August 2012 » Features » EVENT PREVIEW
Annual water quality conference features workshops, technical sessions, tours, and a world-class exhibition.
Bob Drake

The Water Environment Federation's (WEF) 85th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference – WEFTEC 2012 – will take place Sept. 29-Oct. 3, 2012, at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. According to WEF, it is the largest conference of its kind in North America and the largest annual water quality exhibition in the world. This year's program will feature 130 technical sessions, 24 workshops, and six local facility tours.

The 2012 conference focus areas include: Collection Systems; Disinfection and Public Health; Facility Operations and Maintenance; Future Insights, Global Issues and Sustainability; Government Affairs; Industrial Issues and Treatment Technologies; Research and Innovation; Municipal Wastewater Treatment Process and Design; Residuals and Biosolids Management; Stormwater Management; Utility Management; Water Reclamation and Reuse; and Watershed Resources Management and Sustainability.

WEFTEC attendees can earn as many as 1.2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) at workshops, 16.5 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) at technical sessions, and as many as eight contact hours per day for time spent visiting the exhibition. WEF applies for pre-approval for WEFTEC continuing education credits in all 50 states and expects to receive approval from at least 49 states for WEFTEC 2012. A list of states that have currently pre-approved WEFTEC 2012 certificates is available at www.weftec.org/Program/page.aspx?id=2147483948

Facility Tours are an opportunity to observe active projects, construction, and/or operations at sites within the local host community, as well as an opportunity to earn contact hours. Participation is limited by the size of each facility and participants must purchase tickets in addition to conference registration. Facility tours include the following:

  • St. Bernard Parish's Munster Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex
  • Nalco Company
  • Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans' East Bank Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • City of Mandeville's Chinchuba Swamp and East Tchefuncte Marsh Wetland Assimilation Project
  • Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans' Dwyer Drainage Pump Station

As a complement to the technical program, WEFTEC's exhibition will provide access to more than 900 exhibiting companies and their technical experts showing the latest developments, research, solutions, and technologies in the field for water quality and treatment.

Other conference highlights include the Opening General Session with a keynote address by Jim Carroll, author, columnist, media commentator, and consultant, who links future trends to innovation and creativity. The theme of this year's Opening General Session is "A New Direction for WEF," which ties into the organization's new strategic direction announced earlier this year (see "WEF's new strategic direction"). Carroll's presentation on innovation and transformation strategy is expected to frame the larger program theme and provide some tools and tips for how to achieve a higher level of success through significant, transformative change.

"We live and work in a period of unprecedented change," Carroll said. "Intelligent infrastructure concepts continue to emerge from the hypothetical to the real while new design methodologies and concepts challenge water professionals to keep ahead of these fast-paced developments. I'll cover the key trends that will provide challenge in the future and outline how to turn them into opportunity."

WEF's new strategic direction
In February 2012, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) announced a new strategic direction that emphasizes innovation and increasing awareness of the value of water as well as a continued commitment to supporting the expertise of the water profession. "We will be focusing on how water services are delivered and how resource recovery can benefit communities," said WEF President Matt Bond.

According to WEF, the developing business plan to define and implement related programs will include initiatives that support a new vision for an energy-positive water sector; the pursuit of expanded or new relationships with organizations focused on technology innovation; upgraded and expanded content management and delivery of online services and products; the official launch of the "Water's Worth It" (www.waters-worth-it.org) messaging campaign; and a new grassroots water advocates program.

Visit www.weftec.org for registration information and for the latest conference details.

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