September 2007, Vol. 19, No.9

From the Editors

WE&T Prelude

Taking the Long View

Melissa Jackson

Sustainable development has been defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future. In the business world, it has become synonymous with “triple bottom-line” accounting that gives social and environmental concerns the same weight as economic ones. In the water quality field, the priority is sustaining water supply, and the infrastructure that carries it, for generations to come.

These are simple concepts — on paper. But sustainable solutions can be complicated by organizational cultures, competing priorities, and limited resources — e.g., reality. And in reality, actions often speak louder than words. Sometimes it takes an unfortunate event such as the recent steam pipe explosion in New York or the devastating bridge collapse in Minneapolis to drive home the importance of taking the long view and providing for our future.

This month we offer a sampling of sustainable approaches to water treatment and supply: a fast-growing Pacific Northwest utility that uses wastewater as a resource and adds capacity in small increments as needed (see article); a study on how the quality of reclaimed water changes during aquifer storage recovery operations (see article); and an award-winning method for evaluating the effects of high-salinity effluent from desalination plants on aquatic life (see article).

But these are only a few examples. What does sustainability mean to you? Let us know how sustainability has an impact on your organization — in theory and in practice. We will publish the most interesting and useful responses in a future issue.

— Melissa Jackson, editor


An item in the Business column (August) misidentified the management of a 5-year nutrient removal research program for the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF; Alexandria, Va.). The WERF Nutrient Removal Challenge brings together some of the nation’s top experts, with HDR (Omaha, Neb.) leading a multidisciplinary team that includes Metcalf & Eddy/AECOM (Wakefield, Mass.), CH2M Hill (Englewood, Colo.), and the University of Washington (Seattle).

Melissa Jackson, editor

Operations Forum Editor's Note

Scientific Platform

Steve Spicer

Chemistry is complex; its goal is to make sense of the materials of the universe and the changes that those materials undergo. Even while using it every day, one can forget that chemistry forms the foundation of the wastewater industry. Influent tests set a baseline for pollutant levels. Process control tests give operators the information needed to regulate the treatment process. Effluent tests prove that plants accomplish their goal of protecting public health and the environment.

This month’s issue includes some items dealing specifically with chemistry and laboratory practices (here and here). While the topic only holds the spotlight once each year in Operations Forum, to some extent, almost every item published builds upon chemistry.

— Steve Spicer, editor


On p. 66 of the July issue, the article “The Nitty Gritty” includes two errors regarding temperatures for the ASTM dry sieve procedure for sizing soils. The oven-drying temperature should be 221°F (105°C), and the burn temperature should be 1022°F (550°C). We regret the error.

Steve Spicer, editor