Highlights from WEFTEC.07 in San Diego

LA Wrecking Crew

By Wendy Wert

Known as the Water Quality Event, WEFTEC.07 is the largest annual water quality exhibition in the world. This year featured 119 technical sessions and 29 specialty workshops, which offered educational opportunities for water practitioners.

Even before the inspirational opening general session, interactive workshops educated participants on up-to-date industry issues. For example experts with over 200 years of cumulative experience discussed the integration of succession planning and knowledge retention in Strategic Workforce Planning for Leaders at all Levels. Many utilities will lose 30-50% of their current workforce to retirement within 10 years. Successful strategies to retain critical knowledge include leadership development, data management systems, and updates to standard operating procedures. In addition, creative solutions such as formalized mentoring programs, internal career path symposiums, and operations storytelling were highlighted.

Specific technical issues were also addressed in such forums as the WEF/WERF: Are Pathogens in Biosolids Bugging You? workshop where a panel of experts presented results on reactivation/regrowth of microbes, risk assessment/modeling, and airborne biological contaminants.

The excitement continued to build as Dr. Perry McCarty, the 2007 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate delivered an inspired vision challenging the industry to responsibly apply biological and chemical processes to ensure the safe supply and treatment of water. The Clean Water Act (CWA), considered one of the most successful pieces of federal legislation ever crafted celebrated its 35th anniversary in October. A special session The Next 35 Years of the Clean Water Act discussed actions that must be taken to preserve the purpose of the CWA.

Some of the best wastewater collection and treatment personnel in the world displayed their skills during Operations Challenge ’07. Anticipation filled the auditorium as operators demonstrated a combination of precision, speed and safety. And as always there were numerous (119) technical sessions where the latest technologies, results, strategies, successes, and lessons learned were presented. WEFTEC.08 will be held in Chicago.

To learn more visit www.weftec.com.

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