January 2007, Vol. 19, No.1

From the Editors

WE&T Prelude

State of the Industry

Melissa Jackson

With each new year come changes large and small. What factors will influence your business decisions in 2007?

This year U.S. water quality professionals will serve an ever-increasing population, which hit the 300-million mark last fall. You will start new construction projects to accommodate growth as well as maintain existing infrastructure. And perhaps, you will even benefit from a new Congress that may have the ability to change water quality policy. In particular, reauthorization of the Farm Bill, which Congress is expected to take up this year, could have significant water quality implications. We assess these changes — and their potential consequences for water quality professionals — in our second annual “State of the Industry."

This issue also marks the debut of a new series devoted to small communities and distributed wastewater management. You’ll find the first column, written by Todd Danielson of WEF’s Small Communities Committee, here.

Your thoughts on these articles, or any others, are always welcome. Write to us at magazine@wef.org.

Happy New Year!        

Melissa Jackson, editor

Operations Forum Editor's Note

The Quiet of Winter

Steve Spicer

Another holiday season has passed. The hectic schedule of parties, shopping, traveling, and visiting family and friends has slowed down to a more normal pace. Once the decorations come down, hopefully, there will be some time to relax and recover.

The few weeks between New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day might be the best time of year to sit back and consider what’s next. New Year’s resolutions have all of the flash, but the substance of change and new ideas thrive best in the quiet moments after the visitors have gone home and we’re left alone with our thoughts.

A quiet winter’s night spent at home lends itself to mulling over that new project we’ve had in mind for some time. Creating the plan and listing the steps comes later; for the moment, it is enough to sift through all of the notions that we normally push to the side while we rush, hurry, accomplish, complete.

In these few weeks, before spring peeks its head over the horizon and construction projects and outdoor maintenance switch into high gear, it’s a pleasure to look at the big picture and let one’s mind wander through the possibilities that the year holds.

The three feature articles in this issue delve a little deeper into their topics to look at some practices and products that we take for granted and might not think about too often when the commotion of everyday life gets in the way.

Steve Spicer, editor