct. 22 meeting on the potential of farming algae to produce biodiesel was the surprise draw of WEFTEC®.08 in Chicago. Approximately 80 people gathered to discuss the relatively new technology and its implications for water and wastewater treatment.

“We were all blown away by how many people showed up to that meeting,” said Matt Ries, director of technical and educational services at the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.). He noted that the algae-to-biofuel meeting had the largest attendance of nearly any meeting he attended at WEFTEC this year. “This is something that wasn’t even on the program a couple of months [before the conference].”

According to Ries, WEF member Steve Gluck called for the meeting. Gluck’s responsibilities at Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich.) recently shifted from general water issues to a more narrow focus on the algae-to-fuels issue.

“A lot of the people who are going to be future producers of algae are saying that they are going to use wastewater as the water [to grow algae],” Gluck said. “I was aware that many of the folks in the Water Environment Federation were unaware of this activity.”

Algae’s Pros and Cons
Algae can remove nutrients from water using only the power of the sun. In fact, growing algae has been used as a secondary treatment step at some wastewater treatment plants, Gluck said.

But what do you do with the algae once it has removed the nutrients? That’s where biofuel production enters the picture.

Like soybeans, algae contain oils that can be extracted and converted to biodiesel. In fact, some laboratory-scale data that Gluck presented indicate that algae could far out produce many other biodiesel feedstocks for oil production. Lower estimates predict that algae could produce up to 11,000 L of biodiesel per hectare of crop per year (1200 gal/ac/yr). Compare that to just 445 L/ha/yr (48 gal/ac/yr) for soybeans.

However, at present, algae have been converted to biofuels only on a laboratory scale. The technology has not been scaled up to a production size, and this jump still represents a risk, Gluck said.

“The other challenge is, of course, if any of these projects go through on a big scale, that’s a lot of water they’re talking about,” Gluck said.

Scaling up such a resource to be productive would require large quantities of land and water. Mike Hightower, from the Energy, Resources, and Systems Analysis Center at Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque), spoke at the meeting about how much water is consumed today for oil refining needs and how much more would be needed with increased biodiesel irrigation.

In 1995, about 3.8 million m3/d (1 billion gal/d) was consumed for traditional refining, according to Hightower. Irrigation of even small percentage of biofuel acreage could increase water consumption by an additional 11–19 million m3/d (3–5 billion gal/d), he said.

Hightower said that the ideal solution for this massive need would be to grow algae using sources other than freshwater, such as brackish groundwater, desalination concentrate, industrial and municipal wastewater, and so on.

“They need an inexpensive water [source], and it doesn’t have to be a good quality water,” Gluck said. Algae growers likely would use a combination of wastewater influent and effluent, he explained. Alternately, effluent could be used to feed a dedicated algae farm.

Moreover, algae farming could serve as a sink for waste heat and carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Algae grow better in a warm environment and respire by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.
However, even using wastewater, waste heat, and other emissions as feedstocks, the presenters agreed that profits from biodiesel production alone — if scale-up is successful — would not create a break-even situation. Coproducts would have to be captured and sold.

The coproduct of greatest interest to water and wastewater industry would be reclaimed water with less nutrients. Other coproducts could be derived from parts of the algae biomass other than the oil, such as feeds and fertilizers, Hightower said. There’s even a chance to convert the cellulosic portion of the algae into ethanol.

But there are questions about the effect algae farming would have on water supplies downstream of the farms. Depending on the design of the algae farm, water may make one or multiple passes through a facility and then be discharged, Gluck said. In other designs, the water may never be discharged and eventually would be lost to evaporation.

Points of View
Meeting participants’ opinions on how this issue should be addressed varied considerably. Some said that algae should be used as a treatment option to capitalize on its nutrient removal capabilities, with potential fuel production as a possible bonus. Others were inclined to examine how the value of treatment plant effluent would change in an algae-farming market.

“We had the leaders of our sector there and engaged in the conversation,” Ries said. “I was very pleased to see that. It tells me that we’ve hit a nerve with this issue.”

Next Steps
This meeting was meant to introduce the topic to WEF members and see where the organization wants to go from here, Gluck said.

Trevor Ghylin from the Milwaukee office of CH2M Hill (Englewood, Colo.) said there are three key challenges the wastewater industry must address:
• Algae biodiesel technology is not well-known or talked about in the wastewater industry.
• There is a lack of published information on the economic feasibility and process design surrounding the issue.
• Most of the research in this area is unfocused and not collaborative because it resides mostly in the private sector.

Forums and organizations for algae technology already exist, Gluck said. “WEF’s expertise in its membership lies in scale-up, water management, public education, and government education.” Another possible role for WEF would be connecting wastewater suppliers with algae producers, should that happen, he added.

WEF has posted the presentations from the meeting as well as a synopsis of the discussion on its Access Water Knowledge Web portal. The information can be found through the Sustainability topic on the Energy subtopic page, Ries said.

To access the information, see
www.wef.org, click on Access Water Knowledge; and under the Knowledge Centers heading, click on Energy (a subtopic of Sustainability).

Steve Spicer, WE&T


WEFTEC.08 Publications Contest Winner

Congratulations to Mike Hogan, general manager for the Encina Wastewater Authority (Carlsbad, Calif.), who won a new iPod Touch for visiting the WEF Publications Booth and successfully completing our Mystery Logo contest.

“The 2008 WEFTEC was the 20th conference I have attended, and I am continually amazed by the management of the event and the depth of technical knowledge that is presented,” Hogan said. “My compliments to WEF staff and all the volunteers that make this very valuable event possible.