At the 91st-annual Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in New Orleans, water professionals compared notes on the water sector's most groundbreaking trends and most pervasive issues.
Read the WEFTEC 2018 Report section for key takeaways from the world's largest annual water quality event.
Big ideas on a smaller scale
WEFTEC speakers highlight how innovation doesn’t need a big budget to get big results
State-of-the-art equipment, cutting-edge software, and millions of dollars for experimentation are not needed to be innovative. Some technical sessions at WEFTEC® 2018 highlighted how utilities can work with what they have to be innovative and help operations, staff, and customers.
Adding to the spectrum
WEFTEC 2018 highlights how the water sector is striving to become more diverse
Diversity has become an important topic in the American workplace. But according to a recent report by the Brookings Institution (Washington, D.C.), Renewing the water workforce: Improving water infrastructure and creating a pipeline to opportunity, the water sector is lagging behind the nation in racial, gender, and age diversity.
Water treatment operators average about 46.4 years old — nearly 4 year older than the national occupation median. Also, women make up only 14.9% of the water workforce as compared to 46.8% of workers across all occupations in the U.S. The Brookings researchers also found that while nearly two-thirds of the water workforce is white, which is similar to the 65.3% found across all occupations nationally, black and Asian workers only make up 11.5% of the water workforce, compared to 18% of those employed in all occupations in the U.S.
Walking the walk at WEFTEC 2018
Water professionals demonstrate the creative ways they tackle local and global water issues
When 2017-2018 Water Environment Federation President Jenny Hartfelder welcomed thousands of water professionals to the WEFTEC 2018 Opening General Session, she offered a simple piece of advice. She said, “Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman.”
“Batman is an iconic character that is beloved and embraced around the world,” Hartfelder explained. “Bruce Wayne was just a regular guy who became a hero because he wanted to help save the world.”
Just by showing up each day to do their jobs, water professionals have the potential to improve the health and safety of their communities and the world, Hartfelder continued. During WEFTEC 2018, these same professionals put their everyday heroism on display to make New Orleans more sustainable as well as to support water and sanitation charities.
Great minds share insights into water research at the 2018 Scientists’ Luncheon
Leading minds in water research gathered to share insights at the WEFTEC 2018 Scientists’ Luncheon
Some of the leading minds in water research gathered to share their insights at the WEFTEC 2018 Scientists’ Luncheon.
Moderator Arthur Umble, who is lead of the Global Wastewater Practice for Stantec Consulting, introduced the panel of speakers and asked them questions about the future research.
Panelists included Angeliki Diane Rigos, executive director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge) Tata Center for Technology and Design; Mark van Loosdrecht, professor in environmental biotechnology at Delft University of Technology (Netherlands); and William Mitsch, director of the Everglades Wetland Research Park (Fort Myers, Fla.).
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